Adam Lee

Adam Lee
Episode 128

Join host Japhet De Oliviera for a fascinating conversation with Adam Lee, Operations Executive at Adventist Health Portland, as they discuss the secret to ultra-light backpacking, the benefits of stepping on a few toes, the freedom that accompanies the last day of school and processing through immense stress.
Libsyn Podcast
"[The secret to ultra-light backpacking] is all about pairing down what you take. You only take the things that are absolutely necessary with you in order to get your backpack way, way down...I think for me, it's a really good practice because in my normal day-to-day life, I tend to over-prepare and overthink."

Narrator: Welcome, friends to another episode of The Story and Experience Podcast. Join your host, Japhet De Oliveira, with his guest today and discover the moments that shape us, our families and communities.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, welcome, friends, to another episode of The Story and Experience Podcast. I am delighted to be able to have this guest, who I've known for many, many years, and finally we're able to arrange this time to see each other. They are smiling, which is a good sign, as always. If you're brand new to the podcast, we actually have 100 questions. They share stories and experiences that shaped them into the leader that they are today. I will ask the first 10, then they get to pick between 11 and 100. It becomes more vulnerable, a little deeper towards 100.

With that in mind, I'm going to begin with the very first one. I'm going to ask you your name. Could you tell us your name for everybody? Does anybody ever mispronounce it?

Adam Lee: Well, my name is Adam Lee.

Japhet De Oliveira: No.

Adam Lee: It's not a hard name. Except that in our system, it's Lee, Adam.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes.

Adam Lee: So people call me Lee all the time. They don't mispronounce it, but they call me by my last name on accident.

Japhet De Oliveira: Do you talk to your parents about that?

Adam Lee: No.

Japhet De Oliveira: No?

Adam Lee: No, haven't brought that up with them.

Japhet De Oliveira: Why? They're like, "Did you change your name?"

Adam Lee: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: It could get ugly.

Adam Lee: I feel like there's other things to talk to them about.

Japhet De Oliveira: Really? I'm so glad to hear that, Adam Lee. Hey, Adam, do you want to tell us what you do for work?

Adam Lee: Yes. I'm an operations executive with Adventist Health in Portland.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, okay. Operations, but not the operation, right? Not the surgery, right?

Adam Lee: No operating.

Japhet De Oliveira: No operating.

Adam Lee: Just operations. If that makes sense.

Japhet De Oliveira: Operations, sorry. Unpack that ball for us. Yeah.

Adam Lee: It's a little bit of everything, which makes it really fun. I have a lot of fun at work. It's high stress a lot of the time, but somehow it's still fun despite lots of stress in the role. I think I love being challenged and it's constant challenge because I don't know what I'm doing half the time. I get to learn new things every day, which is exactly the way I want it.

Japhet De Oliveira: The key to this, other you not knowing anything, is you must have a skillset to handle the unknown, right?

Adam Lee: I guess so.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: I guess so.

Japhet De Oliveira: Give me one of those skillset items.

Adam Lee: Working with support departments, ancillary departments. I started working with the lab a couple years ago, and now I know way more about lab and specimens, and that sorts of stuff, than I ever expected with my background, which is in marketing and not in hospital operations.

Japhet De Oliveira: What drew you into hospital operations then? From communication, marketing and that stuff.

Adam Lee: Well, it started during the pandemic. We opened up a command center here in Portland. There were just four of us in the command center every day. I was there because I was the public information officer.

Japhet De Oliveira: Sure.

Adam Lee: I was there for communication purposes. Kyle King, who's our president now, just called me up and said, "Hey, there's only four of us in this room, you need to focus on more than just communications. We're going to throw you into some other stuff."

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: He started throwing things at me.

Japhet De Oliveira: And it stuck.

Adam Lee: It stuck. It was terrifying, but I was like-

Japhet De Oliveira: And you loved it.

Adam Lee: This is cool, yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's really good. Do you feel like you've actually arrived in your wheelhouse now?

Adam Lee: I think so. Although I think I'm also the type to never really feel like I've arrived.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay.

Adam Lee: I think I'm absolutely doing something I love, so I've arrived at that point. But I feel like every three or four years in my career, there's been a change.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: It's hard to say I've arrived because-

Japhet De Oliveira: There's a lot of change in healthcare.

Adam Lee: I don't know what's next. There is.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: There's constant change. That's not going to stop.

Japhet De Oliveira: Nationally as well, not just ... Yeah.

Adam Lee: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Practical question. You wake up in the morning, you [inaudible 00:03:57], what's the first drink of the day? Water, tea, coffee, liquid green smoothie, oatmeal?

Adam Lee: It's coffee.

Japhet De Oliveira: Coffee?

Adam Lee: It's always coffee.

Japhet De Oliveira: Black, or?

Adam Lee: Usually a little half-and-half, sometimes black, it just depends. No sugar.

Japhet De Oliveira: If they have the coffee on the side of your bed, is that how it works?

Adam Lee: I would love to figure that out. Some sort of mechanism that, 10 minutes before the alarm goes off, it brews a cup, but I haven't gotten there yet.

Japhet De Oliveira: You know, I'm pretty sure there's a device that actually does that.

Adam Lee: There probably is.

Japhet De Oliveira: There probably is, there probably is.

Adam Lee: I need to do some Googling.

Japhet De Oliveira: I'd have to guess that you wake up at that time. Personality wise, if people were to describe you, would they say you're an introvert or an extrovert, and would you agree?

Adam Lee: I am an introvert. I don't think many people would say that. When I tell people, they're often surprised.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: I think for my role here, I have to not act like an introvert. It's important for me to be taking on some of those extrovert qualities that don't come naturally to me. It's important to be out rounding and connecting with people. That's not something introverts do naturally.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's like we have strengths and we have shadows, and I think extroverts have the same thing, where they need to actually maybe be a bit more present.

Adam Lee: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. That's good, that's good. All right, where were you born, Adam?

Adam Lee: I was born in Washington State.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay.

Adam Lee: I still live in Washington State. I work in Oregon, but I live just north of the river in Washington.

Japhet De Oliveira: North of the river.

Adam Lee: That's right. It's a barrier here, or a line of delineation maybe.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay.

Adam Lee: It's better than a barrier. Maybe sometimes a barrier, too.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. This podcast went really well.

Adam Lee: Right. Edit this.

Japhet De Oliveira: I wish. No, this is good stuff. I love this. We don't edit, we just run. Conversations happen this way. When you were a child, what did you imagine you would grow up to be?

Adam Lee: I wanted to do something with art. Actually, a lot of my childhood, I liked art. My undergrad degree is in graphic design, that's where I started.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: I think I wasn't one of those kids that dreamed of being a police officer or a fireman. I don't think I thought a lot about my career when I was a child. I don't know, kids do that, but I didn't do that for some reason.

Japhet De Oliveira: Just art.

Adam Lee: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good, that's good. Brilliant. I'm happy for you for that. Are you an early riser or late night owl?

Adam Lee: I wish I was more of a late night owl.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, yeah.

Adam Lee: I like staying up late. I am pretty productive late into the evening. This job just doesn't really allow for that.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: When you're up meeting with physicians at 6:00 or 7:00 AM, it doesn't let me work late into the night also. I've become more of a morning person.

Japhet De Oliveira: Right. When you woke up this morning, first thought that went through your mind?

Adam Lee: Go make some coffee. That's the first thing.

Japhet De Oliveira: I'm really glad for that deep thought. Thank you for sharing that with us.

Adam Lee: I'm here to impart wisdom like that, yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: I felt it was astounding. I should write that one down. Hey, that's good. All right, last one in this block and then I'm going to hand over to you. It's a leadership question. Are you a backseat driver?

Adam Lee: Do you mean when I'm in the car with someone or at work?

Japhet De Oliveira: No, in leadership. Very funny, you're very funny.

Adam Lee: Not literal. Okay.

Japhet De Oliveira: Well, I don't know. Do you in the car?

Adam Lee: I'm usually driving.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, all right.

Adam Lee: I think I have that tendency and it's one I fight. I think if I let my natural self go, I would be very controlling so I try to rein that in.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good.

Adam Lee: There's nothing better than watching people thrive on their own and find their own success. Maybe with some coaching along the way. But backseat driving is usually not the right way to get there.

Japhet De Oliveira: Can't wait. Your kids don't drive yet?

Adam Lee: Oh, my oldest does.

Japhet De Oliveira: Your oldest does?

Adam Lee: He's 16, he's driving.

Japhet De Oliveira: Are you enjoying that?

Adam Lee: Not really. He has turned into a good driver.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, really?

Adam Lee: He's 16-and-a-half-ish so he's licensed.

Japhet De Oliveira: Does he take after you or your wife?

Adam Lee: Oh, man. I was going to say something really rude but I'm not going to.

Japhet De Oliveira: Be careful.

Adam Lee: I don't know. I don't know. He's a good driver, but my wife and I are both fairly competent drivers.

Japhet De Oliveira: I like how you phrased that, "Fairly competent, I'm not lying. I'm saying the truth."

Adam Lee: Yeah. This feels like an area where one could get into trouble.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, this is very exciting. Yeah, good.

Adam Lee: Thanks for that.

Japhet De Oliveira: You're welcome. You're welcome. Just because I care.

Adam Lee: Now my wife can't listen to this podcast.

Japhet De Oliveira: No, it's great. Floor is open, 11 to 100. Adam, where would you like to go first?

Adam Lee: Okay.

Japhet De Oliveira: What, did you say 100?

Adam Lee: No, I did not say 100.

Japhet De Oliveira: I'm kidding.

Adam Lee: Let's go 27.

Japhet De Oliveira: 27. Bring us into your kitchen, you're cooking a special meal. What is it?

Adam Lee: I like making fajitas.

Japhet De Oliveira: Mating fajitas?

Adam Lee: Making.

Japhet De Oliveira: Making. Making fajitas. This is not being edited at all, this is going to roll as is.

Adam Lee: That's great. That was weird.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's very good. You like making fajitas.

Adam Lee: I like making fajitas.

Japhet De Oliveira: When you go to restaurants, do you order fajitas as well?

Adam Lee: I do.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: It's my favorite.

Japhet De Oliveira: The big tower, is that what it is?

Adam Lee: Yeah. It's sizzling and it looks great.

Japhet De Oliveira: It doesn't sizzle for long though, in my experience.

Adam Lee: No, no.

Japhet De Oliveira: But are you able to keep the food hot?

Adam Lee: Yeah. My kids love it, which is one of the benefits.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh.

Adam Lee: I don't have a big range of cooking.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, yeah.

Adam Lee: Although, this last summer, for some reason I started trying out some new things. I was surfing on Instagram, it starts feeding you the same thing.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes, it knows you.

Adam Lee: Yeah. It started feeding me recipes. I was like, "I'm going to start trying some of these."

Japhet De Oliveira: That's really good.

Adam Lee: It was fun to experiment a little.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, that's really good.

Adam Lee: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Do you consider yourself to be a good cook?

Adam Lee: No. No.

Japhet De Oliveira: That was pretty quick.

Adam Lee: No, I'm not a good cook because I feel like a good cook knows a kitchen and can improvise. I can follow a recipe, I'm good at that. But if we don't have a certain ingredient, I'm stumped, I don't know what to do.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's wise. That's wise. Okay, all right. All right, where next? That was 27.

Adam Lee: 51.

Japhet De Oliveira: 51. All right, here we go. Oh, tell us about something you know you do differently than most people?

Adam Lee: One thing I've noticed is that I can, I don't always, but I can become very analytical and not emotionally attached to something. I found that at work ... I am an emotional person, actually.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Yeah, I do know that.

Adam Lee: But I can often, especially at work, detach from those emotions and be very analytical. Even something that I think some people might feel more over, I can be very attached in analyzing a problem.

Japhet De Oliveira: Logical.

Adam Lee: Logical, yeah. I think sometimes that's super helpful.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes.

Adam Lee: When it's just me, that's super helpful.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: When there's other people involved, that is not always the best thing because I'm not pausing to think what other people might be feeling. I've had to work to do that, to take a minute and say, "Okay, other people might be reacting to this differently than I am."

Japhet De Oliveira: Now in a crisis, that would be great though, wouldn't it?

Adam Lee: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes.

Adam Lee: I think it can be.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah. Just to be able to think about logically, where things are at.

Adam Lee: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, that's good. All right, where next?

Adam Lee: Let's go with 13.

Japhet De Oliveira: 13, absolutely. Oh. Walk us through the ideal end of your day.

Adam Lee: Oh.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: Okay. I have a half-hour blocked on my calendar from 5:00 to 5:30.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: I don't always get that block, but it's blocked to wrap up my day. I run through my email, make sure I didn't miss anything important. I look at my to-do list that I came up with throughout the day and is there anything I really needed to cross off for the day? What am I going to be doing tomorrow?

Japhet De Oliveira: It's good practice.

Adam Lee: A little bit of planning for tomorrow. I find that when I do that, I wake up in the middle of the night less often.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Adam Lee: Of stressing about something. Even though I'm not accomplishing great things in that half-hour, but it wraps my day up in a bow that lets me leave work at work better than I would otherwise.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's a really good practice.

Adam Lee: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah. That's good for somebody starting out new and maybe somebody whose even seasoned.

Adam Lee: Yeah. I've only started doing it in the last six months. I think at one point I was like, "I've been doing this and it's helping."

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: It's helping with my stress level, so I blocked it out on my calendar.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good.

Adam Lee: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. Brilliant. All right, where next?

Adam Lee: 42.

Japhet De Oliveira: 42. Tell us a story behind the photo on your phone.

Adam Lee: Oh.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh.

Adam Lee: Okay, let's find a photo. I can pick a photo?

Japhet De Oliveira: No, no, no. Hopefully, you have a photo, like your standard photo. Do you have a standard photo in your phone?

Adam Lee: Oh, I don't. It's just the-

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, you just have a color tile.

Adam Lee: I'm kind of boring. I don't like stuff there. There's so much stimulation. That is one place where-

Japhet De Oliveira: What about your screensaver phone? No?

Adam Lee: No.

Japhet De Oliveira: Describe that gray cloud.

Adam Lee: It shows what the weather's doing outside. I'm in Portland, so it's mostly gray.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's mostly gray.

Adam Lee: And cloudy, yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's a really beautiful cover on your phone screen.

Adam Lee: Believe it or not, I like that.

Japhet De Oliveira: That question went well.

Adam Lee: I have kids. Can you believe it?

Japhet De Oliveira: Do you?

Adam Lee: I don't have them on my phone.

Japhet De Oliveira: I know, you're the first person. Great.

Adam Lee: Well, that was a quick one. Wow, okay.

Japhet De Oliveira: You were like, "I was going to pick an epic photo."

Adam Lee: Right, I was going to find something.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, you could actually save that photo on your phone as a screensaver, as a reminder.

Adam Lee: I should do that real quick so I can go back and re-answer the question.

Japhet De Oliveira: Right. No. Which question do you go next?

Adam Lee: Let's go higher, let's go 60.

Japhet De Oliveira: Sorry?

Adam Lee: 60.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, 60. I thought you said 16. I was like, "I'm not sure that's higher." Oh, all right. When in life have you felt most alone?

Adam Lee: Okay. I think, if I look back, I probably felt most alone some periods through college.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: Before marriage. I think maybe there were times when I wasn't totally grounded. Always had a fair number of friends, but I think there were times in that stage of life where you're figuring out the world. I was figuring out what I was going to do next.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: Hadn't met the person I was going to marry. I think there were probably times there in college where that was when I felt the most alone.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. It's common. A college experience, stepping out.

Adam Lee: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: I don't look back on it with any negative feelings related to that, actually. I loved my college experience.

Japhet De Oliveira: But it's a growth curve.

Adam Lee: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. Right, super. Thank you. Where after 60?

Adam Lee: Let's go 28.

Japhet De Oliveira: 28. This is great for you. If you had to give a 30-minute impromptu presentation without any preparation, what would it be? Go.

Adam Lee: I would give a presentation on ultralight backpacking, that's what I would do.

Japhet De Oliveira: Seriously? Oh.

Adam Lee: I should say something work related.

Japhet De Oliveira: No, no, no, that's great. Ultralight backpacking?

Adam Lee: Ultralight backpacking.

Japhet De Oliveira: Is that basically where you pretend to have a backpack but you don't have one? You're like, "Oh, it's so ultralight."

Adam Lee: Well, I'm not quite that ultralight.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, all right. Right. What's the secret of ultralight backpacking?

Adam Lee: Well, ultralight backpacking is really ... I've loved backpacking since I was a kid.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay.

Adam Lee: But always carried a pretty heavy load until the last few years. It's all about paring down what you take. You only take the things that are absolutely necessary with you in order to get your backpack weight way down.

Japhet De Oliveira: No reserves?

Adam Lee: Well, you don't take it to a dangerous level.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay.

Adam Lee: But you also don't have a lot of extra stuff. I think for me, it's a really good practice because in my normal day-to-day life, I tend to over-prepare and overthink. But if I am forced to just pare down and carry what's on my back, and not overdo it, it's a really good mindful practice for me. I get out in nature. I can walk further when I'm carrying a very light backpack. Then, you make do with what you have. I've been doing it for a number of years so I have what I need.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: But I don't have anything extra. There's something freeing about that.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great.

Adam Lee: It's also this rabbit trail that you can go down.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, really?

Adam Lee: I get into gear. You get into this, "Well, this piece of gear is two ounces lighter than this one."

Japhet De Oliveira: Sure.

Adam Lee: "I'd better go buy that."

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: It's just this never ending rabbit hole that also is just super fun.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's actually great.

Adam Lee: It's completely ridiculous but also fun.

Japhet De Oliveira: Do you eventually take the backpack and put it on some kind of scale?

Adam Lee: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, you are that level?

Adam Lee: Constantly.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. Constantly? Okay.

Adam Lee: Constantly weighing everything, that's how you do it. You start getting into ultralight backpacking by knowing how much everything weighs.

Japhet De Oliveira: Wow, okay.

Adam Lee: It's eye-opening.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: You're like, "Well, I don't really need that. That's 10 ounces I don't need to carry."

Japhet De Oliveira: 10 ounces, wow. Okay, all right, it's at that level.

Adam Lee: It's one ounce.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's good.

Adam Lee: It's a thing. People saw their toothbrushes in half to save-

Japhet De Oliveira: Seriously? That's pretty clever.

Adam Lee: Five grams or whatever it is.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. That's great. And one tooth.

Adam Lee: Right.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right, where next?

Adam Lee: Let's go 53.

Japhet De Oliveira: 53, all right. Can you tell us about at least one important person in your life? Yeah.

Adam Lee: Yeah, it's hard to pick one. That's the problem.

Japhet De Oliveira: It is very hard. Very hard.

Adam Lee: I'll pick my wife.

Japhet De Oliveira: Good, good idea.

Adam Lee: That's always safe, right?

Japhet De Oliveira: That's not why you picked it, but that's good.

Adam Lee: Not why I picked it.

Japhet De Oliveira: No, no. Thank you. Why?

Adam Lee: She's amazing.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: She is someone who, in a lot of ways, is very different than me and that works. It brings me back when I'm going too far one way. She's lots of fun, which is helpful. She livens up the house. I've noted that when she's gone and it's just me and my two boys at home, she travels for work sometimes, there's less life in the house. There's something she brings to our home. She's the kind of person that, no matter what's going on, I like spending time with. There aren't very many people that, no matter what's happening, you want to be with that person but that's what she is for me.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's really great.

Adam Lee: It's great. I feel really fortunate to have found that.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's wonderful. I'm very happy for you guys. She's an amazing person, great leader as well. All right, where next?

Adam Lee: We're flying through these.

Japhet De Oliveira: I know. It's terrible.

Adam Lee: I'm kind of brief.

Japhet De Oliveira: Are you really?

Adam Lee: As you're probably picking up.

Japhet De Oliveira: No. No, I'd never guess. Concise.

Adam Lee: Concise.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Light.

Adam Lee: Yeah. We're going to go through all 100 questions, hopefully.

Japhet De Oliveira: Eventually, we'll be there.

Adam Lee: Let's go to 37.

Japhet De Oliveira: 37, okay. What do you like most about your family?

Adam Lee: Oh, man.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, I know.

Adam Lee: Okay.

Japhet De Oliveira: This is great.

Adam Lee: I like the differences in my family. I talked about the differences in my wife, but it's fun to see the differences in my boys. I have two boys, 14 and 16. They're different from me, they're different from each other, and they're teenagers, so they're different from one day to the next.

Japhet De Oliveira: Sure. Sure.

Adam Lee: Which is so frustrating.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah.

Adam Lee: And super fun. It makes things interesting, it keeps things interesting. Some days, I wish there was a little less interesting, a little more boring. But it is, it's great to have that variation all inside one house.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's great.

Adam Lee: Lots of fun.

Japhet De Oliveira: The diversity is important.

Adam Lee: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, that's great. All right, where next?

Adam Lee: Let's go 50.

Japhet De Oliveira: 50? Oh. Share about whose influenced you professionally.

Adam Lee: Sure.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: Well, I'll talk about Kyle.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: Kyle's my boss, he's the president here in Portland. I talked a little bit about him-

Japhet De Oliveira: When you say he's the president here in Portland, what Adam is saying is of the entire Portland-

Adam Lee: In all of Portland.

Japhet De Oliveira: Of Adventist Health Portland.

Adam Lee: He should be president of Portland.

Japhet De Oliveira: He should be president.

Adam Lee: For now, it's just the hospital.

Japhet De Oliveira: You guys should have your own president in Portland.

Adam Lee: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. Not politically charged, for anyone ...

Adam Lee: Right.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: No, I'm sure that would go over great.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: He's your boss.

Adam Lee: Yes, he's my boss. He has had a ton of influence over my career. We've been working together for four or five years. I already mentioned through the pandemic and how that work happened. But he's influenced my career a lot by, one, giving me latitude to do what I do. There's something about working with a boss that trusts you that is invaluable. It lets you go do what you want to do and need to do. I found that freedom to help me grow and help me be a better leader because he allows for that.

He's also given me great advice over the years. Stepping into an executive role, one of the things early on was ... He's like, "As you're stepping into this role, don't be afraid to step on some toes and think of everything as your area. No problem is outside of your scope."

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes.

Adam Lee: I think that's a good message for everyone, actually.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, true.

Adam Lee: Not just for executive leader. "Go own things, go do things. Sometimes, you're going to make someone mad, that's going to happen." It probably should be happening every once in a while. If you're never stepping on someone's toes, you're probably not quite doing all the things you should do.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: That was something I had to be told. That was not something that I just drove right into. That was definitely something I had to be told.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. And something that should be told to mothers to not do.

Adam Lee: Right.

Japhet De Oliveira: They're like, "Oh, you're stepping on everybody's toes, all the time. How about you slow down?"

Adam Lee: It needs to go the other way sometimes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, that's good.

Adam Lee: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. All right. All right, where next?

Adam Lee: Let's go to 75.

Japhet De Oliveira: 75. Oh, do you remember the very first thing that you purchased with your own money? What was it and why? You're laughing.

Adam Lee: There were little things.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, sure.

Adam Lee: I've been working since elementary school, so very earlier in life I could go get candy from the store or whatever.

Japhet De Oliveira: Risky, yeah.

Adam Lee: Right. But I remember the first bigger purchase I made was a PlayStation.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh.

Adam Lee: This was the PlayStation One, the original.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes.

Adam Lee: In my house growing up, we weren't allowed to have video game consoles.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay.

Adam Lee: This was back in the original Nintendo days, maybe Atari early on.

Japhet De Oliveira: 1833.

Adam Lee: Right, right. Around the time of the Declaration of Independence. It was, "That stuff rots your brain." Actually, reasonably so. I have teenagers now, well they both have phones now.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: My parents had a good point.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes.

Adam Lee: But at some point, I was old enough and I had my own money, and I went and bought this thing. It maybe felt a little rebellious to do that. But it was lots of fun to have my own video game system finally.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's really good. That's really good. Do you remember your first game?

Adam Lee: Oh, man. I don't remember the first game.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: That's silly. I would think I'd remember.

Japhet De Oliveira: There were some unique ones on there.

Adam Lee: There were. My oldest especially is into games, video games. Somehow, he heard about this game that I played early on. He decided he was interested in it. We both bought the game, you can buy the old version on the new platforms. One time, when my wife and my youngest were traveling ... I say one time, this was a month ago. We both took this game and we spent hours working through this game from, it was probably the year 2000 or something, so a fairly old game. We just had TVs set up next to each other-

Japhet De Oliveira: That's kind of fun.

Adam Lee: And played through this game.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great.

Adam Lee: It was super fun, yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. All right, we actually have time for two more.

Adam Lee: Two more? Okay.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Where are you going to go with your last two?

Adam Lee: Let's go one low number and one high number. Low number, I'm going to say 17.

Japhet De Oliveira: 17? Share with us when you think of the calendar, the entire calendar, one day that's the most special and why.

Adam Lee: The most special is I think the day my kids get out of school for the summer.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh.

Adam Lee: Even though I'm not the one in school, it's like this day of freedom because it's freedom for the whole family.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, sure. Sure.

Adam Lee: You're restricted, the school keeps you constrained. When my kids are done for the summer, that means we get to go do fun stuff. Or even go, but just do fun stuff at home.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great. Do you guys have some kind of process or celebrating that day? You all dress up in Tarzan outfits?

Adam Lee: That would be weird. No.

Japhet De Oliveira: Well you know, it is Portland.

Adam Lee: It is Portland. No one would notice.

Japhet De Oliveira: In this city, that's normal.

Adam Lee: What we do is stay up late, watching a movie.

Japhet De Oliveira: Aw, that's cool.

Adam Lee: Because there's no school bedtime.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Adam Lee: My kids are getting a little old for the bedtime thing, but stay up late watching a movie and just kick off the summer that way.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's nice.

Adam Lee: Yeah, it's fun.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. Last number, then?

Adam Lee: Let's go to 87.

Japhet De Oliveira: 87? All right, here we go. Oh. This is perfect for you. When you're under stress, under incredible stress, where do you go or what do you do that grounds you? Something good for everyone.

Adam Lee: I'm an introvert, like I mentioned before. When I'm under stress and really need some release from that stress, I go be by myself. If it's a short time, I'll go take a drive, maybe put on some music. If I've got a little more time, I'll go spend a night away just on my own, backpacking maybe or just somewhere on my own. It's how I process all that stress and recover from that stress. I've found, over the years, that as much as friends, or spouse, or therapists help me process things, nothing beats just spending some time on my own when that stress gets to be too much. There are those times, right? That's definitely a thing.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's the truth for everyone, for everyone. That's great. Adam, it has been a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you so much for taking the time to share.

Adam Lee: Thank you for the opportunity.

Japhet De Oliveira: I want to encourage people to do the same thing. Sit down a friend, ask them good questions, listen. We all learn and we all grow from it. God bless, everybody, and we'll connect soon.

Adam Lee: Thank you.

Narrator: Thank you for joining us for The Story and Experience Podcast. We invite you to read, watch, and submit your story and experience at The Story and Experience Podcast was brought to you Adventist Health for the Office of Culture.