Don Welch

Donald Welch
Episode 96

Join host, Japhet De Oliveira, as he sits down with Don Welch, Corporate Finance Officer for Adventist Health, to discuss his career in corporate finance, his love for symphony music, and finding peace through music and nature.
Libsyn Podcast
"Going to different places in nature, whether that's viewing the ocean, seeing a lake that came from glaciers, or seeing the majesty of the Grand Tetons or something of that sort. That gives me peace. Knowing that these are all things that God made."

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: Welcome, friends, to another episode of The Story and Experience Podcast. I'm delighted with our guest, even though we're connected across the globe together here across the country, so to speak. It's kind of fun to be able to see this guest and I'm excited for you to be able to listen to their responses to the questions they choose.

If you're brand new to The Story and Experience Podcast, the way that it works is that we have 100 questions. They progressively become more complex and they're about stories and experiences that shape your life. Without any delay, I'm going to dive straight in. I'm going to ask, I guess, the first question. What's your name and does anybody ever mispronounce it?

Don Welch: Don Welch is my name. Yes, our last name gets pronounced Welsh a lot.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, really?

Don Welch: It's Welch, and we are from, our heritage is from Welsh in England. But yeah, a lot.

Japhet De Oliveira: You are Welsh in origins. That's great. That's great. The correct way to pronounce it is?

Don Welch: Welch.

Japhet De Oliveira: Welch.

Don Welch: Like grape juice.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right, that's good. That's good. Well Don, I'm delighted. Don, could you share with us what you do for work?

Don Welch: Yeah. I am the Corporate Finance Officer for Adventist Health. I do accounting for the most part and help our team know what they need to do to improve operations at the end the day.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. Now, corporate finance, I know you said accounting, but I know it's a little bit more complex than that. You're not just balancing a spreadsheet. Right?

Don Welch: Yeah, I mean, we have to balance the books and making sure that we have things recorded properly and everybody knows what they're doing.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic. You enjoy this?

Don Welch: It's always more enjoyable when you're doing well.

Japhet De Oliveira: You have a great team. I got to meet them ...

Don Welch: We do.

Japhet De Oliveira: ... just recently, and they love you and you have a great dynamic with them. It's fantastic to see the heavy work that you do, and it is complicated and I do appreciate how you are able to pull your team. They're able to assist us with breaking data down and telling us what it actually all means. There's a lot of reporting you do.

Now what did you do, Don, before this?

Don Welch: So before this I was the Regional Finance Officer for the Hawaii and Northwest Region for Adventist Health. That was a little bit different because you got to work directly with nursing and other teams that are directly related to clinicians, and so that was a lot of fun at the end of the day.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's great. That's great. Now you're in a different time zone, so you are up way earlier than me. And tell me this morning when you got up, what was your first drink of the day? Do you have coffee? Do you have tea? Do you have water or liquid green smoothie?

Don Welch: Well, the last couple of days it's been water, but today it happened to be a Dr. Pepper Coke Zero. You caught me on a bad day of not starting out with the water.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's all right. That's all right. You said Dr. Pepper?

Don Welch: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. That's good. All right. All right. Okay, Don, where were you born?

Don Welch: I was born in Orlando, Florida.

Japhet De Oliveira: Really?

Don Welch: Yeah, actually before Disney was even around. And so it was a lot of orange groves.

Japhet De Oliveira: You have seen your world change then?

Don Welch: Very much so.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's fantastic. When you were a child in Orlando, what did you imagine you would've grew up to be? Was corporate finance on your radar?

Don Welch: No, it wasn't. I would say I had two probably dreams. One was being a doctor at the end day and the other was probably being a pastor. My grandfather was a pastor and a missionary.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic. I love how both of those are areas of service. Somehow maybe we'll hear the story at some point, maybe about how you move from that dream to the dream that you are in right now and enjoy you doing so well in. That'd be fantastic.

All right. Imagine, let me talk about your personality. When people describe you Don, do they describe you as an extrovert or an introvert? And would you agree with their description?

Don Welch: There's actually, so most would, I think, say introvert. The reason why I'm laughing is I took the Myers-Brigg test that tells you if you're an introvert or extrovert, and I classified it as an outgoing introvert.

Japhet De Oliveira: An outgoing introvert. Nice.

Don Welch: Outgoing introvert.

Japhet De Oliveira: I like that. I like that. That actually, that explains a lot. That's good. That's fantastic. All right, habits. Are you an early riser or late night owl?

Don Welch: Oh, no. I'm a late night owl for sure.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, and what's late night for you?

Don Welch: Late night would be midnight or even 1:00 AM.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, wow. Okay. All right. All right. You are in that space.

Don Welch: It's not quite as late as it used to be as I'm getting older.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, really?

Don Welch: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's really good. I like that. All right, first thing this morning when you woke up, what was the first thought that went through your mind this morning?

Don Welch: I would say it was, well, I think this morning just seeing the blue skies through the window. It's always nice to wake up to blue skies. It's sort of refreshing and gets you motivated and reminds you that God has a plan for us and it's beautiful. Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's good. I like that, Don. All right, here's the last question and then I'm going to hand over to you to pick a number, which should be easy seeing that you run numbers. It's a leadership question. Are you a backseat driver?

Don Welch: I would say no. I believe in setting their goals and letting people know where we want to go and letting them create their own method of getting there as long as it's within boundaries. Because I think at the end of the day, more people thinking about and adding ways to do it, most of them are smarter than I am at the end of the day. And giving them the power to do what we want and where we want to head is valuable.

Japhet De Oliveira: I appreciated the meeting that we had just recently where with all of your team, how many times you were very consultative with them. You asked them and you kind of moved them along to you what kind of questions they should be asking or thinking about. It's good. It's good to watch. I appreciate that.

Don Welch: Thank you. Thank you.

Japhet De Oliveira: Good. All right, the floor is yours, Don. Where would you like to go between 11 and 100?

Don Welch: Well, we will start with 11 since that's my wife's favorite number.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. All right. All right, this is good. Tell us about the most adventurous food or meal that you've ever eaten in your life.

Don Welch: I would say, wow, I can think of two. Probably the most recent one was our first time meeting with some of the people at Portland was actually in Washington DC and we went to an Ethiopian meal at a restaurant.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, yeah? Great.

Don Welch: And it was very good, but it was different than what we were used to in that they brought up this large plate of different things that you would grab with your hands and you would put on bread. It was eye-opening and it was also interesting sharing food off the same plate with other people at the same time. But it was good. It was good.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic. Oh, that's really good. Good for you. I've got to ask 11 a, have you gone back and eaten Ethiopian since?

Don Welch: We have not, actually.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, well if you're ever in my neck the woods, I have an amazing Ethiopian restaurant that I should take you to.

Don Welch: Okay.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right, good. All right, where'd you want to go after 11?

Don Welch: Let's go with 77.

Japhet De Oliveira: 77. All right, here we go. Share one of the most cup filling experiences that you've had.

Don Welch: I would say one of the most cup filling experiences for us has been seeing our daughter grow. She had a rough life in the beginning with different issues and actually had some mental health issues. Learning to just trust and be there for her and finally seeing her continue to grow has really probably been one of the most rewarding experience for my wife and I as we are just watching her grow and learn from where she was at. And sometimes, we're not in control. We just got to be there to take it in.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic. That's fantastic. That's beautiful. That is a complicated space for some parents. Right?

Don Welch: It is. It is.

Japhet De Oliveira: And what advice would you give for parents who have, and this is not one of the questions here, but this is question 77 a, it's a bonus question for you, Don. With your experience, what would be advice that you would give to parents who are facing that journey where their kids either have learning difficulties or some other complex things going on?

Don Welch: Yeah, I think for the most part is don't give up and be there for them. You can't control them. At the end of the day, they grow up to be adults, also. And so learning to not wanting to control them but to be their friend and to be their confidant support and yet hold them accountable is what we had to learn to do with her.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good, Don. That's good. Thank you for sharing that. I appreciate that. That was 77. Where would you like to go next? Up or down?

Don Welch: I think we'll go down to, let's do 23.

Japhet De Oliveira: 23. All right. This is a fun one. Tell us about the most outdated piece of technology that you still regularly use and can't let go of.

Don Welch: Regularly use. It's probably our Nintendo 64, to be honest.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, okay.

Don Welch: Which are pretty old. I'm not even sure how old it is. Probably in the 90s.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's impressive.

Don Welch: We still play some games on it every once in a while just to have fun.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. I like that. That's awesome. That's good. That's good. Yeah, it has certainly changed since the Nintendo 64.

Don Welch: It has very much so.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right, that was 23. Where would you like to go next?

Don Welch: Let's do 25.

Japhet De Oliveira: 25. All right. Oh, share the most beautiful thing that you've ever seen.

Don Welch: I've seen a lot of beautiful things. I would say probably one of the most, just the other night seeing the sunset.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, yeah?

Don Welch: We were on the beach and just seeing how orange and different colors the sunset was really, really amazing. And just reminds you how lucky we are and how to enjoy those kinds of things.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's good, Don. I like that, too. And some of those moments, you never forget them. They're pretty good. Yeah. Good. All right. Where next?

Don Welch: I would say, let's go 50.

Japhet De Oliveira: 50. All right. Share about who has influenced you professionally.

Don Welch: Probably the one that had influenced me the most actually was a man named Brent Snyder. He works for Advent Health, and I got to do my first internship with him. He just really was a person that not only taught you issues that you needed to look out for, but also would lift you up and make sure that you knew what you were doing. And I have always appreciated being able to ask him questions and stuff throughout the years.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's fantastic. Does he know that?

Don Welch: I hope he does.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh.

Don Welch: I'm sure he does.

Japhet De Oliveira: You haven't told him directly, you just let him know just by a smile.

Don Welch: I hope I've told him directly. I'm pretty sure I have.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, all right. All right, that's great. That was great. All right, Don, that was 50. Where'd you want to go? Up or down after that?

Don Welch: I think we'll go down. Let's go to 30.

Japhet De Oliveira: 30. All right. Tell us about something that you're really looking forward to.

Don Welch: What is that next thing? Well, yeah. Okay. I know what it is. We have a camper, a trailer. One of the things I'm looking forward to is after retirement, being able to travel the United States in that camper and in Canada. Just see the different national parks, different communities, different historical things that will be fun to watch and see.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great. That's great. Hey, that will be fantastic. Yeah. Something good to look forward to. Great. All right, that was 30. Where next?

Don Welch: I would say let's try 55.

Japhet De Oliveira: 55. All right. Oh, share with us, if you wouldn't mind, about something that frightens you.

Don Welch: Well, heights. I don't like heights. Yeah. We were in the Sears Tower, which is called something else now and I can't remember, but they added plexiglass so that you can see down all the way. My family was trying to get me to step on it. I didn't like that too much. I did step on it, but I was grumbling the whole time.

Japhet De Oliveira: I know, I know.

Don Welch: It's funny. I don't mind flying or anything like that. Just height itself just makes me nervous.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. Are you going to go up in a hot air balloon sometime?

Don Welch: I have been in a hot air balloon and it did not bother me.

Japhet De Oliveira: See? All right.

Don Welch: It's sort of interesting. It's not ... I'm not sure what it is, the difference, but ...

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's great. That's good. All right, where next, Don?

Don Welch: Let's go to 47.

Japhet De Oliveira: 47. All right. You just met someone. Right? What would you want them to know about you and why?

Don Welch: I think I would want them to know that they can trust me and because I think in this day and age, knowing who you can depend on and trust is important. Having somebody there that can help.

Japhet De Oliveira: Did you have a lot of people around your life when you were younger that you trusted? Is trust something? Where did this desire to make trust so important come from?

Don Welch: Yeah, I think so. I grew up on the campus of Florida Hospital and so we had a close-knit community. Learning to trust and knowing who everybody was, was something that was natural and easy for us.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great. That's great. Good. All right, where next after that?

Don Welch: Should we try 80?

Japhet De Oliveira: 80. All right. How would you like to change yourself in the future?

Don Welch: Wow. Well, I mean, just being a person of size probably would like to continue to be improving on health. I mean, at the end of the day.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fair.

Don Welch: I would like to run a triathlon someday.

Japhet De Oliveira: Really? Oh, wow. That's great.

Don Welch: I ran one in college and came in last.

Japhet De Oliveira: But you did it.

Don Welch: I would like to do it again and I need to start working on that.

Japhet De Oliveira: Which of the triathlon, which parts do you enjoy the most of? Is it the biking?

Don Welch: Which part of it? I like to swim and I like to bike. It's the running part that's no ...

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. All right. All right. Hey, that's awesome man. Well I hope you do. I hope you do. I do not have the same ambition as you to run a triathlon, to be part of a triathlon, but I admire you. That's great. Hold on, Don.

All right, where next after that? That was 80.

Don Welch: We better go to 27.

Japhet De Oliveira: 27. All right. All right. Bring us into your kitchen. You are making a special meal. What would you be making? And I presume that you know how to cook. This is the assumption of the question for everybody.

Don Welch: My first official date with my wife, I cooked.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, okay. Hey, nice.

Don Welch: Yeah, and I cooked a vegetarian ... I'm not even sure what it was, but we used Wham and then there was breadcrumbs in the middle of it, so it was like a little loaf or something.

Japhet De Oliveira: Nice.

Don Welch: It was actually good. She married me, so that was good!

Japhet De Oliveira: How long have you guys been married?

Don Welch: We've been married 32 years.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, fantastic. Fantastic. Well done. Well done. That's awesome. Sorry, but back to the kitchen. Yeah.

Don Welch: Yeah. And so we made that, I think I made a salad and then we made chocolate dipped Oreos, I think it was. Or maybe Nutter Butters. It's been a long time. I had to make those twice because where I made them my, I call him my stepfather, actually ate half of them.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. Hey, that's awesome man. That's fantastic. Good, Don. All right, where next after that?

Don Welch: Let's do 26.

Japhet De Oliveira: Tell us about one thing that you love that most people do not love.

Don Welch: Well, I don't know if this would be most people, but I like symphony music.

Japhet De Oliveira: Symphony music. Nice.

Don Welch: Yeah, so I'm not sure we'd be, everybody doesn't love it, but a lot of people don't care for symphony music. I just enjoy the fullness of it, especially in person.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Do you have a favorite piece?

Don Welch: I have probably several and I'm not sure I could name them totally, but I played in an orchestra in college.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, what did you play?

Don Welch: Trumpet.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay.

Don Welch: Trumpet, so I liked the loud things.

Japhet De Oliveira: You love the sound of the orchestra, the entire, yeah.

Don Welch: Yeah, and one of the dreams I sort of have is to actually see John Williams directing. That would be awesome.

Japhet De Oliveira: That would be be awesome. I really thought you were going to say what is it something that you like that people don't really like? And you were going to say something in accounting spreadsheets on data analytics, complex corporate finance.

Don Welch: Well, yeah, there probably is some there. I like to play with options, which is very complicated. Not many people do it.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, you understand that data very well. That's good. All right, where next?

Don Welch: Let's go with 62.

Japhet De Oliveira: 62. All right. Oh, this is great for you. What does a sense of community mean to you?

Don Welch: I think a sense of community sort of knowing that you can depend and enjoying people. You don't always have to be talking sometimes you can just sit and enjoy each other.

We really had the privilege of getting to know some people in a Sabbath School Class that we became a community with and we still today, after we've moved from Portland, listen to their Sabbath School Class on Zoom at the end of the day just because we enjoy that community with them.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great.

Don Welch: Get to talk about personal things and how life's going, et cetera.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic. Oh, I like that a lot, Don. It is true. If you have an incredible Sabbath School Class, you have a community that you meet with every week and you can talk about life and how your faith and life all intersect. It's very powerful. Yeah, it's good. All right, where next?

Don Welch: Well, should we go ... Let's go 90.

Japhet De Oliveira: 90. All right. This is great for you, Don. Tell us about how you overcame a seemingly insurmountable obstacle.

Don Welch: I am trying to think of one that was seemingly over, not able to overtake it. Maybe that would be as much about my wife just had breast cancer.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, I'm so sorry, Don. That's heavy.

Don Welch: And I have to admit my faith was a little taken aback. Not because ... I do believe God can do anything for me and for anybody, and is capable of doing that. I wonder sometimes if ... Sometimes I have the faith of a mustard seed in that I wonder if he's always in my life in control.

I think, for me, going through that, I was actually taken aback and it was pretty hard for me to get through knowing, hey, we're going through this process and what's going to happen afterwards.

Japhet De Oliveira: That is really hard, Don. Right?

Don Welch: It is.

Japhet De Oliveira: It is. I had a friend who told me once many, many years ago and he said that God doesn't have a blueprint for us. He has a blue sky for us.

Don Welch: I like that.

Japhet De Oliveira: I was thinking about your morning when you said you woke up this morning and you had a blue sky and you had all this hope and motivation, and I think that maybe there's something inside that, Don, for you to think about.

God is with us in everything, but the path is not our path or the path that we would choose, or however we would like to have it prescribed. But He's with us. Yeah, that's good, Don. Well, Don, we have ... And I got to ask, your wife's doing okay?

Don Welch: She's doing well. She has been cured now for five years.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic. Well, and that is good. We happen to be recording this in the month. Right? Where there's a celebration of breast cancer awareness.

Don Welch: Very true. I forgot about that.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, so that's this month as well when we're recording this particular episode. That's great. Don, we have time for two final numbers. Where would you like to go with your final two numbers?

Don Welch: Let's go with 32.

Japhet De Oliveira: 32, okay. If you were featured on the local news, Don, what would the news story likely be?

Don Welch: Oh, my word. It would be something related ... I don't know, to be honest. I'll tell you what comes to mind first. When we moved into our house here in Lincoln, my wife was visiting my daughter in Florida. One morning at 6:00 AM the first thing I hear is bang! And I'm wondering what's going on? I thought it was a car backfiring.

A couple of seconds later I hear another bang, and then I hear, "This is the FBI. Stay in your house. We are performing a raid." I'm thinking, is this me? What's going on? And then they announced, "This is the FBI. We're performing a raid in," they gave the address, which was out next door neighbor.

Then I'm thinking, okay, am I going to die because the next door neighbor is a mass murderer? And we hadn't actually met them yet. When you ask what I would be on the news, that's what I was sort of thinking is that. It all ended well and they took care of it.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. Well, let's hope you don't end up on the local news.

Don Welch: Yeah, exactly.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right, our last number. Where would you like to go for your last number?

Don Welch: Let's do, 84 is coming to mind for some reason.

Japhet De Oliveira: 84. All right. Don, this is great for you. Where do you go to find peace?

Don Welch: I go to probably two places. One, listening to music that reminds me of God's power and just listening to Him. And then going to different places in nature, whether that's viewing the ocean, seeing a lake that came from glaciers, or seeing the majesty of the Grand Tetons or something of that sort. That gives me peace. Knowing that these are all things that God made.

Japhet De Oliveira: Don, thank you so much for sharing candidly and honestly about some difficult chapters and difficult things that you're dealing with. I think they are encouraging for others as well to hear. And thank you for that. I want to encourage people to do the same thing. I'm always amazed, and I would encourage you to do the same thing, that when you sit with a friend and you ask them good questions, you'll be amazed what you learn about someone that actually changes you. That helps you understand your own role, your own space and their space as well and how you can support and be part of that. I encourage you to do the same. Connect with someone and ask them good questions.

Until we meet again, God bless everybody. And Don, again, thank you so much for your time.

Don Welch: You're welcome.

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 by Adventist Health through the Office of Culture.