Monday, May 27, 2024
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Richard Meets… Scott Mason

When it comes to people in business, there’s a handful of great people that I truly respect and look up to, and Scott Mason is one of them. He has had a formidable career and proven what it is to be a success in the corporate world as well as recently running a very successful small business. It was great to catch up with him for this week’s Queer forty Podcast. Here’s a taste of what we talked about!

Richard Jones: Hey Scott, it’s great to sit down with you. Your resume is very impressive, does hearing it back bring back memories of those times?

Scott Mason: Oh when you hear it out loud sure, i mean when your processing it like that you are not forgetting any of it?

RJ: Now, having attended Columbia Law School, were you always interested in being a lawyer?

SM: Actually it wasn’t the plan at all, I was actually interested in public policy, but as I was researching my options it was suggested that a Law Degree would be flexible enough to use in the Public Policy field.

RJ: What was New York City like as you arrived and dove into life in the big city?

SM: Gritty, glittery, and totally badass! I went to a theater in Times Square to watch “Devil in a Blue Dress” with my boyfriend’s mother — the building had the elegant grandeur of a 1930s Hollywood Golden Age movie palace, but as we watched the film, a man sitting next to us pulled out a used popcorn container and proceeded to urinate in it. No one in the audience seemed to notice or care.  As we left the movie, we, along with the rest of the crowd, politely stepped over a homeless man rolled up inside a carpet, like a hotdog in a bun, in the middle of the sidewalk, fast asleep. 

I lived in Hell’s Kitchen and left for work one morning; right in front of my apartment’s doorstep was a wheeled, canvas laundry cart, full of trash, with a the high-heeled, fishnet-stockinged leg of a hooker dangling over the container’s rim. 

The club life was insane. I remember watching a drag queen dressed up as Indira Ghandi dancing Bollywood-style to Donna Summer’s “Our Love” and putting little round stickers on everyone’s forehead at one club. The next night, I’d hang out at the awesome underground danceterias like “Better Days” so late that all of the hot guys would be gone, and middle-aged women would stroll in wearing bathrobes and hair curlers to close the house down.  One night, on the way home from clubbing, I stepped onto the 1 train only to see a man staggering out, geysering blood from his gut, which had just been slashed.  Then I’d go back to law school’s hallowed halls and listen to rumple-suited professors who wouldn’t know crack in a pipe from a crack in the sidewalk drone on about legal theory for hours. 

Is it any surprise that returning to Kansas never entered my mind, not even for a second?

Scott Mason

RJ: Again on your wonderful resume you have been a Special Counsel, explain what that means?

SM: Well with various in house counsel roles i have had involved providing general legal advice for the entity I was working for, especially to help with major decisions, before they rolled out an initiative or program for example.

RJ: You recently created Scott Mason LLC – tell me more about that?

SM: Well it exists to help small business owners who want to grow, scale and sustain there success, and go on that journey like I did with the Brooklyn Press. I also provide leadership and management mentorship to people who have subject expertise but not business leadership expertise. I’m also doing more public speaking and launching a book.

Scott Mason
RJ: What do you think you have brought over the most from your corporate life into your consulting life?

SM: A profound understanding that our position in any work environment is never, ever guaranteed — as is the case with executive jobs in large organizational life, everything from interpersonal dynamics to letting professionalism slide to failing to meet deadlines to unexpected external factors can mean the instantaneous end of a career.  It is thus always up to YOU, whether as a line staff person, C-Suite manager, or an entrepreneur, to ALWAYS keep your game up, to always be the absolute best that you can aspire to be, and manage every aspect of your personal brand, your client relationships, and your work habits — including, especially, financial management — to the best of your ability.

Nothing can ever completely insulate you from life’s vicissitudes, but you can have some control over the extent of the fallout.

RJ: What did you think life would be like over 40, and have your expectations changed or stayed the same?

SM: I assumed I’d be dead by 40, or shortly after.  The images of gay men over 40 that I had been exposed to were either so far removed from a life that I could or would conceivably live like “Torch Song Trilogy”; pathetic – 60-year old men with too much plastic surgery, steroids, and dressing like they were 23; or ludicrously straight-washed – the utterly anodyne, polite, and sexless “gays next door” that I couldn’t even imagine being alive to experience it. My attitude about the future was correspondingly nihilistic. 

The good news is that once I survived 41, the lack of reasonable, diverse role-modeling for my life afterwards left a completely blank slate of possibilities wide open.  It’s completely given me the freedom to imagine a life that has convention, anti-convention, and every other facet that living can bring, in whatever mashup I see fit.  And I absolutely love it that way!

For more info on Scott head to scottmasonllc.com. Now go and listen to the full podcast below, or on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, and don’t forget to subscribe!

Some of the questions and answers have been edited from the Podcast, and some questions are unique to this written interview.

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Richard Jones

Richard is the co-founder of Queer Forty. As a 40-something gay man, he is passionate about creating good, informative and entertaining content for the over 40 LGBTQ Community.

Richard Jones has 136 posts and counting. See all posts by Richard Jones

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