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Podcast Interview with Pablo Gonzalez

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”:

In this episode, the guest is Pablo Gonzalez – an entrepreneur with a successful track record in Fortune 500 companies, multinational corporations, and his entrepreneurial ventures.

Key Points:

Pablo's Journey and Skills: Pablo has experience across various sectors such as construction, tech, and non-profit. His people skills are the backbone of his success. He emphasizes human connection as pivotal in all aspects of life, particularly in business growth.

Connect with Pablo: His latest venture is called “Connect with Pablo”, where he leverages his prowess in building connections to help businesses create communities.

CEO Hack: Pablo uses a specific formula for reaching out to people. It helps him establish meaningful connections and build relationships.

CEO Nugget: He believes in stepping into conversations that are already in someone's head rather than starting one anew.

CEO Defined: According to Pablo, true success involves a four-step process, though specifics were not provided in the scrape.

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Pablo Gonzalez Teaser 00:00

The actual secret sauce that has developed and my superpower is that I generally find something fascinating in everybody that I meet. I'm very, very interested in you.

I know that there's this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, that's every man I meet is in some way my superior, and from that I can learn from him.

Intro 00:19

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs, without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place, Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of.

This is the I AM CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:46

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast, and I appreciate you listening to this episode. If you've been listening this year, you know that we hit 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year. We're doing something a little bit different where we're repurposing our favorite episodes around certain categories, topics, or as I like to call them, the business pillars that are going to be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, business owners, and what I like to call CB nation architects who are looking to level up their organizations.

This month, we are focusing on finishing it out, fighting the good fight and closing out the job. I think just as important as it is to start something, it's even more important in how you conclude it or finish it out. So if you think of the different things that you can finish out, it could be everything from a project, it could be from a day, it could also be from a business in and of itself, and it could also of course be for the year. So when you think of finishing out, I want you to really think of these episodes because what we're going to really focus on is the last question that we really asked, which is defining what it means to be a CEO.

All the creative, innovative, and I think truly insightful questions that we received from this question is really what we want to highlight during the show. But of course, we want you to enjoy the entire episode and think about how you're going to finish things out and how you're going to finish things out strongly. So sit back and enjoy this special episode of the I AM CEO podcast.

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Pablo Gonzalez of Connect with Pablo. Pablo, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Pablo Gonzalez 02:18

Gresh, I am happy to be here, my man. Appreciate it.

Gresham Harkless 02:21

No problem. Appreciate you. What I wanted to do was just read a little bit more about Pablo so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing.

Pablo has had success in Fortune 500 companies, multinational companies and in his entrepreneurial ventures alike. His has success in the construction industry, the tech industry and the nonprofit world, and he attributes all of it. So one skill set is People skills.

He's a guy that definitely wants to be your friend, a guy whose goal in life is to prove the value of human connection in all aspects of your life, starting with convincing the world that the future of business development is community creation, I should say.

He's a chief executive connector in his latest venture, Connect with Pablo. Pablo, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

Pablo Gonzalez 02:59

That intro just made me so happy, man. I love how that sounds. Yeah, I do. I'm ready. I'm ready to go.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 03:03

I'm ready too. I'm excited to find out that I'm your friend, so that helps kick everything off on the right foot. But I wanted to hear a little bit more about what I call your CEO story, what led you to get started with your business?

Pablo Gonzalez 03:12

Yeah, I'm going to try to keep this as concise as possible because I find that on a lot of podcasts, it's like you give this whole 20-minute backstory and then you'd leave no time to get value. So man, I graduated college when the world was just booming in construction. I went to work for a fortune 500 builder in this executive and training program that moved me out to California, where I was running a $15 million business. So it was a 1. 5 million a month, totally different. I was running a 50 million business for them. I had 150 employees out there.

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I became a green building expert just by osmosis being in California doing this stuff when 2008 hit and the world ended. When it came to construction, I reinvented myself as a green building expert, moved back to Miami where I grew up and I started a green building consulting company that two years in got acquired by my biggest customer that was a hospital builder University, big public project builder I went in house as director of sustainability. In a year and a half, I went from being this like super hungry entrepreneur that was just like educating the market and doing all these things and like killing the eat to like super fat and happy with all my processes figured out under this big thing.

I really wasn't working that hard, so I had to reinvent myself again because I thought that if anybody ever took a look at how little I was actually doing on a day-to-day basis, I'd get fired. Luckily I got really involved in the community, and at that point, I started a couple of different young professional groups for a couple of different charities that put me on the board of these charities and this economic development agency in Miami. Then these things happened in succession where the CEO of the company that I was at got invited to be on this City for Smart cities panel at the economic development agency of Miami and he didn't want to go. So they sent me in his stead and I shared the stage with a couple of like really heavy hitters, the head of Latin America for Cisco systems and the head of the smart cities initiative or I forget what economic development agency, but it's like the world bank type of stuff.

I just sat down, delivered my thing on how sustainability fits into all this stuff, and at the end of the event, I had a line of six people deep waiting to talk to me, which was a major aha moment for me in thinking, Hey man, If I'm up on stage, I generally am seen as someone way smarter than I think I am essentially, right? So, I then took that and applied that to what I was dealing with at work. I wanted to become more valuable. I wanted to be more of a business developer, so I reached out to this developer that was doing this controversial project that had this sustainable component called Trans Oriented Development, which is, we're building this project that encourages public transportation use.

So, I reached out to him, I said, I want to have this panel about transit-oriented development, talk about your project, put you on stage with a politician on the board of one of my charities and a land use attorney that I've done a bunch of projects with and I invited my young professional groups that I had been stewarding to show up. Lo and behold, having that event for that guy brought him to the table with a hundred million dollar contract for my company and boom, I'm a business developer, right? So that was a major transition point there. Then I started thinking, I want to test this whole having a community, leveraging stages model in an industry that isn't construction.

I was hoping to expand my reach outside of Miami and as luck would have it, I had the chance to join this Amazon software for sellers startup company. What I didn't realize I was, and that was in my network against somebody that I knew, a friend of a friend and I was so excited at the opportunity that I jumped on a burning ship without even looking. So in the first two months of me being there, we went from 500 users to 300 users. I'm the VP of business development, right? So not a good look for your boy.

Gresham Harkless 06:42


Pablo Gonzalez 06:42

Everything that I had planned on doing was now very limited by our cashflow. So I went to work doing what I knew that I know how to do, which is create a little community, make that into a stage, leverage that. So at that point, I reached out to 12 of our most important customers that were all doing $2 to $10 million a year on Amazon, started planning these bi weekly calls where we would provide a little bit of content and then we'd go around the table like, hey, what are you struggling with? How can we all help and give each other advice? Within a couple of months, everybody was like best friends. We planned this like trip to Panama. We spent three days touring the Panama Canal, partying, getting to know each other, doing SWOT analysis of each other's businesses and adding value.

Out of that trip, we garnered all this knowledge that we then created a new course around that. We sold for 5, 000 bucks a pop, which was a big cash raise for us. Then we created this event six months later, where eight of them traveled to Jacksonville to present to the rest of the customer base that was paying a thousand bucks to be in this event about what they're good at. So put them on the stage, what I had seen at the end of that year. I felt that I did what I needed to do inside this company. I proved that my thing works. I feel like I saved the company through what was a really, really hairy situation that had nothing to do with me. I said to my partner, this was a fun experiment. I don't think I really want to build anything with you anymore.

So I went on this 90 day purposeful pause to where I had some money in the bank. I had proven these things out to myself. I had to figure out how to package it. I wanted to figure out where I want to be in 10 years, as opposed to what my next opportunity is going to be, which as somebody that loves connecting, I'm always networking and I'm pretty well spoken. I always get offered a bunch of stuff and I fall in love really quickly. So I didn't want to make the same mistake. So I took 90 days and I booked these five conferences where it was like the Gary Vee conference, the Ryan Moran Capitalism conference, the Grant Cardone 10X conference, the Russell Brunson ClickFunnels like all these like influencer led conferences.

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After the Gary Vee one, I started thinking, man all these people here are real sharp. They're doing big things, but they're coming here thinking that listening to Gary on stage is going to change their life, which whatever, man, listen, Gary's podcast has changed my life too, but I got it in podcast form. While these people were all talking to the same five or six people that they came there with, or the few people they met, I was walking away with 15, 20 new friends per day. So by the second conference that I got to, I was like, all right, these people don't have the same reps and networking and relationship building on the fly like I have had by being part of these charities that I was a part of in Miami, right?

Like I'm at like a networking happy hour, two, three times a week doing that stuff. And then eventually when you're on committees, you're like on stage introducing someone, then you're on like panels, right? So like all these different skill sets. So I started introducing myself as a professional networker and people were like, Oh, okay. I want to talk to this guy. What's up with this? I never heard of this. And all this time I'm thinking, I'm just trying to figure out where I want to be in 10 years. Not like how I'm monetizing my next thing. At Greg Cardone's conference, I started realizing all the different ways that you can monetize being on stage from the fee that you would get as a speaker to how you can capture the lead and then nurture it.

Then the info products and all the different things, events, all the different kinds of things you can do, that was a big finding for me. It was this guy, Pete Vargas, his presentation. Again, I keep adding people to my list of people that I'm meeting at all these things. And then I went to Russell Brunson's and I got to really understand the info premiership business model. So I finished this 90 days with a real clear picture of how I can monetize just about anything, because I went through all these, but more importantly, I had a new Excel sheet of 300 people that I've met that I'm like following up with, that I have categorized with wants and needs and what they do and things of the sort.

I started trying to work that into a business model. I have this speech that I gave before I left Miami about the value of networking, how to do it, tips and tricks of someone that's always done it. I thought I can go on stage and then I can have this training course in the background with a book of like free book plus shipping and then an upsell. As I kicked that down the stream, people kept asking me, why don't you have a mastermind? Like I would love for you to put together a mastermind. I really wasn't comfortable with the idea of charging people to be my friend at this point in my life, which I mean, I was in college.

I was in a fraternity, and then at one point, as I'm exploring and I'm still seeking, I get introduced, friend of a friend to this guy, Brendan Kane, who had managed a big movie studio, digital media department for seven years. Then went off on his own to build some big platforms for a couple of really famous people like Taylor Swift and Rihanna and whatever. Then after all that success, he was getting tired of everybody telling him it's easy to build these followings for celebrities. So he devised the formula and he said, I can do this for anybody in 30 days. He built a million followers for himself. Then he wrote a book about it. Now he's touring everywhere, speaking and getting these like big consulting contracts.

So when I talked to him, I was just picking his brain about how do I become a professional speaker because I was trying to break into that, right? Because I value stages more than anything, right? That's why I'm so grateful to be on your podcast, to be on your stage. I appreciate it. After I'm done like picking his brain, I approach it like I approach all relationship building. I'm like, how can I help you, man? How can I be of value to you? He's like I'm not really sure. I'm like what are you struggling with? And he's like man, I've got this group that I'm killing it, getting these like 20, $30,000 consulting contracts, but I wanna scale my influence and I wanna help more people.

I've got a couple of groups that I'm trying to do that's like a thousand dollars a month consulting group and a $50 a month group coaching group. And I'm not getting people to stay on, so I'm not paying enough attention to what I need to be doing. I'm just off doing other things and I'm like, dude, this is exactly what I did at the last place that I was at. I'd be happy to give you everything that I've learned from it or schedule a couple of calls and let you do your thing or schedule a couple of calls and workshop it out with you and then you go do your thing. Or if you want I can send you a proposal of exactly how I would implement it.

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What would you pay me for? This is what I would do. He was like that's what I want to do. I want to provide as much value as I can to my people. I want somebody that's done this to just show up and tell me how to tell me where to swing, man, and I'm going to hit home runs. That's how it started.

Gresham Harkless 12:36

That makes perfect sense. You might've already touched on this, but I wanted to ask you, for what I call your secret sauce. This might've been what you already touched about, but it's whatever you feel makes you unique and makes you different.

Pablo Gonzalez 12:44

The actual secret sauce that has developed and my superpower is that I generally find something fascinating in everybody that I meet. I'm very, very interested in you. I know that there's this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, that's every man I meet is in some way my superior. And from that, I can learn from them.

Gresham Harkless 13:02

Incredible superpower and an example of a secret sauce.

I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. This might be an app, book or a habit that you have, but something that makes you more effective and efficient.

Pablo Gonzalez 13:14

I think that the way that I reach out to people via email or via Instagram or hit them on the DM or whatever I'm doing. I have a formula for it and I think it works really well.

I'll be happy to give two, right? Like I have a formula for that and have a formula for how I make intros. Okay. But when I'm reaching out to somebody, I always start with the word you instead of I, because when you take a selfie of a group of people and you pass it around, what's everybody looking at?

Gresham Harkless 13:38


Pablo Gonzalez 13:40

So if you start with the word you're more likely to get that person's attention.

The other thing is when I introduce people, right? Like I said, I look at everything as stages when I introduce two people. This is a big part of why I'm successful is because I like connecting people. I use that as a stage as well. So I write a little paragraph about each person and why they're freaking awesome and why I think they're awesome.

Then I say, I think the two of you would get along great together because you're both extraordinary people.

Gresham Harkless 14:00

Yeah. I think that's perfect. I love the strategic step-by-step process by which you do that.

Now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget and that is a word of wisdom or a piece of advice, or if you can hop into a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self?

Pablo Gonzalez 14:14

I'd say the biggest mistake that everybody makes is assuming that the person that you're speaking to is already thinking what you're thinking. By that, I mean that you never start a conversation with anybody. You are simply entering a conversation that's already going on in someone's head.

Gresham Harkless 14:29

Yeah. I definitely appreciate that. I wanted to ask you now my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. We're hoping to have different quote and quote CEOs on this show.

So Pablo, what does being a CEO means to you?

Pablo Gonzalez 14:39

Being a CEO is having an opportunity at true success. The way that I define true success, it has four steps. The first one is find something that you love doing that you're really, really good at.

Step two, find a way to use that to serve others.

Step three is find a way to monetize that while still being genuine. So you are doing something that you love, that you love doing, that you're really good at. You're serving others with it, and you're also making some money on it because you're creating so much value that people want to pay you not because you have to trick them into being your customer.

Then number four is the definition of true success, which is building a business around that to the point where you have freedom. By freedom, I don't mean the freedom is not the ability to do whatever you want. The freedom is the doing.

Gresham Harkless 15:24

Absolutely. Pablo, I appreciate your time. I appreciate your work even more and all the awesome things you're doing to make the world a better place.

I wanted to pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know, and then of course, how best they can get a whole view and find out about all the awesome things you're working on.

Pablo Gonzalez 15:40

I'm always trying to help people. Best way to reach me, my email address is My Instagram is pg storytelling. So Pablo Gonzalez storytelling, PG storytelling, and my website is

Gresham Harkless 15:54

I definitely appreciate you. I appreciate all the value bombs that you dropped today. We will have those links in the show notes as well so that everybody can connect with you.

I appreciate your time again, and I hope you have a great rest of the day.

Outro 16:06

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at I AM CEO is not just a phrase it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts subscribe and leave us a five-star rating.

Grab CEO gear at This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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