Forty Under 40: Nick Speyrer
NICK SPEYRER, 32
Founder/President, Emergent Method (formerly Speyrer Consulting)
These days, Nick Speyrer devotes himself to two of the Capital Region’s biggest causes: The Water Institute of the Gulf and Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge. He played a critical role in the initial stages of the institute and now serves as the director of planning, coordination and outreach of the first. Having been touched personally by cancer, he is president-elect of the latter. He also has founded Emergent Method, a management consulting firm.
Inspiring book: I have two young daughters—ages 5 and 3. We read books every night before bedtime. Those girls are what really inspire me.
Major professional accomplishments: Being part of an incredible team that created The Water Institute of the Gulf and being fortunate to remain involved as it has grown and evolved over the past 2.5 years.
Volunteer and community involvement: Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge Board of Directors 2009-present and currently president-elect; member, St. Aloysius Catholic Church.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? In pre-K, a catfish. By kindergarten, a doctor. By third grade, I wanted to be the next Jim Hawthorne.
What was your first job, and what did you learn from it? I worked in T-shirt print shop in Opelousas. I learned discipline and the importance of customer service.
What is your favorite place for a business lunch in Baton Rouge? Stroube’s.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Beating cancer.
The old saying goes, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Specifically, what are you “being” to make Baton Rouge better? I don’t know what I’m being, but I am working hard and we have a saying at our company that we are focused on bringing the right people together at the right time to do the right thing.
What ritual do you do to get pumped up before a big meeting, presentation or pitch? I’m typically an early riser, but on days of a big meeting, I’ll get up especially early to go through final preparations and then check-out for a while. Then I arrive early. Being unnecessarily rushed stresses me out.
What has been the most fulfilling moment in your career so far? What started off as a one-man band in August 2012 quickly turned into a 5-person team sitting around a conference table in our downtown office on a Saturday morning in March 2014 doing our own internal strategic planning – we ended the day with a team crawfish boil at our house. That was as good as it gets.
What was your professional aha moment? Not sure I can point to just one, but I try my best to absorb as much as I can so I learn what to do, and more importantly, what not to do.
How many times will you try something before admitting it doesn’t work? Thank god for Google.
What is your best productivity hack? Get up early. My best work is done before most brush their teeth.
What did you learn the hard way? We aren’t invincible: I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in May 2005, when I was 23 years old.
What’s a weird rule at your job that you know is only there because someone was dumb enough to do it in the first place? I hope we don’t have any, because I’d be the one to blame. Ask John Snow or Phillip LaFargue.
Mac or PC? PC
What’s your preferred mode of communication: text or phone call? Text
How low will you allow your remaining battery life to get (in %) before you have an anxiety attack? I have a back-up battery pack to avoid the anxiety attack.
How many unread messages are in your inbox right now? They’ve all been opened, but I’d be lying if I said I read them all.
What app gets you through the day? My calendar.
Are you quick to adapt to new tech, or did you hang on to that flip phone way after it became obsolete? Somewhere in between.
How many times do you hit the snooze button? Zero
Breakfast at home? Breakfast on the go? Breakfast at your desk? No breakfast at all? Breakfast on the go
Is the glass half empty or half full? What’s in the glass? Empty. Woodford Reserve. Refill please.
What’s your motto? Work hard, play hard.
When did you realize you had grown up? I still haven’t.
Which living person do you most admire? My dad.
What is your greatest extravagance? LSU football: tickets, parking, tailgates, road trips.
What trend do you really wish would come back? The only thing I really wish would come back would be my Mom. She passed away from breast cancer in August 2006.
What is your favorite journey? The walk to the stadium and into your seat from the tailgate spot. Doesn’t matter what stadium and who is playing. I’m an atmosphere junkie.
On what occasion do you lie? When my girls ask me, “But why Daddy?”
What is your greatest regret? Not chasing a job as a staffer on Capitol Hill early in my career.
When and where were you happiest? In the front yard as a kid with my four brothers and our neighbors playing a game of tackle football.
Which talent or superpower would you most like to have and why? I really wish I could pull a Zack Morris [a character from the television show Saved By the Bell] “timeout” from time to time.
If you worked for the CIA and needed a top-secret alias, what would yours be? Cooper.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’m pretty terrible at unplugging. It’s more stressful that staying semi-connected. I wish I could truly unplug and relax for days at a time.
What’s your most treasured possession? My daughters.
If you could live anywhere on this planet and take everything that you love with you, where would you choose to live and why? There’s no place like home.
What do you most value in your friends? Similar values and a similar “motto.”
What do you miss most about the ’90s? Spending time with my mom, she passed away from cancer in 2006.
If you had to be a teacher of something, what would you teach? Agriculture (my Dad taught it at a public high school in St. Landry Parish).
What is your theme song? Tim McGraw, “Live Like You Were Dying.”
Who would play you in a movie? Julie Laperouse’s sister-in-law thinks I look like Matthew McConaughey. Don’t shoot the messenger, and no one else is buying it.
If you could go back in time 20 years, what advice would you give yourself? Don’t be so hard on yourself and don’t focus too much on the goals; focus on the process.
What useless piece of information will you never forget? My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas [a mneumonic device for remembering the order of the planets in the solar system].
What makes you laugh every time you think about it? The parts of college I remember.
Who’s the most famous celebrity you’ve ever met? President George W. Bush.
What’s the next challenge you have planned? Sustained growth for our company.
Three things on your bucket list: Sunday at the Masters, Bora Bora, Rose Bowl with LSU playing in it.
If you have children, what concerns you most about the future they will inherit? Global terrorism.
What would be your advice for future Forty Under 40 honorees? Persistence is the key to success.
Do you plan to be in the Capital Region five years from now? Not going anywhere.
Why have you chosen to make your home in the Capital Region? Great people and great opportunities.
Have you peaked, or do you think you’ll still have it when we launch our hypothetical “Forty Over 40” awards years from now? See Julie Laperouse’s answer.