Conversations with Hilary: Rob Goldberg from Tommy Bahama

Rob Goldberg_2
What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
I have no idea what my greatest accomplishment is, but I suspect my greatest contribution to the world is the impact I have made on the people I’ve had the good fortune of working with over the years that I have had the chance to mentor. The great thing about mentoring is that I’ve gained as much, (ok, more!) as I’ve given.

Do you have a prized possession?

One of my favorite personal possessions is my 1974 Ford Bronco that I have completely restored and use as my daily driver. More than 20 years ago I sold my beat up Bronco and said to myself, “Someday I’ll buy one and do it right.”  The other most prized possessions in my life have very little street value, but instead have a story behind them- a baseball mitt from little league, a hat I wore in my first Ironman race, a plastic miniature zebra that my daughter Georgie gave me for good luck on my way to a big meeting when she was a toddler. There’s nothing more valuable than an item that can conjure up life’s fondest memories.

What do you love about yourself? What do you think others love about you?

I like to think I can find humor in most anything. Not to say I’m funny but I appreciate humor and revere its affect on the world. The world is a better place when people are laughing.  Turns out others love me most when I have that frame of mind too. When I’m at my best, I can find the absurdity in our everyday, so very serious, lives, which helps put things in perspective.

If you could be anything other than what you currently are, what would it be?
If you mean non-human, my cats look like they live a pretty good life. They write their own rules and have a certain aloof, independence that I admire- a certain James Dean confidence that is unshakable. If you mean career, I consider myself among the lucky to have found my calling doing what I love.


What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Turn on the coffee machine, eat a banana with peanut butter (I rotate a variety of flavors) and work out.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
I love the drive home on a Friday. For whatever reason, the music goes up and windows go down on that drive. My company’s motto,Tommy Bahama, is “make life one long weekend,” so that feels real on a Friday night.  The best Friday’s include my wife Frances and our two daughters, Georgie and Charlotte. The summers in Seattle are magical, so a simple backyard BBQ at the house is all we need.

What do you like most about what you do for a living/career? 
I really like thinking about what a company’s “reason for being” is and figuring out what a consumer and an employee’s experience looks like as it relates to that purpose. At Tommy Bahama, our purpose is “to inspire the world to relax,“ so for our guests who experience the brand it could mean a variety of things whether it’s apparel, furniture, our restaurants- the possibilities are endless. I love working with a like-minded team riffing ideas that further our mission. Our employees are second-to-none, and our take on relaxation doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re just kicking back. It means we have a relaxed approach with each other and the world. In my job I get to be creative and challenge the status quo. Our business moves so fast that I never get bored and no two days are ever the same.

What were you passionate about when you were a kid?

I loved, and still love, sports. It’s a wonderful escape for me both as a spectator and a participant. When I was young it was soccer, lacrosse and baseball.

What are you passionate about now?

For better or worse, I’m passionate about almost everything I do; which can annoy some. My family is the center of everything so it’s easy to have a lot of passion for my kids’ interests and activities we do together. I’m also a tri-athlete and very passionate about both training and racing- less so on the swimming and training in the pool, but I can never get enough cycling and running. 

Rob Golderg_1
What’s your favorite season? Why?

Hands down, my favorite season is summer. Seattle lives up to its reputation in the winter as wet and grey. Spring can sometimes be a cruel tease as the clouds and rain have a tendency to roll back in and spoil the party. Summer in Seattle delivers the perfect temperatures, long days that stay light until almost 10:00pm and lots of beautiful places to experience the season outdoors.

If you were a cocktail or drink what would it be?
I’d be a tall glass of milk- sensible but versatile. You can do a lot with milk- milk shakes, smoothies, chocolate, and strawberry- all tasty! Milk is loved by both the young and old. It makes my coffee taste just right and where would morning cereal be without milk? When it comes to impact, no drink packs more punch!

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you want to have?
Fishing rod, solar power and a satellite phone (in case the island sucks and I can call for help or invite friends and family if it’s great!)

If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?
I’d be the Invisible Magician at my kid’s birthday party and really freak them out. Imagine being invisible and eating a piece of the birthday cake in front of the crowd! The cake would mysteriously float into the air and then disappear. Now that’s magic!

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?
Earth, Wind and Fire: September

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

There’s a long list of people I’d love to dine with but on top of the list I’d have to say is Benjamin Franklin. I’m related to him on my mother’s side so I’ve always thought of him as an inspiration. The man’s curiosity of the world was boundless. Curiosity is one thing, but you take curiosity to new heights when you say, “What if we tried it a different way?” That’s when curiosity becomes brilliance.

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?

The Grateful Man

Do you have any regrets?
None that have lasted. With time, I have gained perspective and the things I used to regret I’ve come to accept as stepping stones to who I am today. Regret can serve me as a touchstone for needed change today.

Define Freedom.

The pure and simple understanding that my life is largely dictated by the choices I make and I have the power to change those choices whenever I so desire. The idea that I can impact anything gives me tremendous personal freedom.

What are your personal core values?

Believe in yourself, be kind, show up, and do your best. Period.  I’m working on patience but that will have to wait….

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