Finance, Story, and The Storm . . . with Christopher Zyda

Finance, Story, and The Storm . . . with Christopher Zyda

Chris Zyda

Question: What if you need to leave creative work to deal with crisis?  How can you bring your creativity to other fields?

Guest: Christopher Zyda, Author; CEO, Mozaic LLC

In this episode, Christopher Zyda shares his journey through the 1980s AIDS pandemic as a young professional writer-to-be and his shift into finance to help care for his partner while dealing with insecurities and fears in launching a life.  He tells of his choices to go to graduate school, his persistence and a kind person that got him into Disney finance, his Zelig-like choices of taking financial leadership roles at Amazon, Ebay, and a mortgage finance company, and his newer role of leading Mozaic, a financial investment firm. All of this work in finance still involved storytelling and learning everything he can.  Chris tells the story of returning back to writing with his biography of his own AIDS-era journey with his new book “The Storm.”  

About Chris

Christopher Zyda is the author of The Storm: One Voice from the AIDS Generation.

Chris is also the CEO of Mozaic-LLC, an independent, privately-owned firm that focuses on wealth management, family office, and corporate advisory services. He has over 30 years of investment management and senior-level corporate finance experience at several high-profile growth companies including The Walt Disney Company,, and eBay.

Chris earned a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the UCLA Anderson School of Management in 1989 with a concentration in Finance and achieved Beta Gamma Sigma honors. Chris also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of California Los Angeles in 1984.

Chris serves on the UCLA English department Board of Visitors, the advisory board for the LZ-Grace Warrior Retreat for special operations warrior veterans and Tier 1 first responders, and the advisory board for Veterans in Media and Entertainment.

In addition to investments and finance, Chris enjoys training in CrossFit and Olympic lifting, running, skiing, river rafting, playing the piano, and creative writing.


Wearing a Cape This Whole Time . . . with Tania Katan

Wearing a Cape This Whole Time . . . with Tania Katan

Tania Katan

Gigi played fangirl in this episode! Tania Katan shares her wit and wisdom about how to use creativity to challenge with playfulness our rigid organizational cultures. She works with large and small companies, helping them find new alignment around their daily contradictions through “small c” creative work, facing everyday practical problems with imagination. She shares the tales of #itwasneveradress (re-seeing the ladies’ room logo into a cape) and challenging the community to arm wrestle for art at the Scottsdale Museum of Art. She speaks and challenges how we connect virtually in her keynotes and works with organizational leaders through her “Creative Trespassing” classes and new membership organization.

Guest: Tania Katan, CEO, Creative Trespassing

Tania is a transformational speaker, innovation coach, and co-creator of the globally viral women’s empowerment campaign #ItWasNeverADress. Her unique way of formulating ideas led to the groundbreaking bestselling book, “Creative Trespassing: How to Put the Spark and Joy Back into Your Work and Life” (Penguin Random House, February 2019).

For over a decade, Tania has been successfully sneaking creativity into Fortune 500 companies, leading tech companies, arts organizations, marketing conventions, and innovation summits to teach people and companies the skill of generating creative breakthroughs. Some of the organizations and major conferences impacted by her work include: CiscoLive!, Expedia, Amazon, Google, Humana, Etsy, TED, World Domination Summit, Uber, and Comedy Central Stage.

Katan’s status-quo-busting work has also appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, HuffPost, Time, BuzzFeed, CNN, Adweek, Mashable, Forbes, ReadWrite and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, among others.

If you long to leap from fear to freedom and just need a map… Here You Are:


Interesting Mentions:



    Holiday Letters = Progressive Trends + Gender Parity and Power?

    Holiday Letters = Progressive Trends + Gender Parity and Power?

    As a socio-technology fan, I am intrigued by the morphing of holiday cards and letters with new technologies.  This, of course, has been changing for quite a few years.  Desktoppublishing has brought us pictures of our

    lives within cards and letters for a while now.  They almost are like the old portrait paintings, where you were pictured with your favorite objects that described to the future who you were by the things you liked.  Here, we have pictures with kids and musical instruments, families on trips, and all the trappings of "who we are" in evidenced pictures.

    Holiday greetings of the past

    Holiday greetings of the past

    This year, I began to get holiday digital cards around Hanukkah from my Jewish friends, which became the harbinger of the full holiday season to come.  I got a lovely anime self-portrait by one of the daughters of one of my long-time friends, superimposed on their home.   Charming and original - and very current tech.
    Then came the deluge of emailed jpgs to my business email from a swath of companies that I've never done business with, reminding me that they are thoughtful and cool this time of year. Who are these companies?  What did they think I would do in getting their email?  "Boy, I really did need that mailing list service -- I should give them a call?"
    Now, as we get closer to Christmas, Iam getting all of the digitized photo cards.  In the recent past, creative- and technology-focused friends have created marvelous montages and nearly homemade lovelies that were a mash up of design and digital photography.  This year, other friends seem to have found companies to do this for them.  LOVELY choices, but an intriguing mix of the holiday card and letter, with professional services mixed in.
    Here's my headscratcher of the season: two nag holiday letters.  Two female holiday letter-writers (who shall remain nameless) took the opportunity of their holiday letter to gripe at their husbands through the text.
    • Is this a strange reflection of the gender bias in the role of holiday card creator?  In my family and in many of the families I know, the wife in a duo is socially expected to create the card, update the list, add the handwritten notes, and get the darned things mailed out.  She, in essence, becomes the family narrator.  Here, two lovely ladies have taken that narration to a deeper level, providing (not flattering) holiday context to the letter.Power grab?  Acting out?  Attempting to add humor?  All three?  🙂
    • I had thought it to be a Facebook status warping of a non-Facebook medium, but then realized that neither of the women are active Facebook users.However, has Facebook and all of this constant update dialog changed the nature of the holiday letter?  For many people, I know a lot of this information about them already from their posts and photos uploaded.