Getting to Know the La Piana Team: An Interview with John Carandang


This blog post is part of our series getting to know the La Piana team. This week we spoke with John Carandang, Associate Consultant.

What are three words you would use to describe your role with La Piana Consulting?

Progress. Organization. Perspective.

What attracts you to working with nonprofits, foundations, and/or the consultants who serve them?

The impact. Knowing that I’m spending time, effort, and capacity towards organizations that are making a profound impact on people and their communities. There is also so much learning that I get to enjoy from my team as well as my clients about all the different issues in the world, but ultimately, I know that I’m working towards learning how to solve these complex issues. I am driven by the opportunity to gain skills through this complex and intricate work that includes problem solving, analysis, and working with a diverse and talented team.

What skills or lessons from your past experiences do you expect to draw from the most in your role?

My experience in college as an Economics major at University of California – Berkeley helps me to put on this structured hat when it comes to approaching problems in a strategic way. My most recent position at Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center (TEL HI) gave me an internal perspective on how nonprofits run as well as learning the importance of involving all constituents and stakeholders in key decision-making processes and communicating updates to them regularly to ensure equity and inclusion. I also feel that my former life in tech will influence my work with La Piana by embracing parts of that culture that allow me to be comfortable with change and to always look to data when making key decisions.

What are your favorite types of challenges, projects, or opportunities?

My favorite type of challenge is learning how to facilitate discussions effectively for the sake of coming to effective outcomes with great alignment and motivation. I enjoy projects that are related to economic development and impact measurement. I am constantly excited about how much impact projects can have on economic development and eliminating poverty. I am looking forward to the opportunity to be working with new clients and teammates that push me and encourage me to think differently. I simply enjoy their presence!

What do you most enjoy doing when you’re not working?

In a pre-covid world, I really loved hosting parties with my extended family and friends. It’s a really big part of who I am and my culture. It’s always enjoyable to get together with family and cousins, to hang out, have a potluck, catch up, and connect by learning about all the new tea! I love those moments because it helps to ground you, re-center you on the big picture, and remind you of your upmost important priorities. The delicious food that I get to have with my family is also a huge plus. (John pictured at right enjoying some BBQ with his extended family)

What is your favorite place, sight, or sound in the world?

Oakland. I fell in love with “The Town” because it feels like a true community with an authentic, care about your neighbor, feeling. It’s easy to get involved in random conversations with random people. I love the extraordinary conversations that can come from unexpected interactions that leave you with a smile on your face for the day. Overall, I love the community and the people and the diversity and delicious food it has to offer.

Is there a book or film that has left a particular impression with you lately, and why?

The book Kitchen Confidential: I love the way the author writes because it’s vivid and honest. He’s extremely real which means his writing comes with a certain level of crudeness, which I regrettably enjoy. It’s great to read this in a book in a way that works. It has also taught me how kitchens work, while giving me a different point of view on the world.

If you could have lunch with anyone famous, who would it be and why?

This relates to the previous question because if I could have lunch with anyone famous, it would be Anthon Bourdain. I would love to talk with him about his book. He saw the work and is incredibly insightful and honestly seems like a legit guy who is real and entertaining. I also love his shows and grew up watching them with my mom, so there are a lot of memories and meaning associated with him and his work. Long live AB!

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1 thought on “Getting to Know the La Piana Team: An Interview with John Carandang

  1. John is my wife’s nephew, but that was always just a technicality because to me he was my nephew. Ever since he was a little boy he’s always been very observant in how people are. He was always curious about people’s interactions with one another. He’s often said “when I’m older and I have a job I’ll take care of you guys”. He was always concerned about other peoples well being more than himself. He’s always asking questions, and I really felt that this boy wanted to acquire wisdom at such a young age. I’m not at all surprised to see him grow up to be a well rounded, intelligent and selfless person. Most important of all John has a beautiful heart

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