Jason Ma on Shaping Next-Gen Leaders

Jason Ma Discusses Shaping Next-Gen Leaders on Alan Olsen‘s The American Dreams Show

Transcript of American Dreams interview titled; “Mentoring The Next Generation


Alan Olsen

Welcome to American Dreams. My guest today is Jason Ma. Jason, welcome to today’s program.


Jason Ma

Thank you so much for inviting. It’s an honor and pleasure to be here with you, Alan.


Alan Olsen

Well, Jason, you’re well thought of in your well now worked also out of Silicon Valley. But can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got to where you are today?

Jason Ma Background

Jason Ma

Well, since we have only 30 minutes, I’m going to keep it very short. I’ve been in tech for 40 years since Berkeley Engineering 1984.

My favorite Bad joke is I looked, I just graduated high school, but my kids are turning 27 and one is 23, two Gen Z young leaders, so two girls, and that’s one reason I look like a teenager. And I’ve been in tech for 40 years, you know, kind of engineering data scientists.

In fact, 40 years ago, we were already talking about AI, worked full time net, which was a precursor to it to commercial internet and gotten to North American technical sales and marketing support.

Gone to international Asia Pacific sales, marketing, and journal management workflow, a bunch of tech companies, all American companies, we all went IPO got acquired or already public.

I did work for Fujitsu for a couple of years, multibillion dollars and learn about the Japanese way of doing things with bureaucracy, so much fun as a kid, fast forward, did my own business, and then got entrepreneurial, even excellent a Chinese tech company, I co found that too. I would never ever do that anymore, right?

Those are different times and CO invest with Tim Draper a bunch of American VCs and investors and I exited in a secondary series D sold my shares my founder series A shares to the leading VC there who was a giant VC once again, I won’t ever do that, again, given today’s climate.

And then and then got bit by the entrepreneurial buck in China co founded a company and a merchant tech education tech SAS company with an American company that for my previous education company, pre during post merger six years, that’s where I learned so much about Ivy League in the college admissions consulting. And I was very different as well.

I was also a life coach, kind of executive coach mindset soft skills coach had been doing that for about 20 25,000 hours right success, kind of coaching mentoring, apply research writing a critically acclaimed book for young leaders 3.0 wrote for Forbes went to the forest global CEO conference eight times we are grateful. Always the worst housing the best neighborhood right, my joke.

And ThreeEQ is my little family business today I got besides my family and friends, faith is very important to me. I’m building another very exciting tech company that thing’s going to probably got well it’s going to take off like a rocket ship starting this second half Miss stage purposefully. So myself and my family business ThreeEQ is why you invite me.

I’m very big on mentoring coaching high achievers, teenagers, college kids, high school kids college gets all the way to occasional 50, something Euro co they say Jason, here’s a check on the student now, right?

What I do is that I make people very dangerous and a very good way I was at help them prepare well achieved the greatest outcomes possible clarify that in the life stage, vertical goal achievement, while horizontally I hone what I call the 4S and 3EQ you know, visionary story.

You know, visionary story, state strategies, soft skills, execution ability, and also pragmatic, emotional, social, and leadership intelligence. That’s why we’re here. Well,

Love and Serve Principal

Alan Olsen

I’d love this season, especially when you’re, you’ve had all these success and then you focus back on this next generation as you know, we’re, we’re at a moving river of knowledge. And without that follow up generation we’re in trouble, right? Yes.

So when we look at value systems, you mentioned your faith and your family what is really the most important to you, as you put your vision out there for life?


Jason Ma

I’m here I’m here to love and serve. How’s that? And I learn and improve and, and, you know, help others grow and succeed too. I like Job Jeff Bezos mentioned the most important soft skill we should have is intellectual humility, with a humility to always learn, learn aggressively and improve. Right.

And when you talk to Jamie Dimon these days over JPMorgan he says one thing every speech right learn unlearn, Bernard. I’m just here to love and serve. And to me the values.

It’s kind of like when I coach my students, right? And I tend to I tend to attract these powerful, old tried net worth CEOs as my private client parents, right. I’m not talking about the struggling entrepreneurs, I feel for them. But I’m talking about the successful ones I sent me on the Ojai network because they have your investment minded.

They want to get the best achievement, best results, right? That’s how we are we’re achievement oriented.

But those with a good heart, also think long term and learn from the Chinese right? I’m Chinese American, integrated Both of the best of both worlds, right? And, you know, it’s kind of like have a higher arc, what can you do with your, your own spirit? your mindset, your soft skills, your inner kind of strategies?

And how well do you execute? Do you serve and solve a real problem that benefits truly no BS, you know, the target markets that you serve? Right?

And then of course, invest massive return void to the investors, right? That’s how I think, with my tech company, with my with my, with my private client, parents, students, right. And these are kids that are motivated that parents want to have, Alan, I’m sure you do.

You’re an expert, you are you guys are experts in wealth management, your multifamily office on that, you know that what the patriarchs and matriarchs want our peace of mind?

Relationships, joy, okay, as part of the health wealth Happiness Equation, next gen is the most important thing, what I do indirectly resist a path for succession planning, and hence us the family and CO legacies, right? Because I help them achieve greater outcomes. Even the kids already go to the best private school in Atherton. Right. I also coach part of Allison Welty.

And at the same time, how do you raise the arc so that the kids going to end up making a lot more money, more joyful, more peace of mind? And then it’s natural for the wealth transfer later on as a byproduct? Right? So so I’m very outcome focused, purpose driven values principle based, very important.

Mentor from CEO to next gen

Alan Olsen

Now, if we move into the next and leaders how do you tailor a one on one coaching and membership to meet the needs of the ultra high net worth individuals, their families, their children this that that’s a mouthful,


Jason Ma

Alan, it is so much fun. It is so much fun. It’s very, very meaningful. Every individual, every kid, every next gen whether a teenager, 20 something year old Millennials or 50 something right, but typically we use our next gen is more like maybe millennials and Gen Z, with some Gen X in there as well.

And in all my Gen X friends are all very practical. They butt kickers, they get things done, right.

So a lot of teenagers, they help them get into top schools and all that every individual, every family is very different. But it’s entirely under my framework. Because nothing beats one on one. I get to know them. So well. My goal is to help them clarify, define the greatest, the key milestones that they need, right?

I tell you, Alan, as a trusted third party adviser, oftentimes your clients probably, they know, but sometimes they don’t know what they don’t know. You have to feed them, right?

Often they’re fine, they don’t even know that they have to make these decisions and to educate them and move them in and they go, oh, if not, you’re going to have massive opportunity losses. Because the greatest loss is opportunity loss, right? And I’ve been seeing that as a pattern, right?

So pattern recognition, what works, what doesn’t work. So failure, success associates, one on one, I get to know the students and family real well. And I tell them upfront, they know that right?

In fact, the parents can enjoy it that students enjoys I get to know you, as a kid more than your parents know you in some ways. Why? Very simple. tweens, teenagers, sometimes young adults, they don’t tell your family members everything Do you think your kids will tell you everything? Number one? No.

You could be a billionaire. But you’re not an expert, in parenting? Or in grooming your kids? Right? In some ways? Yes.

You have them shadow you teach them some art skills, help them get involved. Absolutely do that. That’s part of your responsibility. So I come in as a trusted third party, Chief Mentor, learn so much right.

And then the parents sometimes go Jason, my kids don’t listen to me, so I’m kind of a monkey in the middle, and going to help them to raise the communication, raise a relationship as well as a byproduct.

So I cater to each kid and each student, each family, sometimes even these individual CEOs come to me, it’s all very private and personal. And you know, these are middle aged people who say that, I know them in some ways more than the partner or a spouse knows them.

Because they’re not going to tell the spouse and partner everything. The CEO is not going to tell the board everything you know that they’re lonely at the top, come on, as a CEO is going to tell the staff everything.

Is the CEO is going to tell the investors and board every single thing. Things don’t work like that. Right? So it’s my own repertoire it’s my own process, why I call it 3EQ  4S process.


Young Leaders and Impact

Alan Olsen

So let’s move into the year acclaimed author of young leaders 3.0 And a Forbes contributor on mentoring young leaders. So what are the key traits and skill sets that define young leaders today and moving forward into the future?


Jason Ma

I look at it in a couple of concentric circles right as an individual, the most important is your spirit in between and then you have To learn to be event, you know, I’m part of the G 20. I’m a leading member at the B20 which is a G 20s. Think of it as a Global Advisory Council. So I’ve been there for 10 years, right? There’s only a few Americans.

I have been sitting on a future work education, employment and skills or task force a long time on top of my work writing, speaking now that so see a few things right. And I can help them craft policies, right, what employers look for, or employable, marketable skills. Now out of that is really your direction, your mindset, your strategies or skills.

Now, when it comes to skills and mindset, spirit, you’re, I would say your resilience, elasticity, your adaptability, agility, very important, especially right now I think about AI as sort of like augmented intelligence as well. You got to keep upgrading upskilling we skill it.

And then your tenacity, determination in the right path. The worst thing is that you’re being tenacious, moving in a wrong path, then that means opportunity losses for you in the future, right along the way.

Learn to be more compassionate, compassionate, you will love empathy in action with other people. That’s number one. Around that is my soft skill set. Cornerstone, right critical thinking, strategic problem solving. Not many people discuss swarm critical mesh network thinking, there a lot of linear thinkers out there.

I see that all the time. And I’m sure you read the book Mindset by Carol, by some professors, right? Growth Mindset, I call it growth and contribution mindset.

Okay, not just growth mindset, totally avoid fixed mindset. Sometimes we get fixed in you know, watching the movie at home, you know, enjoying a fight, what you got to you have to grow, go go and contribute, right? So you’re the critical thinking, a bit of curiosity, creativity, and certainly communication skills.

I’m very big on that my own children, they communicate super well top performers right at Google Salesforce slack, and graduate from top schools as well.

And one on one conversation is very important. Listening, we got two ears, one mouth, right? Public speaking hyper important, you got to speak real well, not like a biter. Right? You have to speak very, super well. And you have to, you know, write real well as well, first person essay writing, I don’t want to teach you third party expository because you learn that from school.

Finally, is your team social collaboration skills. Right?

I will say the top three is critical thinking communication, leadership skills, why do I call pragmatic, emotional, social leadership, intelligence, not just EQ, which are getting kind of trite, because in addition to emotion, which is an instant effect of your beliefs and thoughts, right, and your physiology, your various, kind of like emotional mental state, then is the social part, the empathy, the compassion, you know.

That’s social, and then the leadership’s more holistic, right, you end up being more impactful, more joyful, you’re going to make a lot more money as well as impact. Does that answer your question?

Generational Values

Alan Olsen

It does. Now, I admire you for how you’re how you’re addressing this, you know, when, as one generation that makes it well transition to the next, the next generation? You know, there’s always an expectation that the values in the first generation will be carried on to the second, right.

As these value systems are passed on, how can a parent best prepare their children for the challenges that they’ll be facing into the future over the next generations while the enhancing family legacies and succession planning?


Jason Ma

Right. And I have, I have a zillion case studies for you. But let me let me make a short. Okay. So once again, think about outcomes, what outcomes are we’re looking for, okay, as an ultra high net worth parents, right? What do we want, you know, of course, business success, our position in the ecosystem.

Now with those important, our legacy in the family inward outward, and our business success, our growth and our succession in our family, and certainly in our businesses, right, whether it’s a family enterprise or corporate, or whatever, family office, right? How do we carve that? I would say one thing that I see is that for, you know, this is this a passage in the Bible, right?

That it’s easier to get a wealthy to get a camel to thread through the eye of a needle than to get a wealthy person to go to heaven. Think about that. So what does it help? What does a good hearted wealthy person need to do? In addition to your good deeds, and to your good business is really to align more with what aligns with Mother Nature, if you will.

Part of that is only to make sure to check our big ego and pride on a shelf within our family. I see this on the inside, and I see this all over.

Right? And I love I love everyone. I love the you know, I love the I love the I love people, what parents need to do is to be open in addition to your chief investment officer in your family offices, right to your senior executive staff, or to other people to help you also think about getting trusted third party help for your kid, for example, I coach a mentor, I joke part of the athlete and royalty. The kid already goes to private school, right?

But they come to me because they know that oh my god, Hey, Jason. Even the counselor and a teacher in South just don’t have your skills, right? Because I bring a lot of pragmatism, in addition to nurturing strategy, you know, vision, and teach them skills and groom their story, groom their character, groom their story, and make sure the production goes well. So it’s kind of like making a movie Oscars yesterday, it was entertaining, right?

And movies about characters is a story and production, the quality of each component that’s interconnected, it’s got to be great. Otherwise, you’re not going to make a $500 million, a billion dollar blockbuster movie, it’s as simple. Without the right director, you’re not going to be able to do that, right? You’re going to self direct, you’re going to limit your box office success.

So I’d come in I joke that I come in as a bit of a Steven Spielberg, or Christopher Nolan or James Cameron, personally, to be the outsourced chief mentor, right? What the next gen sometimes we’re the leading gents as well, sometimes parents come to me this adjacent teach us to be better parents, or guide us to communicate better with their kid we’re struggling with communicating in college or whatever, right? Yeah.

So I would say, prioritize the soft side, just as much as you prioritize your typical wealth preservation, your wealth enhancement, tax savings and get a discount on a yacht? Go, those things are very important, right? But prioritize the soft side. Think about that. When you are about sitting in a hospital, you might be six foot under, who do you want around you in the hospital bed? Do you want people that love you?

Or do you want your relatives that want your money? is as simple? The answer is clear.


Alan Olsen

You know, Jason, I love I love to get into some of your experiences that you’ve had working with your clients. Are there any particular stories that it stood out over the years?


Jason Ma

I’m going to reverse engineer that. I’ll give you a couple of cases here. With a Gen X, a 40 Something year old CEO and go down to the high school kids. I’m very honored and privileged again by just be quite a bit in a variety of family office investor, CEO forums and of course the B20 & G20 forum. When I’m voicings they take notes. So I spoke in this family office investor event in Dubai, suddenly the CEO of the single family office, she goes Jason, guess what?

Optimize me, maximize me. Okay, here’s a check I’m your student now. She worked me okay. She kind of plugged me in different panels and all that about direct investing, what’s going on Silicon Valley, to impact philanthropy next gens… all sorts of things. I came back speaking again about global geopolitical turbulence and implications in Savannah last week, and did the same thing in Dallas.

So not just next gen stuff and global business. I’m very big on geopolitical things, right?

There was a massive round of applause and a lot of people came up to me. They loved it. So back to how it worked. That’s one example. And another example,  an investor friend of mine in his 50s, a small CEO, I introduced a deal to him. I said, “Hey, I’m very involved with this deal, right?”

And he said no, and in a 20 minute debrief phone call with him. I discovered,  “Hey, dude, here’s your problem”. Sometimes Alan you know, with alpha male men, I tend to be more blunt with directly right.

I said, “Dude, here’s your problem. This part of your mindset, this part of your soft skills is delivered mucked up, you don’t fix it, you don’t upgrade it, it’s going to limit you. Because this interconnects to that and that interconnects to that, everything’s interconnected.

Okay, wake up. Now today. I tend to be much more selective today because I could take on only a handful of clients at a time. One of them it’s a beautiful family, Midwest occasion.

And then in fact, we did a show with a family business cast last week while I was in a conference speaking, I tried to step out. We talked about family business, and she runs a single family office- conservative family in the Midwest and beautiful children, she’s now a junior in college.

I’m helping her prepare to get into a certain type of grad school right. In the meantime, the parents want me to really beef up her confidence her communications her soft skills her voice and Three EQ.

So Jason, of course, you’re totally an  expert in getting kids into top elite colleges and, and grad schools, right. But what I like about you is once again, your 4S and 3EQ that’s very, very powerful and unique. And we’re having a blast. I’ve been coaching her for a couple of quarters, we have so much fun.

And the kids, every time we end a meeting said, Mr. Ma, let’s book our next meeting. They’re very excited to see me, I’m very excited see them. They see my love and they feel my love.

Right. So that’s a college kid. I’m coaching another college kid. One thing that I noticed Alan is that a lot of the wealthy parents only think about college admissions. I feel that is their pride. talking Of course,  a lot of parents want the kid to go to Stanford, go to Harvard and all that. They go around and say, ‘Oh, hey, my kid goes to Harvard. My kid goes to Stanford, or to Wharton’.

I mean, my kids went to top schools, I can live with that in the past. But a lot of them are a bit short sighted, because a lot of kids, once they go to these very highly competitive colleges and universities like ivy league center, MIT, Burton, and I got kids in all these top schools, some of them are so stressed, some of them are so high in anxiety, or some depressed, a few even worse, okay.

And then once that happens, the families go quiet. They don’t talk about that.

That’s why even in high school, I’m very big, of course, you’re talking to the best of the best coach of coaches, mentor mentors, college planning, application admissions, process guidance. I do that all the time, right. It’s like your story, your character and later on your essays, your rec letters, your interviews, and all the things going on all the complexity, right? But I’m just as big on honing the 4S and 3EQ.

So once you go to college, once you enter the work world, you are more relaxed and more confident, you’re more skillful your rise up faster, become a top performancer sooner, you make a lot more money, become a leader. That’s higher art. Right? Then you have better peace of mind. That’s how I think right? So one kid, in fact, I discovered that he’s autistic. Now he’s in Carnegie Mellon as a freshman, he loves it.

Yesterday, I met with him again, helped him pretty much choose the best optimal major and helped with academics and I talked about activities with my kids all the time, and guide them to build a story. Of course internship the best internship may be applied research.

It all depends on the kid and I’ll hasten to CS (Computer Science) and AI and as another kid could be into vet another kid could be pre med and another kid could be more in social sciences.

Now back in high school kids my own children. One is now a Google, Senior Software Engineer. And then one is now a Salesforce Security Engineer, but she graduated Wharton. She is also an activity leader as well. Former President co president of a Wharton fintech group. So a student and a jock.

I call it joy when you talk to her she’s only 411 I joke with her, I joke with people that my younger daughter looks like she’s still in middle school. She’s so short, but she’s actually a 23 year old.

And she hits me all the time,  so we joke around with each other. And they went through the struggles of course. But one example for you is that my younger daughter in my first article, Why to Start Preparing for College in Sixth Grade, I did not write about academics, I write about shaping habits.

And back when she was age 11 I noticed that, just like a lot of kids were being seduced, being deceived by all the social media device media, shows you’re spreading dozens of hours on social media on devices I said, ‘Oh my god, I have to fix this.’ Back then I had a deal with my wife, that at age 13 I’d start saw taking my daughter as my student, of course father first right, but one on one.

But at age 11, I said honey, it’s not working. She said get her into your, your mentoring program.

So I started coaching her and help her convert from a weakness to a neutral, neutral to a strength and strength to super strength. string to superstring and by the time in high school, told a piece valedictorian got admitted early decision to Penn Wharton even said no to Harvard twice. said no to Harvard twice.

They said okay, when I made a decision to go to Wharton Ed and as usual and active a leader right and all sorts of things knows how to communicate or unwell keep holding for us and three do kids go through issues Absolutely. Once you go to college, your kids or kids or is it all word of mouth? What but what I’m very grateful for in so I the bio is on my own kids plus a small army out there whole bunch of kids.

They are happy, compassionate young leaders, you know, with better peace, better confidence and making public We a lot more money than that. So those of your examples


Alan Olsen

Well, Jason has been an honor having you with us today. If a person wants to reach out for mentorship or more information about your model three, EQ, how would they go ahead and do that?


Jason Ma

Thank you for asking. Just go to my website threeeq.com Everything’s there. Feel free to feel free to please LinkedIn me but site that we met with Alan in this, you know, in the show, so that I could search and know where you know where you come from. And I happen to have a conversation was good.


Alan Olsen

Thank you. Appreciate you being with us today. Jason. Thank you

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Transcript generated by software and could have mistakes & misquotes.

    Jason Ma on Alan Olsen's American Dreams Radio
    Jason Ma

    Jason Ma is Founder and CEO of ThreeEQ, a family business. As the award-winning Chief Mentor of Next-Gen Leaders, acclaimed author of “Young Leaders 3.0,” and star former Forbes contributor on Mentoring Young Leaders, Ma is renowned for preparing Next Gens in UHNW families for greatness while enhancing family legacies. With over 39 years of seasoned experience in education, tech, and finance sectors, and 2+ million miles of world travel, Ma has masterfully guided numerous next-gen leaders, from Gen Z high schoolers to Gen X CEOs, 1-on-1, in achieving great outcomes—from Ivy League/elite college admissions to next-level family and business success, all with well-being.

    As a Forbes Global CEO Conference by-invitation delegate for 8 years and beyond his unparalleled mentorship, Ma is a well-connected strategic advisor and rainmaker. He is an investor and CBO co-building a patented tech venture (in semi-stealth) poised to disrupt and transform the massive 3-sided marketplace of consumers, brands, and platforms. Since 2014, Ma has served as a prominent member of the Business 20 (B20), the G20’s official forum with the global business community, contributing to policy recommendations on the future of work/employment/skills/education for G20 Leaders and their governments. He is one of a select few Americans appointed as a B20 member through the G20 Presidencies of Australia, Turkey, China, Germany, Argentina, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, India, and Brazil (2024). Ma is also an influential voice on AI/digital transformation and trade/investment.

    Ma’s inspirational thought leadership resonates through coverage in elite publications (e.g., Forbes.com, Fast Company, Impact Wealth, Wealth-X, Wealth Briefing, JustLuxe, Clientele Luxury, Agreus Group) and as a sought-after speaker* at prestigious family office/investment, business, and education events. Ma’s commitment to mentorship, tech innovation, and philanthropy (e.g., St. Jude/ALSAC Council member) firmly establishes him as a cornerstone of impact and legacy in the UHNW family, family office/investment, and CEO communities. A father of two compassionate Gen Z daughters, he and the Ma family (nicknamed the “MAfia”) value unconditional love, humor, and high standards in what matters. Ma holds a degree from UC Berkeley College of Engineering.

    Alan Olsen on Alan Olsen's American Dreams Radio
    Alan Olsen

    Alan is managing partner at Greenstein, Rogoff, Olsen & Co., LLP, (GROCO) and is a respected leader in his field. He is also the radio show host to American Dreams. Alan’s CPA firm resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and serves some of the most influential Venture Capitalist in the world. GROCO’s affluent CPA core competency is advising High Net Worth individual clients in tax and financial strategies. Alan is a current member of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (S.I.E.P.R.) SIEPR’s goal is to improve long-term economic policy. Alan has more than 25 years of experience in public accounting and develops innovative financial strategies for business enterprises. Alan also serves on President Kim Clark’s BYU-Idaho Advancement council. (President Clark lead the Harvard Business School programs for 30 years prior to joining BYU-idaho. As a specialist in income tax, Alan frequently lectures and writes articles about tax issues for professional organizations and community groups. He also teaches accounting as a member of the adjunct faculty at Ohlone College.