Paul Pelosi, an investor in the new United Football League and owner of San Francisco’s team, the California Redwoods, owns his own investment firm and is married to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He tells us about his admiration for his parents, how the Bay Area inspires him, and how he believes the president’s inaugural address is a blueprint for where the country ought to be headed.
Who has made the biggest impression on you?
It’s a tough question because I’m old; you go through a lot in 69 years. My parents, because they were both Italian immigrants 100 years ago coming to America. What an ambitious, adventurous thing to do. That generation was inspiring. My father had to leave southern Italy and go to South America on a boat at 14 years old. He loved learning; he loved knowledge. He thought that was the most important thing to do in your life. He instilled the idea in my brothers and myself to just go for it. I grew up with that attitude, with a comfort level to go try anything.
What book or piece of writing has had the biggest impact on you?
Most recently, the inaugural address of Barack Obama is a fabulous blueprint of where this country ought to go in this century. In college, I would have said Aristotle or Plato, but today I’d have to say [Obama’s speech], bringing it forward.
What is the golden rule by which you live?
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
To what or to whom do you turn to in dark times?
I really don’t have a single answer. A walk on the beach with the pounding of the sea and the majesty of the clouds is a wonderful, reflective thing to do.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration all over the place. There are so many wonderful, innovative things being done around the Bay Area. I think it’s a great place where wonderful ideas are developed by people who come here from all over the world.
What’s something about you that people would find surprising?
That I’m investing in a football team. That I’m a lead owner. I’m well-known as a lover and very active person in sports, but I do think it’s unusual.
What would you want to most hear your colleagues say about you?
That I’m honest, straightforward, insightful, an amiable leader.
What’s it like being the husband of the speaker of the House?
My usual answer is: [sighs] It makes life more interesting. A serious answer would be: I am immensely proud of her accomplishment of being the first woman speaker. It’s a tremendous opportunity for her and an inspiration for women around the world.
So who wears the pants in the relationship?
[Laughs] I wear the pants, she wears the pantsuit.