Automatic Reply: Out of Office

“Out of Office” Spotlights Joshua Monda

out of the office

It’s no secret that Joshua Monda, president and founder of GrindStone Collection Strategies, an Altus Alliance member has ambition in spades.  But the co-founder and president of Grindstone is nothing like a clichéd 9-to-5 businessman who limits his energies to work only. He is also a fiercely competitive All-American triathlete.

From the boardroom to the running track, he sets challenging goals and has the motivation to face them. In fact, Monda, who last year took time off of serious training to focus on family and business, has recently re-hired his old coach and is preparing to compete at the Ironman Wisconsin this September. He’s hoping for a repeat of the 2013 Ironman Arizona, where he was the 7th overall amateur out of 2,500 total athletes earning him a spot at the world championships. This year his goal is to qualify for the world championships in Hawaii.  Monda says that he loves to compete and that his motivation to train stems from his desire to win on race day.

Monda started running in 2005 with just one mile on the track. “It hurt, and I was tired,” he explains, “but I just added a lap every day, and the next thing I knew, I was running for four or five miles.” He continued to persevere, adding mileage slowly until he could run nine miles non-stop. From there he began entering races, marathons, and triathlons. He enjoys pushing himself, realizing that endurance training is really a matter of “conditioning yourself over time.”

Monda takes his goals seriously, saying “when the race is long, there are multiple chances to misstep. And when the goal is to be among the best at what you do, missteps are not tolerated.” He fuels this ambition by strict training and living a triathlon lifestyle, often enjoying the therapeutic benefits of running for both mind and body. “If I’m in a bad mood and go for a run, I am never ever still in a bad mood at the end,” he remarks.

But Monda wasn’t always the goal-oriented competitor that he is now. As a young teenager, he found trouble and was expelled from public school.  Facing long odds at the age of 14, he enrolled at Open School, an alternative school serving youths in North Portland who have not fared well in traditional public schools. He claims that the institution’s small class size was the key to his life-change. He thrived on the individualized attention given to each student.

“When I first started attending Open School, I honestly was just showing up every day because I was on probation and I had to,” he explains. But the relationships he developed with the staff grew strong, and, “after a couple of months, I was really showing up at school every day because I didn’t want to let them down.” Before long, he says, “I started to have goals and ambitions of my own to live a fulfilling life,” and he even graduated a year early from Open School in 1999.

Monda attributes many of his ambitious qualities to lessons learned during his time at Open School: “I learned that goals matter. It’s fair to say that Open School helped me dream big and gave me the courage to go out and confidently chase those dreams.”

Now, with a family and career to be proud of, Josh Monda’s dream is to improve educational opportunities for Portland’s under-served youth. He serves as a board member for Open School, volunteering his time and the money raised from his triathlete endeavors to insure that the younger generation continues to have opportunities. The school is now at the end of a $10 million capital campaign and is building a new program in one of Portland’s poorest metro areas. “Open School and the passionate staff did so much to help me do a 180 degree turn in where my life was going,” Monda says; “I am forever indebted to the organization.”