Max J Rotondo: Catch-up Interview with American Philanthropist

In today’s catch-up interview, INfleur sits down with philanthropist Max J Rotondo. Last year, we spoke to Max and he told us a lot about himself. Aside being an investment manager, he loved to give back to society while travelling the world. However, this time Max has a different outlook on life–a much better one. Read on to find out more!


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23 feels 🤗

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Generally, what has changed for you since your last interview with INfleur?

Max J:  Since my last interview with INfleur, I have left my job at SEI Investments. Although a great company and a great culture, the job itself just wasn’t for me.  Now, I am focusing on a career in real estate development. My dad who has a construction business got into the field of buying homes to rehab and re-sell a few years ago and he has been very successful in doing that. I do have to say between my dad being so driven and focused on his career and HGTV (specifically, Fixer Upper) – both of which have inspired me to get into this field. Ultimately, I would like to get into commercial real estate with a focus on apartments.

Which influencers inspire you these days?

Max J: The influencer that inspires me the most is @pilotmadeleine, a travel enthusiast. With more than one million followers and roughly a 20% engagement rate, her content and blog are educational and inspirational. Everything about her account is amazing. She gives great travel tips and she gives her followers great inspiration to travel the world.


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We already know how you built your brand, so how are you sustaining it so far?

Max J:  I have been doing many paid partnerships and collaborations with other brands such as Iron Hill Brewery, Petco, PGA Tour, Hardee’s, and my most recent one with Park MGM in Las Vegas. When you decide to step into doing brand partnerships paid/unpaid, your immediately going to be finding a new niche, which will bring a new audience to your brand, allowing your brand to grow.

Additionally, I have been following more accounts that align with my Instagram theme. Furthermore, I have decided to un-follow many celebrities on Instagram because

1) their Instagram account is unlocked so technically I can always go look on their page and see their latest posts (I don’t necessarily NEED to follow them), and
2) their posts aren’t bringing any meaning or inspiration to my life, whereas, the travel enthusiasts and food bloggers, etc., are.


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I’ve goat this pose down #bahmaste #goatyoga

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How has social media helped you with your brand/ business?

Max J: As previously stated, the paid partnerships have helped my brand grow because of the publicity element. I also find when I post an image on Instagram or even Facebook, which has to do with travel; I always reach more people. If your goal is to reach more people– both in your current following and outside of it, doing something you’re passionate about because most likely others are, too, and therefore, more people will be interested in your work.

Very well then, so how often do you use social media?

Max: Honestly, I use social media a lot. When I wake up in the morning I immediately check Gmail, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. Overtime, I have come to the conclusion that social media is great because it can provide new connections and opportunities.

But, it can also take away from us, including capturing moments for ourselves and not for others (i.e. posting pictures on social media) and being in that physical presence opposed to having to take out our phone to connect with someone else. I check Gmail for email and work purposes almost hourly.

Sometimes, I find myself opening an app, refreshing it, closing it, and then reopening it again, ugh! I am aware that I am missing out on so much more, but sometimes I can’t help myself because that is the society we live in today.


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Catch-up: Interview with Philantropy Influencer, Max J Rotondo

On a recent trip to Israel, I had 15 minutes to myself to lie on the rock of the dessert, gazing up at the open sky full of stars just to think. No cell phones. No talking to others. Complete serenity and peace, something I don’t think I ever gave myself the opportunity before.

Upon completing the 15-minute self-reflection, I realized that not many people are truly living in the moment; instead many of us are always gravitating to our phones to use social media. Pictures are fine. I love pictures, and I love looking back at them and thinking about that time and experience. But, why can’t we just keep the photo we take on our camera roll? Why do we post it on social media?

In essence, we take pictures, make it look a little bit better than it actually did, and watch the likes rack up. So, we do it for attention or, to make our lives look or seem more exciting and interesting than others? Has social media become a competition among our friends? Think about it!

Sometimes, I think if social media never existed how much more freedom I would have from my cell phone. How much more time I would have to self-reflect. And, I know I can do all this now but it makes it that much harder. It is all about self-control, but when social media is being thrown in your face day-after-day, it makes it very difficult.

“But, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc., why do we check them every 5 minutes?  Are we checking them for likes, followers, comments, re-tweets, or spying? How much does that really matter?”



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Get comfortable with being alone, it will empower you.

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What is your personal view on social media addiction?

Max J: My personal view on social media addiction is that too many people are using it aggressively. I am not excluding myself from this, but every time I go out, whether it is to a restaurant, post-office, gym, event, whatever, people are on their phones!

Everywhere you go is a moment, you don’t know what will happen. You could make a new, meaningful connection in the post-office or at the gym, but if you are staring down at your phone you will not have the opportunity to even acknowledge that possibility.

So put the phone down while your out, and save the phone and social media for when you are in bed.

“Too many people are using social media aggressively… Just remember, a phone can be replaced, whereas your friend, your mom and dad, and even a special moment cannot”

Do you think it’s easy to live life without using social media?

Max J: I think it is very hard for people who are equipped to social media (like the current generation) to have it suddenly go off and not use it. I know my parents who did not have social media growing up, can live without it, in fact, they do!

For me, unless Instagram were to call it quits; it would be nearly impossible for me to shut it off completely. But, then I also think how much less I would be on my phone, how much less upkeep I would have in my life, and therefore, how much more I could live in the moment and take in everything on my own and not for others.


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Thankful each and everyday for these two ❤️

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 How do you think individuals can manage their social media addictions? What exercises can they resort to?

Max J:  Individuals can manage their social media usage by simply unplugging. Turn off your phone, and if you cannot turn your phone off, simply uninstall social media. You can always re-install it.

For instance, in Israel, my Rabbi challenged the tour group to power off their phones and even hand them in to him from Friday at sunset to Saturday at sunset for the Sabbath.

Since arriving home and having time to think deeply about my social media usage, I am happy to say that I have been unplugging for 1-hour (sometimes more) each day. I feel like a breath of fresh air.

I used to be obsessed when I went out to capture everything on Instagram and Snapchat. But I don’t do that anymore. A few videos and pictures, yes, but my stories do not consist of 20-30 posts anymore (I know, I used to be crazy).

It would be great if there were an invention such as a camera that you wore around your neck, with a little button that you could press when you want a photo, and the device would take the shot of everything it sees, which would be exactly what you see, without taking your eyes off or away from the moment.

“People talk about perfect timing, but I think everything is perfect in its moment; you just have to capture it yourself and not necessarily with a lens.”

And for influencers, how can they also manage their social media usage?

Max J: It is a little more difficult for influencers to manage their time spent on social media and that is because they “have” to deliver to their audience. To some being an influencer is a full-time career choice. There is big money involved, big storylines, and developing the niche and audience is key, and once developed, the audience wants to see production.

If you go MIA, you will lose followers and engagement and quickly. For example, if @pilotmadeleine were to go off Instagram, her fans would wonder where she went and they would not be happy. They want to see her keep producing content.


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Wine-ing about our lives #BercyMercy

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So if you could change anything else about Influencing/Blogging what would that be?

Max J: If I could change anything, I think my advice would be just to be you. I see many influencers; especially the bigger ones get caught up in what others want them to produce.

“Every moment is a fresh beginning – sleep under the stars. Follow your dreams. Live your life to its full potential. Just live. Let go of all the horrible things in your life and just live.”

Your followers should be following you because they are interested in what you are passionate about. Don’t change your feed for anyone else. Post what you want. Be yourself. Don’t let anyone take that away from you.

RELATED: Let’s get informed! Meet Philanthropist and Influencer, Max Rotondo. #InfoTuesdays

Amanda Lucy


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