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"Once you label me, you negate me."

-Søren Kierkegaard (Danish philosopher)


To me, the quote above means: labels explicitly give, but they implicitly take. That is, while labels explicitly state some particular thing, they might also imply something that is...or isn't...true. I think that the way we (and others) labels ourselves is important. And, while labels are often helpful, allowing us to describe and categorize, they can also be harmful, by restricting and unfairly stereotyping.

Like everyone, I'm a lot of things...

I'm a polymath, a generalist, and an autodidact. I'm an improviser, an artist, an inventor, and a philosopher. I'm a raconteur and a rounder. I'm a golfer, a bowler, and a gamer. I'm a son, a brother, a husband, and a dad. I'm passionate, skeptical, curious, intuitive, logical, creative, and reasonable. I value integrity and practice empathy. I’m motivated by doing good and making a difference.

I'm all of those things, and much More Than That.

That said, here are a few more labels that might help you better understand me.


A mentor is, simply, an experienced and trusted adviser. Informally, I have been using my experience to help build trust and advise people most of my life. Formally, I have been mentoring since 2014.

Each time I formally mentor someone, the experience is different. As it should be. Each person and situation is unique, and so the approach and results should be, too. However, I also feel that understanding some general, fundamental ideas can help foster learning in other, specific areas.  I often explore why things are done first in order to help better understand what and how things are done.  And so, each time I mentor, although the entire experience is bespoke, I always try to raise and discuss some general, fundamental ideas, such as:

  • Connections & Relationships​

    • Metaphor, Analogy​

    • Empathy

  • Communication

    • Relationship between words and meaning

    • Models

    • Approaches

    • Miscommunication

      • Recognizing

      • Causes

      • Effects

      • Reduction

    • Shared Languages

  • Modeling

    • Cognitive Biases

    • Pattern Matching

  • Relativism

  • Descriptive/Normative Statements and Expectations

  • Context

  • Problem Solving

    • Algorithms

    • Heuristics

    • Oracles

The mentee and I explore and build on these general, fundamental ideas as a foundation as we move towards other more bespoke, specific areas of learning.

But, don't take my word for it. Check out these testimonials:

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"...this has been so far eye opening journey for me. I look forward to our next meeting. ...thank you for making positive impact on my lost professional career."

-Bela Legates, Columbus, Ohio

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"Thanks for listening to me."

-Stefan Papusoi

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"...for between 1 and 3 hours every single Monday, with only a very few exceptions, for the last 2 years, Damian has spent time with me coaching me and mentoring me..."

-James Irving, at Australian Testing Days 2016 conference delivering the Lightning Talk, "How I started out in testing"


After several years of performing improv, I auditioned for and was cast in several plays:

  • The Twinight Zone, by Scott Tobin

    • A parody that re-imagines 4 classic episodes of the similarly named 60s television series with a comic twist. The stories investigate the true nature of beauty, human relationships, and the definition of sanity, but mostly make mustache jokes. The show will be presented with glaring inaccuracies in costuming and set design for the 60s and even a general lack of understanding of the actual time period for the setting.

    • Columbus Dispatch preview

  • The Twinight Zone II: The Further Dimension, by Scott Tobin

    • The show is divided up into four sketches, which seemed to get progressively more funny. There’s a stripper suffering from a mental breakdown, a Vegas vacation, a suburban alien invasion and a creepy doll come to life. The comedy ranges from sly winks and nods to the original Twilight Zone material to self-referential cornball humor, with a handful of great contextual jokes where modern day items make appearances in the 60s-era set pieces.

    • Columbus Dispatch preview

    • Columbus Underground review

      • "Stand out performers include Jim Azelvandre and Amy Talbott as the husband and wife duo who fall victim to their gambling demons, as well as Damian Synadinos who nails a variety of humorous accents including the fast-talking casino operator and the corn-fed alien."

  • Up on the Roof, by Mark Harvey Levine

    • Jason is looking for a sign from God. Carrie is looking for a little help with the dishes.

    • Playbill



In 2012, I wrote and submitted a short, comedic play called "Effect and Cause" to the MadLab Theatre and Gallery in Columbus for their "3-in-30" series of original, 10-minute plays. To my surprise, my play was selected, produced, and well received. In fact, it was so well received that it was offered at local theaters in Pittsburgh and New York, and even received very favorable reviews!

  • Pittsburgh City Paper, Michelle Pilecki

    • "Certainly the most clever bit of the evening is Damian Synadinos' "Effect and Cause," an amusing puzzle for the audience that I dare not disclose. But I can certainly applaud the metaphorical juggling act by director Joanna Lowe and the bizarre demands effected by Fred Betzner as the scientist, Joe Lyons as his buddy, and Joel Ambrose as the graceful waiter under awkward circumstances".

  • Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Christopher Rawson

    • "I have to admit to suffering One-Act Play Overdose, such that a few of Future Ten's eight are fuzzy in both my memory and notes. But two are the kind of clever pleasures you can't wait to tell people about, as my wife will attest. Damian Synadinos' "Effect and Cause," directed by Joanna Lowe, plays backward, but does so with such pell-mell brio that you're constantly challenged to keep up and delighted with yourself when you do. Mr. Betzner and Joe Lyons enact a discussion (I couldn't say about what), which makes sporadic sense but only makes real sense when you remind yourself that each speech precedes the one it follows. Thank goodness for the waiter, walking in backward to remind us to recalibrate. Great fun."

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