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    GGBA Member Spotlight: David Perry & Associates

    For this issue of the San Francisco Bay Times, GGBA profiles David Perry & Associates, Inc. You likely are familiar with the company’s well-known namesake, who created the TV show 10 Percent for Comcast and has been in front of, and behind, the camera for decades on behalf of his team and clients. He is additionally an occasional contributor to this publication.

    GGBA: Please tell us about your firm.

    David Perry: I first came to San Francisco in 1986 and immediately knew the city was for me. I moved in 1987 and started working as the Advertising Manager for San Francisco Opera. After that, I was the first Communications Director for Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and then Marketing Manager for the San Francisco Partnership, working with the San Francisco Chamber and Mayor Willie Brown’s office. In 1997, I opened David Perry & Associates, Inc., and we were incorporated in 2004. We specialize in government affairs and large-project media and crisis communications and community affairs, and also do videography (aerial and ground) and graphic/web design. Favorite projects: Running of the Olympic Torch (2008), George Lucas’ Skywalker Properties, Super Bowl 50 (2016) and the recently completed Rugby World Cup Sevens. And, of course, guiding the Rainbow Honor Walk into reality has been, and continues to be, a great honor for me.

    GGBA: To what do you attribute your business success?

    David Perry: As a note I found in my mother’s desk shortly after she died read: “Success is a journey, not a destination.” I’ve never forgotten that. She loved her work (having worked for AT&T for 42 years) and taught me that was the most important thing: love your work. Also, I’m a great believer in the adage “hire/work with people smarter than you: they make you look good.”

    GGBA: As a successful business owner, what has been one of the greatest obstacles you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?

    David Perry: The great thing about having your own business is that you can’t fire yourself. The bad thing about having your own business is that you can’t fire yourself. You’re always working: pitching, selling, working. Sometimes, it’s a lot to track.  I’m a “to do” list person: Since I was 16 years old, I have kept a several-times-daily-updated list of everything that crosses my mind or needs to be done. Getting every tactic, strategy or idea “out of my head and onto paper (a digital word document)” is second nature to me. The key is to use and constantly update that “to do” list. I’m always tickled by people who write things down, and then never look at the list again. Also, when I opened my PR practice, I had no “guide book.” Making it up from scratch, in retrospect, was stressful. At the time, it was just what needed to be done.

    GGBA: Name an entrepreneur who has been an inspiration to you.

    David Perry: I’d have to say my fellow San Franciscan, Chip Conley. I first met Chip when he was on the inaugural board of directors for Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Watching the way in which he created, managed and marketed Joie de Vivre Hotels was an inspiration. He was the first professional I met who truly walked-the-walk and talked-the-talk of fair workplace practices and living a balanced live/work life.

    GGBA: Is there someone in the LGBTQ community who has been a profound influence on you and your business?

    David Perry: Yes: two people. My husband and business partner, Alfredo Casuso. He can tell me things that others might not. I married up; he is the smartest and most talented person I’ve ever known. And, secondly, my longtime mentor, the late Rev. Anthony Turney, the openly gay archdeacon at Grace Cathedral and former Executive Director of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. He was the most brutally frank person I’ve ever met. His advice was sometimes difficult to take, but I always knew that it was delivered with love. I miss him every day.

    GGBA: How do you navigate that ever important Life-Work Balance?

    David Perry: Two things spring to mind. One: I keep regular hours, Monday through Friday. With rare exceptions, I do not communicate with staff, clients or media before 8 am or after 5 pm, and never (unless there’s a weekend client event) bother clients or colleagues on the weekend. My clients and staff deserve a weekend and time at home with loved ones, and so do I. It’s not “Hippy Dippy”; it’s practical. Without “down time,” our brains don’t—my brain certainly doesn’t—work well. Also, since we travel a good deal for work, I communicate with colleagues “where and when they are.” So, if I’m working from Europe (as we did this past summer), I don’t email our office at 9 am my time. I communicate in Pacific Time. It’s thoughtful and more efficient. It takes organization, but is totally doable. Finally, I take a yearly “digital detox”: no personal social media—reading or posting—for two months. It’s cathartic. I’m in the midst of my third one now.

    GGBA: How has GGBA impacted your business?

    David Perry: GGBA is and has been vital to my business. Having colleagues that share the same community perspective and involvement is key. Also, the annual “GGBA Power Lunch” is, simply, the best business networking event to which I go every year. It’s just the right mix of business development and community support.

    GGBA: What advice do you have for young LGBTQ entrepreneurs just starting their business in the Bay Area?

    David Perry: Have a year’s worth of money in the bank before you do anything. Also, get a good accountant, tax person and get out and meet people. In this high-tech world, it’s the “high touch” approach that breeds the most success.

    GGBA: If you could have dinner with a famous person from history, who would it be and why?

    David Perry: Wow—that question really stumped me. I had to really think; there are so many choices. Some, like da Vinci, seem obvious, but I’d be so awed that I wouldn’t be able to get through my salad. I’d love to be able to tell P.D. James how much I loved her writing. But, if forced to choose, I’d have to say Benjamin Franklin—always my favorite patriot. Brilliant, internationally traveled and funny. I think dinner with Olde Ben would be a hoot. I’d hope he’d be something like the episode of Bewitched when he comes back from the past, or the way he was portrayed by Howard Da Silva in the musical 1776.


    GGBA Calendar

    GGBA Holiday Make Contact
    GGBA’s annual Holiday Make Contact this year honors the national insurance companies’ championing the inclusion of LGBT Business Enterprises as part of the California Insurance Commissioner’s Diversity Initiative.

    December 11, 6 pm–8 pm
    The Historic Philippine Consulate Building
    447 Sutter St, San Francisco
    GGBA members: complimentary; non-members: $25

    GGBA January Make Contact
    January 15, 6 pm–8 pm
    GGBA members: complimentary; non-members: $25

    GGBA’s 5th Annual Power Lunch
    Power Lunch V: Bridges will celebrate the GGBA’s commitment to building bridges across economic, geographic, cultural and inter-community boundaries throughout the last 44 years. As the world’s first LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce, GGBA, through Power Lunch V: Bridges, will showcase several extraordinary people who personify our community’s ability to expand opportunities, build collaborations, strengthen existing relationships and forge new and forward-thinking initiatives that lead to sustainable economic growth for our community and our businesses.
    See website for sponsorship and registration details.
    Feb 1, 11 am–2 pm

    GGBA February Make Contact
    February 12, 6–8 pm
    GGBA members: complimentary; non-members: $25

    GGBA March Make Contact
    March 12, 6–8 pm
    GGBA members: complimentary; non-members: $25

    Western Business Alliance Annual LGBT Economic Summit & Conference
    2019’s conference will focus attention on issues facing our business community and the LGBT community at large, including creating influence, working with the LGBT community, LGBT homelessness and housing, social and corporate responsibility, marketing to millennials, transgender entrepreneurship and freelance opportunities, and access to capital for LGBT businesses.
    See website for registration details.
    March 14–16, Los Angeles – Hosted by the LAGLCC

    Stand Up Speak Out Series
    GGBA is proud to present “Stand Up. Speak Out,” a workshop series designed to teach entrepreneurs, business professionals and community leaders to become more confident speakers and more effective communicators. 
    This workshop is free to all GGBA members, partners and their staff. Non-GGBA members can attend 2 meetings for free as a guest of the GGBA.

    December 2018: Stand Up and Speak Out – Honing Your Unique Value Proposition
    December 5, 7:30 am–8:45 am and December 19, 3:15 pm–4:45 pm
    January: Stand Up and Speak Out – The Importance of Storytelling in Business
    January 20, 3:15 pm–4:45 pm
    February: Stand Up and Speak Out – Managing Up vs. Managing Down
    February 6, 7:30 am–8:45 am and February 20, 3:15 pm–4:45 pm
    March: Stand Up and Speak Out – Do’s & Don’ts of the Media Interview
    March 6, 7:30 am–8:45 am and March 20, 3:15 pm–4:45 pm