We had the good fortune of connecting with Anthony Pratt and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Anthony, what’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with?
A piece of conventional advice that I would have to disagree with is–“Traditional education is everything.” I believe that others should obtain an education, but I would disagree that it is the “be all” when it relates to starting a business. I went to college, earned my degrees, and there are no regrets on my part. However, a bulk of what I have learned stemmed from trial and error over the years. I’ve never been afraid to fail. Will Smith made the most profound statement in a video on Facebook that resonated with me. He said, “If you aren’t failing–then you aren’t trying.” So I kept trying. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”- quoted Albert Einstein. But to add to that–one must be keen enough to know when to adjust or further educate on a topic or procedure if you aren’t achieving the desired results. Traditional education teaches the basics but to be successful, being afraid to fail isn’t an option.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
During the early stage of the pandemic, many of us were forced to redefine the way we did business. That time allowed my company, Gorilla With A Pen to fixate more on embracing community before dollars. Those challenging times forced us to examine what we were offering and if people could truly benefit from it. The Covid era birthed new platforms and unique ways to connect. As a company we wanted to matter more to clients and our community. As a team we became stronger and closer. Guards were lowered and it allowed us to see each other as people and not just someone we worked with. From the Pajama video calls to managing with energetic children at home–we did it. We truly built a community and a culture that we could be proud of. We didn’t have a week of training to rush through information–we had a year to share ideas, learn, understand, and embrace the diversity of our team. It’s one that respects the unique needs, perspectives, and potential of our teammates.

This didn’t occur overnight. I strongly believe that the pandemic allowed us to slow down and take the necessary time to assess what was missing and how we could be better as a company going forward. Our video chat sessions allowed our team to remain connected and encouraged each other to share ideas. If I had one piece of advice to provide to other aspiring or current business owners, it would be to find the time to reflect and focus on building a community within your company that embraces diversity and inclusion. Forward-thinking is not bad, and do not be afraid to adjust your approach if needed.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my best friends/family (Hi Dave, Allie, Bailey, and Louisa) were visiting from The United Kingdom– I think the first place I would take them would be Catalina Island. We’d drive down to Long Beach, hop on the Catalina Express and enjoy a smooth boat ride out to the Island. We’d grab a shuttle to our hotel, drop our luggage and then head to Coney Island West to grab a freshly cooked basked of Fish and Chips. While on the island you can’t leave without taking a ghost tour headed by Island historian, Chuck Liddell. The tour takes you through the streets of downtown. You can hear Chuck direct your attention to some of the most historic spots on the island through your wireless headsets–provided by the tour. Who knew that Amelia Earhart or Marilyn Monroe resided on the Island for a time? Just some of the many exciting things you learn while taking the tour with Chuck. The island is by far one of the hidden gems here in Southern California. If you can’t make it to Hawaii–try Catalina. I have visited the island many times over the years and truly appreciate its relaxed atmosphere, the history, views, and the hospitality of the locals.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many individuals to whom I give thanks. I never view any conversation as a waste because there is always something you can learn from it. Whenever someone took time out of their schedule to share information with me whether it was for three minutes or an hour, I cherished that time. As a young, enthusiastic, and aspiring entrepreneur learning over the years–I thank those who believed and trusted in me enough to give me the chance to show what I could do. Those experiences allowed me to enhance and develop my skills. Those amazing people deserve to be recognized right now. I would like to thank Eugenia “Genie” Vasels of The Greater Los Angeles Zoo and Jenni Fairchild (Celebrity Centre) for giving me the chance to work alongside them, and for the opportunity to meet so many other individuals who would later impact my life in a positive way. I also give thanks to Mr. Jay King (Club Neveau) for his friendship, support, and wisdom throughout the years. I thank my grandparents for being the consistency that I needed while growing up. Thank you for keeping me grounded. I think it’s important to note the importance of remaining grounded not just in business but in life. Being grounded to me means being alert, aware, and humble. Just the right balance. Last but certainly not least–I thank the clients and creative partners who continue to give us the opportunity to grow alongside them.

Website: www.GorillaWithAPen.com

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/gwapuniverse

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anthony-ape-67195556/

Facebook: http://www.facebook,com/gwapuniverse

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.