We had the good fortune of connecting with Dwayne Gathers and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dwayne, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My consulting practice was launched in September 2008, as the last big downturn was happening and many thought I was a bit crazy. But in an odd way, I find that I’m sometimes better in more challenging times….and am grateful to still be standing 13 years later. But, most important to making the decision to do this (having failed a previous time launching a consulting practice when I was in the Bay Area), was the belief that I had the benefit of maturity, wisdom gained from having tried and failed before, a depth and breadth of positive business relationships in this region that would enable me to generate clients, and the knowledge that if I couldn’t make it go of it this time (Round Two), then I was fairly sure I’d be able to get a suitable job.Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
While my principal “work” is my consulting practice, Gathers Strategies, which provides government relations and economic development services, I’m most proud of our podcast venture launched last year, July 1, called CivitasLA. Over the years, I’ve been called on and been fortunate to serve on a number of boards and commissions (Chair, Hollywood Chamber Board; Pres, Hollywood United Methodist Board; The Broad Stage in Santa Monica; Int’l Visitors Council of LA; Commissioner, Community Redevelopment Agency/LA; and others) . So, I’ve always been observant as to who’s in the room and who has a seat at the table. So, it was either fitting, timely or just serendipitous as the conversation around diversity and equity and inclusion exploded to the forefront, the intention behind our podcast was simply to say that “ordinary” people are showing up every day to create, build and serve community across our region and (given how local news coverage has declined) we wanted to focus on the “good news” of our region and elevate and celebrate diverse and emerging civic entrepreneurs. I’m grateful that our team has produced quality content, we’ve passed the one-year mark, and have guests lined up wanting to come onto our podcast through middle of 2022 already! It’s been amazing to watch it gain steam. It’s become a second job…in a good way.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’d enjoy a walk over to Larchmont and have breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien and take in the Sunday Farmer’s Market and just the Sunday vibe on the Blvd. I’d take an afternoon drive along Sunset Boulevard heading west to the beach. We’d have to head north on PCH and stop at Paradise Cove. But, most certainly the visit would HAVE to be planned during Bowl season…..as THE highlight for any visitor….and my biggest joy in all of LA….is a reservation at Ann’s Wine Bar and a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. There simply is nothing better!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would say my immediate family, back in New York City and the Washington, DC area. From afar, they are always inquisitive about what I’m doing and how I’m doing and they certainly hear their fare share of the trials and tribulations and are always encouraging me take time for myself, not stress or overthink things. Here locally, I can’t say enough about my Hollywood United Methodist Church family (I served as Pres of the Bd of Trustees at HUMC for three years). Sunday services offer me personally a time of grounding, self-reflection, an opportunity to consider the bigger meaning and purpose. So, a big shout out to the amazing leadership of Rev Kathy Cooper Ledesma.
Linkedin: Dwayne Gathers