We had the good fortune of connecting with Greg Jenkins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Greg, what is the most important factor behind your success?
There are several factors that are important. Foremost, is developing and building trust and confidence with our clients, suppliers, production team, staff and all entities we establish relationships with each day. There’s also hiring the best talent to develop partnerships with in the selection process of vendors and our production team. When you hire the best talent, it also means that you allow them to do what they do best, without any micro-managing or second guessing. There’s an opportunity to learn from them. When you hire them for a reason, get out of the way and let them carry out their job for you and your client. Treat your entire team as an important part of your team. We are all there to serve the best of interest of the client and the primary goal is to put on the best possible event that will allow them to shine. We may under promise and always over deliver. We give more than 150%. It also requires that you keep your word, conduct one’s self with integrity, be reliable — and professional. Putting the needs of your clients first is a hallmark of our brand. While we often juggle several events at one time, we treat each client as though they are our only client and deliver them with first-class service. Be honest with your clients and I think of myself as a teacher and attorney. In many situations, it requires teaching and walking the client through the planning process through it’s execution, as well as advising them as an attorney would on the best possible course of action. They are free to accept or decline your advice and expertise. We have learned earlier on to say, ‘NO.’ If we feel the project is beyond our expertise, unable to execute based on the client’s budget — or simply is not the right fit or we have a conflict in our schedule — or would compromise our values — we have no problem passing on the job. I’m always learning and look for opportunities to grow. While I may lose sleep, I try not to let fear get in the way. I can look at many new situations as an opportunity to grow and learn. I’m by no means perfect, but some of the most scariest projects have been the ones that also have provided the greatest rewards and accolades. Conducting our due diligence and risk assessment are things we undertake at the start of any event. That’s a standard practice and definitely a key to my personal and professional success. DO ONE’S HOMEWORK and NO ONE LIKES EGG ON FACE are two of many mantras I abide by in approaching events and things in my personal life. Flexibility is key, as well as avoid taking things too seriously or personally. While the work is stressful, it’s also fun and enjoyable. And when you can be flexible and go with the flow, it makes the job easier. I treat others with the same respect that I demand — and expect that of our suppliers and clients. Acting with professionalism goes without saying and is a major factor in our company’s success. Lastly, staying current with the latest trends, technology and platforms — especially during this pandemic is a factor behind our company’s continued success. With COVID-19, we are now learning everything about producing virtual, hybrid and pop-up events. Selecting the right platform for a virtual event is a learning experience, but starts like any in-person event by outlining the goals, objectives, attendee demographics, budgetary parameters, etc.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m most proud of allowing myself to take risks. I’m the guy who asked earlier on in life, what’s the worst that can happen? I don’t mean it in the sense of anything life threatening or something that would personally cause injury, but in the sense of if I relocated to another state without a job, the worst thing that could happen is packing my bags and heading home again to start something else. That’s actually how my career took off. I worked in marketing & PR for the Detroit Convention Bureau for 4-years and was assigned to work on many great events, but I had reached my full potential there. I had no obligations such as children or a spouse to keep me in one place so I moved 3,000 miles away to Southern California. I quickly got a job — took lots of time to get acclimated and meet new friends, learn my way around the area and state — but have no regrets. The move allowed me to work with some of the top companies in corporate America, start a company (Bravo Productions), serve on boards, serve as a guest lecturer at Cal State University/Long Beach, to name a few. That would not have happened if I didn’t take some personal and professional risk. Again, the worst thing that could have happened is discovering I didn’t like California and I could have moved elsewhere. That was not in the cards and I love the Golden State and very proud of the work and projects we have undertaken over many decades.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I reside and work within walking distance of the Pacific Ocean. The ocean is vast and gives perspective in the feeling we are connected to something bigger than ourselves and have something that we share with others across the world. Lunch and dinner on a restaurant patio such as Fuego’s (Maya Hotel), Belmont Brewery or Gladstone’s overlooking the ocean is a must! We also live in the entertainment capital of the world. You can drive down a street and see a movie and/or TV production being shot. I would recommend visiting one of the major studio backlots, which is fun and exciting! While cheesy, buying a map of the celebrity homes is fun — also provides the ability to chat while touring around the Beverly Hills area. A drive to San Diego or Big Bear, just a 2-hour drive away would be a great day to experience something different. I suggest an overnight stay. On a side note, we staged a product launch for a client in conjunction with Comic-Con. It’s worth a trip just to see the many people in costumes. While temporarily closed due to COVID-19, a treat for me is dining at Musso & Frank Grill in Hollywood. Some of Hollywood’s biggest film deals have been made over lunch, drinks or dinner at this restaurant. The service and food is exceptional and the atmosphere — classic Hollywood! I love fishing and a half-day excursion of deep-sea fishing would be ideal. Even if you don’t enjoy fishing, you occasionally see whales, sea lions and dolphins. The ocean’s magnitude and smell is simply relaxing.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Like anyone, we all have mentors, teachers, friends, family members, books, travel experiences, etc., that have inspired us. I credit my mom who provided so many outlets for me to experience as a child growing up — from travel and camping to symphony concerts and ballet. It provided an opportunity to broaden my arisen and see a vast world and pick and choose among those things of interest. I had some great teachers, amazing bosses such as Mike Wright and Bill McLaughlin at the Detroit Convention Bureau. I was young, inexperienced with a Masters degree and they took me under their wings, knowing I had lots of potential and enthusiasm. They opened doors for me to dive into a variety of projects and often assigned me to work that would make me stretch as an individual and professionally. As my career blossomed, I want to give a shout out to Andrea Michaels of Extraordinary Events who took a chance on me and my business partner to work with her on some truly exceptional events. At the time, we were building floats for the Tournament of Roses Parade, which allowed us to pivot to the special events industry, staging functions for corporations, associations, municipalities, etc. Lastly, Thom Neighbors, Bravo Productions partner, has witnessed the ups and downs of running a business and continues to serve as a voice in our company. He’s an artist and I’m the business man and visionary. An example is I can come up with an idea, but Thom’s artwork to put words into a picture is a key to making the sell. Thom is also the one who can make my idea of a bridge that people walk over as a volcano experience erupts come to life.