John Gallegos

John Gallegos

President/CEO, Grupo Gallegos

Where are you right now?

Physically, I’m in our Huntington Beach, CA offices (Inc. Magazine ranked us one of the twenty coolest offices in the world, pretty cool).  Mentally, I’m deep inside a client brief.  Emotionally, I’m in a very good place.

Where is your favorite place for a breakfast meeting?

Café LaFayette, a great little place in Seal Beach, CA.  It’s a small beach community between my home and office. They have great food and service in a very relaxed environment, which is ideal for meetings and interviews.

What was your first job?

Selling programs at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for USC, UCLA, and Ram football games.  It was an amazing experience.  I did it with my Dad from age 8 all the way through high school.  My Dad runs the operation now and my kids do it with their grandpa.  It’s a great real life learning experience. It also helped to make me the life-long USC fan I am today.

How do you think we can keep talent motivated?

I’m not sure there is one answer that works for all talent. I think it’s good to start with understanding what drives them, what they are good at, and how they can succeed.  Then, align all of that with the agency’s goals.  I think everyone wants to know that they have a role and that they are valued.  Taking the time to listen to them and then making them part of the overall plan seems to excite talent.

What excites you about this next decade?

Personally, it’s watching my kids grow up.  My daughter is 13 and my sons are 10 and 7.  They have their whole lives ahead of them and my wife and I want them to enjoy every day and experience as much as possible.  Being a parent is the most challenging and rewarding job all at once.  We are blessed that both of our parents are still with us and get to spend time with the kids.  It’s great to see the different generations interact.  It’s also an opportunity to learn from them.

Professionally, it’s the growing complexity of our business and the opportunities this presents.  Agency business is in the midst of a major transformation.  Technological advances are creating a whole new media landscape.  Add to this the growing diversity of the population and you have a classically complex environment. Nobody can predict what’s next with 100% certainty, but I think the agencies that will thrive will embrace both the complexity and the notion that properly harnessed creativity is an important business tool.  I predict it will be one of the more challenging and rewarding decades for creativity.

If you had to make a quick escape where would you go?

Del Mar, CA.  We have a cute little beach house there.  It’s ideal for a quiet getaway or for a family weekend.  It’s only a one-hour drive but it feels like a world away.

What is on your bedside table?

Magazines, books, and my iPad. I also have a lot of books and magazines stored on Kindle for when I travel.  I’m reading two books right now: Barbarian Nurseries, a novel by Hector Tobar about real life in Los Angeles, and Mind Gym by Gary Mack about motivation, sports, and the quest for inner excellence.  Magazines range from Vanity Fair to Harvard Business Review.

If you weren't in this business what would you be doing?

Coaching, probably baseball or football.  I did it when I was younger and it’s quite addicting.

Who would you most like to meet for a drink?

Palma, my wife. We’re so busy with family and work that we don’t do it enough but it never fails that when we get a moment together over a glass of wine, we have so much fun and laugh about why we don’t do it more often.  A close second would be God.  Not sure if he drinks, but I would love to ask him if things are going as he planned.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Flying private when I can.

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