Meet Gavin Keilly.
A Southern California native, Keilly graduated from Sonoma State in 1993 with a degree in Marketing. After graduation, Keilly worked for a noted telecommunications industry leader, Frontier Communications where he received nine promotions in a 5 year period and became Director of Sales for California. Ever the entrepreneur, Keilly decided to ride the internet boom of the late 1990’s and left to start up a consumer-driven price comparison website. With much initial success as he got the company off of the ground, Keilly saw the future and knew it was time to make his next move. From there he segued into working as a financial advisor for his family’s company, Centaurus Financial for about 18 months and then one day he asked himself - - the proverbial question - - "What do I want to do with my life?" As cliché as it may sound, Keilly knew he wanted to help others and make a difference in the world, but didn’t want to be martyr.
Gavin went on to be the Director of Development for the nonprofit City of Hope. Then after an amazing year at the City of Hope, where he honed his fundraising skills, Keilly had an idea to create a consulting service to help charitable organizations take their non-profits to the next level, and the genesis for GBK was born.
His first client was Sharon Osborne, and he helped create her first big charity event at her home. Utilizing his combined marketing, sales and non-profit experience, Gavin has since helped many nonprofits raise their fundraising goals by integrating celebrities into their charitable events. By discovering the needs, wants and goals, GBK Charitable Consulting creates strategies to help clients accomplish their ultimate goals of raising more funds and garnering more awareness for their causes.
Gavin talked to us about life in Los Angeles, his company, and the gift suites that will be appearing at this year's Emmys.
Tell us a bit about living in Los Angeles, and what it is that drew you to the city.
We are all lured by the weather and the scenery. I love the ability to jump in my car and be at a ski resort in a few hours or walking on the beach in less than 15 minutes. I often get on my bike and just ride along the ocean without having to consider the possibility of a hurricane, a flood, or a tornado. I would include the lack of humidity in that weather equation. I can take my girlfriend out on my patio for a quiet dinner and not have to worry about swatting at mosquitos.
The CA art and music scene is thriving and I think it rivals New York. California has so many diverse pockets, and depending on your mood you can be hiking in the mountains, shopping on Rodeo, walking on the beach, exploring Chinatown, hearing a concert at the music center, watching a production at the Hollywood Bowl, or seeing a game at Staples Center.
I love taking visitors to Venice Beach where everyday is Halloween.
My least favorite thing about LA would be the traffic and finding a parking space. The budget deficit is another negative about Los Angeles, and unless you are making a decent income you are forced to live in a dangerous, predatory area with gangs and congestion.
A one word description for LA is...
Vibrant or Whimsical.
Starting a company isn't easy. Why did you want to start GBK?
I wanted to make a difference in the world and not be a martyr in the process...
What was the transition like from non-profit work to becoming your own boss?
Honestly, I have owned other businesses in the past, so it was an easy transition.
We love the gift suites. How do the gift suites work and where did the gift suite idea come from?
The idea came from a watch that I gave to Ozzy Osbourne as a thank you for attending an event, and he put the watch in his mouth for photo. I realized there is a great market for product placement with celebrities. It's a true WIN WIN. The celebrity get great products and the company gets a one of kind photo with the celebrity and their product.
Tell us about the 2012 GBK Emmy Gift Lounge. Who is getting the gifts and what is the "lounge" like?
All the Nominess / Presenters of the Emmys, as well as other press worthy celebrities. GBK creates a fun environment at their gift lounges. It is a relaxed environment, where the celebrities have a chance to socialize with their peers.
Geena Davis said, "I love what you are doing to make a difference in the world." How does what you're doing make a difference?
Every event we do, GBK gives back 20% of its profits to a variety of non-profits. Over the last 3 years, GBK has raised over $2Million for over 50 different causes and given the charities tremendous exposure at their events.