Spotlight on Disruptive Thinker DENISE GITSHAM
Title: Principal, 7 Second Strategies
Hometown: Suisun Valley, CA
A native of the Golden State, I suffered four New England winters to attend Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain’s alma mater, all for love of US history. Upon graduating, I worked for Karl Rove on then-Governor Bush’s presidential campaign; a path that led me to Washington, and resulted in gigs at the White House, US Department of
Justice, and the US Senate Judiciary Committee. I stayed in DC to attend law school, practiced Big Law, and ingratiated myself to a San Diego client. A few years later, I made the transition to in-house counsel, and am now proud to call California “home” again.
DT in the workplace:
I am naturally drawn to creative thinkers, who look for ways to do things differently, and better. As a half-Chinese 22 year old without a Latino bone in my body, I created a position for myself on the Bush campaign, running President Bush’s previously non-existent National Hispanic Coalition. I figured the President would benefit from speaking directly to the Hispanic population about his vision for America. On election day, our efforts paid off, but I had to help a lot of old white men think and act disrputively to make it happen. That experience was my first in being “disruptive” – and from that point on, it became my M.O..
The company I moved to San Diego to work for, Sapphire Energy, is enormously disruptive to Big Oil’s monopoly on our transportation fuel economy. Sapphire produces algae-based crude oil that is molecularly identical to the fossil-based crude we refine our transportation fuels from today. With global energy demands on the rise, and geopolitical instability in the Middle East an ever-looming threat, America can no longer afford to remain dependent on foreign oil. Sapphire offers a significant and impactful way for our nation to strengthen our national, energy, and economic security, and incidentally disrupts Big Oil’s chokehold on our energy portfolio.
In January 2013, Mindy Tucker Fletcher and I will launch a similarly disruptive government and public relations firm with Karl Rove’s former Chief of Staff, Sheena Tahilramani, and Congressman Bilbray’s former Senior Advisor, Jennifer Polk Maxon. Our media experience, understanding of the policymaking process, and strong relationships at the state, local and federal level will enable us to pivot between tactics, and move the needle on public opinion for our clients. Our ope is that we’ll have the privilege of working with some of San Diego’s most disruptive companies, and that together, we’ll redefine the term “business as usual.”
Define Disruptive Thinking:
Disruptive thinking is creative thinking that happens to challenge the status quo. Gathering with a group of folks like those who attend DT unleashes our collective creativity, and enables 2+2 =5; in other words, more than the sum of our parts.
If money was no obstacle WORLD CHANGE should begin with…
fixing what’s in our ability to fix…which is only ourselves. So often, human nature compels us to point fingers before considering our own fault in a matter. We’d all be better off if we followed the advice found in Matthew 7:5, “first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s.” A little introspection never hurt anyone, but a lack thereof always does.
The APPEAL of DT:
When I made the decision to move from DC to California, I thought I’d never find the intellectually challenging atmosphere I left. DT has given me a forum for airing my wacky ideas and learning from others whose life experiences and intellects I respect. I’ve found a place where my brain gets as much exercise as my body does, and I’m thrilled to be a part of DT.