After joining Round Table Companies in 2007 as director of publishing and client relations, David Cohen now serves as VP and chief strategist. Appearing in dozens of films, commercials, and television shows, David graduated from Rollins College with a theater degree. He founded 1421 Productions, producing and co-producing 17 films; later, he produced San Diego Film Festival favorite Gretchen Brettschneider Skirts Thirty with Elevation 9000 Films. David also launched LA Film Lab Entertainment, developing and producing two original screenplays, creating production courses, and directing an acclaimed documentary for The Make-A-Wish Foundation©. His last film project was producing Notorious B.I.G. Bigger Than Life with Academy- and Emmy Award-nominated director Peter Spirer (Image Entertainment [DISK], September 2007). That year, David was featured in Millennial Leaders as an emerging Generation Y leader. Now applying his big-picture perspective to RTC, David resides in Jacksonville, FL with his wife, Erin; son, Abraham; and two boxers.
Why does the world need a work revolution? (In other words: the way we’re working isn’t working. Why not?)
The way we work is literally killing us. I hate the misuse of the word, “literally” but in this instance it’s actually true. Most of our work culture sits at their desk all day with the exception of the short sabbatical to the break room. This much stagnation is not only taking years off our life but it isn’t doing much for productivity, momentum or collaboration. If we were a mobile work force or had an office that was collaboration friendly we would be out of our chairs more often making magic happen.
How are you or your organization reinventing work in some way (big or small)?
We are a virtual company so by our very nature we are reinventing the workplace. To take things a step further we have a Director Of Happiness who focuses on the happiness of our staff and clients. This move alone changes the focus and energy of our organization to Joy which permeates its way all the way to our clients and the products we create.
Why do you do what you do?
I am a creative who can’t get out of his own entrepreneurial way. Life at 7 was me fighting to become a working actor because I didn’t want to have to choose ONE profession but rather get the chance to play all of them. This value never left me. My background in acting, filmmaking, commercial property investment have all culminated to my current self who has found a way to mix business and creativity. I get to help people who have valuable messages that need to find an audience. So each project I dive into, I get to live a little in that life. Then I get to find the person that needs to hear that story. C’mon…..how fun is that?
What kind of art (any kind) do you like and why? Any recommendations we should know about?
I like to think I surround myself every day with art. Whether it be music, design, or video. I like to frequent the following websites regularly for inspiration: The Purist Aesthetic and Uncrate. I am moved by anything that has a story which can be how a pair of jeans is made to a slot car track.
What is one specific thing your company does that makes your culture unique and/or different?
As I mentioned previously we have a Director of Happiness who focuses on client and staff happiness. When bringing on new staff members we look to hire from within the company. I know that’s not necessarily a new or unique practice, but early on we started hiring stay at home moms who were well educated and wanted to engage in work that made them feel good.
What is one discipline/industry totally different from your own that has inspired you? How does it impact your work?
I have a deep appreciation for people who work with their hands. The skill and craftsmanship that goes into a well designed product is something that has been lost or just gone completely unnoticed by me. The attention to detail, time and energy that it takes to design a product is inspirational. This can be anything from a laptop to a car or bottle opener. It’s invigorating to see the multiple avenues available for entrepreneurs to do what they love and it’s cool to see these concepts get funded.
What’s one tangible and concrete technique other organizations should use if they want to create a more human and/or meaningful place to work?
Put your staff first. If you can ensure your staff is engaged in meaningful fulfilling work then they will be your best marketing team. Their belief in what they do leaks out and can become infectious!
What is one surprising thing we should know about you?
I was a childhood actor. I joined the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) when I was 8 years old and did well enough to buy my first car and put myself most of the way through college.
What piece of technology (other than your laptop/smartphone/tablet) could you not live without and why?
My burr coffee grinder. I have a deep appreciation for good coffee. 🙂
What do you do for fun?
I try to go to crossfit 3-4 days per week. It provides me with such mental clarity that I’ve even referred to it as church. Here is an article that does a good job of describing what the experience does for me.
Where in the world are you?