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Conversations with Dave Thomas Jr.

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dave Thomas Jr.

Hi Dave, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
California Grown. DC Educated. Internationally Oriented.” – That’s my personal brand tagline and my life’s north star!

I am a proud Oakland native and unofficial hype man for all things Bay Area. However, I do have “Hella” love for my family and friends down in SoCal. Outside of sports, I will always rep “The Best Coast” in defense of those New Yorkers and Southerners. However, Washington, D.C. is also my forever home away from home as both a Howard University & Georgetown University alum. Attending my HBCU was a catalyst for many career opportunities, thorough relationships, and numerous travel experiences. Today I am considered a SkyResident with 40+ passport stamps.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Life has been mostly good for me. My mother and grandparents built a stable foundation early in life for me and I’ve always been surrounded by a strong village. There were also three other Black Queens that were vital in my development. Sonya Simril – Saint Leo The Great School in Oakland, Regina Jackson – East Oakland Youth Development Center, and The Late Jacqueline Rushing – Young Scholars’ Program.

The biggest struggle that I faced growing up was the unfortunately common “Black American Dad Story” like Drake said in a song. I lacked positive male role models outside of my grandpa and late uncle. My lowest moments were my final years in high school. I stopped caring and listening to most male authorities. I was always filled with rage and resentment. As a result, I was almost forced to transfer away my senior year and almost removed from my varsity football team. However, I was kicked off of my varsity basketball team right before senior night. I suffered an identity crisis and gained lots of bad weight prior to college. This finally stopped when I was embraced by my eventual new brothers in Howard University’s Gentleman of Drew Social Club and the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc – Alpha Chapter. Today, my father and I have healed our relationship and are the closest that we’ve ever been in life. I often visit him at his home in Las Vegas prior to visiting Raiders games.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a huge marketing and comms nerd! Across more than a decade of experience, I’ve been able to grow brands, and their consumer bases, through strategic and meaningful public relations and marketing activations. I’m an expert at placing a brand or product at the center of culture, driving relevance with the target, and delivering smart and agile marketing tactics that drive conversion. Many colleagues know me from various opportunities in the wine and spirits industry. Others know me from past freelance activations with ESPN College GameDay, Outside Lands Music Festival, NCAA Final Four and more. I have also been invited to teach guest lectures at San Jose State University and appointed as an Advisory Board Member at Chico State University.

As a perpetual student of the industry, I strive to innovate and redefine the idea of what a brand can do and mean in culture and in a consumer’s life. I relish the opportunity to coach and lead teams, and now I’m looking to join an established collective of like-minded individuals who are committed to delivering best-in-class consumer experience and award-winning results.

What matters most to you?
Authenticity matters most to me!

I have been blessed with some amazing life experiences. I attended the last 3 Super Bowls. Appeared on red carpets and backstage at international festivals. I’ve also become a viral meme on ESPN multiple times. However as a result, I have many people who in-authentically reach out to me just to “hook them up” or be their plug without any prior relationship. Am I surprised? NO. However, that is not how I treat my actual friends and colleagues in their respective industries. Thus, I do not want to be treated like that. Also, always be your true authentic self in romantic relationships. I’ll spare the world on my romance takes for now, but always be true to yourself despite your partners’ flaws and/or insecurities.

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1 Comment

  1. Darren Crawford

    May 4, 2022 at 14:10

    Congratulations Dave keep up the good job

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