The Collective: Conor Gaughan

After a brief hiatus (was blissfully exploring Lisbon—more on this soon!), this week ‘The Collective: Interviews’ continues with Conor Gaughan.

Conor Gaughan

If you read Conor Gaughan’s impressive, diverse bio, you’d expect he is much older than his 30-some odd years—despite his youth, he’s already well on his way to changing this strange world for the better.

I first met Conor when we shared a dormitory in college—immediately, I was impressed by his positive spirit and tireless pursuits of causes he steadfastly supports.

Although we were just coeds, I knew Conor was bound for great things: now, as founder and Manager Partner of Collective Conscience, a media strategy firm, he builds coalitions across entertainment and cause-oriented campaigns, filling a necessary gap between pop culture and purpose-driven pursuits.

He recently launched Full Frontal Freedom, a Collective Conscience campaign designed to raise awareness and enhance voter turnout and engagement for the 2012 election.  Full Frontal Freedom specifically seeks to highlight the four states where freedom to marry / marriage equality initiatives are on the ballot – Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington.

Previously a Wall Street stiff, Conor worked at Sophia Holdings and McCafferty & Company, where he focused on the firm’s media, entertainment and communications business. An entrepreneur at heart, Conor also founded, an online community for wine enthusiasts. He currently lives in Los Angeles where he’s active in a variety of philanthropic and community organizations.

Here are a few insights into how he incorporates conscious living into a life of progressive, society-altering pursuits:

Describe yourself in one word: Collaborative.

What makes you happy?
An image, song, experience or video that makes me laugh, cry, compels me to be a better person, or makes me want to change the world for the better.

What frustrates you?
Only having one sentence to answer this question. Or:

  • RNC Push-Poll Phone calls. 
  • Apathy among citizens who bitch about government
  • A generalization that Gen X / Gen Y and Millenials are lazy or entitled
  • Misuse of the word irony
  • Overuse of the #meme, by people who don’t know what the definition of meme is

What is your greatest professional achievement?
Staying a Democrat while spending nearly a decade working on Wall Street.  Not coincidentally, my “Investment Banker” card was revoked, and I was forced to go into the media industry.

Who is your role model?
I have a handful of family and friends, each of whom I aspire to emulate in certain ways.

If you could give one piece of advice to yourself as a child, what would it be?
Invest in Apple.

Describe your typical day:
Wake up, exercise, drink lots of iced green tea while I read the blogs and news. Have phone calls with writers, producers, talent.  Have phone calls with political strategists or non-profit executives. Write a blog piece. Write a script.  Enjoy dinner with friends. Maybe watch something off the DVR.  And, off to bed.

Define beauty:
The indescribable glow that you feel or see or hear from someone experiencing fulfillment or joy.

What’s your favorite piece of travel advice?
Always seek to experience the local culture… or at least the local cocktail of choice.

Where’s your favorite place in the world?
Wherever I get the privilege of exploring next! I have loved too many places to pick just one.

When was the last time you…
Laughed: Within the last 5 minutes. Strike that. I just laughed again.

Cried: Yesterday, when watching a wonderful speech by Representative Maureen Walsh of Washington, in which she defends gay marriage.

Created something: A viral image campaign—about 2 minutes ago.

Got lost: This morning… on my walk to get coffee.  This was a figurative “got lost in my thoughts,” as I obviously know the way to my daily coffee shop.

Got found: This sounds like something that may have happened to me in youth group at my childhood church; perhaps more recently I could have been found at the Abbey.

Made a fool of yourself:  See: “When was the last time you laughed?”

About Kaitlin Solimine

Kaitlin Solimine was raised in New Hampshire but has considered China a second home for the past two decades. She is the author of the award-winning forthcoming novel Empire of Glass and co-founder of Hippo Reads, a media start-up connecting academic insights with real world issues. She lives in Singapore.
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