Mentor: Someone whose hindsight can become your foresight
Creative Strategy, Consumer Experience Development & Creativity Coaching
Gary is focused on creating and strengthening customer experience, environment design, platform development, brand performance, and market positioning, using creative strategy, to achieve a desired return on investment for new and existing businesses in the wine, beer, spirits, hospitality, retail and franchise industries. Gary also works with individuals to express their creative potential in business and the arts.
As a partner and founder of both, Gary Finnan Creative and the Ovation Guild, Gary brings over 25 years experience as a leader in the development of creative projects and mentoring. He utilizes his depth of experience gained in Africa, Europe, Asia and the United States to bring a fresh cross-industry perspective through the use of a unique and innovative business model to define Message, Purpose, People and Place. Gary teaches at Sonoma State University and is sought after as a speaker and facilitator for seminars and specialty retreats, as a creativity coach and industry leader in Creative Strategy and Customer Experience Development.
Born in Scotland, and raised in Zimbabwe and South Africa, Gary lives in Sonoma County California with his wife and two daughters.
GFC Associate Team
GFC is the catalyst in bringing the best team together and will only work with associates that have proven track records regarding their capabilities, expertise and reliability when collaborating on a project. Each associate has either functioned as a project lead or has integrated their solution offering into the collective team on many occasions. Our team has the capability to interact, develop and implement strategy and solutions for all of the core business and creative functions. Unique team profiles will be issued with project proposals.
Christopher Huber - Chief Opener at DTC Uncorked.
"I really enjoyed working with Gary because of his creative and conceptual abilities. He challenges conventions in a positive way that leads to new possibilities."
Sandi Vojta - Director of Winemaking and Head Brewer .
"Gary has extensive business insight, is an accomplished problem solver and produces reliable results for his clients. He is detail-oriented without losing sight of the strategic objective, trustworthy with a professional work ethic second to none.
Gary has been instrumental in taking our winery to the next level. We're excited to continue and expand our relationship with Gary on future endeavors."
George Christie - President, Wine Industry Network
"Gary is an incredibly professional and creative person who has the ability to recognize opportunity where most only see obstacles. His enthusiastic approach and inclusive style are just a couple of characteristics that have contributed to the success of the projects that we’ve collaborated on together."
Ryan Vice - CPA and Serial Entrepreneur
"Gary's creative genius and his ability to bring that vision to fruition is as good as it gets. He's always at the top of my list when working with my clients."
James MacPhail - Winemaker, MacPhail & Sequana Pinot Noir
"Gary is a keenly focused and creative person, who 'gets the job done,' and has a set of multi-faceted skills. I would recommend him for any marketing / creative / strategic planning job. Good at 'thinking outside the box' too."
John Calmeyer - Highly Qualified Wine Industry Executive
"Gary is a visionary and charismatic leader with the ability to motivate and inspire a team to meet and exceed challenging goals. Gary's creativity is matched by his thoroughness, tenacity and attention to detail which allows him to follow through on complex and multi-dimensional projects."
Pete Seghesio - Seghesio Winery
"Gary has been a key part of our build out to help drive the customer experience at our winery. For anything dealing with the interface of the public, I use Gary and his team."
Angie Jordan - Director, Events & Experiences at Foley Family Wines
"Gary is one of the most creative and innovative thinkers I have had the opportunity to work with. He is a dynamic individual and a strategic leader with an ability to motivate and mobilize a team!"
Margaret Davenport - Winemaker, Brand Owner at Davenport & Company Wines
"Three words describe Gary's management style: creative, commanding, and committed. The Estate owners for whom we worked first hired Gary to help them envision a master plan for their property. While having been primarily grape growers, they are now well on their way to developing a world class vineyard, winery, and consumer destination. Innovation could be Gary's middle name but his business acumen is well grounded in finance and organizational management. He is a whirlwind of energy that motivates everyone with whom he works, but sensitive and understanding with employees. I was pleased to have the opportunity to learn from him."
Dino D'Argenzio - North Bay Commercial Real Estate Specialist /partner Keegan & Coppin Co.
"Gary was instrumental in early concept design of our new winery tasting room suites. He helped with creative concepts and branding as well as interior details for customer interaction optimization.! I highly recommend him for new project and creativity visioning."
April (Cole) Damron - Owner, Damron Marketing
"Gary is incredibly creative and a breath of fresh air to the wine industry. I am extremely impressed with his knowledge of creating unique customer experiences and focused brands."
Elizabeth Slater - In Short Direct Marketing
" I have the utmost confidence in Gary's ability to meet and exceed the expectations of companies that opt to work with him. I would not hesitate to recommend him; Gary is analytical, insightful and more than a little creative."
Erica Valentine - Winery Consult
"I hired Gary to review the visitor facilities at a Wild Horse Winery and to come up with creative ways to enhance the guest experience. His intuitive sense on visual and emotional touchpoints were revelatory - he can find the hidden assets and turn them into resources. His diverse international experience as a business owner and entrepreneur gives him unique perspectives and creative insights on business models, and his enthusiasm for driving ROI is inspiring."
Matt Riveras - President at i2i Business and Leadership Coaching
"Gary can take you to creative places in your own mind... if you allow him. Gary's knowledge is multi-dimensional and encompasses many aspects of business. One would be foolish to keep him in just one dimension."
Chris Donatiello - C. Donatiello Winery
"Gary was a great asset when building our winery. The redesign of the old winery and tasting room were extensive. Gary and his associates were able to see through the clutter and building mistakes of the past to create a tasting room which functioned to my specifications and created an atmosphere congruent with our brand, location, and people. Gary's forethought allows us to now implement programs not originally planned for the space. Years down the road we were still getting regular compliments on the design. All this while staying on time and on budget."
Kenneth Munson - Architect - Kenneth P. Munson
"I have known Gary for 15+ years and have had the pleasure of working with him on several projects. Gary’s insight, enthusiasm, and DNA philosophy (“Connecting your Message, Purpose, People and Place”), creates projects that expresses the essence of a business. Gary’s approach to each project, his unbridled enthusiasm and “how about, why not, and what if ” inquiries resulted in some great conversations and creative solutions that might otherwise have gone overlooked. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Gary and highly recommend that you meet with him to talk about your project."
Tracy Drash - Director, Retail Operations at Constellation Wines US
"Gary is extremely creative. He helped me to think about my business with a refreshed outlook. I can now better identify strengths and areas that need to be defined within a framework that always keeps me focused on achieving my goals."
Daniel Macdonald - Owner, Daniel Macdonald AIA Architects, Inc.
"I have known Gary for years and have had the pleasure to work with him during his days at Paragon, Kyoob and Powell's Sweet Shoppes. He brings great creativity and a "can-do" approach to all his projects. I certainly look forward to future collaboration with Gary and his team at GFC."
Kelly Marquet-Bodio - Publisher at Legacy 4 Kids Magazine
" I have worked with Gary Finnan on numerous projects over the past 10 years. He is extremely creative, engaging and a joy to work with. He has the ability to see opportunity and solutions to each and every project. I highly recommend working with Gary, he is truly a great addition to any team."
Dani Sheehan-Meyer - Clishe Noe
" Working with Gary is creative, rewarding and a fantastic win/win experience. He has incredible integrity and motivation for success. He brings you on-board and the rest is an endless flow of good work and encouragement."
Jim Diskin - Project Manager Retail Store Construction
"I had the opportunity to work for Gary at Powell's Sweet Shoppe. Gary is focused and creative with the ability to motivate and excite people about his vision. He is enthusiastic and professional and does whatever it takes to get the job done. Gary has the unique talent to design and create a unique shopping/commerce experience while ensuring that profitability is achieved. While working together Gary was charged with taking an existing store design and footprint and reworking the size and functionality on a lower budget which he did successfully while maintaining the aesthetic."
Tim Elias - Owner, Acapella, Inc. As Chief Operating Officer
"I had the pleasure of working closely with Gary in his role as Director of Business Development at Paragon. His insights into our operation were many, and Gary brought a perspective that was previously missing in our organization.
Gary Finnan was a breath of fresh air at Paragon; I know he can challenge and inspire other companies to greater success as well."