This has been a good year for Jim Guttau and his five year old public relations company. Jim says that it’s his busiest year yet since he started Guttau PR in 2005 - with Jamba Juice of Colorado as his first client. Jim adds: “When I decided to become more diversified, it really made a difference in our business, and we’ve had a very busy summer.”
Jim Guttau, the oldest of three children from a small town in Iowa with only 350 people, refers to himself as: “A child of the corn and a flurry of activity.” In 2004, Jim had a sense that it was time to leave his teaching job in Iowa, and listen to his heart telling him there was something more suited to his creative side out there. With lots of Midwest charm and warmth, good manners and great listening skills, Jim headed west to Colorado to build a new life and career.
Never without his positive, “can-do” spirit in tow, Jim became a hard-working volunteer in the nonprofit world, which helped him develop a clear definition of where he wanted to take his new company. It seemed important to him to play a prominent role in his chosen community, and you can tell by the way he nurtures his clients as if they were family.
Jim, not one to sit idle, also makes time for athletics and outdoor adventures and enjoys living in the Highlands neighborhood north of downtown. With his impeccable sense of style, he loves sharp GQ looking clothes - and - come to find out something else about Jim Guttau, he is addicted to wasabi peas and risotto. Oh the wonders of Facebook, and the things you can learn!
His instinct for what works well and when to go back to the basics or try something hip or trendy is uncanny, and it's what makes him so valuable to his clients. If you want a good image, hype or buzz for your company, you couldn't go wrong talking with Jim and his company Guttau PR.
Jim, what projects have you been working on lately? Aside from working with the Denver Public Schools, we’ve been working with the National Kidney Foundation on some of their kidney screenings and kidney walks, and we have our big fundraiser - Great Chefs of the West coming up in February. We are working with the Wilhelmina Modeling Agency which has opened an office in Denver, and that’s a fun project for us. Another exciting new organization we are working with is MoodFood. MoodFood is a conglomerate of forward-thinking organizations that have one common thread—food and nutrition education for Colorado youth and families.
MoodFood works to increase awareness and further the mission of its participating organizations through public relations, marketing, community events, and social networking—under one collective voice. Some of the organizations we have partnered with are: Slow Food Denver, Denver Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services, Feed Denver, Operation Frontline/Share Our Strength, Denver Urban Gardens, and Learning Landscapes. These organizations are leading the way in innovative efforts, such as scratch cooking in public schools, enlisting restaurant chefs to teach cooking classes for students and their families and creating urban gardens right on school playgrounds. Visit www.tools4learning.com/moodfood to learn more.
What is your favorite?
Magazine: 5280 and Denver Magazine for local stuff, and my college alumni magazine – which I know, sounds cheesy. I read so much online now.
Book: Being an old elementary school teacher – and a kid at heart – I would say: Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss.
Place to Shop for Clothes: This great men’s clothing store called Soul Haus in Uptown Denver on 17th & Franklin Street.
Drink: On a Thursday night, feeling like it’s time to start the weekend early – A dirty vodka martini; during the weekend – A coin style margarita (which is made with silver tequila and Cointreau - with a little jalapeno added); and as an old stand by - a vodka soda.
Decadent dessert: Wedding cake with butter cream frosting.
Early Riser or Night Owl: Night Owl!
What is your favorite saying or quote? A Chinese proverb: "A single conversation across a table with a wise man is worth a month's study of books."
What is something no one knows about you? I’m directionally impaired, I get lost all the time. Thank God for maps on my I-Phone.
Who is your hero or mentor? Two people stand out for me: My alumni director from my college who was also my fraternity advisor in college. He was a good mentor and is still a friend of mine. And in Iowa, I worked for a publishing company, Business Publications Corporation, and the owner will forever be someone I look up to, because here's a woman who was divorced with three young daughters and borrowed some money to buy a title company; and also no one was doing a business journal in Des Moines, so she started one. She is now one of the most well known philanthropists in town and one of the wealthiest people in Iowa, and she did it all herself.
With so many nonprofits in town, how does one decide what to personally support? I started doing volunteer marketing for nonprofits when I first moved to Denver, and I had to cut back on that to start my business. The best advice is to look at what you passionately care about - - and will becoming involved with that cause make you feel like you are personally getting something back in return.
What can help you de-stress when needed? Retail Therapy.
Does our economy scare you – and do you consider yourself a risk-taker? In 2009 our economy scared me, but I’m such a positive thinker that 2010 is coming back for us - although in many ways it’s a slow progression. In public relations, we are the first to know if it’s turning around or the first to feel it when organizations are cutting back on their budgets. Right now, we’re out there “fishing” full time, and it’s paying off.
As far as being a risk-taker, I think definitely starting my own business was pretty much by accident. In retrospect now, this business fits me perfectly. I never thought of myself as a risk-taker, but moving here not knowing anyone, and starting my own business a year later, I was in survival mode, so I guess I took some risks. Now I’m okay with taking more risks, I’m looking for larger office space, and I’m super-motivated to expand and open another office in Des Moines, Iowa where I still have a lot of contacts.
What would be a dream-come-true for you, and what adventures are you looking forward to in the future? I really love to travel, and somewhere down the line, I’m hoping to go to two to three different countries a year and just enjoy life to the fullest. My business coach gave me a great Erma Bombeck quote that I like: “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me."