Executive Spotlight Q&A: Gordy Rush, vice president and general manager, Guaranty Media

Photography by Don Kadair

Gordy Rush

Position: Vice President and General Manager, Guaranty Media

Age: 48

Family: He and wife, Ashley, have three children: Gordon “G,” 9; Jax, 6; and Jordyn Jean, 4

Hometown: Gretna, Louisiana

Education: Graduated from LSU in 1991 with a degree in business administration

 What was your very first job, and what was the biggest takeaway from the experience?  

My first job was doing a sports radio show and producing other shows in Port Allen for WIBR. The biggest takeaway was that I learned how to do every job in the building, which gave me a foundation to grow in the business.

What is one thing about your job that might surprise people?  

The amount of phone calls, texts, and e-mails I receive on a daily basis. I played golf with some clients recently and after a four hour round I picked up phone to see 186 calls, texts and e-mails. I was tempted to throw my phone on the pond. 

You’re leading a big meeting today but you’re not feeling it. How do you get your head back in the game?

I think of the pain of a wasted opportunity and that I’m going to probably have to go through this again. At that point, I’m able to dial in and focus through the task at hand.

Who inspires you and why?

My father will always be my hero and role model. I recently had a chance to see Simon Sinek in person and read two of his books. The simple exercise of defining the ”why” personally in my life and for our company has a tremendous impact on me. I would strongly recommend reading Start with Why.

What do think the elected officials and community leaders in our city need to do to ensure our local economy continues to grow?

We desperately need a leader to stand up, drop their parties’ agenda and commit to meeting “somewhere” in the middle. We need some sort of compromise. Unfortunately, we continue to hear the same old broken record locally and in Washington, D.C. The biggest issue in our community is fixing education which is the backbone of any community.

What’s the greatest personal or professional obstacle you’ve had to overcome, and how did you do it?

In 2007, my father passed, my mother was in the hospital the next day with 245/186 blood pressure and could have passed, and 10 days later my first son was born. It was the worst and best thing that ever happened to me. I overcame it by putting on my big boy pants, put my head down and got after it every day. It helped form who I am today.

What made you decide to pursue a business degree while attending LSU and playing for the Tigers football team, and how has that decision shaped your life?

Obviously, the football experience was incredible, but for me the values learned from playing collegiate football have been invaluable.

  • Time management: It forced me to manage my time at an age when most people were enjoying the college experience.
  • Discipline: Simply put, being held accountable for doing things that I didn’t always want to do has carried over into the workplace.
  • Overcoming adversity: In football you will have a bad play or make a mistake, the ability to flush that play and get off the ground to play the next play has been huge both personally and professionally.
  • Tune out the noise: Football has plenty of trash talk and critics. You have to be able to block out the gossip and drama and grow thick skin or it will affect your performance.
  • Teamwork: Just being part of a team and experiences the highs and lows has helped me create a vision for a team in a profession that compensation is oftern based on individual performance more than team performance.

Where are your favorite things to do in your free time? 

What free time? LOL. Spending time with my family is first and foremost. Personally, I love to play golf, watch and play soccer, and ride my bike. 

What’s the best vacation you’ve ever taken, and where do you hope to visit next?

The best family vacation has to be Disney World with my family. Just to see my kids’ faces was incredible. My favorite personal vacation was a golf trip to Bandon Dunes in Bandon, Oregon, which sits on the Pacific Ocean on the southern tip of Oregon. I hope to go to London soon. I’m a huge soccer fan and want to see my favorite team, Tottenham Hotspur.

You occasionally retweet inspirational quotes to your followers on Twitter. Do you have a favorite?

“Live with a beautiful soul” —Me

“Nothing happens unless first a dream” —Carl Sandburg

You’ve been asked to put together a short playlist of five songs at a party. What are we going to hear?

No need to put together a playlist, I simply turn on Eagle 98.1 or 100.7 the Tiger!

You’re taking me out to a business lunch in Baton Rouge. Where are we going and what do you recommend I order?

Ruffino’s on a Friday. Get the Grilled Shrimp Caesar Salad and put your earplugs in just in case Ruffin Rodrigue decides to start singing.

What’s your usual morning routine to get your day off to a good start?

The first thing I do every morning is hang upside down on my inversion table in my garage for 10 minutes in prayer. The first thing I do when I get to my office every day is read 15 pages of whatever book I am reading at the time.

How do you unwind after a particularly busy day or week?

Disconnect from my iPad and iPhone and play with my kids. I’m also very passionate about Tito’s and Cheetos to take the edge off.

Do you ever get tired of talking about LSU football?

Sure I do, especially when I am on a rare “date night” with my wife in a restaurant and we get approached by someone with coaching shorts who wants to know what percentage of snaps LU Defensive Coordinator Dave Aranda had in a 3-4 versus a 4-3 in 2016.

You’ve been inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and have been named “Broadcaster of the Year,” among many other honors and awards. What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishments?

The greatest professional accomplishment has been our team’s ability to create a winning, healthy culture at Guaranty Media. Awards and recognition are nice but they all eventually wind up on a shelf or a box in the attic.

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