CLS Strategies 10 Questions: Brian Berry

December 10, 2015

CLS Strategies 10 Questions: Brian Berry

Name: Brian Berry 
Title: Partner 
Time with CLS: 15 years

1. In your career, what is the best advice you’ve been given?

You’re in the relationship business.  Never believe for a second that you can carry a relationship over email. 

2. What would you tell yourself if you could go back and give yourself advice on your first day at CLS?

Arrive at Greek Deli at 11:45 and you’ll always find Avgolemeno. 

3. If you weren’t in the PR industry, what would you be doing?

Back in the restaurant business.  It’s brutal, unforgiving, and a 360 degree joy and passion for me personally.  Just like deep sea fishing. Yeah, maybe I’d be a charter fisherman too. 

4. What dream client/industry would you like to work with?

Easy.  My dream client would be AC/DC. Those boys are no bullshit rock and rollers. What you see is what you get, absolute professionals in every sense of what the music industry was and unfortunately no longer is today. 

5. What has been a highlight moment in your career with CLS thus far?

We were part of a campaign in Florida to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for kidney dialysis.  I was running point on media relations and grassroots.  This was pre social media so we couldn’t turn to digital targeting and engagement.  We relied on paper petitions that we delivered to dialysis centers throughout the state to generate more than 10,000 signed petitions in less than 2 weeks. Every media market and daily newspaper in the state covered us.  Our lobby days in Tallahassee were inspiring, as I walked alongside sick kidney disease patients to help them make their case to legislators.  We won. Didn’t have to concede an inch.  Patients would continue to receive their life-sustaining care and doctors who provided it would no longer be forced to take a loss. I formed a friendship with a terrific soft-spoken advocate, John, who was an on-the-road Gibson guitar salesman for years before he was diagnosed.  He died later that year, and learning of his passing but a very depressing blow, but the Chronic Kidney Disease community in Florida reminded me that he was a success in helping improve the situation for everyone else.  He inspired me.  To this day, my greatest professional achievement.   

6. What is your favorite sport? Sports team?

NY Giants

7. What is your hidden talent?

Most people know I can cook (former chef), but they don’t know I am very handy and am proud of my finish work (cabinetry, moldings, etc.). 

8. What would be the theme song of your life?

For those About to Rock, We Salute You (AC/DC)
Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution (AC/DC) 

9. What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?

Bull brains in Sevilla, Spain.  

10. Which superpower would you choose: the ability to fly, time travel, or invisibility?

Time travel.  Just once.  I’d go back and relive my 2011 Costa Rican fishing trip with my father.  I wouldn’t change a thing, but now that he’s gone I’d cherish getting to do it all over again. 

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