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Bossing It: David Gold on Having Leadership in His DNA

Bossing It 58 Add to collection

Yessian Music LA's managing director/EP on remaining humble, communicating and accepting responsibility

Bossing It: David Gold on Having Leadership in His DNA

A Southern California native, David Gold is fully integrated into Los Angeles Music, Art and Culture. David started his music career as the member of multiple bands and composing game tracks for Activision, EA and others. He went on to become the creative director and head of production at Elias Arts for nearly two decades overseeing music production for clients such as Nike, Visa, Pepsi, Intel, Apple, Levi’s, Nissan, Target and countless others. David has worked directly on multiple corporate branding & identity projects for the likes of Yahoo, Farmers Insurance, Honda, Cisco, Intel and more. He has collaborated with the Los Angeles and London Philharmonic as well as artists such as T Bone Burnett, Nicki Minaj, Perry Farrell, Cut Chemist and many more. His experience as a composer, producer and creative director allow him the unique capacity to manage all steps of the music production process. David oversees Yessian’s west coast operations.

LBB> What was your first experience of leadership?

David> I was always the de facto Band Manager for any bands I played in growing up. My first professional leadership role was being promoted to creative director for Elias Arts on the West Coast in the late 90’s.

LBB> How did you figure out what kind of leader you wanted to be – or what kind of leader you didn’t want to be?

David> When I was first promoted to management, I was placed in a position above many other co workers that I had either been an assistant for or worked under in some capacity. It was very important that I approach my new role as part of the team and not simply a ‘Boss’. Being able to maintain positive, open and creative relationships with my co-workers was paramount.


LBB> What experience or moment gave you your biggest lesson in leadership?

David> Unfortunately, the first time I had to fire an employee that was also a close friend. Having to learn how to separate friendships from business, but still focusing on maintaining the relationship at all costs, is not an easy lesson to learn.

LBB> Did you know you always wanted to take on a leadership role? If so how did you work towards it and if not, when did you start realising that you had it in you?

David> I think being a leader has always been in my DNA. I’m the type of person that takes challenges on directly and leads by example. Never asking of others what I’m not willing to do myself.


LBB> When it comes to 'leadership' as a skill, how much do you think is a natural part of personality, how much can be taught and learned?

David> Leadership skills are probably 50/50 nature and nurtured. You have to have a natural skill set, but we all need a mentor.

LBB> What are the aspects of leadership that you find most personally challenging? And how do you work through them?

David> The hardest part for me is when you have to be firm with employees or reprimand someone. I strive to make sure that people are put in the right position and given the tools and information they need to succeed. I tend to hold people to their own merits and don’t like policing other’s work.. But sometimes it’s required.

LBB> Have you ever felt like you've failed whilst in charge? How did you address the issue and what did you learn from it?

David> We all make mistakes. Remain humble, communicate and accept responsibility and your team will be stronger for it.

LBB> In terms of leadership and openness, what’s your approach there? Do you think it’s important to be transparent as possible in the service of being authentic? Or is there a value in being careful and considered?

David> I like to be as transparent as possible. I find people do not respond well if they feel something is being hidden from them. Of course, there are always certain administrative details that cannot be shared, but I strive to be as open as I can.

LBB> As you developed your leadership skills did you have a mentor, if so who were/are they and what have you learned? And on the flip side, do you mentor any aspiring leaders and how do you approach that relationship?

David> I was given the opportunity to head up the creative department for Elias Arts for nearly 20 years. Jonathan Elias helped me learn the ropes and showed me how to balance both the creative and business side of our Industry. I try to pass this knowledge along by being open and sharing my experience with co workers and not simply operating in a bubble.

LBB> It's been a really challenging year - and that's an understatement. How do you cope with the responsibility of leading a team through such difficult waters?

David> Daily communication has been key. Trying to keep a routine and constant communication while our Team has not been physically in the same location has been extremely important.

LBB> This year has seen the industry confronted with its lack of action/progress on diversity and inclusion. As a leader how have you dealt with this?

David> At Yessian, people are judged by the quality of their work. We actively encourage and seek out Creative input from all of our staff, regardless of gender, age, race or experience level.

LBB> How important is your company culture to the success of your business? And how have you managed to keep it alive with staff working remotely in 2020?

David> We are fortunate to have a growing here at Yessian that has been able to maintain its 'Family Owned' feel and collectiveness. We have multiple Studios and work with a lot of Freelancers and outside Talent, so we had a lot of experience coordinating remotely. 2020 and Covid obviously brought a lot of new challenges, but I feel we were more prepared than many others to take on this new reality.

LBB> What are the most useful resources you’ve found to help you along your leadership journey?

David> I feel like I’ve used this word a few times already, but ‘communication’ is the key to Leadership. Employees only respect you and give their all if they feel that you are being straight, honest & forthright with them. Just like any relationship, a leader and employee relationship has to be mutual, otherwise it won’t succeed and it won’t last.

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Yessian Music, Wed, 18 May 2022 10:00:45 GMT