Andre Gaccetta: “To prevent burnout have a firm vision for your ultimate goal; that helps build a roadmap to steer you along the way”

My advice would be to define who you are and what you want to be, whether that’s a product or a service, and be smart about defining the audience. A great deal of leadership, entrepreneurship, and business is about building the highway while you’re driving down it — so unless you have big venture capital money, you’ll […]

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My advice would be to define who you are and what you want to be, whether that’s a product or a service, and be smart about defining the audience. A great deal of leadership, entrepreneurship, and business is about building the highway while you’re driving down it — so unless you have big venture capital money, you’ll need to figure most things out as you go. Having that firm vision for your ultimate goal helps build a framework or roadmap to steer you along the way.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Andre Gaccetta. Andre is the founder and CEO of G7 Entertainment Marketing and brings a bounty of strategic thinking and creative solutions to the table. He embodies the G7 mantra, “Fan First,” with an inexhaustible passion for the music industry experienced through the eyes and ears of a fan. Gaccetta and his team specialize in music marketing strategy, partnerships and endorsements, tour activations, branded content and talent booking — bringing brands to full, vibrant life through music and entertainment. Gaccetta’s visionary ideas and reputation built from constant innovation have allowed him to partner with the biggest stars, record labels, radio and digital content execs, TV entertainment producers, artist managers, agents, and promoters across the globe. Under his leadership, the team at G7 has created award-winning programs with recognition such as the Billboard Concert Marketing & Promotion Award. Gaccetta received his degree from Bowling Green State University and also served in the Army National Guard. He currently resides in Nashville, TN with his family.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a bit about your childhood “backstory”?

Thank you for having me! First and foremost, my father played a huge role in influencing my decision to join the military, as he was in the Air Force and met my mother while stationed in Italy. Not only that, one of my closest cousins joined the Army after college.

I had initially intended on leveraging my soccer skills to obtain a college scholarship. When that didn’t work out, I observed how well my cousin was doing in the Army and how focused he was. I became motivated to learn more and found that the Army could help finance college, which is when I decided to join the National Guard.

At the time, I had no idea how significantly this decision would impact my future and the profound lessons I would learn. For me, the Army was everything I hoped it would be. I loved the structure, the lack of guesswork, the regimented training and schedules. Everything was determined for you — and I found a lot of comfort in that. After working my way up to Sergeant, I decided to use what I learned and head toward the business world.

And what are you doing today? Can you share a story that exemplifies the unique work that you are doing?

Today I am the CEO of G7 Entertainment Marketing. We’re based in Nashville with offices in a number of cities throughout the US, specializing in experiential and event marketing, entertainment strategy, talent booking and production.

We have a wide portfolio of clients on both the brand and talent side. One key strategy I took from the military is called ‘field expediency’ — a technical term for adaptability. Experiential and entertainment marketing is a field that is constantly changing, and it’s imperative we remain flexible, calm and innovative while ready to course correct whenever needed. Many times, our clients come to us not knowing exactly what they need, and it is our job to anticipate every possible outcome and have a plan for the unexpected. A large part of our success resides in the ongoing use of our training, discipline, and capabilities, just like when I was in the military.

Can you share the most interesting story that you experienced during your military career? What “take away” did you learn from that story?

My most impactful experience in the military came not from the battlefield, but from humanitarian work I was sent to do in Honduras, which at the time was very much a developing country. Our work was with people who lived very far from the airport, helping them build roads to have better access to resources and more developed villages. It was the first time I had been exposed to an environment under such harsh conditions. Despite the limited means and challenging environment, the people exuded constant joy. There were vast differences between those I was serving and me — that was eye-opening. They didn’t have running water, technology, or even shoes, and still found a way to live with gratitude. You can’t buy that kind of perspective.

I’m interested in fleshing out what a hero is. Did you experience or hear about a story of heroism, during your military experience? Can you share that story with us? Feel free to be as elaborate as you’d like.

Fortunately, I was never involved in active combat. While willing, it wasn’t something I ever had to experience, however I have certainly seen heroism. To me, it’s something I would reserve for a person that has put their life on the line for others, or their country. Quite frankly, ever since I left the military, I’ve put effort into helping people recognize the sacrifices that our soldiers make as it’s important to elevate the incredible acts of heroism that happen every single day. My favorite example links back to an activation I was involved with called “Camp Jeep.” Every year Jeep owners are invited to a day-long event at different locations across the country. At Camp Jeep, we decided to honor soldiers by producing an air show that featured aircraft from WWII. In conjunction, we threw a traditional WWII inspired USO themed dance — transforming the air hangar into a venue with singers, dancers, and a 10-piece band, the whole nine yards.

It just so happened that Harvey Possinger, the most decorated living combat veteran from WWII, lived only a few miles from that year’s Camp Jeep location. Once we found out, we couldn’t wait to invite him. He showed up with veterans from various US conflicts — decorated head to toe in his medals. Being able to honor these heroes who guarded and protected our safety, risking their lives, was one of the most gratifying experiences of my career — and we had a blast producing it.

Based on that story, how would you define what a “hero” is? Can you explain?

In my opinion, a hero is someone who is willing to abandon all aspects of themselves to help others. Of course, the battlefield is a natural place for heroism — these people are constantly risking their lives, getting hurt, and putting themselves in harm’s way to protect people they’ve never even met. That isn’t the only way to display heroism, though. I think of Tiananmen Square as an example — the iconic image of one man standing in front of military tanks marching in communist China. There’s a reason it has resonated for decades. No matter what might be at stake, a hero’s cause always outweighs the risk.

Based on your military experience, can you share with our readers 5 Leadership or Life Lessons that you learned from your experience”? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Stay Calm Under Pressure. In the military, lives depend on one’s ability to be even-keel. In business, while typically not life threatening, it’s the difference between success and failure. Chaos only breeds more chaos, so someone needs to be the calm in the storm.
  2. Always Look Sharp. Uniforms are imperative in the military, and we were tasked with keeping them looking nearly perfect at all times. It’s the idea that one’s outward appearance reflects their internal values. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Dress for the job that you want,” and I totally agree. The way you present yourself will impact perception — it doesn’t take high-end brands or custom suits, it’s about aligning with the goal at hand.
  3. Discipline. This one may seem obvious, but with an abundance of choices and distractions at all times it’s becoming more difficult to focus. The military teaches you the value of keeping your head down and accomplishing a goal. There’s plenty of people depending on you at all times, and it’s imperative that you can be counted on to take care of your team.
  4. Lead By Example. Leaders are tasked with always inspiring and motivating those that follow them. People will listen to your words and follow your directions, but there is no better way to communicate the way that you’d like someone to act than showing them yourself. You know the phrase, “Treat people the way you’d like to be treated”? I learned that the best way to be in charge is to “Lead people the way you’d like them to follow.”
  5. Life Isn’t Fair, But You Can Be. When there’s a way to do it, be fair. In the military and in business, you’re often working with large groups of people in tandem, and without fairness there cannot be a balanced work environment.

Do you think your experience in the military helped prepare you for business? Can you explain?

My experience in the military was invaluable preparation for the business world — especially as a leader. It taught me the fundamentals of hard work and determination, and how to effectively manage and inspire a team.

The military gave me the opportunity to pressure test my leadership abilities when everything was at stake — making day-to-day business decisions is a breeze comparatively. The military also grounded me in a deep sense of moral integrity. Being surrounded every day by men and women who are willing to lay down their lives for a cause they care about has inspired me to carry that passion in everything that I do.

I also gained incredible exposure to other cultures, people, and ways of life. I obtained cultural intelligence which gives me the opportunity to interact with and learn from all different types of people — this is always beneficial both personally and professionally.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We’re always working on new and exciting projects! You’ll have to stay tuned to our work.

What advice would you give to other leaders to help their team to thrive?

My advice would be to define who you are and what you want to be, whether that’s a product or a service, and be smart about defining the audience. A great deal of leadership, entrepreneurship, and business is about building the highway while you’re driving down it — so unless you have big venture capital money, you’ll need to figure most things out as you go. Having that firm vision for your ultimate goal helps build a framework or roadmap to steer you along the way.

What advice would you give to other leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

Infrastructure is everything, and that means everyone understanding where they fit. Make sure everyone on your team has a defined job description and understands how to measure success — for them and for the team at large. Clarity and communication is key so that everyone remains aligned.

A “Commander’s Intent” is something that they taught us in the military. In business, it would likely be called, “A Leader’s Compass.” It describes knowing the what, why, and how of what your commander is doing. Every member should have some form of clarity on what the end goal is at all times from the top to the bottom of the organization. If individuals are well aware of the role they play in the organization and have a clear understanding of the objectives at hand, teams become a well-oiled machine.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’ll say this, it’s always helpful to have a mentor, and for a lot of people that doesn’t necessarily have to be someone in your line of business. It can be a strategic sounding board, where the dialogue is insightful. Having someone guide you and be an advocate, will give you inspiration to pay it back through the success that the person helped fuel. I’ve definitely had these along the way in my life that have contributed to my success and G7’s success.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

At G7, we’re lucky enough to be able to support an organization called “Musicians on Call,” which provides live music at the bedside of patients in hospitals, hospice, retirement centers, and veterans facilities. Music has incredible healing power, and we are able to leverage our connections and resources to provide that to people who really need it.

On my own, I’ve taken a more individual approach towards giving back. I’ve met many people throughout my life who have struck a chord with me and I have taken it upon myself to help lift them up and use my resources to make their lives better. There’s a lot of ways to give back — through organizations, donating time, donating money, volunteering your know-how — however, the version that I find most gratifying is one-on-one involvement. I’ve connected with people who have crossed my path over the years, helping one landscaper grow his small business, or helping guide a homeless man on the path to a more fulfilling life, and generally doing what I can for these people who have left an imprint on me.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I have a passion for helping people suffering from homelessness. If I could inspire a movement, it would be to integrate homeless people into society in a way that is dignified and allows them the opportunity to contribute and become productive members of society. It goes without saying that everyone deserves basic human necessities — water, food, clothing, shelter — but I am eager for a solution to address the root cause of the issue and can satisfy society as a whole — rising all tides.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

If you’re ever going to find a four-leaf clover, you’ve got to get a little dirt on your hands. Luck plays an enormous role in who and what becomes successful in this world, but there is no substitute for hard work. I’ve had to find and create my own luck many times over, but the thing that didn’t change was my willingness to roll my sleeves up and get to work.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I would love to have lunch with Bono. Not only is he the frontman of one of music’s most legendary bands, but I have always admired his support for social causes. He’s truly someone who has leveraged his celebrity as a platform to help others. I like to think we have similar passions, so I would love the opportunity to pick his brain over a beer.

Thank you for all of these great insights!

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About the author:

Chaya Weiner is the Director of branding and photography at Authority Magazine’s Thought Leader Incubator. TLI is a thought leadership program that helps leaders establish a brand as a trusted authority in their field. Please click HERE to learn more about Thought Leader Incubator.

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