Meet Syracuse Alumnus David Reiseman

An award-winning communications and marketing executive, David Reiseman is the vice president of communications at Gold’s Gym International.  He received his degree in political science from Maxwell in 1997 and went on to help build Gold’s communications department from the ground up.  In 2004, the company moved to Dallas, and if you were to tell Reiseman years ago that he would be living there, he would have said that is “absolutely insane.”  But he also said when you are passionate about something and love your career, you roll with it.

ReisemanQ: How did you get into the communications industry?

A: My whole plan was to go to ‘Cuse, major in political science, attend law school, and have a career in politics.  When I interned with a congressman in my junior year, I gravitated toward the communications aspect of what they were doing.  When I graduated, I moved down to Atlanta and got a job bartending.  I dedicated my days to hitting the ground with my resume, calling every communications and public relations firm I could find.  Finally, I got an internship with Golin Harris.  The person I had been working for went to Fleishman-Hillard, and he took me with him. I became an account executive over there and worked for really cool brands.  I later took a position in Los Angeles with an integrated agency.  One of our accounts was Gold’s Gym, and that became my baby.  The CEO asked if I would be interested in coming in-house.  They had never had a full-time communications person before, and I jumped at the opportunity.  I laid down the structure and protocol for things that had not existed before.  In many ways it was like a startup with the internal structure.

Q: How did the Newhouse classes you took prepare you for your future in communications?

A: The faculty at SU was terrific.  Most of the professors were very forward-thinking.  It’s impossible for anyone to anticipate what the next change will be, but you can anticipate change.  Having the benefit of hindsight, I might have explored transferring into Newhouse if I had discovered my passion a little earlier.

Q: What is your favorite part about working with Gold’s Gym?

A: First, the diversity in the position.  Whether it’s working on national ad campaigns, public relations, internal communications, or the incredible relationships with our franchisees, and whether that’s corresponding or strategizing, there is a great international footprint that Gold’s has.  I also love the industry of fitness.  I get emails and photos from people who come to our gym having been told they will never walk again, and now they are back on their feet.  You realize that’s why you get out of bed in the morning.  It’s rare that you get to work on a brand that means so much to so many people.  Public relations, in a lot of ways, is what has built the Gold’s Gym brand.  Media, celebrity association, events, and guerrilla marketing.  Over time it has really developed into one of the strongest brands in the industry, if not the world.  I’m not sure I could have scripted anything better.

Q: What is your favorite Syracuse memory?

A: There was always that one day in March, every year like clockwork, when it was 45 degrees, sunny, and a national holiday.  People would wear shorts and t-shirts, sit on couches outside, and any other school would look at us like we lost our minds.  As a Syracuse graduate, you will always have a built-in novelty story to tell if you travel anywhere outside of where they have lake effect.  If you try explaining to people on the West Coast or in Florida or Texas how there were times you used to enjoy when it was 45 degrees and sunny, you will have a lot of fun looking at their reactions.

Q: Do you have any advice for Newhouse students?

A: The best thing you can do is be a sponge, learn everything you can about everything, and be able to adapt quickly.  Be able to multitask and think on your feet.  What is standard practice today will be outdated tomorrow.  Also remember that no matter what area of communications you are passionate about, you have to be knowledgable about all the different spectrums.  There is no such thing as the spcecialist working on one thing at an agency.  You have to know how everything blends together.