We had the good fortune of connecting with Dennis-Michael Broussard and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dennis-Michael, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I started my event production company, Silk Road Productions, as a side project when I was still in college. It was meant to be something for me to do other than work full time and go to school full time – and surprisingly evolved into something I could get paid to do. I had always been volunteering for nonprofit organizations and in my college organizations, and I just had a talent for project management, since that is essentially what going through grad school was for me, managing a series of projects that had deliverables and deadlines – and ultimately, that is what producing events is – I just never imagined I would be able to make a viable career out of it when I initially started Silk Road. Through working with many nonprofits, creating my own events to benefit community organizations, and my gravitation to humanitarian work, I also created an initiative called the Humanitarian Project, where I travel to not-so-glamourous, developing countries, and do some good for people by bringing water filters to places that don’t have access to clean drinking water. I have done this in Senegal, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and the Philippines – in one instance, where there wasn’t a need for clean water, I brought educational supplies and teaching equipment to a rural part of Eastern Nepal.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Silk Road Productions is an event production and management company, and we’ve received all kinds of awards for the work we’ve done, for the events we’ve produced, and for the impact on the community that we’ve had. We have created events, been hired to produce events, and we also consult with other organizations, first about events, but now about everything from social media marketing to strategic planning. I think there are quite a bit that sets us apart from other event producers, or even event planners and coordinators. I think our ability to market events from a grassroots level is impressive. We’ve had events that we started from scratch sell out months before the event; we’ve had events with over 20,000 people in attendance; and we’ve developed our reputation enough that we are able to work with some of the most iconic institutions in San Diego, including San Diego SeaWorld, the San Diego Padres, the San Diego County Fair, among others. This was not an easy path, as it took a long time, and I didn’t really have a mentor or someone to shadow or follow in their footsteps, so I made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot of things the hard way. I’ve made some really embarrassing blunders, some really costly mistakes, and some naive mistakes – but all of those things have helped pave the way to where we are headed now. One of the many lessons I learned later than sooner was to build a team and to delegate. It took a while for me to realize that I can’t do everything on my own. And once I built a team with some great talent, we were really able to take on bigger projects – and then create some bigger ones, too. One of my continued “flaws” is that I am a risk-taker…and not every project or event is a winner. We definitely have some homeruns, but I’ve had my share of flubs, too. One mistake that I have repeated has been to be overly ambitious on creating things. In 2011, I created a music festival called the AMP Music Festival, that focused on diversity, and despite the talent we had and getting some big names to help promote the event, it didn’t live up to our expectations. So that has been a lesson I have had to relearn, is to be humble with your expectations when you’re taking a big risk. I’d like the world to know that we want to create meaningful experiences for people, to open minds, to connect people to other cultures and philosophies, and to do more good in this world.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If I had a guest in for about a week and needed to show the best of the best in San Diego – I’d take them to the San Diego Safari Park, Balboa Park for the park and all the museums, Coronado (harbor side for the San Diego view and then the beach side and visit the Hotel Del Coronado), La Jolla Shores (north of the Scripps Pier – probably one of the most beautiful beaches ever), La Jolla Cove and Sunset Cliffs for sunsets, Ocean Beach and Pacific Beach for the differences in beach town vibes, and if we were feeling extra adventurous, we would go over the border to Tijuana and Rosarito. They’d definitely be eating fish tacos, carne asada fries, we would get some ramen (shoutouts to Tajima and BeShock), and of course I would have to slide in one of the karaoke joints over in the Convoy area.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
If I had to give a shoutout to the organizations who I first got involved with in San Diego – which included the San Diego Asian Film Festival, the National Asian American Coalition (then called the Mabuhay Alliance), and Asia Media Inc. These organizations are the first ones who took a chance on me when I was first coming up in the community. And through working with them, it opened doors to other organizations, and eventually gave me the idea being able to make a career out of what I do.