We had the good fortune of connecting with Gertie Harris and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gertie, what do you attribute your success to?
I would say a lot of my personal success and the success of my company, Fireside at Five, has to do with me being a highly relational person with strong communication skills and a lot of emotional intelligence. I grew up as the oldest child in a pretty big, exuberant, Jewish family with a Therapist for a mother and a Communications Director for a father — so I’d say I owe a lot of my success to my family and how I was raised. It is a bit funny to me that the traits I just mentioned are all things I used to feel very embarrassed by. I thought I was too outspoken, opinionated, vocal, and that the only way to be successful was to keep my head down and stay the course. As a society, I find it interesting that we perpetuate the narrative that success can only be attributed to people with a high IQ. Intelligence is obviously part of the equation, but being able to connect and engage in a deeper and more sincere capacity has helped me forge relationships with people all over the world that I never thought I’d have the privilage to work with. Ironically, that’s really where the concept of Fireside at Five came from. We first conceptualized Fireside at Five back in March at the onset of the pandemic to provide facilitated, virtual Fireside Chats for connection, community, and catharsis. Since then, I’ve been able to connect and engage with over 500 people from all walks of life, backgrounds, and communities. It has been the biggest privilege of my life to create something that allows others to be more intentional, more vulnerable, and more active in their communities.
What should our readers know about your business?
As I previously mentioned, we created Fireside at Five at the onset of Covid-19 when the world craved community, catharsis, and connection the most. It all started when we began facilitating intimate, solution-driven, industry happy hour Chats with passionates and professionals from across the country. Not only were our Chats filled with stimulating discussion questions, articles, and insights, but they were always participant-driven and encouraged intentionality. What began as a platform for industry happy hour Chats quickly developed into a community-driven programming and activation collective that works with local organizations and businesses to educate, inspire, and mobilize through experiential in-person and virtual events. At our core, we value collaboration, community, and connection, and the way we operate our Fireside projects is no different. Our values-driven approach to community-based marketing and public relations provides our clients with authentic and intentional brand recognition, an expanded network to forge partnership opportunities, and an avenue to connect with engaged consumers outside of the client’s community. To date, we’ve facilitated over 100 Chats with 500+ diverse community participants and have covered 25+ topics with insights from industry leaders all over the country. We’ve also partnered and completed 8 multi-part Sponsored Series and 7 Special Community Projects. Our mission is to leave the campsite better than we found it — together, we believe we can achieve that.
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?
Before I answer this AMAZING question, I need to give a little background information about myself. Before starting Fireside at Five, my career was entirely based around tourism, hospitality, and entertainment in Denver. One of my favorite things in the world is to take someone around Denver for the first time. I’ve worked with Larimer Square, Denver Union Station, Dairy Block, The Oxford Hotel, The Crawford Hotel, The Maven Hotel, Lowry Beer Garden, and Hangar 2. Not only do I love this question because I have so many great spots around the city to share, but also because I LOVE to create personalized, Denver itineraries for my visitors (nerdy, I know). Here’s a pre-covid itinerary for an adventurous foodie who loves to go out and walk around the city. Favorite Restaurants:
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
When we first started Fireside at Five, we had no idea what it would become. Would it be a temporary thing for the community? A full collective? We had no money, no business plan, no real direction and we were working out of my garage, which I’d converted into a collaborative office space. It was at that time that we brought together a team of 7 friends and asked them if they wanted to be involved with us. We’d never run a business, most of us were freshly unemployed or furloughed, and our goal was really just to create some good for others. Everyone on that 7-person team was instrumental in making Fireside at Five what it is today so I’d be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to shout them out. To the OG Fireside at Five Team: Connor Holmes, Trevor Tandy, Jeff Fierberg, Gaby Margas, Marissa Goldman, Kai Walsh, and Anna Guyette — thank you for bringing Fireside at Five to life. Each of you helped shape the foundation and culture of this collective and I am forever grateful for that. From Chat agendas to website updates, social media to email campaigns, late-night branding exercises to facilitated Chats— your collaboration and passion are why we’re here today. Thank you for growing Fireside at Five with me.
Connor Holmes Jeff Fierberg