Episode 27: Talk About Risk & Growth with Gwen Barker
In this episode, my guest Gwen Barker and I talk about risk and growth and going after the “What if I…?”
It’s a phrase that pops into our minds every now and then, but have you ever followed through on it? What if you started that business? What if you reached out to that vendor you’d love to work with? What if you just picked up your life and moved into the desert? “What if we bought a motel and moved to the desert?”
Well, that’s what Gwen decided to do one day: take a big risk and pursue real growth. Gwen is the co-owner of Rimrock Ranch, a desert retreat and wedding venue in Pioneertown CA. She shared her story about how she went from a freelance producer on the shores of California to a desert-dwelling venue owner. Trust me you won’t wanna miss this one!
Gwen Barker’s Story of Risk & Growth
A native Chicagoan, Gwen Barker managed and produced commercials, live events, and documentaries, working with clients from Fortune 500 companies to indie filmmakers, she has managed projects with budgets from the multi-millions to the meager. She was asked to be an Executive Producer for Digitas San Francisco, where she started the production department. From there, she went on to consult with production companies and agencies as a producer and operations director.
Somewhere along the way, life presented an opportunity to Gwen and her partner, Eric, to leave the traditional rat race, buy a historical motel in the Joshua Tree area and host weddings and other events within the venue space. RIMROCK RANCH is where they now call home and host guests year-round in the California high desert.
Producing events in the desert and acclimating to a new life in the Mojave led her to learn more about conservation. She found it increasingly important to communicate to guests and vendors the importance of being aware of the environment you enter, and how to contribute to a local economy as well as respecting the local wildlife and land. Gwen has since expanded her interests to promoting sustainable tourism in event production and working with government entities to develop that message to their regional tourism platforms with her project LOCALE RETREATS.
If that wasn’t enough…after leaving advertising, she gained some perspective about the rat race—and realizing that it’s not all so bad— if you are racing for something you believe in, and if you are still able to live on your 36-acre property in the Mojave. So, from Joshua Tree, she has started —with the creative vision of her business partner, Kate O’Connell—a small design firm called PERSIST, a progressive feminist agency.
- Discovering Rimrock Ranch
- Transitioning from the City to the Desert
- Changing the Venue
- Advice for Future Risk Takers
- The Future of Rimrock
- Sustainable Retreats
Renee & Gwen Talked About:
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Title Track Voiceover: Melissa Disney
Editor: M. Lynn
Photos: Courtney Paige Ray
Cover Art: Magnoliahouse Creative