I am excited to introduce our readers to amazing and caring people who live, work, play and do business in our community and city. Learning about people of all lifestyles, talents, and personalities who I think would be interesting for our readers to enjoy. San Diego has a wonderful diversity of individuals who make our slice of paradise the greatest place to live and enjoy each other’s uniqueness.
It is always great to run into old friends from our past. I remember meeting William back in the 1990s, during good and difficult times. What I’ve always admired about William is his dedication to his work and community. William has been very successful in his trade, community service, and his relationship. Devoted to the love of his life, husband Phillip Collum, they have created a loving family together. It is my pleasure to introduce you all to a man that is full of love, kindness, and with positive ambition, my friend William Lopez.
How did you end up in San Diego and what do you love about it?
I ended up in San Diego because I applied for a promotion from my job in the communications/promotions department at Enterprise Car Rental in Chicago. Fortunately, I was offered the position and made the move. What I love about San Diego is its proximity to various places such as the ocean, mountains, and even Mexico. It’s amazing to have all these different experiences available within a short drive.
Tell me about yourself?
I’m excited to be turning 50 this year on June 8th. I live with my incredible husband and our three dogs in Mt. Helix., but I’m originally from Chicago and still travel there 7-9 days a month for work. I’m the middle child of a family of five, I’m of mixed race, and consider myself a foodie, although I don’t cook – I’m very appreciative of home-cooked meals! Professionally, I’m the owner of Alternative Strategies, a full-service marketing communications firm that specializes in the hospitality industry. In addition to my work, I also serve on the board of the PRSA-San Diego/Imperial County Chapter and as the board president for the North Park Main Street organization. I have an appointed position with the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, where I serve on their LGBTQ+ Advisory Council. Outside of work, I volunteer with Paws4Thoughts animal rescue, which is where we adopted two of our three dogs, and with Corazon De Vida, a nonprofit that provides crucial support for orphaned and abandoned children in Baja. And finally, I’m a bit addicted to Orange Theory Fitness – I find it to be a great way to stay active and healthy.
In your professional life what makes your work stand out and how has it changed your life?
I feel incredibly blessed in my professional life. I founded Alternative Strategies in 2000, and over the years, it has evolved into a full-service marketing communications firm that specializes in the hospitality industry. What sets us apart is our talented and diverse team of graphic and web designers, social media experts, marketing, and PR professionals, all of whom are dedicated to representing our clients in the best possible light. Our portfolio includes more than 40 restaurants and bars, the San Diego Brewers Guild, four breweries, a shopping center, a boutique hotel, and two legal dispensaries.
Working in this industry has been truly life-changing for me. I’ve had the privilege of meeting and working with so many incredible people, many of whom have become close friends and even family. My work is not only rewarding but also fulfilling, as it allows me to continuously learn and stay on top of the ever-changing marketing platforms and initiatives. Being a part of the opening of new restaurants and rebranding existing brands keeps our clients relevant and in-demand in a competitive market.
As a leader, I also have the opportunity to mentor team members and help them grow professionally, which is a rewarding experience in itself. Additionally, I have a seat at the table with thriving restaurant groups, where we discuss strategies for expanding and making necessary changes to their existing and future locations. It’s incredibly fulfilling to know that our work is making a difference and helping our clients achieve their goals. Overall, I am grateful for the opportunities that this profession has provided me and the many ways in which it has positively impacted my life.
Where do you see yourself in five years and what goals do you have to help you live your best life?
In five years, I see myself continuing to strive towards living my best life ever. I believe that growth and learning are key to achieving this goal. I will continue to invest in my personal and professional development, taking on new challenges and exploring new opportunities.
One of my main goals is to expand our client base in Chicago, where I spend a significant amount of time each month for work. As a business owner, I am always looking for new ways to grow and improve our services. This includes exploring new markets and building relationships with potential clients.
Beyond my work, I am also on a journey to find a new hobby that will challenge me both personally and professionally. I believe that having a hobby outside of work is important for maintaining a healthy work-life balance and promoting overall wellbeing. I am open to exploring different options and am excited about the possibilities that lie ahead.
Through all these pursuits, my passion for my craft will continue to drive me forward. I am committed to providing the highest level of service to our clients and am constantly seeking new ways to innovate and improve.
I hope that my journey inspires others to live their best life ever, whatever that may mean for them. We all have the power to make positive changes in our lives and pursue our passions. By investing in ourselves and staying committed to our goals, we can achieve great things.
Do you have any nicknames from when you were a child and what did you want to be when you grew up?
Believe it or not, some of my friends in Chicago actually call me ‘Billy’. I’m not sure how or why it started, but it stuck!
As for what I wanted to be when I grew up, I had big dreams of becoming a teacher. I was convinced that I was destined to inspire the next generation of young minds. But as it turns out, my calling ended up being a little different.
Instead of shaping young minds in a classroom, I found my passion in the world of marketing and communications. And while I may not have a chalkboard or a class of students, I still get to teach and inspire in my own way.
Who knows what other surprises life has in store? But for now, I’ll keep answering to ‘Billy’ and doing my best to make my childhood self-proud.
Who inspires you in life to do your very best and why?
Undoubtedly, my husband is my biggest inspiration in life. Phillip Collum leads by example, exhibiting qualities such as hard work, kindness, patience, and humility. He is someone who sees the best in everyone and gives selflessly without expecting anything in return. His ability to approach conflicts and situations with an open mind and various perspectives is admirable.
I am incredibly proud of his recent promotion to the Assistant Chief of Police for the City of Chula Vista, and his many talents outside of work, such as cooking, photography, and IT expertise. Phillip also serves on the board of directors for our church, further highlighting his commitment to helping others.
Above all, he supports me in all my decisions, even those he may not agree with, and encourages me to be the best version of myself. We have a wonderful life together while also maintaining our own unique interests and identities. I am incredibly grateful for his love and unwavering support, which continues to inspire me to pursue my dreams and goals.
If you could give someone advice about your art, hobby, or business, what would you tell them?
If there is one piece of advice, I would give someone about their art, hobby, or business, it would be to remain passionate about it. Passion is the driving force that propels us to greatness and pushes us to achieve our goals. If you don’t love what you do, it’s difficult to put in the effort required to excel in your field.
I believe that happiness in our professional lives spills over into our personal lives. When we are happy and fulfilled in our work, we are more content and fulfilled in our personal relationships. But it’s easy to become complacent, especially as we become more comfortable in our roles.
That’s why I challenge my friends and clients to want more and strive for excellence. I encourage them to surround themselves with great people, who will push them to be their best selves. I also organize dinners and events where people can come together to share information and learn from one another.
But it’s not just about networking and personal growth. It’s also about using our talents and resources to help those who are less fortunate. Giving back to our communities is essential to living a fulfilling and meaningful life.
In short, my advice to anyone looking to excel in their art, hobby, or business is to remain passionate, surround yourself with great people, never stop learning, and always be willing to give back. With these principles as your guide, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
You mentioned being a “foodie” but that you don’t cook; what is your favorite food and restaurant?
I’d love to cook, but my kitchen skills are limited to making a reservation. If you need someone to pick up the phone and dial a number, I’m your guy! As for my favorite food, I absolutely love Thai cuisine. When it comes to take-out, Pha Ram 9 is my go-to spot (and no, they’re not a client of mine). And as for my favorite restaurant, well, let’s just say I represent over 40 dining establishments in San Diego, so I can’t spill the beans without getting a bunch of angry texts and emails from my clients.
Gratitude is so important in our lives; what are you most grateful for and how do you pay it forward?
I agree with the importance of Gratitude. For me, Gratitude is not just a buzzword; it’s a fundamental aspect of leading a happy and fulfilling life. I feel incredibly blessed to have a supportive husband and amazing friends who have been with me for over three decades. My friendships are precious to me, and they have been instrumental in shaping who I am today.
I have one dear friend with whom I take an annual trip. In January, we set goals for the year and then meet every month to check in, hold each other accountable, and offer support. Having someone to share my aspirations and progress with has been invaluable in keeping me motivated and on track.
Paying it forward is a crucial part of my life. I believe that giving back to the community is essential, and I’m passionate about volunteering. I serve on three boards where I can use my skills and expertise to make a difference in people’s lives. Moreover, I’m dedicated to connecting people and creating opportunities for them to help one another. When we pay it forward, we inspire others to do the same, and that’s how we can create a more compassionate and supportive world.