Quarantine Convos: David Sarfati

All throughout quarantine, I spent the time reaching out to a variety of people to learn about their backgrounds and experiences. I wanted to take advantage of the power of connection during this time of uncertainty, and in doing that, I was able to broaden my network and gain insight on the incredible life stories and passions people in our world have.

I recently interview David Sarfati, a hard-working Israeli living in LA, about his work, his life, general advice and how he has been adjusting to the quarantine life. His connection to Israel is so strong that I figured I would share my learnings with this community here!

Me: David, thank you for agreeing to do this, could you tell me a little bit about yourself? How did you get to do what you do? Tell me about yourself

David: As a kid, I loved reading the newspaper every morning. My dad always used to say that when I’ll grow up, I’ll go Journalism school in New York. So, he kind of seeded that dream in me, of one day, moving away and become a professional, where the pros are. Things didn’t go according to the plan – as they rarely do – but I found myself in Los Angeles, in the hopes to start working in the film and television industry. I was fortunate enough to find a great job with the Israeli tourism board, working with leading media agencies, television networks and publications, alongside the travel industry.

Me: Is there a person or a project that inspires you, or has inspired you to do what you do today?

David: So many. Other than being a dork child who loved reading the news – though in my defense, when you grow up in Israel you got to stay informed! – I was obsessed with television and as a kid I used to watch a lot of television. I loved watching all the behind-the-scenes stuff, and the interviews with the writers specifically. Lost, co-created by Damon Lindelof, changed the way I looked at television shows. He has since created some truly magnificent shows like The Leftovers and Watchmen, each has its own language and they both, at their core, focus about the stories we tell, and how we tell them. 

Me: What’s the best advice you could give someone who is just starting out?

David: The best is to just go for it. dream big, make things happen. I recently had a conversation about that with my dad, because he is a person that reaches to make things happen in every domain possible, he just does it. He doesn’t wait around. I think that’s the best advice would be, just do what it is you want to do. Don’t be afraid – dig deep, work hard, the rest will follow. 

Me: Let’s go with that, is there a dream project you’ve been dreaming of doing?

David: I have been thinking a lot about how I can shine a light on positive projects taking place around the worlds and in unexpected industries, which people hear less about. Through my experience going to so many conferences over the past few years, and I’ve become aware of how huge and dominant it is. One of the new conflicts arising in that field, is making events “green” and sustainable while also catering to tens of thousands of people in each event. Of course, this took a turn with COVID-19, to the better in some ways, and I’d be interested to see how it unfolds further. This industry has the power to change the economy of cities and countries, and through certain initiatives, help create housing and job opportunities for the homeless.

Me: What are the greatest challenges of your field?

David: Well, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that COVID-19 created the greatest challenge the travel industry has ever faced. This is not a problem with one specific country – as we often see happen with Israel – the world is facing a universal problem, and there are new playing field we have to accommodate in real time. So, in the larger scheme of things, the world is shut down for the near future, but on the everyday level, we want to make sure people are anticipating the day after, that we are reminding them that we exist and we’re waiting for them to come. The past few months have been about finding new, exciting ways to be present in the conversation in positive ways. 

Me: Finally, a few non work-related questions. How’ve you been spending quarantine?

David: For the most part, it’s been about finding a routine in the working from home world. That means a little bit of exercising, reading, I’ve been cooking a whole lot and I’ve been trying to go on a walk every day. Minimizing my screen time as much as I can, which feels impossible. 

Me: Have you been cultivating any new hobbies?

David: The best thing about living in Los Angeles, is being able to live in the best weather in the world, so I’ve been going on as many hikes as possible. Exploring the nature around the city has been very fun and relaxing.

Me: Do you have a plan for something you’d like to do when everything opens back up?

David: Over the past few months, I’ve been fantasizing about throwing a party and invited all of my friends. It’s probably going to take a while before that happens, but a guy can dream.

About the Author
Bianca Seta was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and attended Indiana University Bloomington as a Journalism major, with a specialization in Public Relations, and Spanish minor. She comes from an Argentinian background, speaks four languages, loves to socialize and meet new people, is passionate about her Jewish identity, and absolutely loves Israel. She can’t wait to see where her exciting future takes her!