Robert Pérez, Senior Vice President, Fenton, shares how the power of narrative can transform black men and boys.
For more than 15 years, Robert Pérez has helped people and organizations create social change by crafting communications campaigns that inspire action and build support for a cause. Pérez leads the branding and messaging practice in Fenton's San Francisco office.
The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District approached Fenton because they had been on the defensive for more than six years against conservative, property-rights activists who opposed their effort to permanently protect 11,800 acres of open space and farms south of San Francisco. Pérez crafted a winning message strategy that helped the group regain control of the debate and win government approval of their plan by branding their effort as the last best hope to protect the rural character and small-town charm of the San Mateo Coastside.
Pérez regularly works with people and organizations on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality, including the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Equality California and Freedom to Marry. He is currently working with the Auburn Theological Seminary and other faith leaders around the country on the best way to talk to Christians about the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Early in his career, Pérez played a key role in passing legislation to protect students in California schools from harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity by shining a spotlight on the real-life stories of young people who had experienced bullying and violence.
He also regularly works on racial equity and economic justice issues. As the lead strategist for the Education Trust-West, Pérez helped to release a series of groundbreaking reports exposing salary disparities among teachers that shortchanged poor students and students of color. Thanks, in part to the tidal wave of publicity, the governor enacted a law that makes teacher spending at every school in California more transparent and accountable to the public. On behalf of The California Endowment, Pérez is also leading a multi-year communications campaign to improve the health and well being of boys and young men of color.
A California native, Pérez lives with his husband, Robert Francoeur, in the Haight - the lively and historic neighborhood smack dab in the middle of San Francisco.