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10 Questions: Ocean Beach Town Council President Corey Bruins

Corey Bruins is an entrepreneur and lifelong San Diegan who was first elected to the Ocean Beach Town Council board in 2015.
Corey Bruins is an entrepreneur and lifelong San Diegan who was first elected to the board of the Ocean Beach Town Council in 2015.
(Courtesy of Corey Bruins)

Ten Questions is a new feature in the Point Loma-OB Monthly that shines a spotlight on notable locals we wish we knew more about. The first in the series is Corey Bruins, president of the Ocean Beach Town Council.

Corey Bruins describes himself as an entrepreneur, experience designer, community advocate and lifelong San Diegan.

From a young age, he was immersed in his neighborhood. He raised funds for a local theater (where he also periodically found himself onstage); chaired Relay for Life events (raising money for the American Cancer Society) in Vista, Carlsbad and El Cajon; and pursued his passion for helping develop young people at the YMCA of San Diego County.

After living in Orange County and Julian, Bruins sought a place in which to plant roots, invest and build a life. He moved to Ocean Beach and hasn’t looked back.

Over the past decade, Bruins has built three businesses: an audio/video production company, an experience design consultancy and a wholesale grain bowl operation.

After attending meetings and volunteering for events, Bruins was elected to the board of the Ocean Beach Town Council and has been on its executive committee since first elected in 2015. Since then, he has helped focus the organization’s scope, expand its reach and increase its fundraising capacity. He became president of the Town Council in July.

Bruins also enjoys sailing, snowboarding, cooking and spending time with his wife, Katrina, and their pup, Kensie.

He can be reached via email at corey@obtowncouncil.org.

Q. What attracted you to the Point Loma-Ocean Beach area as a place to live?

A. When I first drove over the Point Loma Avenue hill to scope out the place ... I was struck by the incredible natural beauty of [Ocean Beach]. That view never gets old and I hope to never take it for granted. We’re truly blessed to call this beachside town home. The ocean has always been a central part of my life. I grew up scuba diving with leopard sharks in La Jolla Cove, cruising over to Catalina on our little power boat and swimming whenever and wherever I got the chance. It’s only fitting that the neighborhood I’m proud to call home today is surrounded by water on basically every side.

Q. What are your favorite places to go in Point Loma and Ocean Beach?

A. Staying true to my roots, I like to stick as close to the water as possible, so you’ll find me hanging around the Blue Water/Wonderland/Surf Lodge plaza on the regular (Track Tacos at Blue Water might be my favorite meal on the peninsula).

OB Beans for coffee. Nico’s for burritos. California Wild Ales to grab a sour. Pacific Shores and Catalina Lounge for late-night chats. Cesarina for date night. Mitch’s for fish tacos.

Q. If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add to improve Point Loma or Ocean Beach?

A. The complete revitalization of our waterfront, from the old saltwater pool and pier at the south through Veterans Plaza, the lifeguard tower and Saratoga Park at the north would be an excellent place to start.

Q. Who or what inspires you?

A. At one of the first Town Council meetings I ever attended, there was a group of folks who showed up to give non-agenda public comments about some trees being cut down on Saratoga [Avenue]. At that point in my life, I had never personally witnessed a group of folks who cared about neighborhood trees so passionately. Tears were shed. Emotions ran high. These folks really cared about what was happening in their community.

You can find groups of people like this everywhere you look in OB, contending for this town and for each other.

It’s those people who inspire me. The ones who wake up, show up and give a damn about continuing to make OB the best “last great beach town” there ever was.

Q. If you hosted a dinner party for five, who (living or deceased) would you invite?

A. As grateful as I am for boardrooms and the work that happens in them, there’s something about great hospitality, good food and drinks and conversation late into the night that transcends any other way of being with each other. Real change happens when we look into each other’s eyes, sip a glass of Woodford on the rocks and remember just how human we all are.

If [San Diego] Mayor Todd Gloria, City Council President Jennifer Campbell and county Supervisor Nathan Fletcher wanted to join Katrina and I for a meal, I’d promise to make them the best cauliflower steak they’ve ever had. I’d also promise to listen deeply, share thoughtfully and dream intently about the future of San Diego.

Q. Tell us about what you are currently reading or watching on TV.

A. While I don’t often make time to indulge in a good book or TV show, I do religiously watch “Saturday Night Live.”

That said, there are a few books that have had a major impact on my life. “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek rocked my world when I first tore through its pages 10 years ago. Today, part of my consultancy work is leading organizations and individuals through the profound principles that Sinek so elegantly communicates in his book. I highly recommend Sinek’s TED Talk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” which covers the core principles from the book. “Leadership requires two things: a vision of the world that does not yet exist and the ability to communicate it.” — Simon Sinek

Of all the types of work I engage in, I come most alive when I’m curating experiences and gatherings. Priya Parker’s work has been central to shaping my practice in this space, and reading her book “The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters” was like swimming in an ocean of profundity on the topic. “When we don’t examine the deeper assumptions behind why we gather, we end up skipping too quickly to replicating old, staid formats of gathering. And we forgo the possibility of creating something memorable, even transformative.” — Priya Parker

Q. What would be your dream vacation?

A. Next on my list is to spend time sailing the Adriatic Sea off the coast of Croatia. Nothing compares with the experience of simply being out on the water. I’ve yet to sail outside of Southern California … but I hear the Adriatic is stunning.

Q. What are your five favorite movies of all time? Or if you prefer, what are your five favorite apps?

A. The Bourne series and the Ocean’s series are both at the top of my list.

Q. What is your most prized possession?

A. The great Anthony Bourdain said: “Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world, you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you.”

As a neighborhood guy, it took me awhile to learn that traveling, immersing in and learning from cultures outside of my own and spending intentional time outside the neighborhood is central to learning to serve my neighborhood well. So my passport is my most prized possession. It’s the key to unlocking insights from around the world that can change our world here on the peninsula.

Q. What is your motto or philosophy of life?

A. “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive. What the world needs are people who have come alive.” — Howard Thurman

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

Do you know someone you’d like us to ask 10 Questions? Send an email with your suggestion to robert.vardon@lajollalight.com.


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