Beyond their prolific and well-respected work, they’ve also become models for the successful construction and maintenance of an independent lifestyle.
We were thrilled to have a chance to chat with Rocky about his career, the House, and his approach to his career.
Matt Alexander: You have a fairly diverse background. Tell us a little about yourself.
Rocky Garza:My name is Gilberto Garza Jr, but I go by Rocky and I have since I was two days old.
So, I guess my name is Rocky.
I grew up all over the state of Texas but mostly in Carrollton/Farmers Branch area just north of Dallas. After I graduated from Texas A&M University, I went and worked full-time at a summer camp in East Texas called Sky Ranch as a director for junior high and senior high-aged kids. I came back to Dallas in 2008 and was a pastor at a church for about four years until my wife and I started our own photography company into 2010.
We both owned and operated Sara and Rocky photography full-time from 2010 through the end of 2016. It was a pretty wild ride, over the course of that seven years we photographed over 250 weddings and hundreds and hundreds of portrait sessions. Somewhere in early 2015 I had the idea to start this current company called Staff Retreat Co.
I've always had a desire to help others, and more importantly help them discover who they were and live fully into that. So for me this company is just a marriage of my own life experience, eight years in ministry and seven years of entrepreneurship.
When you put all those things together that's a pretty good picture of who I am.
Matt Alexander: How do you self-identify? As a photographer, a speaker, or otherwise?
Rocky Garza:I would say that I self-identify as a challenger, influencer, and leader.
I know some people can read that and make the assumption that I must be really full of myself, but I prefer to think of it as just really understanding what my purpose is. I think, if I look back in my life — regardless if it was in college, in ministry, in photography or as a husband or a father — I do my best not to identify with any of the roles that I play.
I don't believe it it's our roles that actually make up our identity, but rather we should have a clear understanding of our identity that way we understand how to best serve others in our roles.
Matt Alexander: How did Staff Retreat Co. come about?
Rocky Garza:Honestly, that's a really good question.
I think I've come to a place where I felt like just because I had the ability to do something doesn't mean that's what I should spend my time doing. And I know that might sound a little odd but the reality is all of us have multiple skills, gifts and talents. But I think were the real opportunity exist for greatness is being able to look past the things that we have the capability to do and really dig into the things we were designed to do.
So for me staff retreat came about because we made a decision that I wasn't willing to jeopardize who I was, what I really believed and how I felt like I could serve others best just because something else made more financial sense. I'm interested in creating a business that is sustainable for my family, not doing a thing that is the most comfortable.
Sometimes in life you are presented with opportunities that make no sense on paper, but make all the sense in the world in your heart.
Matt Alexander: Are you still active as a professional photographer? Or is it something you just use on a more personal basis now?
Rocky Garza:No, I would not say that I'm still active as a professional photographer. Do I enjoy it? Yes. Do I love taking photos of my family? Yes.
But, I don't believe it's the best use of my time as I attempt to make a continued career out of myself and my work.
Matt Alexander: The Wilde House. Tell us about it. What was the genesis of it?
Rocky Garza:Oh, The Wilde House.
Sometimes in life you are presented with opportunities that make no sense on paper, but make all the sense in the world in your heart. This is one of those decisions for Sara and I.
This opportunity arose at possibly the most in opportune time. We just had our first child, we had just decided to shut down Sara and Rocky photography, and we decided to put all of our eggs in the Staff Retreat Co. basket.
Now, don't get me wrong, we definitely wanted the house. But the reality was that we either had to make a decision to put all of our financial security into the house or say “no” and be comfortable.
As you can see, we opted to say “yes” and decided to take the risk. Everything about the house’s design, interior, and layout is 100% my wife. She is an interior genius and absolutely made the house look incredible.
Our hope is that not only would I be able to use it to take individuals and businesses a way to really dig into why they do what they do but more importantly we deeply desired to create a space that anyone could get away to and unplugged, relax and slow down on life just a little.
Matt Alexander: Returning to my second question, you’re a man of many talents and roles. (And a father!) What’s next for you?
Rocky Garza:Honestly, I hope I get to do what I'm doing right now for the rest of my life.
I don't feel like I was made to be the person with 1 million followers or to have a massive social influence stage. But I do believe I was designed to be in that person's back pocket.
I want to help the top influencers in our culture really dig into who they are, why they're making the decisions that they make, and ultimately keep them accountable to pursuing what they were designed to do for the greatest impact.
I think that looks like speaking, walking with organizational teams and individuals. And ultimately, at the root of it all, I want to help shape the way men see themselves, the way they see the world and to feel the weight of the social responsibility we have as a me