Ask Billy Parks to describe himself in a few words, and he’s at a loss. He says he would rather ask his two sons to answer the question.
So that’s what he does.
In the short audio clip Billy sends over later, the words the young men say are telling. Kind, funny, adventurous, tall, crazy. “Funny, very, very funny,” one of them insists.
As brand and creative operating partner of The Cherin Group, Billy is all those things — and more.
Living Life in Second Gear
For Billy, most things in life are about balance. “The routine feels best,” he says, “when there’s been a break.”
He starts his days early around 5 a.m. with a hike or a bike ride around Los Angeles, then jumps into a packed workday. Bedtime comes early, and he doesn’t mind. “Nothing good happens after 10 p.m.,” Billy laughs.
It’s by design. “All the choices I make are to move me in the right direction,” he says. “I wouldn’t do any of it if I didn’t love it.”
At TCG, Billy helps young creatives scale their business and remain close to their audience. He splits his time between looking for new companies for the firm to invest in and working with the existing companies in which they already have.
He brings this sense of balance to life outside of work. “Turning off and going outside just makes me feel better,” Billy says. And he wants that for his two sons. “If you don’t make outdoors part of your life, you’re missing something that’s essential.”
Billy wants both sons to be well rounded: to be fine staying at a luxury resort, but also in places where they need to do much more. “They should be autonomous too,” he explains.
Billy wants both children to be comfortable everywhere… including the family’s 20-acre California land.
This land has instilled a “rhythm and cadence” of adventure in the Parks family life. What’s behind the motivation? “Unplugging from the busy city life,” Billy says, “and giving our mind, heart and soul time to rest.”
Although the family loves their city life, they also enjoy challenging themselves. Billy says that when they get off the pavement, things happen — good things. “Knots can begin to untie, different conversations start to happen,” he explains. “Routines and habits get busted up, enabling new senses, new skills.”
Billy wouldn’t change a thing about these escapades, but he wishes he could have a do-over of one specific moment: when his father passed away a few years ago at 82 years old. Billy wishes “that he could have met his grandsons.” He says that “he would have gotten such a kick out of it.”
Billy and his wife named their eldest son George in honor of his father. “I always feel like Billy and George are together,” he says of his own father.
Billy says being at their property gives his mind something else to chew on. This land has allowed that, and it has also offered a teaching moment for the Parks children. Because “teaching our kids to learn how to survive or live off the grid” is important for Billy.
He does that by creating opportunities to win and lose for his family, to solve problems and find solutions.
A little while back, the Parks family was preparing for a stay in Utah. They wanted to sleep in the most rustic hotel possible, so Billy headed there to find the hotel. He brought his sons with him, and they drove to Utah with little else but themselves. Billy says that “some parts were scary and there were tears” but it was worth it. “We figured things out on our own.”
That’s not the only example. Once, Billy was taking his sons on a fishing trip, and the captain told him how choppy the sea would be. They would need to leave by 4 a.m., but Billy never doubted his sons would be up for it — and they were!
He takes great pride in his entire family being confident in the wild. “We can solve problems,” Billy says. “We can do hard.”
For Billy, off-road adventures are the culmination of an entire lifetime of experiences.
He went to a boarding school that put a great emphasis on the outdoors and exploration, then headed off to Colorado for college. If you’re already inclined to love open and gorgeous scenery, then Colorado is for you. From there, he fell in love with vintage SUVs. For a few years, Billy and his friends would rebuild those vehicles from the 1960s, 1970s or 1980s, and go on road trips.
But back then, his love for the outdoors was mostly kept at bay. It all unlocked when he found motorcycles. Riding these, Billy says, helped him find roads — and feelings — that a car can’t.
“It’s the Perfect Medium Between Fun and Work.”
Billy loves off-roading for a simple reason. “It’s fun to go fast in the dirt,” he says. “There’s no feeling quite like it.”
There’s no ride quite like the Can-Am Commander. “It fits the life we have built,” he explains. “I can use it for work, then bomb down dirt roads.”
As Billy balances work and play, this side-by-side makes adventure possible. “It has never failed me; it’s an amazing tool,” Billy calls it. “So often, building these adventures is only possible with the right tools.”
What makes it a valuable tool, in Billy’s mind, is that “amazing crossover ability between work fun and adventure fun.”
Not that Billy pushes his ride on Can-Am adventures all that much. “I have fun in second gear. When I’m in second gear, it usually means I have two kids behind me,” Billy says, “and that’s a great gear for me.”
Let that be a lesson for everyone.
Starting at $13,999
Starting at $13,999
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