LIVING IN THE CITY: Positive Chutzpah in Little Italy

Nili and Gil Peretz’ downtown San Diego live/work lifestyle embodies a “Wow Method” that includes arts, music and…Obama’s Secrets
Nili and Gil Peretz live a balanced lifestyle in downtown San Diego. (Courtesy photo)

“Living In the City” is the San Diego Sun’s feature Q&A with downtown San Diego residents. It’s a way to get to know the city by meeting the people who live here. This is number 38 in an ongoing series. 

Names: Nili and Gil Peretz

Neighborhood: Columbia, near Little Italy, with a direct view of Waterfront Park

Road to San Diego: We moved to San Diego from Silicon Valley in the summer of 2015. We first lived in Carmel Valley and have been downtown for two years.

Work deets: We’re entrepreneurs, TEDx speakers, authors and co-founders of a few international companies. Together, we lead an online academy and a global membership club for business owners and entrepreneurs, helping with professional and personal growth. We may be the only couple in the world who’ve each delivered a TEDx talk in a different county. 

Personal deets: Nili is a dancer, a NIA white belt and a yogi. Gil is a ping pong player, and a regular at the San Diego Table Tennis Club.

Record holder: On May 5, 2021, Gil says he set a world record for the “most extended Zoom call by one broadcaster.” He was broadcasting 24 hours, 30 minutes, and 9 seconds, without breaks, streamed from Zoom to Facebook and YouTube. The studio was Gil and Nili’s home office.

Gil Peretz surveys a healthy lunch. (Courtesy photo)

Gil’s work: My TED talk is about the benefits of Surprises as the secret to a fulfilling life. As the developer of “The WOW Method” and “Impact StorySelling,” I’m passionate about advising C-level executives on delivering creative, engaging “WOW” messages. Been a professional speaker for 30 years, delivering more than 4,200 keynote speeches, presentations, and seminars in 46 countries. Also wrote the best-selling book Intimate Marketing.

Nili’s work: My TED talk is about the power of Positive Chutzpah as the mindset for success and innovation. For 12 years, I’ve studied mindset and neuroscience as critical elements for business success. I’m an entrepreneur, author and business coach. I help people master the power of their minds to achieve more fulfillment and success. My work incorporates a holistic approach by integrating cutting-edge neuroscience and a mind-body-soul methodology for peak performance, success and change. 

Working from home: Yes, our work is mainly virtual, except for live seminars and workshops we deliver around the world. We love our home. It’s full of natural light, a beautiful view for inspiration, and perfect space for our needs. We sometimes work together but both have separate work spaces. 

Collabs: We are the co-founders of And as co-founders of the Israeli Speakers Academy and mentors of TEDx speakers, we’ve trained hundreds of speakers and executives. We’re both contributing writers for media outlets such as Forbes and Entrepreneur Magazine

Nili Peretz promotes a holistic approach in her work. (Courtesy photo)

Positive Chutzpah: After studying hundreds of successful entrepreneurs around the globe, we identified a crucial mindset for success and innovation. We coined this mentality Positive Chutzpah and Nili presented it live on the TEDx stage. The mindset pairs ambitious vision with great passion and the determination to follow through. 

Obama’s Secrets: A year before the 2008 U.S. elections we got inspired to write a book about Barack Obama’s “magical rhetoric” secrets. At that time, no one knew he would become President. He was a rising star on the political stage. We were curious to crack the code of his success. What started as an “insane idea” became the book Obama’s Secrets: How to Speak and Communicate with Power and a Little Magic. The book was published first in Hebrew and then in English. It became a bestseller and is sold at leading institutions like Harvard University.  

Why live downtown: We love the vibe of the city and the endless possibilities of doing fun things–great restaurants, art galleries, concerts at Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, the Little Italy Farmers Market or beautiful sunsets at Seaport Village. It’s the happiest place to live!

Worst aspect of downtown: It can be crowded and noisy during events. However, we see it as a sign of life and joy.  

Barbusa in Little Italy. (Facebook)

Dinner spot(s): We like to try new restaurants for dinner, especially when we go out with friends.

  • Born and Raised for its elegant style, good food, and beautiful rooftop. 
  • Barbusa, for its beet salad and an excellent option for a delicious vegan pizza. 
  • Also: Herb and Wood; Juniper & Ivy; Cucina Urban; and Mezé Greek Fusion in the Gaslamp Quarter. 

Lunch fave(s): We usually cook lunch at home. From time to time, we grab: 

  • Sushi at Harumama (great vegan Ramen and good service).
  • Salads and paninis at Pappalecco (many gluten-free options and excellent ice cream). 
  • We also love to sit at Frost Me Cafe & Bakery; and Zinqué, a French restaurant on Kettner Street. 

Best bar(s): The Princess Pub in Little Italy. Or, Topsail at Portside Pier, where they have a beautiful rooftop terrace with fire pits and waterfront views.

Coffee talk: Nili usually orders an oat Latte coffee, sometimes with a lavender flavor; Gil enjoys a good espresso. We like: 

  • Lofty Coffee, for its beautiful open space, gluten-free options and great workspace.
  • Bird Rock Coffee, where Gil likes to start his morning with a Honey Latte.
  • On Saturdays, we like to have our coffee at Caffè Caritàzza at Amici house, close to the Farmers Market, where there is a place to sit outside and enjoy the sun.
  • Also: Parakeet Cafe, and Coffee ‘n’ Talk. 
Nili and Gil out on the streets of Little Italy. (Courtesy photo)

Favorite events: We love the Rady Shell concerts. Mission Fed ArtWalk is also a fun tradition in Little Italy. It’s also an excellent opportunity to meet local artists face-to-face and support their work.  

Memorable moment: One Sunday, we were walking in Seaport Village and discussing friends who live in South Park. We called them to catch up, only to find out they were also in Seaport Village at the same time as us. 

Transportation breakdown: 80% walking, 20% driving.

Podcasts: The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes; Claim Your Power by Kim Peretz (our daughter), and Re-thinking by Adam Grant.

Parting advice: If we could change one thing, it would be adding more of a fashion and design district to the city. We need a downtown area to walk around for style and shopping, like other big cities such as NYC.  SDSun


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