Spotlight- Growth Strategy Division

Our Growth Division is the “amplifier” of our core Activation Strategy. By extending our marketing communications to on-the ground experiences, education and sharing across community networks, and building relationships with influencers, we create a true multi-touch approach that reinforces our message and builds affinity and unity across our member base.

The core strategic components of the growth group are Social Media, Local Activations, Gamification, Digital Communities, Influencer & Networks.

  • Social Media: Engage with our members on the platforms they utilize most with unique and impactful content

  • Local Activation: Curate impactful experiences to facilitate a meaningful connection with our members

  • Gamification: Challenge our members to develop habits leading to brand affinity, loyalty and desired actions

  • Digital Communities: Grow and sustain interactive communities that provide a unique and inclusive member experience

  • Influencer & Networks: Strengthen and amplify our organization within the social media marketplace through impactful influencer campaigns


GSD Team

GSD, or as we refer to it around the office, the Get S*** Done team. The idea is to empower a group of individuals to operate nimbly in an environment that might not ordinarily lend itself to nimbleness. The idea behind creating or referring to a group as such is to push and empower individuals to move faster and more efficiently in accomplishing tasks or certain projects. This may mean breaking rules or breaking processes from time to time.


Spotlight- Activation Strategy (i.e. Marketing Strategy) Division

The Activation group is the core marketing strategy group for my department and its partners, programs, and services. Using data as its backbone and the Growth team as its amplifier, we have developed a marketing design that is strategic, integrated across the organization, omni-channel, and hyper targeted and personalized for our members.

The core strategic components of the activation group are the AER framework, Data & Insights, Targeting, Personalized Messaging, and optimizing the Channel Mix.

  • AER Framework: Marketing strategies for each stage of a member’s journey

  • Data & Insights: The backbone to all decisions. Data develops targeting models and data feedback loops to develop insights

  • Targeting: Focus on segmentation and personas for programs

  • Personalized Messaging: Personalized messaging based on behaviors, actions, and engagement

  • Channel Mix: Hitting the right people, at the right time, on the right medium


Teaching Communication Between Divisions and Groups

Communication is a funny thing. It sounds easy in practice but usually ends up being much more difficult to effectively execute. I’ve gone about solving it in a number of different ways depending on the situation at hand – whether it be between colleagues, direct reports, indirect reports, etc. However, one universal truth I know is that it has to start from the top down – whether that’s you with your own team or from your own leadership. I suppose, In some ways, this is akin to leading by example.

Okay, so that sounds simple enough -- make sure as a leader that you are communicating effectively up, down, to the left, to the right, and any other direction between. But we know that it isn’t that simple. I bet that if you were to ask most people about their communication habits, they would say that they personally do a fine job of it. I’d assume you’d see similar skewed results when people are asked whether or not they are above average drivers – the majority of those asked say they are above average, but of course this cannot be since half need to be above and half below whatever that average is. So where does this leave us? This leaves us with needing to understand that we can all probably do something to improve our current communication habits, but that many of the problems or roadblocks in communication today have probably not even been identified.

So now we’ve arrived at the fact that most people don’t even know they’re bad at communication! Ugh, what a pain this can be to get through and improve, and brings me back by needing to lead by example whenever you can. Over communicate, talk to those around you about your trying to improve communication, look for examples you can point to as to where communication has broken down. Do whatever you can to bring awareness to the fact that communication can almost ALWAYS be improved, and lead by example – be an engine, not a caboose as my mother always said.

Now you’re humming along and firing on all communication cylinders … but for those of you that are already ahead of me, this can be riddled with issues and problems. For example, have you ever been in a meeting, only to realize you didn’t listen to a single word of what anyone was saying? Or how about sitting in a meeting that you actually paid attention throughout, only to realize none of it pertained to you, or even worse, the 45 minutes could have been summed up in 5 minutes had the person across the table been more concise and prepared to communicate? If any of this sounds familiar, it’s the problem of communicating incorrectly or inefficiently.

Honestly, I’m not even sure which of the above is the biggest problem or the biggest time suck. I feel like I’m always hearing about things after-the-fact, or that I’m looped into a million meetings in which are a huge time suck and could have been condensed to a few minutes with a little foresight. My advice is tackling all of them at the same time the best you can. Yes, it’s a cop out answer, but the reality is that they can and should all be worked on simultaneously.

Speaking of being concise, I probably could have used bullet points and made this post about a tenth as long, but you came here for interesting content and witty writing, not bullet points.


Spotlight- Activation & Growth Team

I have had the awesome opportunity to build a full stack team from scratch – the activation and growth team at a Fortune 150 which is a fancy way of saying marketing strategy. So what exactly is meant by ”activation and growth” and what is it comprised of? The group is divided into three major divisions, each made-up of their own sub-departments. I’ll outline each more specifically in their own dedicated posts, but here’s a quick overview to start with.

The activation and growth team (i.e. marketing strategy) consists of three major pillars, each containing its own series of sub-departments. The Activation Pillar concentrates on our core businesses through its Product, Program, and Partner marketing departments. The Growth Pillar oversees marketing amplification efforts, including departments dedicated to Community Engagement, Influencer Marketing, Social Media, and Gamification. Finally, the Marketing Intelligence Pillar is grounded by its Segment Strategy and Data Strategy & Research departments.

Activation Strategy Division

Think of this as a really fancy way of saying marketing strategy. The activation strategy division is made-up up of a group of core marketing managers that are responsible for the end-to-end strategy development for our different products, partners, services, affiliates, license businesses, and white-label products. Anything that ends up going to market for these areas of our business must first be cleared and implemented by these managers. Think of them as the mini CEO’s or GM’s of the businesses they are assigned.

• Products (our various apps)

• Partners

• Services

• Affiliates

• License Business

• White-label

Growth Strategy Division

The growth team covers and plans our amplification and performance marketing efforts across the department, and works hand-in-hand with our activation strategy managers to implement their practices holistically across the ecosystem. But what exactly do I mean by amplification and performance marketing? For our group, they are tactics that reach a much broader audience through either less effort or in a shorter amount of time.

• Local Activations Department

• Influencer & Networks Department

• Digital Communities Department

• Behavioral Science/ Gamification Department

Business Intelligence Division

Incorporating sound data practices is in my DNA and at the core of any sound marketing practice in my opinion. Our Team here covers all of our core reporting, analysis, and data insights related to marketing efforts, and also has a sub-department in Strategy & Research dedicated to qualitative (focus groups), quantitative (surveys), and empirical research.

• Analytics, Reporting, Insights, Forecasting, Modeling Department

• Strategy & Research Department

Although each of these divisions sound simple and straightforward on paper, it’s much more complex to wire them together so that they are each communicating and working efficiently together. Fortunate for our group we have a trio of incredible leaders, one at the helm of each division, that have allowed us to build and operate correctly. So how does it work?


These three divisions need to work seamlessly together in creating, developing, and executing holistic marketing across all of their various components. From a high-level, these divisions need to develop strategies that touch on applicable marketing channels (i.e. email, mobile, web, social, ground teams, etc., etc.). This execution will be passed from the Activation & Growth team to the Brand & Channel Management team after fully developing the strategic approach. These channels are all geared towards engaging our members.


At the foundation of what we create is our data strategy which sits in our business intelligence pillar. Everything we create needs to be grounded in the rules and parameters set by the business intelligence team. Segment strategy (positioned within the activation pillar) is governed by a sound data strategy approach, that helps identify elements such as what success looks like across different member segments and experiences. Our top layer strategy comes together through a blend of verticals (product marketing, partner marketing, program marketing) and horizontal (community engagement and gamification) capabilities. The combination of these layers results in the packaged strategies that are then handed off to the Brand & Channel Management team.


A closer look at our top layer of strategy. Currently we have heads of Products and Partners (i.e. the activation pillar). Local Activations, Influencer & Networks, Communities, and Behavioral Science/ Gamification (i.e. the growth pillar) elements sit horizontally across (they do not necessarily overlap in every scenario). Be sure, not every strategy we create as a department will necessarily overlap or impact every element or “box”. This is to simply illustrate the through process that needs to take place to make sure we aren’t missing possible collaboration intersects.


How data feeds back into Activation & Growth teams and how iteration on strategies takes place. There are two major components relating to our data strategy. Scorecard for every member – each member should be assigned a unique score that is based on activity and engagement with our ecosystem. This kind of scoring will ultimately power segmentation and strategy across the entire department. Reporting on the activity, campaign, and member level. These are the main reports that will give us insight into the performance to our strategies.


Hire the Right People

One of the neat aspects of my job is building out the team around me. Hiring individuals for some people is stressful, but not for me. I enjoy it. It’s a great opportunity to discover great people who can help make a major difference, and to identify individuals who may be diamonds in the rough. Some quick thoughts on it.

My philosophy is to buildaround skillsets and chemistry. I think the latter is often forgotten about, or thought about secondarily, and I think that’s a big mistake. I think building for and not disrupting team chemistry is just as important as hiring people who have the right skillsets. The hiring process might take a little longer, but the results pay dividends.

I’ve made mistakes in hiring that I’ve learned from. I’ve hired the best “available” candidate in the past rather than waiting for a better field. I’ve hired individuals with tremendous skillsets but who acted entitled or were not great team players. Needless to say, hindsight is 20/20, and why I cannot overstate the importance of considering both skillset and chemistry.

So far we’ve been extremely methodical in building the team here, and it seems like we’re on the right track. I’m excited to see how it continues to develop and grow.


Pick Your Boss

I’m going to start by saying I’m likely an anomaly in that I have been incredibly fortunate to have some amazing bosses and mentors over the last ten years. Where I am today is only possible because of the mentorship, development, and opportunities that I’ve received from a few incredible individuals. That said, I often hear from friends, family, or co-workers how much they either dislike or hate the people they work for. Many of the stories sound like they’re straight out of a television show or movie. From bosses that would continually make unwanted advances at employees, to bosses that lie about where they are when they’re actually out running errands or on the golf course, to the selfish ones that take credit for all of their employees’ work and never show any gratitude – I’ve heard a lot of horror stories.

All this to say that it has gotten me thinking 1) I’ve been very fortunate to work for amazing, genuine people, and 2) working for someone you respect and that respects you is pretty damn important for a variety of reasons.

So, if you’re ever looking to change jobs, take stock in who you’re going to be working for. It matters a lot more than you think.


Tide Ad Commercial

This year’s Superbowl brought what I think is one of the best marketing campaigns/ ads I have seen in a long time. If you haven’t seen it, here’s a link to the main one.

Then there are these secondary tie-in ads.

What is so brilliant about these campaigns is that it fundamentally made me change the way I watched the rest of the Superbowl ads, and subsequently, all commercials in general. The premise of these commercials is that every ad is, in essence a Tide Ad, since the majority of commercials are shot with clean, fresh looking clothing. It’s simple, it’s fun, it’s memorable, and it fundamentally disrupted the way I view content lately. I’d say it would have been enough to make me try Tide, but the reality is I’m already a Tide consumer. I really found the whole thing brilliant.

I wrote this post in a freshly cleaned and pressed button-down shirt…. does that then make this a Tide Post?


High Paying Job vs. Responsibility and Exposure - My Career

The title pretty much explains where I’m going with today’s post. The reality is it’s a subjective question that has no right or wrong answer since it depends on where you are in your life, and what is most valuable to you at that given time. For example, I’m not married (yet) and I don’t have a family to support.

As such, I’ve had the flexibility to take jobs based on a variety of variables, salary not necessarily being the most important. To clarify, I’m not saying salary isn’t important, it is, but that if a situation ever presented itself in which I had to pick between two roles, one of which was a better fit, one of which paid more but offered less future or growth opportunity, I have been fortunate enough to be able to not have to evaluate based on salary all things being equal.

I bring this up because I’ve seen people throughout my career follow the money when they didn’t necessarily have to. Again, everyone’s situation is different so it’s hard to judge anyone, but if you do find yourself in a fortunate position where you can choose, I personally put the high responsibility/ exposure/ challenging roles at the top of the list because I believe in the long-run. The more you can grow and push yourself early in your career will help set you apart from the rest of the pack down the road. This, in turn, will lead to commanding higher paying roles with greater responsibility.


Don't Mistake Action for Accomplishment

One of the things I am coming to learn about working at a large corporation is the amount of red tape, amount of cooks in the proverbial kitchen, and seemingly endless amount of meetings and processes. These things aren’t any one individual's fault, it sort of just happens over time as corporations become larger and more complex. What individuals can control however, is how they use and focus their time. A bad habit that I have seen develop though, is mistaking action for accomplishment.

Simply put, people feel like they are accomplishing things because they are busy, when in fact they are accomplishing far less than they are capable of because they aren’t spending their time on the right things or asking the right questions.

So how does one go about changing this? As they say, change comes from within. I’m in the fortunate position where I can work on this consistently with my team and get us in a good place. I can work with others cross departmentally too, but getting full buy-in is much easier said than done, as I don’t control the full scope of work and prioritization of others outside my purview. Buy-in is a cultural change that to really catch hold needs to come from the top down – but even then it’s hard to break people out of old habits and processes.

I’ll end with advice I bombard my staff with constantly. Question everything you do. Is it moving the business forward? When I worked in sports I used to phrase it as, “build revenue, build the database, build the brand – if what you’re working on doesn’t do one of these things, then it’s probably not worth your time”.


Thought of the Day: Personal AND Professional Development!?

I'm big on fit. I'm even bigger on finding a fit that allows for both personal and professional development. I've always said that when you interview, you should be interviewing your perspective employer as much as they are interviewing you. However, make sure you're still going the extra mile to understand how the role you're entering will allow you to grow in a variety of ways.

That's it. Just a quick thought.


The Dumbest Thing I Did in Vegas was Walk Away Even

I don’t consider myself much of a gambler in the traditional sense. I’ll play poker with friends occasionally, but I’m not the type of guy to run off to Vegas for a weekend and drop a few grand. As such, it may be no surprise to hear that I had actually never been to Las Vegas until last week. I had been invited out to the area to speak at the XLIVE conference (fun conference series, recommend it if in a town near you). Although not all that interested in doing a lot of gambling, I love exploring new places, so I planned the trip to give me a full day to roam around the city to explore the famous casinos and digs. I was staying towards the end of the strip at the Mandalay. After getting the obligatory picture in front of the Welcome to Las Vegas sign, I made my way up the strip and through the Luxor, MGM, ARIA, Bellagio, Paris, Caesars Palace, Venetian, and the Wynn. It was a long day of walking, but had a fun time exploring the over-the-top extravagance of each. If I were to ever come back, I’d definitely bring a friend as I could see how this could be a fun weekend if shared with others.

As the day turned to night, I decided it was time to try my hand at gambling. When in Vegas right? As I mentioned before, I play a little poker, so I sat down at a Hold ‘em table. BIG MISTAKE. I’m down $500 within 15 minutes to a shark that came and sat down next to me immediately. Ha wow, I’m starting to hate that 15 minutes into this I’m already in a hole. Instead of doubling down I cut my losses and move on to a variety of other games including the slots, blackjack, and craps. I have varying success at these and start to climb out of the hole I had quickly dug for myself. But then I discovered roulette. Oh boy.

It was amazing how the time disappeared without realizing it. Before I knew it, it was after midnight and I was still at the roulette table – slowly but surely climbing out of the hole. Around 1am I’mup $20. I feel invincible, I’ve climbed the mountain and I’m ahead (yes, I realize $500 might be peanuts, but for a non-traditional gambler, it’s a fair amount). I start to inject rational thought into my brain which is now on a high. WALK AWAY. I get up but stand watching the tablefor a moment and let a round or two play out without participating. At which point I gathered my chips, stood up, cashed out, and headed to bed.

…. And the story should have ended that way. But as I found out quickly, Vegas does strange irrational things to people. The beginning of the end started the same, but ended very differently haha.

I sit outside the table for a moment and let a round or two play out without participating. At which point I gathered my chips, stood up, and started to walk towards the cash out booth… as I’m walking over I start thinking to myself.

“You did it, you climbed out of the hole!”

“So you made $20 over the course of 5 hours… that’s $4 an hour… not all that impressive.”

“You know, that was actually pretty easy to climb out of the $500 hole you put yourself in. In fact, you’re at over $100 an hour if it wasn’t for that damn hold ‘em game…”

“To hell with this, I didn’t come to Vegas to break-even!”

I stop halfway to the cash out booth, turn around and march promptly back towards the table.

“$520 on red.”

The ball rolls.

“Black. I’m sorry sir.”

Wow, I hate this place haha. I turn around, and head back to my room and finally get in bed. As I doze off I smile to myself, for whatever reason, I sort of love the fact I went out that way, even if it ended up being the most expensive blog post I’ve written.


Finding Calm in Chaos

Most jobs become chaotic at some point or another. Mine is no exception.

Actually, mine might be crazier than most, not because of disorganization, but because of how large and complex the ecosystem of products and partners is at our organization. To take this a step further, the complexity and chaos is not simply due to a lot of moving parts, but due to how interconnected everything is. Making a strategic change in one part of the business has impact on how the rest of our businesses perform. Changing one element has impact across over a dozen others, so understanding cause and effect across so many elements presents its own challenges.

So what can one do when presented with situations that may seem a little chaotic? What works for me is trying to take a step back and assessing the end state of where you are trying to go. What is your end goal? Where are you trying to arrive? Make sure you understand the reasons as to why the goal is what it is. From there, start trying to deconstruct the elements involved in getting there – this may be straightforward or it may be ambiguous.

For example, if you were tasked with creating a communications strategy, you might want to deconstruct all of the different elements you need to consider in your strategy design. What channels are you going to be communicating across? Email, mobile, SMS, any paid or investment channels such as SEM or Google Ads? Is there a marketing funnel or framework that the strategy needs to adhere to? What data are you going to have available? Is the system automated or manual? The questions are nearly endless, but getting it all out on a whiteboard (my go-to) or on a piece of paper helps you define all of the elements you need to account for.

From here, continue to deconstruct the elements and start making connections between them and understand how they are related. This may not be an exact solve for every situation you come across, but typically if you can define the environment and the elements that exist within it, you start to bring organization to what otherwise may be chaotic, and that’s typically something you can continue to build on.

Ultimately this is all easier said than done, I realize. What I outline above may be obvious to some. In my experience the biggest reason why this approach doesn’t happen, is we don’t feel like we have the proper amount of time to sit back to analyze and understand the full breadth of a given situation. If that is the case, I urge you to take an uninterrupted and focused 15 minutes, and see how far you can get with the above approach. If there’s something you don’t know or need more information on, write the question down and the name of the person who can help you find that answer.


End the Day with a Productive Meeting

Something I’ve learned over the last few years is if you can, end the day with a productive meeting. How many times have you been to a meeting that made little to no difference on your work or to the organization? Likely more than any of us care to admit. The problem with these sorts of meetings is not only are they a waste of your time, but they often leave you feeling drained and whether you realize it, have a negative impact on your productivity and mental acuity. In fact, I’m actually a fan of trying to reach a point where you have as few meetings as humanly possible.

Ending the day with a productive meeting, I’ve found, has the opposite effect. You’re left feeling that you’ve accomplished something, that things are headed in the right direction, and you feel energized – all at the tail end of what was likely a long day if yours are anything like mine.


Leaving Stability - Initial Thoughts on the Move

I’m 2 months into the new gig. For those of you just catching-up, this move has taken me into an uncertain future with one hell of a challenge. Uncertain because the situation I’m coming into is a tall order minced with plenty of uncertainty – build a marketing strategy department from scratch, and get the business running in the right direction, and get it ready for a variety of scenarios, including a potential split from its parent company.

So how is it going so far?

So far I couldn’t ask for more. At my core I love a challenge, and so far I’m getting it. The biggest challenge in front of us at the moment is getting the group working operationally and efficiently. I’ve inherited a number of directors and managers from around the organization, all with their own diverse skillsets and backgrounds. As such, the need to match skillsets with operational needs and balancing that with pushing members of the team into new domains can be challenging. Beyond getting the team running efficiently, decoding a massive large organization and how to cut through bureaucratic red tape offers its own set of challenges.

All speed ahead.


2 Minute Rule

Have you ever been in a situation where you have a million items on your to-do list and you don’t know where to start?

A little trick that I’ve picked-up over the years is separating everything on your list into two buckets. Items you can knock off in about 2 minutes or less, and items that’ll take longer. Take 10 or 20 focused minutes to systematically target and check the 2 minutes or less items off your list. It’ll help get you jump started on the rest of your items and should leave you with a quick and real sense of accomplishment.

Helps me at least when I need to get going.


I Just Climbed Into the Front of a Raft

I started a new job a couple weeks ago. I’ve noticed that our leadership team LOVES to use sports analogies – cool, I just came from the sports industry, I can get on-board with this. That being said, let me use a slightly different type of analogy to sum up the first few weeks.

Imagine for a minute that you’re the captain of a white-water rapids raft. You’re in your boat, sitting at the back, steering and guiding your crew through a river when you enter a rapid you’ve never been through. Not only that, but your crew is a bunch of individuals you’ve never been with on the water. At some point you’re thrown overboard, but you’re able to get back to the raft and pull yourself back in. By the time you get back in a few things hit you. First, you’ve just climbed into the front of the raft, and you immediately need to get to the back to take command. However, it’s not that simple as you also make the startling realization you’re still in the middle of a huge rapid. Take a sec, think about what you might be feeling at that point. You with me? Good, we’re on the same page, let’s talk.

Fun and joking analogy aside, there are some parallel feelings and decisions, I think…

Assess the situation quickly. I like to measure twice and cut once whenever possible, but there are times that call for making the best decision with the limited information you have available to you in that moment. The reality of the situation here is I can apply both, but I have to know what I have time to assess over time versus what decisions we need to make quickly.

Be decisive. Pick a route and go. Double-back if necessary, but don’t freeze in the moment and waste valuable time. The challenge ahead of me is that we need to be smart and calculated, but we need to be nimble and quick as there’s lots of work to be done.

Lots of unknowns. Learn as you go and pick up what you can when you can. A lot is being thrown at you and there’s a lot you may not know yet. Similar to the above, good leaders can be decisive and make decisions by assessing the situation around them and making the best decision possible with what information they have available. Put another way, be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Who to rely on. Let’s face it, in nearly every work place you rely on different people for different things in different situations. Being new has its advantages, but it also has its disadvantages.

How to inspire them to work as a team. Whether people have worked with one another in the past or not doesn’t mean they function well or efficiently together. Getting human beings to work well with each other is no small task. Getting them to work efficiently together can be even more difficult.

How to get them to follow you as a leader. Being higher in title and role doesn’t mean people are going to listen or follow you. Proving these things through actions as a leader can be difficult for a variety of reasons. Are you coming into a situation in which someone else feels as though they should have gotten the job? What if individuals feel more tenured?

Questions galore. I’m the type of person who loves to ask questions. I’m generally a very curious person and it’s one of the ways in which I learn – asking questions and listening. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably going to have a ton of questions, some of which you are going to get answered, others which you may not.

Confusion. Along with not always getting answers to everything you have questions on, there may also be a lot of confusion around roles, responsibilities, expectations, etc. I’m not saying this is easy to navigate, it’s not. Try getting clarification through questions and constant communication.

Be confident. Although I understand it, I’m not the biggest fan of the quote “fake it until you make it”. You’re in the role you’re in for a reason. You might not know 100% of the answer, but hopefully at this point in your career if you’re being asked to make impactful decisions, you’ve got a strong foundation of how to traverse challenging situations.

Over-whelming. Depending on what you’re coming into, it’s going to feel overwhelming. That’s okay, a good raft captain should know how to handle it.

Excited. A new opportunity with new challenges generally means a new growth opportunity to push yourself and learn new things. That’s awesome. Embrace it and be excited!

So back to me for a second. This place is nuts. An incredible amount of talent surrounds me, but there’s a lot of work to be done to clean up some areas and get people ready for the future. I’m incredibly excited for what I’m now in the middle of, and looking forward to navigating the obstacles in front of us.


Becoming an Adjunct Professor

So this is crazy – I’m now an adjunct professor! I am super pumped and very much looking forward to the opportunity. Over the last few years, I’ve had the good fortune of being invited to guest lecture by colleagues of mine throughout the sports industry. With a personality and sense for entertainment, I’ve loved getting in front of a group and engaging them in content. A few months ago, I decided to reach out and inquire about opportunities to teach either a sports marketing or business analytics class in Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies.

Talk about right place right time. Over the few weeks after expressing my interest, some opportunities that generally don’t open up, opened up, and I had the opportunity to interview. I’ll skip the boring parts of the story, but it ended up in a really neat opportunity that I’m incredibly excited about – joining the Georgetown faculty as an adjunct and teaching my first class, sports marketing.

So why on earth did I want to do this? I’ve spent some time really thinking about this lately. More-or-less, it’s because I love to challenge myself and I love to be challenged. Let me explain.

I’m terrified of public speaking and presenting. My friends and colleagues tell me I’m great and I’m a natural. I’ve seen tape of me, it usually seems to go pretty darn well, but the 5 minutes before I’m on, I’m terrified. However terrified I might be on the inside, the desire to push myself into uncomfortable situations is much greater and is an effort to push myself to grow and be better. As such, no-brainer to push myself out of my comfort zone and do something that I find personally challenging.

I love to be challenged. I don’t mean this aggressively or negatively, but I’m of the opinion that I don’t ever want to be the smartest guy in the room, and I don’t want to be surrounded by like minded people when making important decisions. Rather, I value and love others’ opinions and thoughts. A classroom environment, if structured correctly, is a hotbed for contesting ideas and for creating new and better ones. An opportunity to breath life into a group of people and push them challenge thoughts and ideas is both fascinating and inspiring to me.

I’m sure I’ll end up writing more about this as I progress and I’m excited to share with you!


Onto the Next Adventure

I am on to a new adventure!

I recently made the incredibly hard decision to move on from Monumental Sports & Entertainment where I have spent the last four plus years. I hadn’t been looking to make a move, but life is at times unpredictable. So unpredictable in fact, that I had three extremely interesting and very different opportunities land in my lap within a week of one-another.

Here’s the quick and dirty:

At the beginning of July 2017, several opportunities materialized out of virtually nowhere. The first opportunity was a Vice President of Business Intelligence at another professional sports organization. The second was a Vice President of Marketing role at a startup software company. The third was to assume the role of Head of Marketing Strategy within a Fortune 150.

I feel incredibly fortunate and humbled to have been presented with each of these opportunities, each in their own right incredibly interesting and exciting. One allowed me to remain in the sports industry in which I had been working for the last four years. Another allowed me an opportunity to help shape the beginnings of a new organization. And finally, the last allowed me to blaze a new path forward and build a marketing strategy team from the ground up with a number of resources and autonomy at my disposal.

Ultimately my decision to depart for a new opportunity and a new career direction was based on a number of things. I ended up choosing the Head of Marketing Strategy role for a several reasons.

1) Autonomy

The ability to build and run a department using strategy I believed would work.

2) Looking for a challenge

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I’m at my best and happiest when I’m being challenged.

3) Opportunity to build a team from scratch

Not just a team of 1 or 2, but an extensive team with multiple divisions, each with sub-departments. I think one of the things I’m best at is building a team and comradery – I want to put this to the test on a large scale.

4) Fortune 150 experience

I’ve worked for a world class sports organization, now I want to take my agile abilities to something bigger and more established to see how they fit and mesh.

5) Push myself out of my comfort zone

I think it’s easy to get lazy if you’re comfortable. I find that I grow most when I’m in changing and maybe uncomfortable situations.

6) Return to Chicagoland

I never thought I’d return full-time to Chicago, but being around family and friends whom I haven’t seen regularly in almost a decade was a cherry on top.

There were certainly other factors, but these were some of the biggest. It also certainly helped to have a significant other who supported the move. That said, onward and upward.