Of all the things to think about as we begin a new year, one thought rises above the rest.

We need to keep it real and we need to keep it fun.  Yes, fun. If you aren’t loving it and having some fun, then you won’t do well for yourself, your team or your clients. It’s harder to win consistently unless you are having fun playing this game.

W2O Group had a break-out year in 2017 achieving outstanding performance. We exceeded our revenue target and improved in key areas of efficiency, profit margin and service. We are consistently getting better at how we allocate resources, manage services and develop talent.

We have work to do to further optimize these metrics, but every single one of you should be extremely proud of what you are doing to ensure we “Become the Best!”

As we look back on the achievements of 2017, we must now turn our attention to what’s ahead.  That’s the nature of business and certainly life. What makes our work so fulfilling and worthwhile is that there is no exact formula to produce magic. Solving complex business situations involves methodologies, data/analytics, insights, strategy, passion, experience, collaboration and sometimes a leap of faith, trusting your gut instincts.

If it was “Paint by Numbers,” then anyone could do it. It’s not.

I encourage you to celebrate the work we do for our client partners – as well as how we work together.  We need to recognize and share our magic, not necessarily to promote ourselves, but to learn from what’s working well and to instill an attitude across the firm of what success looks and feels like.

This leads me to a key thought that should shape all we do in 2018:  Keeping the “Why” ahead of the “What.”

We can never let the things we do replace the reasons we do them – insight, purpose, efficacy and results.

It’s always about the conditions and situation in which we involve ourselves. It’s about how we care for our client partners and the promises we make and, above all, how we respect and treat each other internally in the process of delivering on those promises. The more fun we have doing it with both with our clients and with each other, the better the results in my experience.

It’s too easy to default to the products, services, capabilities and models as a foundation for ascribing value. Are they important?  Yes. Do they differentiate us?  Yes. But, do they define us? Absolutely not!

This is something we must work on diligently all year to keep our north star intact.

As we go forward, let’s look at what we did learn this past year:

1. Technology “giveth” but can also “taketh” away – What I mean is that technology provides an ability to become smarter about purchase habits, behaviors, interests, opinion formation and predictive tendencies. By the same token, it can also disguise itself, confusing the truth and skewing reality. It’s imperative we pressure test everything we think we learn and everything we do, so that the integrity of the work is maintained.

2. Being Innovative comes with a cost – We continue to invest in our capabilities and in so doing disrupt the status quo. However, innovation cannot be optimized if our clients and our own teams are not engaged and getting their hands dirty in the insight and requisite benefits in programming and execution that it engenders. In 2018, it’s critical that we work with our clients to better translate data to insight to action. In so doing, move from intuitive-based solutions to precise communications throughout the marketing and digital spectrum.

3. Insight Integration is not a theme – Rather, it’s how we conduct our work.  Period.  Every client engagement. Every strategy formulation. Every program development. Every execution. Every measurement framework. All will be influenced and informed by insights generated from data/analytics.

I can assure you that 2018 will be every much what we experienced last year and probably more.  While there are no guarantees in our lives or our work, there are a few things you can expect at W2O:

Learning & Development – We are investing in myriad training/development efforts on your behalf to better grasp everything from understanding our models, methodologies, and approaches, strategy development, program planning, manager effectiveness, consultative techniques and financial acumen. Keep asking for it and participate vigorously.

Diversification & Integration – We are continuing our efforts to strengthen integration of people, processes, capabilities in our work. This gives us the best chance at success in the marketplace. And gives you an opportunity to learn new skills and techniques that will enrich your career and professional standing.

Opportunities to Grow & Advance – We are scaling very quickly and with such growth comes new and interesting opportunities for career advancement and growth. This is what keeps W2O Group an incredible place to build your career.

So, please reach out to your colleagues, managers and leaders, and acknowledge the great year we just had thanking them for their efforts.

And then, embrace the year ahead and the expectations before us with a renewed sense of purpose, respect, diversification, integration, curiosity and learning. Let’s defend and maintain our no-assholes, no politics or game-playing culture. Let’s be direct with and responsive to one another and continue results-oriented discussions and constructive debates that focus on results vs. activities. Finalize your personal quarterly goals with your manager based on our overall business goals, because if you don’t know where you are going, you can’t get there.

Think bigger, better and bolder.  And for the love of the game, have some fun!

Please accept my sincere wishes for a healthy, happy and productive 2018!  And see you all along the long hallway soon.

Gratefully,

Jim

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Most of us start our careers off before we actually build the tools to be successful in our jobs. My experience is a good example of starting out green, and, at times, unprepared for day-to-day duties in the PR and Marketing world. However, it is also one of learning quickly and working smart to taste success and satisfaction early. The following tips and examples won’t necessarily guarantee raises or promotions, but should help any early-stage career PR professional lay a foundation to achieve highly, while still having a smile on their face as they rise through the ranks.

1. Put Your Best Foot Forward

Not long ago, one of my supervisors gave me some invaluable career advice. She said, “Focus on making your boss look as good as humanly possible”. Even if we still need to learn the basics of our job functions when we start a new position, volunteering to jump in not only helps our bosses and teams, but also helps us grow faster in our careers.

During my earliest days at W2O as an intern, I learned how to take efficient, direct, and well-formatted notes. My first notes, however, were completely inefficient, indirect, and ill-formatted. It took multiple one-on-one meetings with my manager to work out the kinks of how to take notes. Since fine-tuning my approach, I now feel confident taking notes during every meeting I attend, so others, like my boss, won’t have to. This helps her and our whole team stay organized and aware of next steps on projects we are delivering.

2. Get Involved with Company Culture

A great way to gain exposure with your boss and senior leaders in any company is to immerse yourself in the office culture. In 2016, I planned a Pi Day pie baking contest for my office. Not only was that event delicious, it also brought people from different departments together. Everyone from executives to associates enjoyed the event, and gave me props for planning it. Furthermore, putting on a successful event allowed me to teach one of my peers how to plan the 2017 iteration. She did a tremendous job with it, and it felt good to help her get the same exposure I was going for the previous year.

3. Keep Track of Your Accomplishments

When I’m not planning bake-offs, I am leading projects for different global and technology brands. Let’s be clear: the PR and Marketing agency world is a client services industry. It’s important to be involved in office events, but it’s even more important to make sure the clients you represent are happy with what you produce on their behalf. After all, that’s what keeps the lights on in our offices!

It’s especially useful for someone just starting off their career, to keep track of positive feedback you receive from your clients. That’s why I have a folder in my email entitled “Positive Client Feedback”. It’s as simple as that. Moving glowing emails from my inbox to that folder is a small, but extremely motivating, pleasure. It inspires me to continue to learn and, in turn, set myself to earn raises and promotions.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for What You Want

I don’t just let that positive client feedback folder collect dust. I use it as leverage when discussing my career with my manager. It’s easy to make a case for raises and promotions when you put your best foot forward, get involved in company culture, and document your accomplishments. Whenever my boss wants to know how things are going, I can show her a list of how I’ve grown and what I’ve achieved recently, backed up by my positive client feedback folder. It’s true, it can be daunting proposing a raise or a promotion. That said, I’ve found it always gets easier each time I do it, provided I have the evidence to prove that I am ready for the next step in my career.

In two and a half years at this company, these steps and strategies have helped me grow, and, more importantly, have allowed me to enjoy my W2O journey tremendously.

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This holiday season, I focused on reading books that represented events or people that changed our perspective on the world for better or worse, plus I added in two books for fun. Here’s a brief summary:

American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind behind the Silk Road by Nick Bilton – this is an extremely well-written book that describes the creation and operation of the Silk Road in the style of a page-turning thriller. Ross Ulbricht, who created Silk Road is from the town that we live in (Westlake in Austin, TX). On the one hand, it is scary to think of what he created in such a short-time frame. On the other hand, it illustrates how hard it will be to truly slow down illicit activity via the dark web with the present rules we have in place. Impossible would be the right word. Recommended by John Cunningham.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann – this book describes the early days of how the FBI began by centering on a series of murders that occurred in Oklahoma impacting the Osage Indians. This is another well-written book that is a great reminder of why we need a strong FBI. Recommended by Christopher Martin.

Kissinger by Walter Isaacson – Walter Isaacson has become my favorite biographer to read. This volume on Henry Kissinger is unsparing in its unveiling of how Kissinger, Nixon and their teams developed policy, focused on world order and, quite frankly, lived in a continually semi-paranoid state. Isaacson has a gift for putting all of the information out on the table in a reader-friendly approach. Next book I will read of his is on Leonardo da Vinci.

Altamont: The Rolling Stones, the Hells Angels and the Inside Story of Rock’s Darkest Day by Joel Selvin – Woodstock was heralded as a breakthrough event that was not nearly as well planned as many thought. The west coast version of Woodstock turned out to be Altamont, an event where “planning” was not necessarily an operative word.   It became symbolic as an event that signaled the end of the “innocence” of the 60’s. The Stones, by the way, are one of my favorite bands of all time, so easy to read. Recommended by Mike Marinello.

Since it was a time to chill out during the holidays, I also read two fiction books, which I don’t do a lot of.

The Sellout by Paul Beatty – this satirical book about a fictional town called “Dickens” within Los Angeles and a race-related trial that ends up in the US Supreme Court are all you need to know, other than this won the Man Booker Prize, which automatically puts this in the “must read” column. Love the Man Booker Prize selections each year. Recommended by Michael Roth.

The Cuban Affair by Nelson DeMille – I have been a long-time fan of Nelson DeMille’s work, particularly The Gold Coast. A fun, relatively quick read about a plot that rolls out in Cuba. Will stop there.

In Q1, I plan to read more on Blockchain, related technologies and global issues.

Happy New Year! Please keep the recommendations for books coming in.

Best, Bob

Discerning Who and What to Listen to Inside/Outside Organizations Can Mean the Difference Between Failure and Success  

One of the more intriguing aspects of a digital world, especially in business, is not the number of conversations or discussions surrounding a brand but the ability to identify them and determine their requisite importance and relevance to everything from customer satisfaction, future viability, strategy interpretation, and employee engagement.

As I spend time at clients traversing from meeting to meeting with different teams and functions it’s amazing to see just how different, interesting, and difficult people’s perspectives, opinions, and beliefs about the business and its strategic intent have become in an era of information overload. Similarly, looking outside the company, employing an array of proprietary analytics we can truly understand the granularity of opinion formation and perception influencing brand efficacy, product usage, purchase behavior, and share of voice.

What does this all mean?

The volume and diversity of inputs regarding a brand or company has grown exponentially and with it the challenge of filtering what’s important and strategically critical vs. what’s noise. In my opinion, the result is a combination of analysis including machine learning with human insight and experience. To that end, there are four considerations in gauging the most productive and useful techniques in being an effective interpreter of your company’s or brand’s position:

  1. Internally, look for discrepancies on how employees at different levels and in different groups are discussing and sharing their understanding of the business or situation with colleagues and peers.  This will provide a clear indication of whether they are working to solve the right problems or address the right priorities.
  2. Study how discourse is taking place in social and digital channels and platforms including forums and chat rooms.  Doing so will open a line of sight to the marketplace.
  3. Map these conversations back to leadership directives, strategy, and messaging emanating for the company.  From here, you can ascertain linkages and gaps.
  4. Recognize the new expectations as a byproduct of today’s digital environment. The need for context, discovery, and consistent communications is now the norm in both marketing and communications.

The combination of technology and human values is a powerful and essential combination to making sense of an ecosystem that by default can lead one down multiple pathways in search of solutions.  Information is a powerful tool on many levels.  It can inform and influence opinion, shape confidence, and encourage trust.  It can also initiate conversations and debates or perpetuate falsehoods.

As professionals, we are exposed to myriad voices in our work on behalf of our client partners. Utilizing the models and methodologies we have at our disposal along with our intrinsic curiosity and work experiences create clear and critical pathways to focusing on the truth regarding organizational viability.

In our work, it’s ok to “hear voices” as long as we interpret their accuracy and meaning!

Jim

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Many of the answers in life are common sense.  We just choose to ignore them.  We always have a “good reason”, but every now and then, we just have to call ourselves out and say to ourselves “nope, you’re not as smart as you think.”

Slightly more than one year ago, I finally admitted this to myself and on November 17, 2016, I received a vertical sleeve gastrectomy performed by Dr. Paul Cirangle.  This is otherwise known as “making my stomach smaller”.  Today, I am 95 pounds lighter and a lot smarter about how I stay healthy.

I like to say that the answers were always hiding in plain sight.  I just chose to ignore them.  In the spirit of inspiring others to think about their long-term health, here are my top 11 insights.

#1 – Listen to your friends – Jim Weiss, who had similar surgery nine years ago, is someone I talk about business with on a regular basis.  He would occasionally ask me about my weight, mention his experience and provide me with Dr. Cirangle’s information.  Jim knew I would eventually see the answer right in front of me and act before I knew it.  I’m thankful Jim cared more about my health than I did at the time.

#2 – Focus on the numbers that matter – what’s your waist size and your BMI (body mass index)? If you are putting on weight, just admit it.  Don’t rationalize that it is ok.  Weight gain is a slow-motion movie.

#3 – Weigh yourself every chance you get – maybe your blood pressure is fine.  Or you don’t have diabetes.  You have some rationale.   You are ignoring the part of the iceberg you can’t see.

#4 – Think of fuel vs. food – my food pyramid starts with protein, then vegetables and usually ends there.  I don’t start with carbs or sugars or anything else with no real value.  I think of how the body is fueled, not how it is fed.

#5 – Imagine your coach blowing the whistle – would your coach say it is ok to sit on your butt watching games or would they tell you to get moving?  I imagine my coach is there every day.  So, if I need to, I do a workout at 10pm or go out for a 2-3 mile walk at night in whatever city I am in.  It’s not that hard actually.  It’s really just taking that first step each time.  Right coach?

#6 – Partners matter – my wife, Donna, is highly focused on eating right, exercising and staying in shape.  It allows us to keep a clean house and limit temptations.  If you live with someone else, you are in it together.  So, if you are that other person, ask if you are helping or hurting.

#7 – Don’t overthink devices, but use them – I didn’t sleep enough.  I didn’t weigh myself often.  I didn’t track what I ate every day.  Now I do via a Fit Bit watch, a Fit Bit Aria scale and the MyFitnessPal app.  For the cost of one expensive dinner, I can now track myself every day all year round.

#8 – Realize why we overeat – our stomach contains cells that contain Ghrelin, the hunger hormone that drives our appetite.  With far less Ghrelin receptors, I am just not all that hungry.  Your need for that next slice of pizza is more your body playing with your head than it is a physical need.

#9 – Who needs sugar? – I drink my coffee black, drink water with crystal light and just don’t drink sodas anymore.  The world hasn’t ended.

#10 – Moderation is my middle name – I took a one year hiatus from alcohol. It wasn’t really that bad.  And now I have new rules in place.  I won’t drink unless I am at a special event on a personal level.  Gone are the days where I will drink on an airplane, for example.

#11 Establish new rules – I exercise 3-4x per week.  I don’t miss.  I always reach 90-120 grams of protein a day.  I don’t miss.  Basically, I have rules for how I will live each day.  None are hard, all are easy to follow.

So, on a weekend of being thankful, I want to express thanks to my wife, Donna; my surgeon, Dr. Paul Cirangle; my friend, Jim Weiss; and all of my friends who have been encouraging, inspiring and behind me 110% to get healthy for the rest of my life.

Note: surgery is a personal decision.  I found that the surgery was the right move for myself.  I can take the weight off and keep it off forever, which is my goal.  How you lose weight is a personal choice, so I will never advocate one way. 

This fall I chose a theme of “science and technology” and then realized via this reading list how, once again, teams are so important to anything successful that occurs in life.

Here is what I read and learned about:

No One Cares About Crazy People – by Ron Powers – the author’s family includes two sons with schizophrenia, which provides Powers with a bird’s eye view into our broken mental health system.  In great detail, he interweaves the history and failures of our approach to mental health in parallel with the struggles and bias his own children have faced.  A worthy read and one that you hope becomes outdated soon.

Machine Learning: The New AI – by Ethem Alpaydin – the MIT Press has an excellent series of books describing what’s next in as close to laymen’s terms as you can hope for with otherwise highly technical subjects.  Machine learning (ML) is a discipline that we use every day at W2O Group to power our analytics work. In my view, ML will be mainstream knowledge for every communicator and marketer within five years.  We all tend to think that new technology is just for the geeks, but advances like ML are actually making it easier for all of us to geek out and make a real difference in how we analyze our world.

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End – by Atul Gawande – Dr. Gawande is an exceptional author, who chooses, in this book, to make us think about how we age in U.S. society and how we can improve on a healthcare system unprepared for change.  My biggest takeaway is that we’ll do more for those in the last years of their lives via common sense decisions than we will, in most cases, through medical interventions.  A wake up call on how to think about geriatrics.

Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes – by Richard A. Clarke and R.P. Eddy – the authors illustrate how “Cassandras” often tell us what will happen, but we choose to ignore them.  From Katrina to Fukashima, few disasters were surprises.  I found a real parallel here for all of us who innovate.  It is often hard to convince people about how the world may change, since they like to root their decisions in the current environment.  It’s more comfortable.  Until ISIS forms or a city floods or a power grid is shut down.  Exploring why we fail to listen is…..worth a listen…..

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry — by Neil deGrasse Tyson – this is the holiday gift choice in this list by a wide margin.  Neil does such an excellent job of explaining our universe in bite size chunks that we can all understand.  I know more about our moon, supernovas and how the universe is expanding from this book than what I learned from all prior books put together.

Together is Better – by Simon Sinek – you know him as the famous Ted Talk guy who “starts with why”.  Using a similar approach, he talks about the power of teams and how we can all more effectively work together.  I found it particularly resonant as I thought about how important it is for the mental health world to partner more effectively or how the best care occurs when healthcare professionals team up to provide the best care for the aging patient, regardless of their position or how we could all do a better job listening to new ideas to further our goals.

It was an interesting set of books to read.  Now, for the winter, I am planning to focus on individuals who have impacted our history (e.g. Kissinger) and just read some books for fun, many of these books are past recommendations from all of you.  Thank you to Will de Groot for the Being Mortal book and Jim Weiss for Together is Better.

Best, Bob

 

In 2018, we will celebrate 17 years in biz.  Much has happened since our humble beginnings. For many years we flew below the radar. The entrepreneurial spirit that formed the business was alive and well in all we did and accomplished.  The goal was providing exceptional service and support, partnering with clients to innovate and grow their businesses as well as growing our own people from within.

The goal was always “To Be the Best” not necessarily the biggest. Because that’s been the focus, we are now over 600 strong and growing.

And we have an incredible group of leaders at all levels of the firm.

Which leads me to a very insightful piece I just read in the Harvard Business Review (HBR).

The premise is that even leaders that didn’t found the company, including CEOs, need to think with the mindset of a founder.  In effect, to approach the business with a new-found zeal and energy to build new capabilities, enter new markets, focus on long-term vision and investment and develop new solutions vs. only optimizing current ones (though we have to do that too).

And in so doing, breaking rules and taking risks along the way just as a founder would.  Just as I did and still like to think I do.

I encourage you to read the article and reflect on what it says about your approach and thinking. It provides some very practical advice and also aligns with or belief in metrics and analytics.

As a “re-founder” and CEO myself, I offer you the following three actions to change your game:

  1. Know Your Stuff Information, facts, analysis and insights must drive your planning and key decisions. These are the tools for growth and also for ensuring employees participate and engage in the journey.
  2. Be Courageous – You cannot let too many opinions and faulty thinking infest your thought process. As the article describes, consensus is another way to destroy an idea. If you believe people would have predicted the growth and success of W2O Group over 16 years ago, well, you would have been wrong.
  3. View Obstacles as Traffic Pylons Have you ever seen those orange cones blocking parking spaces or other areas often with no reason?  Let me tell you what I do when I see them: I move them. Do the same with obstacles. Negativity. BS.

Seeing your role as that of a “re-founder” is a fresh take on leadership in a time of new expectations, developments and market competitiveness and will help drive our valuation higher faster.

I hope you enjoy the article and more importantly, I hope you take its message to heart and mind!

Jim  

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W2O Group has experienced growth by welcoming new team members, unveiling new tools and celebrating program milestones. To continue the momentum, we announced today three new hires: Jeff Burnett, Donna Duncan, and Chuck Hemann (returning W2O-er) who will further strengthen our Chicago office.

As an NYC transfer myself, I’m thrilled to be part of this exciting expansion of our office. I sat down with our three new team members to gain more insight into their background, their vision for their roles, and to learn more about their favorite things about Chicago!

Jeff Burnett
Donna Duncan
Chuck Hemann

AnitaWelcome to the Chicago office! We’re so excited to have you all here. Can you share your background and how that is in sync with your role here?

Jeff: I’ve had the pleasure of working with a wide variety of clients over the course of my career on both Rx and OTC products with many pharma and CPG giants – from toothpaste to transplantation, GERD to gut health and COPD to constipation.  I love digging in deep with clients, helping them solve problems and bringing innovative programming to life.  My role allows me the flexibility to do just that as well as grow our base of business in health and wellness.

Donna: Thanks for the warm welcome – I’m delighted to be part of W2O Group. My passion for healthcare communications started here in Chicago about 20 years ago, leading community relations for the regional organ bank. On the agency side, I’ve led integrated teams across the health and wellness spectrum – including pharmaceuticals, hospitals, associations, advocacy and consumer packaged goods. As part of the growing office in Chicago, I’m excited to be leading teams in the development of insights-driven activations that optimize the right marketing communications mix.

Chuck: I started my career in public relations/investor relations research, and have since transitioned into social and digital analytics. I’ve spent most of my career in agencies, though I did just complete a tour of duty in the big company world (Intel) leading global media and digital analytics.

Anita: What is your approach to learning and staying up to speed?

Jeff: As someone who started my career looking up media contacts in Bacon’s…I find the best way to stay up to speed is to stay close to the work.  I am also a pop culture junkie and firmly believe there is no better way to know what is going on in the world than to follow societal trends.

Donna: I’m a digital and audiophile when it comes to gathering news and insights. I read The New York Times Morning Briefing each day before my feet hit the floor, and I can tell if I’m running late based on when the theme from NPR’s Marketplace Morning Report kicks in. I love podcasts for learning and for deeper dives into specific topics. A new one I’m enjoying is I Hate My Boss, which despite its name, takes a very positive look at strategies that help you love your workplace and be a better leader. I also think it’s critical to learn from other people’s experience, which I find through storytelling podcasts like The Moth.

Chuck: This is a really hard thing to do, believe it or not, because there are so many sources of information. I typically rely on two places: My LinkedIn newsfeed and an occasional glance at Twitter.

Anita: What is your “super power”?

Jeff: The early bird gets the worm – which also could be the best piece of advice I ever received. For me, the height of my productivity is from 6 am – 9 am. I take advantage of that time to power through key materials that require deep thought and send off key correspondence that I know I won’t be able to get to once the day takes off.

Donna: I’d have to say adaptability. For me, adaptability means moving through difficult situations with a goal in mind, being open to new ways of working, seeking out others with knowledge and expertise, and collaborating to find solutions and new opportunities.

Chuck: Wow. Great question. My super power? I think if I were to pinpoint just one thing it would be that I’m pretty low key in almost every situation. I don’t have very many highs and lows.

Anita: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Jeff: The time you have is the time you need.  You can’t add time to the day and while I could wring my hands and worry about how little time I have to accomplish a task, all I am doing is wasting time by doing so.

Donna: Leave time for listening. We pride ourselves on preparedness and counsel, but in the rush to present our good thinking it’s easy to sweep past the pauses. When we leave time to listen, we open doors to conversations that help to re-align against our goals, set priorities and discover unexpected opportunities.

Chuck: Always be curious and open-minded. There have been a number of people throughout my career who have tried to impart on me the importance of being curious, but to me it is the most important part of our profession.

Anita:  Ok. Now for the speed round.  All about Chicago! Favorite pizza place?

Jeff:  Dark horse entry from the suburbs, I have to say Viccino’s in Glenview.

Donna: Lou Malnati’s. It’s all about the butter crust.

Chuck: Full disclosure: If you would’ve asked me this question about two years ago I would’ve told you Lou’s. Hands down. Now, though? I love Pequod’s.

Anita:  Favorite Chicago neighborhood?

Jeff: West Loop – so many great restaurants, so little time.

Donna: Logan Square, for its great mix of people, always-growing list of bars and restaurants, and beautiful parks and boulevards.

Chuck: I’m biased, but I love the River West neighborhood.

Anita:  Favorite Chicago landmark?

Jeff: Chicago features some of the world’s best skyscrapers in many styles by many prominent architects.  One only has to look up.  I’ve had the pleasure of working in 2 iconic Chicago landmarks – the John Hancock and Aon buildings.

Donna: So many amazing choices, but the Chicago Cultural Center comes out on top for its architecture, amazing Tiffany glass dome, and its history of free public access.

Chuck: Any place with a rooftop? Just kidding. I love Wrigley Field.

Anita:  Cubs or Sox?

Jeff: Um yeah, not a baseball fan but to be fair, not a sports fan, in general.

Donna: Sox during the regular season, but neutral enough to root for the Cubs when they make into the playoffs.

Chuck: I’m originally from Cleveland so this question hurts my sports soul a little bit. But I think I’ll answer by saying Cubs. Who hates the Cubs, really?

Anita: Thank you, all – that was fun! Looking forward to working with you all to #MakeItHappen here in Chicago!  And as we always say here at the office, it’s all about #ChicagoRising…

View the official release for more details around the announcement here.

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