I've spent the last 25 years building valuable, high-growth brands around innovation and learned that without a team of amazingly talented + passionate people behind them, the most compelling ideas, products + technologies never succeed.
My LinkedIn profile tells all, but I've helped launch industry-disrupting + defining technologies for major global brands, led marketing for a company that scaled from $30-150m in 3 years and been part of a startup acquired by the world's largest software company.
I've worked in, with and around over 300 companies of all sizes - including adidas, Ralph Lauren, Dunkin' Brands, PUMA, Velcro Industries, Cirque du Soleil, Microsoft, EverybodyFights, Tishman Speyer, Brown Brothers Harriman, Oath Craft Pizza, Spartan Race, Leitz, CoachUp, Groove Networks, Hearts On Fire, Major League Baseball, SmartPak, Newton Running, IdeaPaint, Zildjian, TrueFit, CapitalOne, the NBA, Gemvara, Drizly, Sony, Acclaim Entertainment, Bemis Associates and Reebok.
In 2011, I became part of the team at a Brand Capital firm in Boston - Breakaway Innovation Group - where I lead our strategy, innovation + talent practices.
As JFK said, "To whom much is given, much is expected." I try to pay it forward by mentoring early stage companies, including teams of amazing innovators from TechStars, Nike+ Accelerator, Seedcamp, Northeastern University IDEA, Bolt Accelerator - and also served as a trustee of the Duxbury Education Foundation, a non-profit that brings innovation into public schools.
I've lived in Europe, worked in dozens of different countries and sort of speak some other languages. Some better than others. I'm a graduate of the Villanova University School of Business, Devon Prep School, a native of the Philadelphia area and a long-suffering Philadelphia sports fan. To ease those frustrations, I run a lot. Sometimes 26.2 miles at a time.
And I'm passionate about helping people change the trajectory of their careers. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if I can help you in any way.
(And thanks for reading this far. You really should be given an award. Keep going...)
My career started almost 25 years ago when i decided to pursue my passion and place a bet on my unique skills. My LinkedIn profile shows where I am now and the road I've taken to get there.
But getting started - the first step - was the hardest.
I was a huge soccer fan who obsessively searched for the limited options available to us in the ‘80s – NASL on fuzzy UHF, the classic Soccer Made In Germany on PBS, European matches on shortwave radio and weeks-old foreign sports magazines. The radio + magazines helped me pick up the basics of foreign languages while in middle school. Then I had the great fortune to have a school and teachers who nurtured these language skills and parents who helped me get to Europe to develop them firsthand. The highlight of my travels was visiting the small German town where adidas + Puma were founded and headquartered and buying as much soccer gear as I could afford.
After graduating from college, I was uninspired by the career opportunities I saw. And the ones that looked interesting weren’t interested in me. The CIA didn’t want me. Neither did any of the multinational brands that I applied to. I had an offer from a 300 year-old life insurance company to join their training program. I couldn’t imagine that the road in front of me would lead to anything but a miserable career. So I decided to place a bet on my skills, myself + my passion. Packing my worldly possessions and the ridiculous optimism of a 22 year-old into a couple suitcases, I bought a one-way ticket to Germany during the week the Berlin Wall fell to chase a dream of working for adidas in the sport of soccer. I changed the road I was on.
“If I could, I'd write a huge encyclopedia just about the words luck and coincidence”
- Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
It is often said that you manufacture your own luck. I didn’t have a job or even an offer when I left for the airport, but I figured that I would find a way to make it work because I had no other choice. After nearly eighteen months, I finally got a foot in the door and was given an offer to start in the global management training program at adidas, which led me to a global product management role in the business unit charged with running the worldwide soccer business. I joined an amazing team of exceptional people from all over the world that were the driving force behind the rebirth of the once-great brand.
But after a couple years, I lost focus. Rather than continuing to follow my passion, I tried to get ahead. I chased promotions. I worried more about office politics than my actual responsibilities. While I had a lot of great achievements, I wasn’t actually very good at what I did. I lost confidence in my abilities. It showed. I failed more than I succeeded. I became replaceable. A commodity. And I dreaded going to work. After nearly 15 years of this downward spiral, I finally realized that I needed to make a dramatic change.
Unfortunately, when you’re 40, the financial pressures of a mortgage and a young family make it nearly impossible to make significant changes. But it became clear to me that without changing the road I was on, I was stuck. My choice was continued mediocrity or the potential to be great at something i loved doing.
Pretty clear choice, right?
Channeling the irrational exuberance of the 22 year-old me, I decided to make another major bet on my passions + what I saw as my unique abilities. I had a few “aha moments” during this stretch where I realized I have a talent for strategy and public speaking, so I decided to start a brand, product, marketing + sales strategy consulting firm where I could leverage these skills and my work experience. Big leap, tough road, but it led me to an amazing team of great people building an incredible business that I'm lucky to be part of.
It hasn’t been easy – in fact, it’s been the most stressful period of my career + life. But knowing I’m on the right road again, one that combines my skills + passions has made it all tolerable.
Enough of my story; let’s focus on yours. Hopefully this blog, book and its content helps you!