Career

superpowersMy super-skills: distillation | activation | fluidity

I take all the scattered pieces and assemble them into efficient, actionable and flexible plans. I communicate clearly so others are both empowered and accountable when executing their work. I value transparency so that team members understand how their contributions impact the whole.

I’ve built small companies from the ground up (and sold them); grown teams from scratch, developing talented beginners into savvy professionals; and worked effectively as a member of company leadership with a focus on activation, collaboration and follow-through.

Interested in my technical skills? Click here.

STRATEGY/COMMUNICATIONS/
PROJECT MANAGEMENT

CRYSTAL CLEAR COMMUNICATIONS LLC

You’ve heard the one about the cobbler’s children…I founded this shop in May 2017, after my largest freelance client expressed a strong preference for an EIN. It’s a nice umbrella for the work I do, which you can learn more about on CCC’s Facebook page. When I have a minute, I’ll build  my website.

BizTimes Media, LLC (2013 – 2017)

As Director of Strategic Initiatives (W2 employee as of 8/2015), my job was to evaluate current trends and accepted best practices in media and publishing (especially digital), then create and manage programs to further the goals of this prominent southeastern Wisconsin B2B publisher with a 21-year history of journalistic excellence.

Some highlights:

  • Lead website, e-newsletter and magazine redesign, working with cross-functional teams of stakeholders including executive leadership, editorial, sales, operations and multiple vendors
  • Plan, manage and edit special publications
  • Develop new audiences to include young business leaders
  • Create and manage native advertising programs for web and print, including BizInsights
  • Provide ongoing training and coaching to editorial team, especially in digital journalism best practices
  • Re-align internal thinking from “we’re a print magazine with a web component” to “we create content and deploy it across multiple platforms”

Frankly Music – Chamber music group featuring violinist Frank Almond (2009 – 2015)

(Consulting) Directed and managed traditional and new media marketing for Frankly Music and its founder, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Frank Almond, including earned media.

Favorite project: Working with Frank and the board, I executed a major campaign to promote “A Violin’s Life,” a multi-component celebration of Frank’s violin, the “Lipinski” Stradivarius. The CD debuted in Billboard’s Top 10 Classical releases in 2013.

Here’s a video produced by my daily city website, ThirdCoast, of Frank playing “Devil’s Trill,” a piece Lipinski composed on the eponymous Stradivarius.

Transfer Pizzeria Café/VIA Downer (2009 – 2013)

(Consulting) Directed and managed traditional and new media marketing plan for two successful Milwaukee bistros that set both businesses apart in a crowded culinary landscape. Focused on the team, the environment and the owners’ commitment to the community to help customers connect to their experience beyond the meal.

Favorite part: Ownership truly values the local community. I got to work with groups ranging in scope from fine arts and education to environmental stewardship and social services.

Centare Group (2011)

(Consulting) Marketing and communications director for 6-time Inc. 5000 software development innovator.

Best experience: Organizing and attending a two-day Scrum workshop featuring Ken Schwaber

BUSINESS

BizStarts Milwaukee (2013 – 2014)

Entrepreneurship director for nonprofit resource center for starting and scaling businesses.

Best thing I did: I created and launched the BizForge, a resource hub made up of private and public entities and individuals to provide meaningful resources to help emerging companies. I developed partnerships, helped raise money, worked directly with startups, designed the space and took out the trash.

VITAL Media Group (2002 – 2012)

Managing partner, co-founder, editor in chief. Head of its social marketing practice and co-publisher of VITAL Source and ThirdCoast Digest (TCD), award-winning magazines (print and online) covering culture, lifestyle, social policy and politics in southeast Wisconsin.

Why it matters: We survived the Great Recession and the “death of media,” moving exclusively to the Web in a time when that still made people gasp. We also ditched advertising as a primary revenue source early on, developing an in-house digital marketing agency that became both our bread and butter and a model for others like us.

Other things I learned and did:

  • Won a quiver of Milwaukee Press Club awards, including 2012 “Best News and Features Website,” beating out much larger news outlets from around the state
  • Contributed dozens of stories, edited hundreds more
  • Directed newsroom of five (plus freelancers) and sales and office staff of four
  • Oversaw technology and design
  • Threw some pretty imaginative events, like a carnival for adults in a decaying ballroom complete with striped tents, cotton candy and authentic carnival games. Also live music, tarot readers, caricatures by local artists and alcohol. Quite a bit of alcohol.

North Avenue Grill (2012 – 2013)

(Sold, still thriving in trendy East Tosa, WI)

Co-owner of New American diner featuring locally-grown, organic and GF fare in a classic diner setting.

Something neat: Mental Floss magazine says North Avenue Grill’s fries are the best in Wisconsin

Bremen Cafe (2002 – 2008)

(Sold, still successful in bohemian Riverwest neighborhood of Milwaukee, WI)

Co-owner of café/live music venue/game lounge with strong ties to its revitalizing neighborhood.

Proud moment: When Jon Langford said the Bremen was his favorite hole in Milwaukee to play

DM Review Interactive, Brookfield, WI (1998 – 2001)

(Now Information Management magazine)

Director of sales and marketing for a highly successful web-based resource for business intelligence and data warehousing professionals.

Highlights and hallmarks:

  • In 1998, a small team of digital enthusiasts was separated from the print magazine to create something great from an ugly HTML shell. Yes, 1998. By 2000, we had figured out how to do virtual trade shows and monetize live webcasts
  • My sales team grew revenues from $5,000/yr. to $3.9 million/yr. in three years
  • I trained and mentored peers in parallel roles for our parent company, Thomson Financial Media

MEDIA

Milwaukee Magazine (2014- present)

Freelance contributor to the Milwaukee region’s most widely read lifestyle/city magazine. My work includes features, profiles, interviews and personal essays.

WTMJ-4 TV (2008-2015)

Commentator on weekday news segment “What’s Hot” and occasional panelist on the popular “Sunday Insight” program.

Arts Digest – Milwaukee Public Television/MPTV (2010 – 2011)

Creator, co-host and co-producer of a CPB-endorsed, local arts-focused television program

KSTP-FM, Minneapolis, MN (1990s)

Producer for possibly the most dysfunctional heritage morning show in the history of radio.

What I learned and why it matters: I learned patience and diplomacy. I learned to play well in the major leagues. I learned conflict resolution. I learned to laugh it off.  I did a good job and made it work for longer than many predecessors. I met a lot of people and learned how to take advantage of an imperfect opportunity.

Here are a few more media clips.

EDUCATION

Bachelor of Arts, University of Iowa, Iowa City (1990)

To see even more, including my volunteer experience, check out my LinkedIn profile.