Day 235

Last night, I had the opportunity to speak with a class at the Chicago Portfolio School. As the third Q&A I’ve done with students at part of #TGAA, I’m officially convinced that it will never get any less stressful. I did have a good time though and I want to thank Angela Vitzhum for inviting me into her classroom. She’s been a big part of what's made Chicago another great stop. In fact, I will be attending the Creative Mornings event with her tomorrow as well. I’m pretty excited about it, because I used to attend their events all the time while living in NYC. If you've never been to one, I highly recommend you check it out. 

This week also got me thinking about the true importance of meeting new people, when it comes to the success of this project. While I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each of my stops along the way, not all of them have truly lived up to what they could’ve been and I’ll be the first to admit that. The most exciting cities I've been to are those where I’ve made new friends like Angela—individuals who understand what I’m trying to accomplish and want to help me get there. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve met so many incredible people along the way. But the real difference makers are those whose generosity and curiosity extends beyond the agency walls.

The View from The Creative Group Offices

You can find their names on this page and it continues to grow all the time. They’re the ones helping to bring this project to life on a daily basis. Whether it’s offering to show me a new part of town, extending an invite to a local networking event or tipping others off to my presence, I’m forever grateful to everyone on that list. Yes, on the other hand, I have met individuals who do not care for my project and choose to ignore my existence as a whole, but they have that right. There have been co-workers who never said a word to me during my tenure—despite my greatest efforts—but it is true that you can’t win them all. Rather than dwell on it, I continue to do my best to sway their opinion over time. My hope is that for every one person who doesn’t care, I will find the support of another ten who do. It’s how the project has grown into what it is today.

In the end, I think the different receptions I receive help make the project better as a whole. It forces me to adapt on the fly and find new ways of seeking advice and answers. As a friend told me before I left, “If everyone loves you and everything goes perfectly, it’s not going to be a very interesting journey. It would just be you taking a vacation and no one wants to read about that.”

So, here’s to those out there who’ve helped (and will continue to help) make this project special in their unique own way. (Even if they do eat burritos without me.)

-Steve-

Day 228

It always excites me when someone truly understands what I’m trying to do with this project. I’ve met so many wonderful individuals in every city I’ve been to and the level of encouragement they offer me is absolutely outstanding. I always try to make it a point—that while I’m the one writing these blogs and documenting the experience—this whole project belongs to all of us. Without any of you, this thing would just be about me wandering around, and trust me, I’m way less interesting than I appear.

Though I’m only halfway through my time here in Chicago, it’s already shaping up to be one of the most interesting months I’ve had. More and more people are contacting me about meeting up, I’m getting recommendations left and right, and the city itself continues to be a wonderland of great street art and creative neighborhoods. I’ve always been a fan of this place, so it’s a lot of fun to finally be experiencing it all—from the Museum of Science and Industry and Wrigley Field to Kuma’s Corner and Millennium Park. But for me, the one location that holds a special place in my heart is Leo Burnett. After all, it’s no mistake that I quote the man behind the name as often as possible. He was—and will always be—one of the best ad writers to have ever lived. 

"Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people."

— Leo Burnett

Oh and speaking of wonderful individuals, I need to thank Jeff Canzona and Ben Santoriello for treating me to some great lunches and even better conversations over the past two weeks. On Monday, I also had the pleasure of grabbing dinner with the incredibly wonderful Angela Vitzhum, who just happens to work for #TGAA sponsor, The Creative Group. It was a great time from start to finish, although as a fellow whiskey fan, I still have to introduce her to another of my sponsors, Cleveland Whiskey. I may have already mentioned this, but Angela even invited me to speak with her class at the Chicago Portfolio School next week. So, I'm greatly looking forward to that as well. And finally, despite my body trying to talk me out of it, I’m still going to run in two 5K’s this weekend. I just hope this weather holds up, because running around in muggy 90º weather doesn't sound like very fun to me. 

I think my time here in Chicago is going to get rather interesting from here on out, so stay tuned and I’ll see you all at the finish line!

-Steve-