It Took a Village to Bring on Our Newest Leaders… Meet Susan & Damian!

A great mentor and friend of mine named Murad, whose LA-based company manages all real estate holdings for a major grocery retailer, recently shared a presentation with me that he gave to his team at their annual sales meeting. It’s called “It Takes a Village… To Close Our Biggest Transaction Ever.”

Murad’s company had recently closed their biggest single deal ever. This presentation was a timeline with more than 20 events on it, stretching back 40 years—including meetings, relationships and other transactions… all of which played a role in making this biggest deal possible. It’s a visual chain of events; remove any of the links and the final outcome likely never happens. 

What struck me—and this was precisely Murad’s point—is how innocuous many of the events were: “so-and-so hired as tax attorney”; “Murad becomes buddies with so-and-so.” As isolated instances, they’re totally unexceptional. Surely nobody could have known how they’d all add up, right? 

If you ask Murad, he’d say, “That’s only half right. I didn’t know exactly what all of these relationships and events would produce, but I did know they’d lead to some kind of magic.”

Murad calls that “flowing on The Cosmic River”—pursuing a path of truth, wisdom and adventure that’s open to possibility. Perhaps you recognize the concept as “Karma” or “The Call to Adventure.” The name matters not if you believe in it and experience the power. 

I, for one, believe. And I have experienced the power too. I can similarly look at major moments in SRH history—especially new client wins and new hires—and connect the dots stretching back decades. For instance, our latest new client win began with a workplace friendship my grandfather forged more than 50 years ago when he was the hand illustrator of the sales ads for Piggly Wiggly grocery stores.

Great clients and great people don’t just show up out of nowhere. This is why I’m so excited and honored to introduce our two newest leaders, Susan McBeth and Damian Strigens… it took a village to get them here, including long-standing relationships with several current SRH leaders. 

Susan will be leading several of our major accounts and harnesses experiences from both the agency side and the corporate side, including more than 10 years at Harley-Davidson. 

Damian will be co-leading our creative teams as Creative Director and is coming off of 20 years at Hanson Dodge, where he worked with Susan on several projects.

Today we’ll get to know Susan a bit more in her own words. Next week it’s Damian’s turn—same Bat time, same Bat channel.  

 

Here’s Susan! 

What do you love most about this work—what gets you most excited? 

I love the moments in the creative process when you can feel the electricity around an idea. It’s kind of like the feeling when a plane’s about to take off. If we’re lucky it happens a few times in a project. There’s a point when kicking off creative teams where things click and you can see the ideas start flowing, and there’s the moment when sharing work with clients where an idea resonates and you can feel their excitement at the possibilities and the moment of truth when a new piece of work launches there’s a collective sense of excitement in seeing all the hard work make it out into the world. 

What’s a recent professional achievement that was really fulfilling? 

Last year, I was part of a team that worked with VISIT Milwaukee as they navigated an ever-changing landscape in the tourism industry. Part of this work included pivoting with our clients as plans for the Democratic National Convention, which was poised to put Milwaukee on the global stage, became a mostly virtual event. We produced two brand spots for the city of Milwaukee to show the world how amazing our city is. Working on these videos in collaboration with the clients and featuring local artists and influencers instilled a sense of pride in not only the work but also in the city we all love.

Favorite spot in Milwaukee? 

The lakefront. Water is my element and whether I’m walking along the shore or out on the water in our little boat, Lake Michigan makes me happy! 

Favorite spot not in Milwaukee? 

Italy. I’ve been fortunate to spend extended time in Italy and it speaks to my soul. There’s a tiny fishing village in La Spezia called Cadimare that has the best pizza in the world (literally!) and nobody speaks a word of English; it’s spectacular! 

You get to take one piece of art to a desert island—one album, book, movie, etc.—what is it? (If a TV series, you only get one season!) 

This one is hard! I love to read so it’s definitely a book but that’s a toss-up between the Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare. I mean, can you get any better for beach reads?? 😉

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