"My biggest hope is that we’d find a way to activate the unbelievably huge potential of our city’s youth..."
Where do you work and what makes your role awesome?
My title is Chief Storyteller at CI Design. I love my role because everyday I get to operate within my strengths. I help companies find consensus on their story and then I help them produce experiences with that story so that customers and employees can feel and act on it. Aligning the imaginations of leaders and then activating that shared story with them is a lot of fun. It’s a mix of facilitating, writing, creative direction, video and animation production, web and app production, music production, and more. My role has had room to grow and evolve to fit my strengths because Jim Taugher, founder of CI Design, has created a culture here that makes that possible.
How long have you lived in your city and what brought you here?
I’ve lived in Milwaukee for a total of about 15 years. I moved here from Lodi, WI (30 min north of Madison) to attend UW-Milwaukee. The biggest draw to UW-Milwaukee was that some close friends were coming here, and the other college I applied for did not accept me. I’m glad they didn’t. I figured out who I am (or at least who I want to be) at UWM. The diversity and opportunities were fantastic.
What do you love most about your city?
I love my neighborhood, Sherman Park. We know and are known by our neighbors. Every week we have dinner with several neighbors. It’s wonderful. I also love downtown. Our office is in the Third Ward, which is great. And I love getting to know the different restaurants, coffee shops, and businesses that are all over the city. Milwaukee is a fun place to live.
What is something that is missing from your community that you would love to see implemented?
I’d like to see more authentic friendships across racial and economic lines. My neighborhood has been talked about a lot since the activities that erupted near the BP gas station. It seems like a lot of people are talking about how to help, but I’m not sure how many people are looking for ways to build real, mutual relationships with people. People have ideas or money to share, but those ideas and money won’t be super effective until they are informed and directed by real relationships. Again, I’d like to see more authentic friendships across racial and economic lines. Not sure how to implement that in a big way, so my wife and I are just trying to do it.
What is one word that you would use to describe your city?
Where do you see your city in five years?
I’d like to think that a new generation of leaders will be given more authority within the next five years, and that shared-authority would be used to create more unity and shared momentum in regards to neighborhood and downtown strategies for growth.
If you could create one thing in your city, what would it be?
A unified vision for who we are as a city and where we’re headed.
What local restaurant is at the top of your list?
Giovanni’s on Old World 3rd Street. Amazing food. Awesome family.
What is your biggest hope for your city?
My biggest hope is that we’d find a way to activate the unbelievably huge potential of our city’s youth, and clear paths for them to become the leaders of our city in business, education, entertainment, government and more. They have the potential.
What is your city’s favorite tradition?
I can’t say what my city’s favorite tradition is, but I can say that my favorite tradition is rooted in the rhythms of my neighborhood, e.g. weekly dinners with neighbors. In regards to the festivals, we have a long standing tradition of attending Bastille Days as a family. That’s always fun.
What does an ideal weekend in your city look like?
Pancakes with my daughters. Coffee with my wife. A picnic at the lake. Cookout with friends. A date with my wife downtown at a new restaurant.
What’s your favorite hidden gem or secret fact about your city?
First, we have so much talent here in the creative industry. I’m proud to be part of it. Second, I love the diversity of our neighborhoods. We have really cool neighborhoods that are worth exploring.