“Forget about me, let’s talk about YOU” has been the story of my life for the past 20 years.

Instead of only learning from my mistakes (I’ve made enough, thank you) I chose to build everything based on learning from the success and failures of happy, successful people.

Here’s what this means for YOU: I’m bringing 22 years of experience and thousands of conversations of wisdom into every project.

It’s all about results and results are all about collaborating with like-minded people.  Here’s a quick look at how I got here and some answers to “Why you?”


When I struck out on my own right after college I realized that I had a LOT to learn.
I connected with successful people and asked how they created opportunities.

I then immediately applied their advice in my own life and shared what I learned through
speaking engagements.

Those conversations gave me the content for my first gigs – which were entirely interactive.

That was my “a-HA!” moment: All collaboration starts with an idea exchange;
it doesn’t have to be some convoluted, complicated process. I realized that…

Collaboration happens when conversations turn into action.


During my journey I’ve been fortunate to collaborate on exciting projects such as:

  • Running book launches and speaking tours for New York Times Bestselling business authors
  • Working with Richard Saul Wurman, the Founder of TED, to create an event with 50 world class luminaries
  • Creating the branding statement and heading up marketing strategy for the the world’s largest chapter of Meeting Professionals International (MPI)
  • Interviewing top executives and sponsors at the news desk at Dell World (now Dell EMC World)
  • Creating marketing and outreach programs for the world’s largest improv festival
  • Creating the mentoring program for Loyola University’s Quinlan School Of Business
  • Helping create and design the mentoring program for Columbia University’s Career Design Lab

Two of my favorite early interviews, unedited:

This was my first video interview ever, in 2012. I didn’t expect to be on camera so the pressure was off.

Right before we turned the cameras on Wurman pulled me back into the frame and said “You’re on camera with me, right?”. Which meant I was. There was no preparation and the entire interview was improvised.

My interview with Jon Ferrara, creator of CRM and current founder & CEO of Nimble on the tradeshow floor at DellWorld 2013.

While I had done some research and prepared some questions, we quickly took the interview to an improv format. We’re still friends and collaborate from time to time on interview series.


Along the way I accidentally stumbled into the improv world. One of my best friends asked me to be in charge of talent and after parties for the 10th Annual Chicago Improv Festival in 2007.

Conversations in the green room with improvisers from television and film lead to another “a-HA!” moment for me: Improv ISN’T about being funny; it’s about collaboration. It’s an art, a science and a lifestyle.

After 13 years of integrating improv rules into my business presentations, interviews and everyday life it’s changed my communication style and shifted my world view.

I had the honor of eventually serving as Board President for Chicago Improv Productions, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. We produced The Chicago Improv Festival, The College Improv Tournament, The Chicago Podcast Festival and more.


Instead of only sharing my own life lessons I draw from my interviews with successful people that LOVE what they do. I continue asking successful people I meet how they collaborate to achieve amazing results. I ask people that have failed what they would do differently.

Those conversations have turned into an ongoing, active research project – that means I apply their advice in my own life and projects. Just “researching” and collecting data means nothing if its not put into action.

Everything I create today is based on the patterns I’ve recognized from those conversations. I take great notes.

22 years, thousands of conversations and hundreds of events later I’m still learning from amazing people and building events and programming. Now I have a LOT more experience to share and great team to work with.

Through that experience I have created my body of work , Idea Climbing™, that shows people and organizations how to solve problems and create opportunities through collaboration.