For those who prefer a tale to a résumé…
(skip over to Work History if you’re looking for that!)
I grew up in a small town in the Midwest (Wisconsin, to be exact). I was a voracious reader, an aquarium enthusiast, and I dreamed of nothing more than traveling the world. Fast-forward through some very nerdy childhood and teenage years and I find myself a young man at Harvard, where new worlds of possibility opened up to me.
At Harvard, I studied Folklore & Mythology, an academic discipline that I loved, and one which immersed me in the art (and science) of storytelling. I also had the good fortune to work at Let’s Go—travel guidebooks produced entirely by Harvard students—which further exposed me to travel and nurtured my love of it.
After graduation, I moved to New York with the intention of taking a year or so off before graduate school. I got a job at Condé Nast Traveler, then the country’s premier travel magazine—and well, I never looked back. This was the 1990’s, so my early career was rooted in print, first at Traveler, then the personal finance magazine SmartMoney (in 1999, finance was sexy!), and then Travel + Leisure. Being trained in print at that time meant a focus on key elements of the highest-quality content—quality, presentation, and aesthetics—and I find that I leverage the skills I honed then in my multi-platform work today.
In 2006, I joined The New York Times as Editor of the quarterly travel edition of T: The New York Times Style Magazine. It was at the Times where I started doing digital work, learning best practices and discovering that I loved the way data and analytics gave an editor tools for informing editorial decision-making and optimizing for performance. By 2009, though, I felt I wasn’t really growing much within a traditional media environment, so I pivoted: I left the Times to join an advertising agency in the nascent days of content marketing.
First at Hill Holliday in Boston and then at J. Walter Thompson in New York, I was hired to establish and lead new departments we called “content strategy,” designed to help brands create and distribute editorial-quality content in support of their business objectives. The years I spent at these two agencies proved to be incredible training in how to bring rigorous strategic thinking to bear on creative output, which has become one of my key professional strengths. I worked with a wide variety of clients across sectors, won a few awards, and established myself as a digital professional and a business thinker generally.
In 2012, I was lured back into the media business, and spent 18 months at my alma mater Condé Nast, first relaunching the Condé Nast Traveler brand across all digital platforms and then establishing a corporate content marketing practice that evolved into the company’s existing in-house agency, now called CNX.
I returned to Travel + Leisure as Editor in Chief in 2014. When I arrived the brand was holding steady in print but underdeveloped digitally. I built a new team, remade our budgets, dramatically reworked our operations, and implemented a new creative and strategic vision for the brand. Today T+L is the #1 travel magazine in the U.S. in audience size and market share (it’s also the only remaining monthly). Following three consecutive years of triple-digit digital growth, TravelandLeisure.com is the #4 travel content site in comScore (up from #15 when I arrived), and it’s got well over 13 million social media followers on the major platforms (and some crazy engagement numbers). Essentially, we bucked the trend in a time of overall decline in the media landscape—which has translated into revenue success for the brand, and some great recognition, including Adweek’s nod for Hottest Travel Magazine four years running.
In 2016, Travel + Leisure’s then-parent company, Time Inc., asked me to assume oversight of nine additional brands—its entire lifestyle portfolio—to drive digital growth and revenue and operational efficiency as we’d done at T+L, and to identify cross-brand synergies, while continuing to lead Travel + Leisure as Editor in Chief. In late 2017, working closely with Time Inc.’s executives and our partners from McKinsey, I played a leading role in an ambitious corporate transformation initiative, developing and executing plans to remake editorial operations across the company and to build new brand-specific lines of business. That work generated both cost savings and new revenue streams that will benefit the bottom line for years to come, and I’m proud of that.
In the fall of 2018 I made the decision to step down from my roles at our new parent company, Meredith Corporation. After four years, I felt I had accomplished what I set out to do and was ready to stretch myself in new ways.
My more than two decades of professional experience have formed me into a leader who is both strategic and creative, and squarely focused on innovation and growth. I’m the most business-oriented “creative” you’ll ever meet. I believe building and effectively managing exceptional teams is key, and that what those teams need to succeed is not micromanagement but a clear articulation of vision and goals, and smart decision-making that supports their work. I continue to believe that great storytelling is one of the most powerful tools we have in connecting with people—whatever the purpose—and that technology gives us more effective means than ever for helping that content reach and resonate with audiences. I am currently consulting with a diverse set of clients and looking at longer-term, full-time opportunities. If you’d like to talk, please get it touch.