Yesterday I was in a frenzy to get the house clean, the girls ready, and our gear set for a business trip in the city. The girls were remarkably chill, abandoning their tendency toward tears or anxiety about my leaving. Still, it was nerve-wracking, the ever-present, “Will I be good enough?” rattling around in my head.

The strangest thing happened, each time I thought there would be an obstacle—the weather, running late, the weather, texts of a tummy bug at home, the weather—the obstacle didn’t triumph.

Three minutes to spare for the train.

An extra pair of gloves.

A text that everyone went to sleep.

A warm bench seat and a wide-screen playing the SNL 40th show.

This morning my nerves were operating at maximum strength, which they always do when it comes to public speaking. I think that the surge of adrenaline, the shaky throat, the hyper-foot tapping makes me stronger, not in the moment, but as I piece together words and moments of eye contact, I make ground. My standard line is—if you aren’t a little nervous, then why do it?


I had my trusty cough drop with the little pep talk bits on the wrapper, my notes, such as they were scribbled, and my dear colleague Paul Cummings from Chazen Companies next to me. Beyond Paul were four other men that I’ve worked with for several years on our Newcomb projects. We were in it together, but when one passed a note that said, “Over one hundred” I blanched.

The things that run through my head are random and potent—the girls, my company, do I have something in my teeth, can they see that my lip is twitching, the campaigns I worked on for my parents growing up, how badly I want to do right by my clients and my family. I realize that I am gushing and writing this on a high, but today was a good day and the culmination of years of work. It is thanks to hard work, friendship, professional alliances, family, and maybe just a little bit of love from the universe.





For all the times I’ve called you a dog, Monday, today you were alright.


Our standing room only session on Branding & Placemaking at the New York Association of Towns Conference. The video that was shown as a part of the seminar can be seen here.