That’s how I’ve always answered my phone at work, so it seems appropriate that I start my About page on my blog the same way.
Why Am I Here?
I must confess that in the beginning, I was not a huge fan of blogs in general. I see them as a useful communication tool and one of just many ways to connect with people in this age of social media.
But lest you get the wrong impression, I definitely like writing and reading them. It’s a valuable bonus when they are written well. I’m just not always in love with how some folks execute on the concept. I find them oftentimes to be ponderous, pointless, pretentious and pedantic. Not to mention precious in their use of rhetorical flourishes like alliteration (or irony). So, after this moment of self reflection, I ask you please to excuse my excesses and omissions, both past and future.
I realize that my chosen topic of commenting on communications requires a relatively high standard, which I hope to uphold more often than not. Feel free to keep me on my toes and away from the common blog trap of self-important hypocrisy — or just being a blowhard.
What I’ve Been Up To
I have spent more than 30 years of my life (yikes!) getting paid to communicate or manage someone else’s communications in one way or another. This is perhaps one of the few times that I’m doing it for free. I graduated from the very prestigious (just ask them!) Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and had the honor losing many hours of sleep and dropping several points of my GPA as the editor in chief of The Daily Northwestern. After a stint working at the St. Petersburg Times right after college, I decided I wanted to pursue a legal education at the School of Law at Loyola University Chicago. So, a journalist and a lawyer. A combination that has gotten me into trouble on more than one occasion.
Most recently, I left the Chief Marketing Officer position this past spring at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, an AmLaw 100 firm, to start my own company, Glencoe Media Group Inc., to focus on content, communications and consulting. I’m drawing on a lot of different skillsets here: In addition to the CMO gig, I have written and edited for a few newspapers, have been a practicing litigator, spent time as a community magazine publisher, and worked as a public relations and communications manager, headhunter, career counselor, admissions director, university adjunct faculty, and, last but not least, as a very sporadic free-lancer. I have 16-year-old triplets (2 boys and a girl) and have been married for more than 20 years. I have been living on the North Shore of Chicago for many years, but enjoyed stints living in Tampa and Philadelphia in the past 15 years.
You’ll see that because of my legal background both as a lawyer and law firm CMO, I will be commenting frequently on topics related to legal marketing and lawyers, as well as other more general topics relating to communications. If you’re not that interested in the legal stuff, my apologies in advance, and I hope you’ll stick it out and still read some of the other stuff as it’s published.
A Philosophy About Communications and Language
I am a huge fan of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style, and I posit one of my favorite quotes here so that it might be seen with more frequency than a random post: “The language is perpetually in flux: it is a living stream, shifting, changing, receiving new strength from a thousand tributaries, losing old forms in the backwaters of time.” I think that quote translates to communications in general and will be one of the guiding lights to my comments in this blog.
Go Ahead: Subscribe!
So that’s About John Byrne. Please feel free to take a look around. You’ll see that there were a bunch of posts around 2009-2010, when I first started publishing. Then not so much more until earlier this year, as I was contemplating making my latest transition to starting up my own company. There may be times when I’m updating the blog every day (like on a 30-day content challenge) or when I’ll take a bit of a break. You can subscribe via email using the box up top to be informed when new updates are posted. And, of course, don’t ever hesitate to leave a comment on the blog or, if you’re feeling private, shoot me an email here: firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to communicating with you!