Mark believes the key to building brands is uncovering brand belief – and for good reason. For more than 27 years, he has used that guiding principle to develop transformational brand strategies and deliver outsized success for some of the world’s biggest, and most beloved, brands like Nike Bauer, Belvedere Vodka, Anytime Fitness, Boston Scientific, Capital One and Fifth Third Bank.
Before starting Friends & Neighbors, Mark was the Vice President and Director of Strategy and Brand Anthropology at Olson in Minneapolis. There he led the development of Brand Anthropology, a revolutionary holistic strategic planning process that connects people and brands at the core level of shared beliefs. This unique discipline combines traditional agency account planning techniques with the principles and practices of Cultural Anthropology. Mark was also a driving force in helping earn 21 AMA’s Effie awards for effectiveness, and two 4A’s Jay Chiat awards for strategic thinking.
Earlier in his career, Mark worked at Campbell Mithun and Clarity Coverdale Fury. He holds a Master’s degree in Integrated Marketing from the University of Colorado in Boulder and an undergraduate degree in Advertising from the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana. He is a contributing writer to Forbes and AdMap.
In Tom’s opinion, there is no more powerful creative force on Earth than that of shared, fervent belief. It’s what bridges divides within organizations; it’s what arms challengers to take the hill; it’s what forges timeless bonds between a company and the various communities it serves.
It’s also what Tom has delivered to world-renowned brands for over 20 years. And continues to champion for wholeheartedly in his role at Friends & Neighbors.
Over the course of his career, Tom and the teams he’s led have been recognized with nearly every major creative accolade. But it’s the outsized success of his work (to the tune of 21 Effies) that gives him the greatest sense of reward.
The consummate relationship person, Jen’s impressive rise through the ranks of client services comes down to her simple, yet powerful, personal philosophy: when it comes to defining the right solution to solve a brand’s problem, there’s no idea that’s either too big or too small. Sustained success is a product of both unfettered dreams and astounding detail.
That mindset has guided Jen for more than 20 year now, and explains why such respected brands as Target, Caribou Coffee, Chinet, Marvin Windows and Doors, Allina Health & Clinics and Pei Wei Asian Diners have placed the account reigns firmly in her trusted hands. Most recently, she worked for several years leading the holistic, global branding efforts of Ecolab.
Jen started her career in Boston, at Houston, Herstek, Favat (now part of Arnold Worldwide), before moving to Minneapolis and contributing mightily to the impressive growth trajectories at both Periscope and Olson.
With more than two decades of experience in project and operations management, Tonja is a high-energy, experienced leader with excellent communication, collaboration and project management skills. Tonja’s value remains unmatched when it comes to wrangling diverse teams, keeping everyone on-task and delivering projects on-budget and on-time. Without breaking a sweat.
Tonja’s project experience includes everything from integrated creative campaigns to cross-divisional corporate projects across a wide breadth of clients and industries. Prior to joining Friends & Neighbors, she led the Project Management department at Olson and served as Director of Operations at Modern Climate. She began her career in publishing at Star Tribune.
Tonja’s personal philosophy when it comes to job satisfaction is simple: “It’s all about the people. When you’re working with great people, there’s really not much you can’t accomplish.” And it’s precisely that attitude that makes her so successful.
When Tonja isn’t kickin’ ass and takin’ names at the office, she takes her boundless energy out on the town. You can find her dancing at cool concerts across the Twin Cities, checking out the hippest new breweries or simply being the coolest mom in town to her teenage daughter, Zoe and son, Zack.
Beth Tarr comes to F&N after a 9-year tenure at space150, where she helmed the agency’s fiscal ship as VP of Finance during a period of rapid growth. Beth was well prepared for the ride, having graduated from the Carlson School of Business with a degree in Accounting. She began her career at EY, where she was a CPA. After leaving EY Beth spent many years working both as an employee and a consultant for a number of start-ups across a wide variety of industries, including manufacturing, distribution, software and food. Tiring of the hubbub of corporate America, Beth found herself in advertising. She appreciates the energy—and lack of cubicles—of the creative environment.
In her role at F&N, Beth works with banks, auditors and insurance agents to support the company on the business end of things. She loves being back in the start-up environment—watching the growth, seeing the direct impact that each person has in creating and meeting goals, being involved in building the foundation of the business. When Beth isn’t crunching the numbers at F&N, she and her family prefer to escape the city for the serenity of their Northwoods cabin.
Creativity in pursuit of a meaningful connection between people and brands—that’s what Scott’s 20 years building brands, campaigns and experiences has made him passionate about. Scott has been agency side, client-side, and independent, working with brands (and budgets) big and small, and believes in smart strategy with a deeply connecting, deeply human central idea that can thrive in any medium and drive conversations beyond paid. Coming from a rich retail background, he also knows that getting pay to attention (and, sometimes, make that all-important click) can be as critical as anything.
Scott started in direct mail, moved to Target as a writer, and then joined Minneapolis trailblazer Olson and tried the freelance independence life as well. He’s led work on iconic brands like McDonald’s, Target, Andersen Windows and Doors, Pepsico, and Medtronic, and a host of others in the health care, food, retail and nonprofit civic good space as well. Scott is long-time friend of and neighbor to Friends & Neighbors, because he knows creative soul mates when he sees them—and now he gets to see them every day.
Scott is also an award-winning novelist and enjoys cooking and playing sweet, sweet guitar licks that make his tweenage daughter’s eyes roll real hard.
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We’re always on the lookout for new talent, and we love meeting new friends & neighbors. Send your resumé and/or portfolio to firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch.