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.
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 – Boulder and an undergraduate degree in Advertising from the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana. He is a contributing writer to Forbes and AdMap.
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 years 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 reins firmly in her trusted hands.
For several years, Jen led the holistic, global branding efforts of Ecolab. Today, she runs the agency-led brand work for Bulwark, Workrite, Computype, and Relievant. Jen started her career in Boston before moving to Minneapolis and contributing mightily to the impressive growth trajectories at both Periscope and Olson. Today, she runs the account management charge at F&N.
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 kids, Zoe and Zack.
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 people to pay 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 loves getting 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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