Name (First and Last)
Bryan Brown Communications LLC
Graduation Year (list as "Month Year")
Minor and/or Certificates
Licensed VFR private pilot, U of I Institute of Aviation ('76)
MBA (Marketing), Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management (’84)
Paw Paw, IL
Running, golf, downhill skiing
Career Information & Advice
What are your job responsibilities/duties?
Small business owner/entrepreneur at startup consulting business. Marketing/PR agency account manager serving clients in non-profit organizations, accounting and language services.
What does a typical day look like?
Similar to Advertising/PR agency account management roles, only a typical day now is more entrepreneurial and hands-on. It's my job to lead clients with advice & counsel on Landscape Assessment and Who/What/How questions for brand building. It's my responsibility to develop relevant, unexpected ideas that get results. Smart clients hire my small firm to tell compelling, sharable stories in traditional and social media vehicles, and demonstrate how this storytelling will translate to business growth in the marketplace.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
This challenging work builds on strategic & creative skills developed at prior corporate and agency assignments in the U.S. and Western Europe. My schedule is flexible to shift focus as needed on pro bono assignments, volunteer board positions and billable client responsibilities.
What is the most difficult aspect of the job?
No IT department or tech support team at Bryan Brown Communications. Problem-solving is only as good as the principal/owner's ability to troubleshoot the issue (no complaining allowed, that's what I signed up for on this gig).
What on-campus activities were you involved with? Where did you gain relevant experience?
Walk-on freshman baseball taught me to quickly recognize limitations (e.g. below average hitter when faced with big time, Big 10 pitching). Three years writing hometown releases and articles for the U of I Sports Information Office taught me how to write on deadline and work as a team. Officer positions at the fraternity taught me how to lead people, deal with politics and enjoy the full Illini experience. Involvement with the Ag Communications department, while enrolled in the College of Communications, opened up new opportunities in career development.
How did your experience at ILLINOIS and in the College of Media prepare you for your professional life? For this specific position?
Broad range of academic experiences in advertising, journalism and radio/TV was a terrific foundation for my first advertising agency job in NYC. My connection with Advertising and Ag Comm faculty members who had prior work experience gave me added confidence to stretch professionally and take smart risks (i.e. I said “Yes” to the job offer in New York, “No thanks” to the offer in Indianapolis).
What advice do you have for students interested in this field?
Know yourself and see the reality. Learn the art of clear writing and sharpen the saw every chance you get. Pick mentors with high integrity and a track record of success. Recognize that business leaders need people who know how to conceive and execute relevant, unexpected ideas. Think global - study abroad, raise your hand for an expat assignment outside of your comfort zone. Stay on top of trends & hot topics in social media with implications for building and protecting brand reputation.
What is one thing that you know now that you wish you had known when you started in the field? When you graduated from the College?
Work achievement is important, but don't forget the other building blocks of lasting success (i.e. significance to others, self-happiness and the joys of giving back).