News Consultants

News

Susan Meier shares a post from Workspace Studio on the office of interior designer Antigone Michaelides.

What do you do?

I tell spatial stories. People ask sometimes, what’s your style? And I say that that’s an irrelevant question, and I refuse to answer it. What matters is that I listen, and I get this raw material, this narrative. And because I have certain tools from education and experience, I can translate that into a spatial story, which the person who gave me the narrative can inhabit comfortably.

Tell us about the space where you work.

It’s a double-height space, and upstairs is my son Leo’s loft. We have this very big solid wood surface that is one desk. One part is for Leo, and I have my working corner. Underneath the desk is a collection of materials, like stone or oak samples. All of my samples, all of my files, all of my stuff is in this little corner of the universe.

How would you describe your creative process?

On one side of my space, I keep what is current. At the moment, it’s an Alexander McQueen book and some things that fell off a chandelier. This is the kernel and the start of the process. There’s the start here of something that looks very feminine, very ethereal, very whimsical, but the underlying premise is very structural and rational, just like Alexander McQueen’s.

For commercial work or for museums or for reference, I use sketchbooks, because I need to flip back and forth. For residential projects, for some reason, I don’t want to use my sketchbook. I do it on loose leaf of paper. I don’t know why; this is a mystery to me. I start sketching, and it’s the beginning of an expression; we rise from the floor up, and onto the walls, and now I know where we’re going. The idea of sculpting space from the inside out is beautiful to me.

 

Key points include:

  • What helps productivity
  • The most important elements of the work environment
  • Rituals in the workday

 

Read the full article, The Design Of Folk Tales, on Workspace-studio.com.

 

Susan Meier shares a behind-the-design post from Workspace Studio. This week, in an interview with Amanda Hindlian, she discusses the form, function, and favorite aspects of her home office. 

What do you do for work?

I’m the Global Head of Capital Markets at the New York Stock Exchange, which means that any time a private company is thinking about ways to tap into the public capital markets, I’m there with my team to help them through that process. 

It’s fun because it’s global. I have a big pitch on Friday with the largest IPO of the year, and it happens to be a Chinese issuer. I have a team in China, and I’m spending a lot of time with them. Even though I can’t be in the meeting because it’s going to be fully in Mandarin, I want to make sure that they’re prepared. 

Tell us about the space where you work.

I have an office in my apartment in the city. It’s one of my favorite rooms in the entire apartment. There’s a TV on one wall, where I have CNBC on all the time. There’s a cozy orange chair that I really, really wanted for whatever reason. It’s wide, it’s sweet, you can really curl up in it and read and think. In a job like this, you can get heavily into execution mode and forget that there are longer term things that you want to spend your brain cells on. I love the fact that my home office has that space for me to do that.

How would you describe your creative process?

Thinking and trying to creatively problem-solve is my favorite thing to do. I don’t enjoy executing as much – it’s not as fun. In my current role, the creative thought process is around the core business – what’s our pitch? what’s the value proposition that we’re selling to a private company? are we doing it effectively? I’m also trying to bring into my role the bandwidth to think about the general trends affecting the world, because I think it’s something that will be interesting to potential issuers and where we can have a thought advantage in the field.

 

Key points include:

  • Protecting your time
  • Sources of counterproductivity
  • Daily rituals

 

Read the full post, The Grande Dame Of Wall Street, on WorkSpaceStudio.com. 

 

 

Susan Meier shares a recent interview where she explains the importance of humanizing your brand, and steps you can take to make sure your branding reflects your values.

Creativity and strategy: Two words that seem vastly different but oftentimes go hand in hand.

Right and left brains must balance in the world of branding, leveraging intuition and data. And when you have the right branding strategy,  you’ll attract your ideal audience, and build their trust in your company.

So how do you keep your branding authentic to you, while also being relevant to your audience?

Listen to Wings today to learn about one inspiring entrepreneur who is on a mission to dispel the myth that creativity and strategy are at odds to help business leaders electrify their work and amplify their impact.

 

Key points include:

  • What it means to “humanize your brand”
  • What a brand promise really means to your customers
  • Common mistakes people make with their branding strategy

 

Listen to the full podcast, How to Stay True to Yourself And Be Relevant to Your Customers, on the Wings podcast.

 

If your home office is a little lacking in motivational and inspirational energy, Susan Meier’s new project may help you redesign a creative space. The project she co-founded with photographer Hallie Burton showcases the inspiring home workspaces and the stories of those who work there. This post profiles the home office and insights of art director Marcus Hay. 

What do you do?

I’m an art director or creative director, and my main focus is creating imagery for photoshoots. I also do interior design and prop styling. It’s a mixed bag of different fields, but they all interrelate, and I use the same skill set throughout the different areas of my work. 

Tell us about the space where you work.

I work in the living area. It’s a small space. I used to have to move around with my computer to wherever the light wasn’t hitting, so that I could see what was going on on the screen. I finally got blinds installed last week, and it’s been a godsend, because I can actually sit at my designated “desk” now, which is the dining table. It’s a very simple Saarinen tulip table, and, for me, it’s perfect. I like to work on a desk that’s white, because everything kind of pops off it. It feels clean and harmonious. I regularly clear it, and it becomes a blank canvas each time I start a new project. I have foamcore pin boards with inspiration swipes and paint swatches and sketches. And then of course I love my sketchbooks. I love working with pen and ink, so I have a good collection of brushes and ink pens and black India ink, which is my go-to. I try to have everything so it can fold up and be put away at night.

How would you describe your creative process?

When I art direct a photoshoot, everything you do has to consider what the ethos of the company is and what impression they want to leave on their customer. Then I delve into research, and that could be Pinterest, books, movies, anything. It’s a gradual process of pulling together inspirational swipes, textures, color combinations.

It’s largely digital, but because I do have a large collection of things, so it can be very tactile. It’s an organic process. My job is to bundle everything up in a package, so it becomes a visual language that everyone on the photoshoot is going to understand. Then you hope the weather behaves.

 

Key points include:

  • What helps Marcus be most productive
  • The most important elements of his work environment
  • How his workspace has changed as a result of the pandemic

 

Read the full post, The Interior Soul., on workspace-studio.com.

 

 

Susan Meier asks us simply to think about love and how it works when we want to bring positive and productive energy into play.

 

“Think about love.

In the early days of running my own company, I was feeling nervous about a pitch meeting with a potential new client. My friend suggested matter-of-factly, “Just think about love.” I laughed at first, because love seemed like an odd thing to be thinking about while discussing digital media strategies in the pharmaceutical industry. But I decided to give it a try. I took a deep breath as I sat down to the meeting and called the word ‘love’ to mind. I felt my chest broaden and my shoulders release. It wasn’t romantic love, but rather the sensation of pure joy that comes when you hug your puppy, the feeling that anything is possible when the sun shines on your shoulders. I nailed the presentation and won the work.

It worked because love is what you bring to your very best work – the passion you feel for something you truly care about, the sense of integrity that comes with fulfilling your purpose, the patience and tenacity that get conjured up when you are determined to make good on a commitment.

Don’t think about robots.

While we may worry about machine learning and artificial intelligence taking jobs and dehumanizing work, we need not. It’s true that machines and algorithms have quick computing power and no pesky egos to contend with. However, the unique gifts of the human heart – empathy, vulnerability, emotional literacy – can’t be replicated.”

 

Key points include:

  • Working without fear
  • Aligning with passion
  • Intrinsic motivation

 

Read the full article, How Love Works, on SusanMeierStudio.com.

 

Umbrex is pleased to welcome Tomás Elewaut with Hopen – Management Consulting.  Tomás spent seven years at McKinsey & Co., leading projects in South America, and has been running his own consulting firm focused on strategy, organization and business development since 2012.

Before starting his own consulting practice, he was founder and business development manager of and important agribusiness operation that raised capital from US institutional investors and the IFC (International Finance Corporation). Prior to McKinsey, he worked for the Techint Group and Banco Galicia. Tomás has particular expertise in strategy and general management advise, as well as board organization, as he currently serves in the board of a renowned nonprofit hospital.

He lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina with his wife and three undergrad school age children. Tomás is happy to collaborate on projects involving strategy, organization, business development and general management advise.

Umbrex is pleased to welcome Kinshuk Kocher. Kinshuk Kocher (KK) started his consulting journey with an internship at BCG. Post his bachelors in economics and a year in risk advisory services with EY, he moved on to McKinsey & Co. He spent a little more than 3 years with McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), the business & economics think-tank of McKinsey. Post that he advised companies across consumer retail, hospitality, healthcare on new market entry & business development before pursuing an MBA from Oxford.

After completing his higher education, he decided to move back to India to get involved with the startup ecosystem in 2017. He founded a health tech startup called Caredose, which tracks & ensures that chronic patients take their medicines as prescribed, every time. Kinshuk primarily focussed on strategy, business development & fund raising and is now increasingly playing an advisory role.

KK is an ardent Liverpool football club supporter and even led a strategic consulting project for the club during his time at Oxford. He recently got married and is living with his wife who is pursuing her PhD in Health Policy from UCLA. Currently, he is advising a new age works platform that is leveraging ML/ AI over whatsapp to transform the way people work.

Kinshuk is happy to collaborate on projects involving business strategy, new market entry, fund raising, financial modeling, startup advisory at a global level and is sector agnostic.

 

Susan Hamilton Meier was recently interviewed on The Whole Person Podcast with Evan Herrman where they discussed everything from building a brand with values and creativity, to those important life lessons we’ve learned in our careers. 

In the world of social media, and instant, easy communication. we ourselves are building our own brands, whether or not we’re actually entrepreneurs. And so if we’re starting a business, or we have a business, the first thing to think about is, you know, how does my own brand dovetail with the brand of my business. And if it’s a one person show, it’s often one in the same. Um, so the first thing I do, and I do work a lot with entrepreneurs and small and growing companies, as well as really large companies. And what’s interesting is, the advice is really the same. I really encourage people as the first step is self reflection. So self awareness and self knowledge, right? Because you need to build your brand around something that’s genuine, for a couple of reasons. One is that, you know, if you just make something up and it’s not true to who you are, your audience feels that right away and they won’t connect with it or resonate with it or pay attention to it. And secondly, for your own benefit. You know, if you’re going to show up every day and do something, it had better be aligned with who you are, what you’re passionate about where your values are otherwise you’re not going to want to do it for very long, and you’re not going to be very good at it. So that’s always the best first place to start. 

And then there’s other parts to that journey.

 

Key points include:

  • How to develop self-reflection 
  • How to determine motivating values
  • Values exercises

Listen to the full episode, Self-Reflection for Personal Branding, on The Whole Person Podcast. 

 

 

In this podcast, Susan Meier shares the story of her interesting journey and her strategic approach to brand alignment.

I think what’s a great thing about a liberal arts education is that perspective of try everything, see as much as you can, and then make connections between those things.  And so, I’m very much a product of that, as you pointed out, I kind of live in these two seemingly very disparate realms, but for me, in my world and my thinking, they’re actually a lot, so much crossover and they’re very related. And the ways of thinking, and even some of the tools that I use when I’m making art are very similar to when I’m leading teams through a business process. And so on the face of that it may seem very strange, but if you think about it in the context of that liberal arts perspective, it actually makes a lot of sense. 

…I guess I’m sort of hardwired in a way, which is always to be toggling back and forth between, you know, the big picture and the details; between seeing possibility, and dreaming, and imagining things, and then being very, very practical and logical. 

And so, if you look at my artwork, there’s a lot of mathematical relationships between shapes, there’s like a lot of precision, but then there’s also a lot of fluidity and looseness and unexpected elements. And I would say exactly the same things about the way I lead a project. 

 

Key points include:

  • Customer research
  • Product innovation and packaging design 
  • Working with some of the world’s leading corporations

 

Listen to the full podcast, Brands Are People Too, on the Leading From the Front podcast.

 

 

Susan Meier shares an always-relevant post on storytelling that explains why brevity, honesty, and making it memorable are key components of a good story well told. 

There’s a passage from the childhood classic One Fish Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish that I personally consider to be the best story ever told:

‘My hat is old, my teeth are gold.

I have a bird I like to hold.

My shoe is off, my foot is cold.

My shoe is off, my foot is cold.

I have a bird I like to hold.

My hat is old, my teeth are gold.

And now my story is all told.’

Good storytelling is a powerful thing. People don’t engage with products or data; they engage with stories. In the world of business, one of the best skills you can cultivate is how to tell a story well.

Here are 3 things that made Dr. Seuss such a captivating storyteller that you can add to your toolbox tomorrow:

 

Key tips include:

  • Choosing five key points
  • Finding the truth in the story
  • How to use repetition

 

Read the full article, 3 Reasons Dr Seuss Was A Genius Storyteller (And How You Can Be Too), on ChangeCreator.com.

 

 

In this concise but valuable post, Susan Meier explains how looking at a brand through the lens of empathy can inform and build strong brand relationship marketing strategies.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It’s putting yourself in their shoes. And it’s the key to good branding, because the brand relationship is built on understanding the customer’s world view and desires. 

Hey, you got a lock?

Would you make a key and then run around looking for a lock to open?

To make good products and services, you’ve got to think first about how they’re going to be used and care about the people who’ll be using them. 

Draw a small circle.

You can’t be all things to all people. Whom can you best serve? Draw the circle as small as you can – that’s called your minimum viable audience. Identifying who’s in and who’s out will save you a lot of effort in both product development and marketing.

Once you’ve identified that specific group, you’ll want to find out: What do they care about? What makes them tick? What are their aspirations? Because knowing your audience and what’s important to them is critical to building your brand.

Show me your underwear.

Ask your customers these questions. Listen mindfully and humbly. Get to know them as human beings.

Better yet, observe them in their natural habitat. I have crisscrossed suburbia taking photographs of peoples’ bookshelves. I’ve spent hours watching college students shop online. I’ve grocery shopped with moms and hit the dog run with dog owners. And I’ve had scores of women show me their lingerie drawers.

 

Key points include:

  • Beginning with brand purpose
  • Identifying brand benefit story
  • Drawing brand boundaries

 

Read the full post, Choose Empathy, on SusanMeierStudio.com.

 

 

Susan Hamilton shares a thoughtful post on creative thinking and the pursuit of possibility.

September has always been my favorite month. The smell of new notebooks, the crispness in the still-warm air. A season full of unknowns, full of possibility. This year, the back-to-school season presents a different riff on unknowns to be sure, but I am still filled with a sense of excitement at the possibility that awaits.

People who are open to seeing possibility have a powerful competitive advantage. They notice opportunities others miss. They discover new ways forward that others may not have imagined or may have written off as impractical. 

Tony Petito was a man who saw possibility. 

While growing up in New Jersey, Tony’s love of theatre was a puzzlement to his family of plumbers. Undeterred, he organized extravagant musical productions, earning him a commendation from his town’s mayor. He went on to earn an MFA in directing from the Goodman School of Drama of the Art Institute of Chicago and pursued a theatre career in Chicago and New York. 

When he was offered an unexpected opportunity to work in management consulting, he took the leap. While it drew him away from the theater, his time with Booz, Allen & Hamilton took him on adventures across Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore and provided a secure life for his growing young family.

In Singapore, a community theatre approached him seeking an artistic director. Where others might have dismissed the role, imagining nothing more than staging Gilbert & Sullivan musicals for local expatriates, Tony had a vision. What if it were possible to transform that theater, leveraging its staff and supporters, to create a professional, international company?

 

Read the full post, In Pursuit of Possibility, on SusanMeierStudio.com