The year 2020 has been many things, but for certain it has been a year of change. Change can be challenging, but without it you don’t gain entry into the realm of new opportunities. I’m embracing change in a big way, and so am excited to share with you that I’ve moved to Texas. And just as everything is bigger in Texas, my news is also bigger than simply my move. I’m also thrilled to announce that I’m joining Cunningham Collective, a communication strategy agency, full-time as Head of Operations.
So why is an entrepreneur and startup guy joining a communication strategy agency?
I’ll get back to that in a minute, but first some background on my move. Like so many other Californians, my wife and I decided to head to Texas. At the start of the pandemic, I followed through on my goal to start my own consultancy, Forever Young Agency. These massive changes forced me to examine very closely my life and priorities — and my plan for realizing better for me and my family. Leaving California isn’t a decision I made lightly, as I’m a Bay Area native and have lived there my entire life. I was born in Oakland and have lived in over a dozen cities throughout the Bay Area. I’ve had the honor of seeing firsthand the impact Silicon Valley’s massive growth has had on the Bay and the world. I even identify my character with the Bay.
The decision to move, though, stems from the simple fact that the Bay Area just doesn’t make sense for me anymore. Maybe it’s ‘cause I turn 40 this year. Or more likely it’s ‘cause I have 2 young kids who have replaced the top 10 things I used to care about. Whatever the reason, the reality is that I want something different now. I’m growing up. Which I guess means my name won’t actually keep me young forever.
So, just like that, I made the decision to leave the Bay.
I won’t get into all the reasons I chose Texas over other options, but I do want to share why I joined Cunningham Collective.
I’ve been working with Cunningham Collective as a consultant with my new business, Forever Young Agency, for the past year. I LOVE working with them. Cunningham Collective is an incredible organization, one that dances on the defining lines of a startup, lifestyle, and growth business with grace. Working with them has been exciting and exhilarating, and Andy Cunningham, the founder and CEO, is amazing. From helping Steve Jobs launch the Macintosh back in 1984, to becoming the preeminent voice in positioning, she has worked to bring many of the world’s most impactful innovations to market and the brands behind those innovations to the forefront. She is also insanely humble and earnest, compassionate and empathetic.
When Andy asked me to join her firm full time, I was caught off guard as I never thought of that as an option. I was so laser focused on building my consulting business that it didn’t cross my mind to consider a W-2 job. I was honored and excited, but I worried about losing the reason behind starting my own business to begin with. I had chosen to concentrate on being a consultant to better control my time; both in time spent with family but also in what I chose to do for work and who I chose to work with. Listening to Andy and working with her over the last year, however, has shown me that she is in a place that I aspire to be. A place that includes a balance of success and creativity, that encompasses family and friends, and is topped off with a generous sprinkling of health and wellness. She does a great job of being her authentic self in all situations, and that is something that I strive to attain as well. Andy is also an exciting CEO. Her visions and aspirations are incredible, and she has the experience, chops, and network to make them a reality.
Andy is also building an extraordinary legacy through her incredibly talented adult children, McKinley and Cormac. They have wildly different personalities but share the same extraordinary gift for strategy, storytelling, and positioning. The family business is not something that they actively publicize, but I find that it’s one of the most compelling reasons for me deciding to join the company. There is a certain level of psychological safety that can only be achieved with family, and it fosters an insanely focused growth mindset and culture. In addition, as a family, they balance business really well with life and love. Everything that I wanted when I started my consulting business.
I can promise you that we have really great ambitions for Cunningham Collective, ambitions that go beyond simply being the best communication strategy company. We are developing incredible projects that include technology, startups, and innovation, all of which I’ll get to work on directly. I can’t wait to share more with you about this new chapter of my life. For now, however, I’m focused on settling into a new life that is even bigger than Texas.
Take care, y’all!