As someone who grew up in Brooklyn, it is a dream come true to work just across the bridge in the heart of Manhattan, only a block away from the iconic Empire State Building. Despite all of the amazing qualities that make New York such a great place to live, I’ve always enjoyed traveling and discovering how others live and work.
I recently had the opportunity to visit our IPG Mediabrands sister agencies during vacation in San Francisco. It was during that trip that I realized my strong desire to work in another location even if for a brief amount of time. Once BPN developed an exchange program that would allow a NY and Chicago BPN employee to swap offices and roles for two weeks, I knew it was just the opportunity I had been waiting for.
As this was my first visit to Chicago, I knew exactly what I needed to do upon landing – get some deep dish pizza! I made sure to try several deep dish favorites including Lou Malnati’s and Giordano’s. However, I quickly learned that Chicago has much more to offer than delicious food. My first big tourist weekend began with a ride aboard the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise. Spending a few hours traveling along the Chicago River was the perfect way to discover the beauty and history that makes Chicago such a desired destination.
A walk down Museum Campus followed that with stops at Millennium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago. Pictures of Cloud Gate, aka The Bean, do not do it justice. This magnificent sculpture not only captures the reflection of thousands of tourists, but it also presents a truly unique view of the skyline. After spending time taking in Chicago by land and water, it was time to head up to the 96th floor of the John Hancock building to take in the full view one last time.
While there was so much to explore in this city, most of my favorite moments came from getting to know my Chicago coworkers. From the day I walked in the office, I felt like part of the team and not just a visitor. I was able to assist with on-going projects and joined the team on a trip to the Hillshire client offices where I sat in on a planning presentation. During my time in the office I had the opportunity to share ideas and best practices from the NY office while also learning from my new team members who all had different work styles and experiences to share. While the Chicago team of course had its own unique characteristics, it was clear that the concept of Radical Commonsense has had an impact on the culture of all the BPN offices.
BPN’s RadExchange has given me the opportunity to both grow professionally and build meaningful relationships. All of the people that were once just faces on the other side of a video conference are now people I consider friends. I will always cherish the experiences we shared. I look forward to sharing what I’ve learned with my home office and collaborating further with all of the BPNers I had the experience of meeting.