The Gist sat down with Gayle Morrison, Director of Business Development, in its continued quest to get inside the creative (and business) minds at Chute Gerdeman.
Gayle is first and foremost a team player. She's on the front line of our business development efforts, and is often the first point of contact for potential new relationships. Her positive outlook, strategic mindset and sly sense of humor make life-long connections out of many of her clients. Always quick with a smile or a story, Gayle's a great listener, is brutally honest and can locate the bright side of any situation. Now in her second tour of duty with CG, she's proud to be part of the Chute Gerdeman team again. Oh, and she can be a bit sarcastic, so take her responses with a grain of salt…but she does actually know Bruce Springsteen. And that's no joke.
What's the best part of being in business development?
I love talking to new people and figuring out how we can help them improve their business performance. I even love "cold calls" although, the fact is, there's really no call that's cold. Being the catalyst for conversation makes me warm and fuzzy.
How does your work environment stimulate your creativity?
I'm very lucky to work in a creative environment. Studies have shown that if a person works in a monotonous, dull, boring assembly-line type of environment they actually become dull and boring. I thrive on stimulation and the always-changing landscape of retail and restaurants, which is on display every day in our office.
What's on your desk?
The usual desk stuff—office supplies, a lonely plant, a wooden cow, a feather, a rock, a gavel, blue Tic Tacs. Oh, and the kazoo that I played for Bruce Springsteen. Bruce is an old friend from my Jersey girl days, and I'm proud to have had the chance to horrify him with a kazoo solo at sound-check.
Have you developed a theory lately? What is it?
People are usually the opposite, on the inside, of their outward persona. For example, I come across as light-hearted and happy, and I'm actually intense and slightly internal. I've found that if somebody seems tough and harsh, they can be a marshmallow on the inside, and if they act like a sweet, little angel then they may not be. A little psychology goes a long way in my line of work, and you can't judge a book by its cover.
What do you think CG has figured out that other creative businesses haven't?
Nobody wins unless we all win. There are no egos working to promote themselves, or their own agenda, at CG—we are all here for the client and for Chute Gerdeman. I've worked for several retail design firms over the past 20 years and the Chute Gerdeman team always delivers the best possible solution because we are focused on the client, not self-aggrandizement.
What do you think is integral to the brand experience that CG brings to its clients?
The depth of our thinking is the key to the success of our projects. All the way through the project—across all phases—we are always thinking and concentrating on the details. Our clients consistently comment on our intelligent solutions, the thoroughness of our business understanding, the breakthrough innovative design and the high caliber of our results.
If you could be any animal, which animal would it be and why?
The honey badger—widely considered the fiercest animal in all of the animal kingdom. I'm tenacious, I'm hungry and I don't take no for an answer.
What's in your purse?
A lot of pens…but no paper. A corkscrew…but no wine. Stamps…but no letters. Does that make me an optimist or a pessimist?
If you could trade lives with anyone for the day, who would it be, and why?
I'd like to be the President of the United States for a day. Because it's so far removed from my real life, it would be exhilarating to be so incredibly powerful. Besides, what could go wrong?
What's the best career advice you've ever been given?
"It isn't personal, Sonny. It's strictly business." My whole career is based on the Corleone family's inner workings. Don't cross me. And don't forget the cannoli.
In Other News...