Career Smart Roundup: ‘Full-Assing It’ to Drive Results

by Traci O’Brien 

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them” (Albert Einstein).  If we do, we are slacking and I’ve got a hunch that Product Marketing Leader at Arity / Allstate’s Tiffani Saxton, and PrizeLogic’s SVP Aaron Lobliner, would be disappointed.  Tiffani challenges us to be thorough and not to “half-ass” anything.  Aaron chimes in and hilariously coins the phrase “full-ass it” which is giving a project your all… otherwise what’s the point?  Chicago was not built and then rebuilt by slackers who lacked vision.  After the fire in 1871, it was built bigger and stronger with Chicagoans blood, sweat, and tears.

What a brilliant bunch at Career Smart 2017!  In the panel referenced,“Tips to Delivering Results in Agency, Non-Profit and Start-Up Cultures,”we heard from head marketers at: Allstate, YMCA, PrizeLogic and Proxfinity.  This was a practical panel discussion spanning a diverse range of industries and breadth of knowledge.  What they all had in common was their ability to articulate fundamental truths that helped them navigate toward success in our ever-changing world.  Many powerful messages were relayed and here are some insightful nuggets of wisdom for you to chew on.

Wisdom Nuggets

Aaron Lobliner—PrizeLogic

  • If you want to be a good salesperson, be a good waiter.
    • I concur! Obviously, I’m an excellent sales manager at Windy City Limousine because I waitressed at the Cheesecake Factory and Cubby Bear.  Kidding aside, I understand his emphasis on being able to manage difficult situations on the spot. Being resourceful when chaos ensues and facing those customers in a calm yet heroic manner = major life skills!  Everyone should wait tables.
  • No matter where you work, give a damn. Care about things… that’s what I look for in job candidates – ones who are passionate and do things to show they care. 
    • He explained the significance today more than ever with interactions being more impersonal, the little things like writing a hand-written note or helping when it’s not required, goes a long way. With companies acting more intimate to evoke emotion and loyalty, why not make your brand be a person who gives a damn, has a purpose and full-asses it?  Lobliner explained that this translates into recognition and promotions.
  • Different strokes for different folks.
  • Be a student of the industry and ask people what they want, most people are willing to tell you.
    •  Observe, listen, and adapt in ways that makes sense to reach goals.
  • Need to know who you’re talking to, when the best time to send the message is, and which channel is appropriate.
    • Emphasis on understanding your audience, trends, and adapting strategy to new and significant data to help you improve effectiveness – work smarter!

Tiffani Saxton –Arity / Allstate

  • Don’t half-ass anything.
    • Hence the source from which I created this classy title, but you clicked on it didn’t you… of course because don’t we all want to “full-ass” our life, aka, have a purpose (an Ice Cube song comes to mind, “you can do it put your back into it…”). Maybe we must love what we do enough then… (“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…” Beatles). Tiffani succeeds with her work by being thorough and giving her best – it’s no mystery why she has been continuously promoted to higher ranks throughout her career.  She attributes much of her success to understanding people and learning not to take things personally.  I need to brush up on this and if you feel the same, she swears by the book “The Four Agreements.” Boom, just ordered the audiobook.
  • Learn to listen more than you speak.
    • She mentions that the guy in the meeting talking just to hear himself speak, is the one probably missing something mega important (while simultaneously irritating many). We all know this guy or gal.  Strive not to be them.
  • Marketing is not sexy. There is more math, writing and creating than people expect and its hard work.
    • She explains how many people (oh just say millennials) apply for marketing jobs and expect it to be all high-fives and taking shots… well the kind of shots she wants us to take are not of liquor (maybe on Friday, but it tastes better when you earn it) but more risks! She believes brands (personal ones included) need to stay brave and that risk taking/experimenting must become a lifestyle… now I must say, that could be sexy.
  • Leverage your employees to learn about how they are driving business.
    • She seems to take a beautiful stance that all viewpoints are useful and it is our duty to invite those conversations and choose to listen.

Christina Bradway –YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago

  • Know when you don’t give a damn and what you’re not good at.
    • No one likes a know-it-all. Be comfortable articulating your shortcomings – owning them and being transparent will allow you to improve or move forward.
  • Importance of mentorship.
    • A lost art in too many organizations. Yet we are still responsible for seeking out someone we admire and want to learn from.  It could change everything.
  • Marketing is not for making things look pretty. I’m here to help make sure the message you’re trying to relay is communicated effectively. 
  • Don’t say no, say how about…
    • Everyone has their own views and cultivating an environment that welcomes people to share theirs will make people feel valued and lead to more success.
  • Watch what other employees are doing
    • In a non-stalker kind of way, be observant and ask questions.
  • If you’re pushing a message, you don’t know your buyer well enough. Use data to solve problems.  Be brave enough to offer them solutions to problems they haven’t thought of yet.

Christine Hutchison—Proxfinity

  • Be a student of life. I keep my eyes open, and I study life.  Look around you and not so much down (on phones).  Be personable and a little bit vulnerable. 
    • Many nuggets here! Be aware of your surroundings and you’ll be ahead of those who are always on their phones. Keep interacting with people in real life… novel idea, eh? I’m excited for her smart badge to change the way we do this… before we forget how…
  • The start-up world challenges my employees to figure things out on their own and to be resourceful.
    • Being independent and able to take initiative are crucial traits to be successful in the start-up world.
  • Know what tools are out there and which ones belong in your toolbox.
  • We’re in an experiential economy. If you verbalize something to yourself, you’re much more likely to do it.  
    • Talk about your goals. Take calculated risks. Grow from them.


Per my observation, each of the four panelists demonstrated a high-level of awareness and emotional intelligence, which are key to success.  Overriding themes include “full-assing” everything you give a damn about.  Thus, give a damn about the place you work.  This starts with understanding yourself, your strengths/weaknesses and what you want to do.  Christine humbly mentions not being the smartest cookie nor having prior marketing experience before becoming CMO of a fast-growing smart badge technology company.  Despite not knowing everything, she is the perfect CMO for Proxfinity because of her vision; understanding the need it will fulfill, its power to transform everyday interactions, and how to take it to the next level.  To “full-ass” life, be adaptable, listen more than you speak, work on your Emotional Intelligence (EQ) score – everyone has areas for improvement, and maximize on your strengths.  How will you drive results and leave your mark?


Dual-master’s degree graduate focused on Promotions, Psychology, and Philosophy. Having lived in France for 1.5 years, Traci A. O’Brien is globally curious and highly adaptable. She’s a natural with people and her Marketing Research Teaching Assistantship at SIU helps her embrace the power of data. As Global Sales Manager of Windy City Limousine by day, Traci dabbles in the Music and Comedy scene by night. Contact Traci at  

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