A DAY IN THE LIFE: BRANDON PARROTT-SHEFFER
Tell us about your job.
When I explain what I do to my friends I say that my goal is to try understand what people want and expect from companies so that my clients can make better and smarter decisions—and that’s really what gets me out of bed in the morning. It’s working each day to tackle new problems and find new opportunities to rethink the way our industry works and learn as much as I can about anything that comes by my desk.
How do you commute to work in the morning?
Since we made the Great Suburban Shift™ about a year ago—it’s definitely become much more of a process. I drive out to the train station with my fiancé, take the Metra into the city with him and my future father-in-law, then walk from the train across the loop. It’s a bit of a hike, but totally worth it for the backyard! ?
What is your beverage of choice when you get to the office? Coffee or tea?
A 16 oz. of (free!) office coffee with a pump of sugar-free almond syrup.
What might you find yourself doing around 10 a.m. on a regular work day?
Is there such a thing as a regular work day?! I’m most likely meeting with someone at 10am about something – whether its going over the game plan for a project with EI, or planning out our strategy with clients or Edelman account teams.
Which social platforms do you use most often? Are they relevant to your work or is their purpose solely leisure?
I technically have a log in to all social platforms for my job—but personally only really use Snapchat and Facebook. I try to only use them for humor and making me laugh (although sometimes to see what friends and family are doing). Let’s be honest, I mostly use them to look at pictures of dogs.
In your opinion, what’s the coolest thing happening in the world of intelligence?
The push to better integrate data into decision making. I am constantly fascinated by how we are getting better every day at bringing together different sources of data and telling a unified story around them. It makes everything so much more “real.”
What is the most unique thing about your office team?
I absolutely love how scrappy we are. I have worked at a number of different places and the number one thing that gets me emotional about the Chicago team is how willing everyone here is to step up to the plate for any project or any client. Every single person on this team has an insatiable desire to learn and grow, and that pushes me every single day!
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned since graduating college — about the workplace or the communications world in general?
Give your time to the things that matter most and try to avoid eating office candy.
If you told yourself ten years ago what you would be doing today, what would have your response been then?
I would be super jazzed that I was right about how much I thought I would like market research. If you told me fifteen years ago, I would be kind of sad that my dream to be a dolphin trainer didn’t pan out. But, c’est la vie!
Which “Be” do you most closely associate with? Why?
Be curious. There is no way in h-e-double-hockey sticks that any of us knows everything there is to know about anything. Whether it be our client’s challenges, the way we do our jobs, the topics we’re exploring, or our relationships with each other—we have to make sure we listen more than we talk, ask more than we respond, and approach each challenge as an opportunity to learn something new. As much as it sounds like an Oprah afternoon special, it is such a crucial skill that will take a lifetime to master for most of us—or maybe just me!
What are you doing when you’re not at work?
I feel like there’s no typical day in my life yet—I’m either working on the house (we just built a 20’x20’ patio with a custom vegetable garden), playing with my belligerent 11 year old monster dog, camping or grilling with friends in the summer, trying to perfect my recipe for rustic ciabatta (welcome all suggestions), or just saying ‘yes’ to whatever weird invite comes my way (polka festivals, ice carving competitions, learning how to make cheese).
What motto do you live by?
I have a few actually—but the top two are “This too shall pass” (which is what I have tattooed on my forearm if you’ve ever seen it) and “The world owes you nothing—it was here first.”