Around here we’ve been known to say it’s all about the people. Ours are pretty great, if we do say so ourselves. From ballet dancers to hot yoga enthusiasts, dog fanatics to guitar strummers, we’ve got a little bit of everything radiating within the walls of The Firesphere. In addition to all the unique things we bring to the table as individuals, the one thing we all have in common is a deeply-rooted passion for our clients and that thing we do.
Robbin Phillips gets out of bed each morning inspired by a single minded focus: to make a positive, meaningful change in the world.
As one of the founders and Courageous President of Brains on Fire, Robbin has recruited a highly talented team of kindred spirits committed to the belief that marketing has the power to truly touch lives. Having begun her career as a graphic designer, Robbin remains involved in the creative development of client identities, while tapping into her keen business sense to facilitate strategy.
Inspired by the power of purpose, passion and people, Robbin and her team rally daily to deliver innovative, impactful solutions that elevate and celebrate a diverse range of clients including:
Love146, Foundations Recovery Network, Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, BMW, GreenDot Public Schools, Fiskars Brands, Perception Kayaks, Ryobi Tools, Colonial Williamsburg, the National Center for Families Learning and Best Buy.
During Robbin’s tenure, Brains on Fire has received numerous national awards including a Gold Effie and three Word of Mouth Marketing Association’s Wommie Awards. She is co-author of the books “Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable, World of Mouth Movements”, and “The Passion Conversation: Understanding, Sparking and Sustaining Word of Mouth Marketing.” As a highly sought-after presenter, Robbin frequently hits the road to speak at conferences and private events around the country. She has shared insights on word of mouth marketing with groups big and small, including the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, Brand Manage Camp and the Association of National Advertisers.
A girl in high school once asked Cordell, “Cordell, what’s your last name?” “Cordell,” he said. She laughed out loud and exclaimed, “ Your momma named you Cordell Cordell? That’s crazy!” Cordell (who has been going by his last name longer than he’s been going by his first) was born and raised in South Carolina and stuck with that theme by attending USC. (That’s The University of South Carolina out here on the east coast.) He got involved in the ad biz soon thereafter and the rest, as they say, was happy history.
Concepter, writer, art director, screenwriter – Cordell is our resident renaissance man of marketing and has pretty much done it all. He’s not only Principal of Brains on Fire, he’s also our conduit for inspirational energy. (We don’t call him our Chief Inspiration Officer for nothing.) A modern-day “man behind the curtain,” Cordell is at his best when he’s shining a light on potential – be it potential opportunities to do better work or the untapped potential of the people at BOF. He has a gift for getting employees and clients excited about what could be, then inspiring them to find ways to make it happen.
Cordell has led the development of creative solutions for national brands including: Yakima, BMW, Don Pablo’s Mexican Restaurants, Applebee’s, Confluence Watersports and Best Buy, and his work has even been used as the backdrop for an American President’s War on Drugs. In his not-so-spare time, he also managed to squeeze in co-authoring two books, “Brains On Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable Word of Mouth Movements,” and “The Passion Conversation: Understanding, Sparking and Sustaining Word of Mouth Marketing.” When he’s not busy mustering up marketing magic in the office, you’ll find Cordell starring in the role of dad, husband, tinkerer and backyard host with the most.
Greg Ramsey, “Ramsey” to friends (which includes pretty much everyone), is one of a kind. We consider Ram to be a true master craftsman of art and design. (But if you ask him, he’ll say he’s more of a jack of all trades and a master of none.) Ramsey has an innate ability to weave compelling, inspirational visual stories out of everything he touches. As a principal at Brains on Fire, Ramsey is intimately involved in all aspects of client brand identities and movements. His ability to bring the concepts and philosophies behind client movements and identities to life is one of the things that sets us apart from other word of mouth and identity companies who fall short.
Ramsey has designed identities for countless (seriously, we’ve lost count at this point) national brands and organizations, as well as some names closer to home. You’ll find his handiwork popping up everywhere from The Lazy Goat to Papi’s Tacos to Southern Pressed Juicery. Dig a little deeper and you’ll discover Ram’s was the man and the hand behind the brand identifies for communities like Heroes in Recovery and VisitGreenvilleSC (Yeah, THAT Greenville). Ramsey also illustrated the children’s book “The Red Ribbon: A Story of Hope, for the National Family Partnership,” which received national acclaim and was used as a point of inspiration for President Clinton’s War on Drugs.
As much as we admire Ramsey’s design chops (and they’re pretty dang impressive), we love him most of all for the quiet leadership and humble dose of Ramsey-ness he brings to the team. “It used to be about being some design rock star. Now it’s about being a part of this unbelievably talented team of folks called Brains on Fire, and using our gifts to do nothing less than change the world – one little moment at a time.” ‘Nuff said.
Benjamin Hart is a strategic, multidisciplinary designer and creative director with a passion for innovation, human-centered design and beautiful kerning. A firm believer in the notion that social movements are the world’s greatest catalyst for positive change, Benjamin focuses on creating and designing better ways to foster meaningful human connection through brand identity, user experience, and narrative design.
With a proven history of managing creative projects, large-scale organizational development, web-development projects and strategic non-profit and for-profit communication plans, Benjamin leads the Brains on Fire Los Angeles team as Principal of Brains on Fire LA.
He has worked with a wide range of creative clients and believes that a shared truth can be found among his varied successes over the years: good things happen when brands and organizations make a positive contribution to the human experience.
Benjamin lives in Los Angeles with his wife, two young children and a French bulldog named Zissou. When he’s not at the office, you’ll probably find him doing some cliche dad stuff and working hard to be a better husband and father today than he was yesterday.
A firecracker from the start, Brandy graduated from North Greenville University in just two-and-a-half years. Why? Because she could. Well, that and she wanted to get hitched. After graduation, Brandy began her career in corporate banking and taxation, but had her sights set on something that allowed for a bit more personal connectieron and long-term relationship building. Eventually, Brandy left the corporate world and embraced her entrepreneurial side, starting her own gig working with small businesses as an outsourced CFO. As a financial gun-for-hire, Brandy reaps tons of love from her clients for making their financial lives way less stressful.
Combine one part HR, one part tax, one part planner, one part problem solver and sprinkle it with a generous dose of awesome — that’s our Brandy. As BOF’s HR sensei and manager of all things money, she’s kinda one of our faves. (And we’d say that even if she wasn’t the person who makes sure we all get paid.)
From the desert landscapes of eastern Washington state to the cornfields of Ohio to sunny Greenville, SC, Jesse has called many landscapes home, forming an intense love of adventure, creativity, and exploring our country’s natural beauty along the way. He discovered the creative spark at a young age, honing his skills over the years. A recent graduate of Cedarville University in central Ohio, Jesse holds a degree in graphic design, but would have gotten one in arts and crafts had it been an option.
Over the course of his career thus far, Jesse has had the opportunity to work with amazing organizations including Krochet Kids International and Elevation Church, before finding his way to Brains on Fire in early 2017. Each of these experiences stoked a passion for people and using his talents for good. Jesse strongly believes in that big things can happen at the intersection of creativity and community, and strives to work towards this goal on the daily.
When he’s not pointer-deep in Pantone colors and Photoshop, Jesse can usually be found pursuing some other creative outlet, from practicing hand lettering to sewing to photo adventures in the mountains. He loves binging the latest documentary series on Netflix and expanding his music library of new and obscure artists.
In 2005, Brains on Fire hired Megan to be our Sherpa of Traffic, with the hopes she could bring order to our wonderful world of creative chaos. We counted on Megan to keep our entire team on track by overseeing timelines and resources for every project that came through our doors. Let us be the first to say: that’s no small task. (Some might even compare it to herding cats.) Armed with her signature smile and sense of determination, Megan met the challenge head on, eventually earning herself the title of Whipcracker.
After years of ruling our roost (and our timelines and schedules) with a mix of sweetness, strategic vision and leadership, Megan fell in love with a client close to home. When she stepped up to serve as the lead Account Manager for VisitGreenvilleSC in 2014, we knew it was a match meant to be.
These days you’ll find Megan rocking and rolling all things #yeahTHATgreenville, winner of a Gold Engagement WOMMY! When she’s not busy keeping multiple plates spinning in the office, you’ll find Megan starring in the role of wife to Mitch and mom to her spirited little guy, Patrick.
Meet the man behind the hair. Yeah, THAT hair. (Confession: we’ve considered starting a hashtag.)
Geno is a Discovery and Strategy Director at Brains on Fire, but considers himself more of a “Passion Pirate” and explorer for the agency’s clients. Geno shines at uncovering the DNA of clients and their customers, and has walked the path with brands and organizations including: Fiskars Brands, the National Center for Families Learning, National Council of Teachers of English, BFGoodrich, Michelin, The Environmental Defense Fund and Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
Geno is also a highly sought after speaker, and has been a presenter and a workshop facilitator at events hosted by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Blackbaud BBCON (Australia), EXMA Bogota, EXMA Peru, The Good Business Summit and the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, just to name a few. He is co-author of two books, Brains On Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable Word of Mouth Movements + The Passion Conversation: Understanding, Sparking and Sustaining Word of Mouth Marketing.
Brains on Fire is a Certified B-Corporation, using their business as a force for good.
When he’s not busy strategizing or speaking ‘round the world, you’ll find Geno cheering on the field at Furman Games, cruising in the Mini Cooper and spending time with his wife Jenn and shaggy sweetie, Kingston.
Once upon a time, Gustavo found himself knee-deep in the startup world – most recently working in Operations at Postmates. (Perhaps you’ve heard of them?) Gustavo used his talents and skills to help grow the company from a tiny startup to a large, thriving brand known ‘round the world. Prior to that, he was an organizer on Barack Obama’s (Perhaps you’ve heard of him?) 2008 campaign. (Yes, he’s met him. And yes, he’s great.) Gustavo joined the Brains on Fire team in 2016 as Account Executive of our Los Angeles office.
A Los Angeles lover through and through, Gustavo feels confident that La La Land it is better than anywhere else. When he’s not keeping LA running like well-oiled machine, you’ll find our resident cinephile watching anything he can get his eyeballs on while adding to a small (but growing) bourbon collection.
Josh came to Brains on Fire in 2017 to help on the creative end for our Los Angeles office. A wearer of many hats (all of which look exceptionally dapper on him), Josh is responsible for a range of bits and pieces ranging from copywriting to video production, social media strategy to client insight.
Josh’s roots in creating social movements date back to 2007 when he was one of first employees at Invisible Children, serving as a copywriter and strategist on their documentaries and campaigns. After five years with the non-profit, Josh took on a new storytelling challenge when he jumped into film development for the director Jon M. Chu, which included executive producing YouTube Red’s original movie, Dance Camp. (Go ahead and challenge him to a dance battle. We dare you.)
With a background that also includes fundraising for non-profits through celebrity sweepstakes at Prizeo, Josh loves the challenge of finding unique ways to tell a story and creating a community around their impact.
A native of the Upstate, Mary Susan grew up in the micropolis of Laurens, South Carolina. She eventually ventured to the “big city” to attend Furman University, where she discovered a love of art that inspired her to make it her degree.
Post-graduation, Mary Susan traded in the rolling hills of the upstate for coastline, but the charms of her native stomping grounds ultimately brought her back home. (And that’s when Brains on Fire scooped her up!)
Even though Mary Susan doesn’t use her art degree on a daily basis, she utilizes her other talent — organization — every minute of the workweek. These days, Mary Susan can be found keeping The Firesphere in check and Brains on Fire running like a well-oiled machine. And we’re so thankful for that.
A native of Lexington, South Carolina, Laura came to Brains on Fire as an intern by way of Clemson University. Over the course of her internship, our Laura love grew and grew. By the time she was ready to don the cap and gown, we knew what we had to do. (Spoiler alert: we snatched her up immediately and kept her as one of our full-time own.)
These days you’ll find our little ray of social sunshine rocking our clients’ worlds and online communities. A lover of all things local, Laura is the Community Nurturer of #yeahTHATgreenville and has a special gift for sparking conversation, engaging with visitors and making everyone who comes in contact with her (online or off) feel pretty dang special.
There aren’t many people around here who can remember Brains on Fire without Cathy, but she kept plenty busy before she graced our halls. A Florida native, Cathy graduated from the University of North Carolina Greensboro. She married a swell guy, and spent some time working as a Media Director and Account Director, getting some serious experience under her belt, before hopping on board at Brains on Fire.
When Cathy arrived at BOF, she was looking for a more collaborative atmosphere than she found in her previous work lives. Cathy’s years at Brains on Fire have now surpassed a baker’s dozen, so it’s probably fair to say she found more than a collaborative atmosphere…she also found a home. These days you’ll find Cathy leading the account team as Account Shepherd at Brains on Fire, as well as managing clients including Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, Environmental Defense Fund and Shorelight. If that weren’t enough to keep her busy, she also manages to star in the role of Super Mom to Kate and Sam, two of the busiest kids on the planet.
They say that people with degrees in the humanities are notoriously unemployable. Andrew Huang set out to prove that saying 100% accurate by being aggressively jobless after graduating from Furman University with a degree in English. Instead, he chose to travel and live in Taiwan for six months. While abroad, he neglected to “find himself,” but did realize his love for all things edible. (Pig brains and chicken feet? Bring ’em on.)
Andrew returned to Greenville no less unemployable, but luckily found his way into publishing and spent nearly four years as an editor for TOWN, a local culture, lifestyle, and arts magazine. There, he honed his craft as a writer, editor, photographer, and indiscriminate scavenger of food. Now, Andrew brings an editorial mindset to finding and showcasing stories of the people who make up our clients’ communities. In his spare time, Andrew can be found stalking the streets of Greenville with a camera in hand, or looking for another diamond-in-the-rough for his local food column, Huangry.
With a tendency toward endless striving, Amanda use to think that any given measure of success was to be found in grades and financial security. (Little did she know that was far from the truth.)
Shortly after graduating college, Amanda’s entrepreneurial spirit led her down a product development path. Turning her past mistakes into positivity, Amanda was able to help others and focus on what mattered most at the end of the day: people. It is through this lens that she continues view and experience life, always seeking joy in the little things and doing her best to cultivate relationships in her own world.
Amanda’s journey to Brains on Fire began three years ago when she met our Sean at Maker’s Summit. It was there that her passion for branding intersected with a company aligned with her values. Three years later, their paths crossed again when Amanda found herself living in Greenville, South Carolina.
With a mutual love for tequila and people (mixed with a few shakes worth of experience in community building and a dash marketing), Amanda found a home aboard the mothership at Brains on Fire. She says she’s happy to be part of a company that passionate about doing good in the world — we’re glad we found such a good human in the world. Life around these parts just wouldn’t be the same without her shiny, happy spirit.
Emily is an Upstate native that enjoyed a minor detour through Europe as kid, living in Manchester, England as well as Amsterdam. Her blood runneth orange, as a Clemson University grad and Tigers’ fan. Emily picked up two degrees during her four years at Clemson: a BA in Communications and another BA in Modern Languages (Spanish)…just for fun. She spent her early career in PR, public education and event planning, primarily working with nonprofits and government agencies in the Upstate.
While Emily’s term at Brains on Fire isn’t one of the longest, it’s definitely one of the most eclectic. She originally joined the BOF crew as a Community Manager, serving our Heroes in Recovery, Tinkernation and Wonderopolis communities. After a while her organizational skills and penchant for color-coded work plans brought her back into the Account Executive side of life.
While one of Brains on Fire’s AEs, Emily spent her time gently nudging projects from start to finish, extinguishing or fanning fires as needed, and most importantly, keeping clients happy – such as the National Council of Teachers of English, Intuit TurboTax, Jive Software and the National Center for Families Learning.
After adding workflow and business development to her plate, her passion for people and improvement drove Emily to find her latest home at Brains on Fire in Operations. Part team therapist, part connector of dots, Emily enjoys bringing solution-based thinking to the inner workings of Brains on Fire and finding ways to bring the best of out every team member, client and opportunity.
Conceived from the ashes of Greenville’s historic mill villages, Sean has been sketching since the womb. After graduating from New York’s School of Visual Arts with a degree in illustration and a love for American impressionism, he flew home to make things happen. One problem: illustration in a small, southern town rarely just “happens.” Thankfully, that little patch of adversity wouldn’t last. Add two elective design classes and Sean’s signature chameleon-like adaptability and you get one stellar human with an arsenal of skills…and a somewhat undeniable likeness to Ron Swanson. (Hey, it won him the title of 2014 Brains on Fire Costume Challenge Champion.)
Over the years, Sean’s artistic direction has impacted a range of brands and campaigns for clients like AT&T, Gerber, BMW, Viceroy Hotels, EMI Music and Duke University. Never one to name drop, if you ask, Sean will always put big brands aside and explain how his best work grows from authentic relationships, and that sometimes a smile is the best form of payment.
Sean claims to be mediocre at most frat boy hobbies. Nowadays he puts effort into curating a seriously diverse music collection and binging at local meat-and-threes. (See? Ron Swanson. We told you.) At last check his iTunes will play for three months straight without repeating, and his southern drawl gets stronger depending on the lunch dive. No good design is possible without the pics of his wife and daughter adorning his desk, with an autographed 8×10 of Roscoe P. Coltrane finishing a close second.
(We like to think Roscoe balances out the blaring gangsta rap.)
Josh Maynard is a designer and native west-coaster / Colorado transplant made of half blood / half salt water.
Josh once had the pleasure of sharing stories and a cup of tea with refugees in rural Afghanistan homes – moonlighting as a NGO photographer in some of the darkest parts of the earth. “The first day you meet, you are friends. The next day you meet, you are brothers.” – Afghan Proverb and source of Josh’s aspirations to meet the needs of others and love them well.
A diehard Charger (NOT Bronco) fan, Josh lives in Denver with his wife Tess and schnoodle Maggie. With a wife who works as a doula (google it), Josh knows more about birth than any man could ever possibly want to know.
Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Valerie attended the University of Oregon and studied everything from drawing to lithography to sound mixing to stop-motion animation. (With a little trampoline mixed in for good measure.) She interned with [adult swim] and was on-set for two movies productions before deciding that she loved the world behind the lens.
After graduating with a degree in Multimedia Design, Val opened a successful event photography studio and spent four years shooting, editing, and publishing memories and moments for her clients. She loved that people trusted her to capture special, up-close shots through her use of angles, light, and lenses without intrusion or pulling focus.
While Val loved her work, she felt her passion shift from photography to design and decided it was time to close her doors and relocate from Portland, Oregon to sunny Greenville, South Carolina to pursue full-time design.
Valerie comes to Brains on Fire now having worked both agency and client side for large brands including Verizon Wireless, L.L. Bean, and Denny’s. Another of her past lives also includes serving as the lone in-house designer for Solid Gold Pet. Big or small, what Valerie values most is working with other creatives who aren’t afraid take challenging design problems head on. She takes great pride in the value that her work brings to her clients, and is of the mindset that you never stop learning.
When she isn’t designing for clients (or herself) Valerie spends as much time as possible lakeside camping and hiking at Paris Mountain. She loves llamas because they are ridiculous, music because it makes her soul sing and coffee, which needs no explanation. She lives with her partner, Kelly, and their rescue tabby, Pixel.
John Moore takes his job seriously, himself lightly. His business side was shaped as a long-time marketing manager with Starbucks, and later as Director of National Marketing at Whole Foods. For many years, John operated his own consultancy, the Brand Autopsy Marketing Practice.
These days, John is the Chief of Wahoo for the Brains on Fire tribe. In this role, he is responsible for helping clients achieve their desired growth and developing learners and leaders within the tribe.
Along the way of work life, John has authored three business books: “Tribal Knowledge,” “Tough Love,” and “The Passion Conversation: Understanding, Sparking and Sustaining Word of Mouth Marketing.”
John’s Brand Autopsy blog has been sharing hot marketing opinions since long before social media became the cool thing to do. He continues sharing his insights and traveling the world to speak to marketers on a range of topics including word of mouth marketing strategies and building captivating brands.
John’s lighthearted side shows he is a sucker for beer and music. He treats beer like others treat wine. He is also deep into funky jazz and jazzy funk.
Have a problem? Alison can fix it. Seriously. AQ grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, receiving a degree in Art Education from the University of Georgia and a degree in Graphic design from Ringling School of Art. Pretty impressive, eh?
Alison’s roster of happy clients includes BMW Manufacturing, AFGA Healthcare and Bon Secours St. Francis Health System (among many, many others). Her production skills are unparalleled around these parts, and everything the woman touches turns to graphic gold. If you have the good fortune to meet Alison in person, be sure to ask her about her adventures overseas – you won’t be disappointed.
Moe grew up in a land far, far away that some refer to as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As a Social Media Strategist & Community Manager at Brains on Fire, Moe spends her days team building, cultivating content and stoking conversation on a quest to foster thriving, happy brand communities. Driven by a desire bring people together around shared passions, Moe takes a uniquely visual approach to marketing. A firm believer in the storytelling power of photography, she invests her time, talent and energy in capturing the beauty of everyday life in order to give people new perspective on the world around them.
Moe likes to learn. She loves gardening, podcasts, and Joni Mitchell. She’s always game to try the weirdest thing on the menu. In her free time, she can be found crouching amongst her plants, bustling around the house, watching all the shows and hanging out with her husband and their three furrkids (a red lab, Lu, and two Siamese cats, Ashkii and Rhaego.
Meet BOF’s resident Community Cultivator, Alison. (That’s Alison-with-one-L for those of you who aren’t paying attention!) After graduating with an English degree from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, Alison went on to live several different lives – all over the span of a few years.
Alison began her career working for an anti-trafficking organization in Asheville, before relocating to Waco, Texas where she claims to have been doing “extensive research on the best Tex-Mex around.” (Torchy’s Tacos. Order the Dirty Sanchez.)
If you’re thinking, “Waco, Texas? Isn’t that the town that HGTV couple put on the map?” …you’d be right. As fate would have it, while living in Waco, Alison would cross paths with a sweet duo named Chip and Joanna Gaines. She would go on to nanny for their children while they focused on filming the pilot episode of a little show called “Fixer Upper.” (Ask her about the goats. No, seriously. Ask.)
A few years later, Alison would head even further south – this time, across international lines to Belize where she helped expand an anti-trafficking organization. Once she’d had her fill of sunshine, Alison jetted off to the French Alps to work as a tutor and travel Europe before heading a little closer to home, finally coming to rest in Greenville.
It was here she met Mary Susan, Brains on Fire’s resident Office Mom (and, as it turns out, a really good employee matchmaker.) A believer in the power of social media to bring people together, Alison was a natural fit for our team. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Amy spent her formative years in the bluebonnet fields of Abilene, Texas spinning ABBA and ELO on the family record player, skipping around in jelly shoes trying to uncover the secret to dancing on the ceiling. A few slap bracelets and Lisa Frank Trapper Keepers later, our little lone star found herself whisked away from the land of Longhorns to snowier pastures in Buckeye country.
A card-carrying member of the public library and ruthless Scrabble player, Amy’s wordological tendencies emerged at a young age. As time went on, spiral notebooks filled with unicorn-and-rainbow stories gave way to essay-filled Blue Books, and Blue Books gave way to a “what-are-you-going-to-do-with-that” English degree. Though Amy didn’t have the answer just yet, she “wrote off” into the sunset (and working world) full speed ahead.
In her previous life, Amy was a more literal breed of community manager, working in Community Affairs for municipal government. Whether calming citizen concerns that a barbecue restaurant smelled “too much like barbecue,” addressing “vicious geese” complaints or doing disaster control in the wake of a peanut oil spill (yes, it really happened), each day was an adventure fit for a superhero.
Over the past decade, Amy has contributed to the visioning, development and implementation of online and offline marketing, content and social strategies, as well as ambassador programs for several award-winning and nationally-recognized brand movements and communities. (Which is really just a fancy way of saying that she has had the pleasure of helping some amazing brands and organizations become even more awesome at doing that thing they do.)
Amy has written for a wide breadth of industries in both the public and private sectors. Her work can be found everywhere from websites to billboards, brochures to bumper stickers…and still proudly displayed on her parents’ refrigerator door.
These days you’ll find Amy heading up the “Ohio branch” of Brains on Fire. In her spare time, Amy enjoys the company of family, friends and her rescue dog, Rocky.
Jack’s experience spans a few decades in this business. He is also is a self-proclaimed “homeboy,” meaning he grew up just down the road in Spartanburg, SC. Keeping with the theme, Jack earned a degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Broadcast Production from the University of South Carolina. Who knows what he did after that, but what we do know is that we’re glad he joined what would one day become Brains on Fire in July of 1988.
Jack is the man. No, really. In addition to his workload as Media Boss and lending a helping hand on accounts from American Federal to Bon Secours St. Francis Health System to VisitGreenvilleSC, Jack holds the key to all the logistics at Brains on Fire. When he’s not in the office, you’ll probably find Jack practicing with his bluegrass band or serving on the Greenville Family Partnership board.
And then there is Brains on Fire’s founder, Mike Goot, no longer with us in body, but always with us in spirit. (Don’t worry, he just moved to Colorado.) Known for his sharp tongue and sweet heart, Mike caught the tail end of the Mad Men era, beginning his advertising career in New York City in the early 1970s.
Mike later migrated to South Carolina, where he founded what would become Brains on Fire, under the name The Eison Goot Group.
So what eventually turned Mike off about conventional advertising? Perhaps it was enduring a four-hour boardroom screaming match between eight execs over which word should be used in an ad: “clean” or “spotless.” This trivial mêlée with one of Mike’s first employers might just be what began the smoldering that kindled the concept he would hone years later into Brains on Fire: inspiration, honesty, and focusing on what truly matters. Brains On Fire burst into flames in the late 90s from the kismet of ideal collaboration, the evolution of marketing theory, and the birth of inspired genius.
Mike’s outrageous, often obscene, yet infinitely kind and generous spirit is part of who we are. Even in his absence, it pushes us to be relentless in our daily pursuit of truth and strong in our conviction that our efforts could make the lives of those we touch a little more meaningful…and a helluva lot more fun.