Design Your Home Office on a Budget

Entrepreneur’s StartUps
Design Your Home Office Space
By Tiffany Meyers | March 2009

Among the benefits of working from home: your 32-second commute, pajamas and the freedom to create an environment that works for you, not the common denominator. Checking in with interior stylist Amy Lenahan of Chicago’s design i interiors, we located two lackluster office spaces with one goal in mind: break all the rules of corporate décor without breaking the bank. 

Don’t know where to start? Follow your heart. Commit to an item you love and build the room around it. For curtains, Ikea’s Fredrika fabric ($5.99 per yard) paired with a more basic red fabric, the Minna ($6.99 per yard), set our hearts aflutter, so we carried the eye-popping reds throughout the rest of the room.  “In a home office, where privacy isn’t such an issue, I advise clients not to hide windows behind heavy drapes,” Lenahan says. To maximize natural light, mount your curtains on the outside of the frame. (While we’re on the subject, Ikea’s Täljare curtain rod set, $14.99, couldn’t make curtain hanging easier.)

“The color red speeds up our heart rate and increases our pulse,” says Kate Smith, founder of color consulting firm Sensational Color and member of The Color Marketing Group, an international color trend forecasting organization. “It’s good for an office because it encourages action and confidence. It makes us feel physically empowered–and even the boldest entrepreneurs sometimes need a little of that.”

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Heavenly Touches Make Condo Worth Wait

Chicago Tribune
South Loop condo
By Tiffany Meyers | January 18, 2009

Author’s Note: My editors at the Chicago Tribune sent me off with a notebook and realtor, viewing three condos within specific parameters. My task was to write about the one I loved.

Wouldn’t you know it? After being presented with two perfectly viable options, the condo that finally turns my knees to jelly doesn’t actually exist. Not, at any rate, until summer 2009, when The Roosevelt Collection will start delivering its 342 one- and two-bedroom condos, priced from the $300Ks to the $650Ks.

With Realtor Lindsay Fath of Century 21 Sussex & Reilly’s Lowe Group, I spend an afternoon viewing South Loop lofts priced at $450,000 or less. Our first stop: A condo that needs slightly more love, I’m afraid, than I have to give. The second option is … very nice. So I poke around: Nice view. Nice appliances. Stainless steel and so on. But I wonder: If I’m going to pretend to spend $450,000 of my hard-earned play money on a condo, is “nice” really the best I can do?

Maybe. But Fath and I persist. Parking her car in a gravel lot at 709 S. Clark St., we crunch up to the sales center for The Roosevelt Collection. By “sales center,” I mean “trailer.” We exchange a look.

But this trailer is very much not the kind you’d see on “My Name is Earl.” In the center of the space, an architectural mock-up commands our attention. It displays a miniaturized version of the forthcoming South Loop development, which will sit off Roosevelt Road, bounded by Clark and Wells Streets. With noses pressed to the Plexiglas guard, Fath and I agree that the tiny cars along the boulevards could not be more adorable.

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Small Space Wins This Square Footage Addict’s Heart

Chicago Tribune
“Sell it to me”: House & Homes
By Tiffany Meyers | November 16, 2009

Author’s Note: If you can’t buy your own deluxe apartment in the sky, you may as well write about them. When I viewed condos on assignment for the Trib, I fell for the “cozy” one.

If there were a detox center for square-footage addicts, I’d admit myself. I lived for years in a Manhattan studio, which housed my entire inventory of family heirlooms—a futon and microwave—only with some doing. So when I moved into my comparatively palatial Chicago apartment, I got hooked on space. “I can fit two couches in my new place,” I told a New York friend, conspiratorially, “and I don’t sleep on either of them.”

But I surprised myself recently. When Realtor David Panozzo, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, and I visited three lofts, all in the Southport Corridor and listed under $450,000,I fell under the influence of the first and smallest we saw. True, one property was easy to eliminate. The 1,200-square-foot condo was so angular (imagine a slice of pie, only bigger, and without the fruit filling) that I’d have needed algorithms to address the problem of sofa placement.

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When Designers Moonlight

Communication Arts
Advertising imitates art
By Tiffany Meyers | 2005

At some point in history, the advertising industry decided to turn an adjective into a noun and formally call its practitioners “creatives.” Aside from bewildering people on the outside, the title aptly describes a type of person inclined to explore diverse forms of expression in a lifetime, and not just those that move product.

More than a few creatives manage to produce a body of art even as they build successful careers in advertising. Invariably, one influences the other.

Creative director Tom Lichtenheld is also the author/illustrator of several acclaimed children’s books, including “Everything I Know About Pirates” (Simon & Schuster, 2000), “Everything I Know About Monsters” (Simon & Schuster, 2002) and “What Are YOU So Grumpy About?” (Little, Brown & Company, 2003). Two more titles, “Everything I Know About Cars” (Simon & Schuster) and “What’s With This Room?” (Little, Brown & Company) are slated for publication in 2005.

Lichtenheld—who began as a fine-art student at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, then realized he might want to buy a car one day—served as a creative director for BMW and United Airlines at Fallon, Minneapolis, when he stumbled into book illustration by accident: His young nephew asked if he might draw him a pirate or two. Lichtenheld more than satisfied his requirements as an uncle, completing a pirate book—his first—with Fallon’s support.

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Penelope Dullaghan

Penelope Dullaghan: Artist Profile (excerpt)
By Tiffany Meyers, January/February Advertising Annual 50

Occasionally, in American museums or cultural centers, you’ll come across a crowd of whispering people, gathered around a group of Tibetan monks as they practice the sacred art of dul-tson-kyil-khor. For days, the crowd will watch the holy men slowly construct mandala of the most intricate detail, using millions of grains of colored sand.

When it’s complete, the crowd will then watch as the monks ritualistically destroy it. For some, it’s difficult to even fathom. For the monks, the process represents the impermanence of life, the principle of detachment and, as they release the sand into a body of water, a symbol of the earth’s cycles.

Winona Lake, Indiana, is about 12,937 miles from Tibet. But illustrator Penelope Dullaghan shortens the distance.

The complete profile on Penelope, which appears in Communication Arts’ January/February 2010 issue, is available to subscribers only. Please visit the magazine’s website for more information.

The Rise of the She-M.O.

PINK Magazine
The Rise of the “She-M.O.”
By Tiffany Meyers

In a business of predominantly male pilots, mechanics and engineers, Joanne Smith has had to shout over more than the din of aircraft engines in the course of her marketing career. The vice president of marketing for Delta Air Lines recalls a meeting at another airline a short decade ago, when she tried to convince a roomful of men not to cut hot towel service on flights as a way to save money. When she added that, in fact, the hot towels should be scented, her former CEO tossed a quarter across the table and quipped, “Call someone who cares.”

Contemporary boardrooms are hardly free of chest-puffing antics like these, but Smith believes such an incident probably wouldn’t happen today. “Not so much because it’s rude behavior,” she says, “but because I think women [marketers] have forced the point that consumers do care about these kinds of things.”

At Delta, Smith often finds herself reminding colleagues that the concepts of “safe, clean and on time” are merely the price of entry. “In a male-dominated industry, I find that I sometimes have to be a very loud voice that says, ‘If operations is all we focus on, we’re going to lose an opportunity to engage customers in a brand connection beyond those things.'”

Such sensibilities among women in marketing are earning more respect in corporate America – and giving women execs a boost up the career ladder. A quick scan across the business vista shows that in marketing, women are thriving in the most senior roles – making the CMO into the “She-M.O.,” as it were.

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Gen Y + Boomers: 2 Sides of Same Coin?

How Magazine
Generationally Speaking

By Tiffany Meyers

In many ways, an assessment of Boomers and their babies/grandkids (or the millions of young Americans known as Generation Y) is an apples-to-oranges prospect. The two groups have come of age in vastly different eras of U.S. history, consuming and creating different cultural touch points.

To compare the two generations, you’d have to compare the space race to MySpace, Earth Day to Green Day, the Mod Squad to the iPod, and so on all the way up to Watergate vs. Monicagate. Perched on (almost) opposite ends of the demographic spectrum, each group brings a unique set of needs to the marketplace as consumers.

All of this makes the traits they do share particularly notable. For one, these groups both live with a rather unflattering reputation for suffering from self-entitlement issues. Also from the Department of Blanket Statements, they’re said to view the future of the world through rose-colored glasses-particularly in comparison to the purportedly nihilistic Generation X that sits between them.

And of course, they’re two highly sought-after consumer sectors.As the two largest generational segments in the U.S., Boomers and members of Generation Y exert tremendous influence over the nation’s social, cultural and political landscape. Wielding formidable power and influence in economic terms as well, they’ve emerged as two of the sweetest spots for marketers pitching all manner of products and services.

The first thing to know about Generation Y is that it possesses more monikers than a demographer’s spreadsheet. In its roughly 30 years of existence, this group has been called Millennials, Reagan Babies, Generation Next, Echo Boomers and iGeneration, to name a few.

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Artful Tension

Chicago Tribune
Artful Tension
By Tiffany Meyers, September 5, 2010

Every art lover knows: Creative expression, whether it’s museum-quality paintings or videos by Madonna, is sometimes about making you squirm. Hang a few provocative pieces on the walls of your home, and you’ve got a different kind of challenge — how to incorporate edgy artwork into an interior that’s welcoming and happy; and whether you should take down your precious paintings when mom and dad stop by for a visit.

For Jeanne Landolt Masel, owner of the online gallery, the answers came easy. In the loft home she shares with husband Dennis Masel, she has created a space that puts the couple’s art collection center stage. And she wholeheartedly embraces the reactions from visitors. Masel’s eclectic collection includes work by emerging artists, African masks and contemporary urban art from the likes of Paul Insect, D*Face and Banksy, the British street artist whose identity remains unknown.

In terms of temperament, Masel doesn’t fit the profile of an iconoclast. She’s cheerful and outgoing. She has stuffed animals, for goodness’ sake. But the girl does enjoy a little indictment of contemporary culture. At a recent party, her piece by D*Face, which depicts the Statue of Liberty with a clown nose and makeup, sparked debate among friends, including one whose sense of patriotism it offended.

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How to Motivate Your Sales Team

PINK Magazine 
Sales force stuck in a rut?
Top women managers tell how attention to individuals builds a more productive team
By Tiffany Meyers | February 2008

When it comes to motivating talent, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy. But in sales – which teems with naturally driven, highly independent professionals – the value of a customized approach redoubles. “Everything you do in terms of recognition and reinforcement needs to be meaningful to the individual,” says Jill Eichwald, sales effectiveness consultant at Maritz Inc., a sales and marketing services company.

When Maritz conducted a national study on employees’ favorite rewards, results showed that each of six employee types – described and organized according to what they find inspirational, from praise to bonuses – split rather evenly across gender lines. “We were amazed to learn that from a gender standpoint, there’s not a lot of difference,” says Jane Herod, president of Maritz Motivation, a division of Maritz Inc. It’s further proof, she adds, that recognition programs need to be individually customized.

While motivation incentives appear to be gender-neutral, many of the qualities of effective sales managers – who have to light a fire under each seller and cultivate collaboration among competitive types – seem to come more naturally to women. Experts point to the attributes of empathy, consensus-building and intuition more often exhibited by women managers – which are precisely the qualities that result in several best practices in sales motivation.

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Woman to Watch: Tara Walpert Levy

AdAge Special Report: Women to Watch
By Tiffany Meyers, May 30, 2008

Friends of Tara Walpert Levy said she was crazy to leave her associate partnership at McKinsey & Co. to become general manager of Visible World in 2005. She had a different perspective: It “leaped out because it was exactly what advertisers had been telling me they needed for the past decade.”

Visible World’s advanced video-advertising platform delivers intelligent advertising — or “IntelliSpots” — that can be swapped and edited on the fly automatically and from any location to reflect factors such as household profile, time of day, weather and programming.

For all the angst about the TV spot’s demise, she argues that consumers aren’t anti-commercial; they just don’t like irrelevant commercials. “The onus is on advertisers to keep commercials fresh, interesting and relevant. Our technology makes that possible, ” says Ms. Walpert Levy, who was promoted to president in 2006.

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