Bio+Specs

I’m a Former Fortune 200 lawyer, known by my peers for decision making, maturity, and problem solving. I am reliable, approachable, up-front, and collaborative. I have been working for 20 years (I started young at a famous bar in Boston alongside my Father, the manager) and have worked in all sorts of industries and positions. I can bring an instinct, perspective, talent, and support that is hard to find without a huge fee or big ego. If you want to learn more, see below.

Have any questions? info@straightupstategy.com.
Some writing samples? Articles.

Background.

I’ve taken companies national, wound them down, handled teams across the globe, dealt with big banks, Fortune companies, negotiated huge deals, led marketing campaigns, handled risk strategy and done it all with a StraightUp approach that worked. Educated in law, business, politics, and psychology I have the angles and perspectives that add value. I’ve worked in oil and gas, retail, energy, restaurant and bar, insurance, security, professional services, and government services.

Short Bio. I have lived in three countries, eight cities, was the youngest in-house counsel in a fortune 200 company’s history , worked and negotiated with the biggest banks, oil + gas companies, tech and retail companies and led global teams. I have a JD in law, a BS in business, and a BA in politics. My work ethic, decision making abilities, dedication to self improvement, drive and people skills allowed me to get where I wanted faster than most. I am a huge fan of Winston Churchill and Theodore  Roosevelt, and an avid reader. I appreciate a straightup, candid, honest and genuine approach, which is increasingly rare in corporate America.

Where I started.  A Bar in Boston. I started working at 8 at a famous bar in Boston alongside my father the manager. At the bar I learned quickly how to multi-task, resolve disputes, problem solve, negotiate, and manage people. I also learned empathy and the importance of relationships and decision making. From there I worked through high school, college and law school. Often two or three jobs at a time, while still earning top marks at top schools in the US and Germany. I was the youngest attorney in the fortune 200’s history.

Why I started StraightUp Strategy.

In business four things: common sense, problem solving, decision making, and timely action  are critical and yet increasingly rare in the business world. Companies and leaders seem to circle around issues and  get stuck in the weeds.  I wondered why such well educated and creative people were so handicapped when it came to business strategy and marketing. I think the business recipe is simple: be smart, be savvy, remain candid. Think, decide, act, repeat. There is a big gap between results and action and  the politics and fear that prohibits internal talent from giving  good advice, mediocre slow expensive external advisors like big law and consultants that over complicate guidance, and I want to fill that gap. I started StraightUp Strategy to help and to offer the vital skills missing in the business world today by:

1. providing candid advice to leadership
2. assisting with problem solving (which requires listening, common sense and creativity)
3. advising on pragmatic decision making

Leaders who want the truth and put ego second to results continue to look for candid advice around their inner circle but find it in short supply. I am business minded, strategic, and a problem solver. I move quickly and effectively. Common sense governs my decision making. I realized that to help companies or leaders required that I be a third party. A neutral stance would allow me to be candid without risking my own job, threatening leadership, or hurting team dynamics. I found that being Straight Up, in a diplomatic and collaborative way, was always needed and appreciated by people who were talented. If you care about results more than appearances, then I am your man. The value add is that no one will know you outsourced the issue.

Why are critical business skills in short supply? In business those skills are rare because  politics, self preservation, and fear of risk keep people from telling their bosses, their spouses, their team, or their partners what they really think. Individually, creative people might not be business minded or deal makers and need help. The recruiting and education model encourages following formulas, templates, and test taking. Talent, creativity, and contribution fell by the wayside. You also cant create talent, despite exams and experience, some people simply cannot problem solve or think strategically while others are smart, savvy and capable. Time constraints, low risk tolerances, and gaps in education have made emotional intelligence, creativity, and problem solving like endangered species.  Not everyone has a team they can trust, an adviser they can go to, has a savvy business sense, or can problem solve quickly, so call me.  People can circle around an idea or problem but cant figure out the process to solve it quickly and effectively. That’s my job.

The alternative? Traditional consulting companies and law firms charge a ton and take far too long to make a decision. I’m pragmatic, I cut through the bs* and I help my clients get things done quickly and effectively. A lot of people come to me because they know they will get honest and quality guidance. I spend a lot of time telling people to “fear the yes men”. You want a round table of competent and prepared advisers. Easier said than done, which is why I started this company.

What Qualifies Me.

I spent over four years as in-house counsel for a fortune 200 and global company. As the “business lawyer”, the “work horse” and the “go to” my value add was that I was able to take complex issues, simplify them for time strapped teams and non-lawyers and quickly use the resources I had to propose a few alternatives along a risk spectrum. Strategy and solutions were and are my strengths.

What I’ve Done: As a lawyer at a fortune 200, I led marketing reviews, created pitches and disclaimers for TV, internet, radio and websites ads. My goal was to increase profits and growths strategically while reducing and mitigating unreasonable risk as much as possible without bottlenecking the deal. I led compliance policies, negotiated with CEOs at the global level, drafted all forms of legal documents, settled issues with regulators, helped with communications internally and externally, entered new markets, acquired, integrated, and wound down companies. I’ve worked and negotiated  with big banks, oil and gas companies, tech companies.  Strategic advice and problem solving were a constant ask and I enjoyed it. I’ve held security clearance working for the Fed, state governments, insurance companies, energy companies, renewable companies, retail companies, all by 28 years old.

I decided which partners, lead generators, and sales and marketing vendors we could/should partner with based on how solid or bad their content or model was. My approach was pragmatic and collaborative. I was able to communicate why certain changes needed to happen as well as the risk of doing or saying things a certain way and how a disclaimer or easy tweak could help.

In business you have to be able to move quickly. Moving quickly can still be done thoughtfully. I’ll help.

At the end of the day I am a worker. I work smart and hard. I am passionate about business and growing business. I love psychology, business, and solving problems.

Leaders and companies need a “go to” for guidance. I like being the go to. I have the quality and quantity of experience you need.

 

Some  Specifics.

Marketing -reviewed hundreds of ads, websites, sweepstakes, scripts and videos for compliance with laws and regulations

-created disclaimers, terms and conditions, and campaign rules

Finance -led several acquisitions each in the multi-million dollar range

-led several equity deals totaling for hundreds of millions in financing with major US banks

Strategy and Communications -launched a local solar company to the national level

-introduced new products and set up offices overseas for and on behalf of the big oil and gas companies

-drafted and reviewed internal and external communications

Compliance, Operations, Deal Advisory -advised on federal + state compliance rules + regulations

-created policies and responded to regulators

-mediated several employee and vendor disputes

-managed outside counsel

-resolved escalated customer issues for thousands of customers

-negotiated hundreds of marketing, supply, and vendor contracts

 

What is with my logo.

The best decisions and most effective actions are done in a calm and cool way. Stress and emotion cloud judgment. My logo reflects my personality and approach: influenced by Churchill, with a love for life, but a constant drive and eagerness to talk business and strategy. I’ll sit, listen and then throw some guidance your way. My advice is like the glass of whiskey in the logo, straight up and high quality.

What I can do for you:

Do you want to be smart, savvy, and are looking for candid guidance? Are you looking to expand, to get acquired, to try something new? I’m your man. If you need a sounding board, a business problem solved, guidance on a deal, regulatory and risk management, a new strategy, candid, confidential and discrete advice on business strategy and marketing, outsource that to me.

Not everyone has a trustworthy team or a capitalist strategic mindset. I do and can help. Stay Smart, Savvy, and always be Candid.

When it comes to a business question or need, info@straightupstrategy.com is a good start.

Two main goals: reduce unreasonable risks and promote sustainable growth for our clients. We do so in the four following ways:

1) Growing Businesses. Goal: reduce unreasonable risks for longterm sustainable growth.
a. strategic initiatives and new markets
b. marketing campaigns
c. product development
d. vendor selection and management.

2) Deal Strategy and Negotiations. Goal: streamline deals by cutting through overcomplicated posturing and adjust approaches.
a. review and provide key terms
b. assist with closing strategies
c. attend high level meetings as back up.

3) Corporate Formality Development. Goal: increase the formality and professionalism while retaining the company’s culture and spirit.
a) review or create policies, compliance and regulatory programs
b) review compensation and morale strategies
c) assisting with culture and integration issues

4) Leadership Support. Goal: take some of the isolation out of leadership by increasing confidence and transparency on decisions and results.
a) candid and confidential problem solving and sounding board
b) boots on the ground services (suiting up and supporting you as needed).

Stay Smart, Sharp and Savvy.

*This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.