Today we’d like to introduce you to Mark Tomaszewicz.
Mark, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
One of my favorite quotes is by E.B. White. He said, “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” I identify with E.B.’s sentiment.
As a kid growing up just outside of New York City, I never imagined I’d end up putting down roots as far away from the city as you can get in the U.S. But, as with all things in life, taking chances, timing and great fortune led me to San Diego and my work with an amazing group of passionate and kind designers and innovators at Bulldog Drummond.
My professional story hasn’t exactly been linear to arrive at one of the premier boutique design and innovation firms in the country. My first career was in investment banking and corporate finance in NY and LA. After six years, I realized I didn’t have a passion for this work and began to question if there was a deeper purpose to work than making a livelihood. So, I did what most people do when they have an existential crisis in their late 20s…go snowboarding.
With my new bride, I moved to Colorado and became a snowboard instructor and raft guide. Then, in August of 2006, I walked into an experience design firm in Keystone, CO and found my passion, creating meaningful experiences for people. I spent the next four years learning, doing and working with organizations around the country to design customer and employee experiences.
As my wife studies sea turtles which is hard to do in the mountains of Colorado, we moved to San Diego “for a year” …that was in late 2008. A little over a year later, I joined Sharp HealthCare as the Director of the Sharp Experience, helped launch TEDxSanDiego, and my wife focused on pursuing a PhD at UCSD. In other words, San Diego was now home. I was proud to work with an organization serving the community. My time at Sharp helped me realize that the moments of truth in most brand experiences are human to human moments.
This conclusion led me to focus more and more on the people side of business including purpose and values, employee experience, leadership development and intentionally building great work cultures that serve employees and the brand.
As Richard Branson says, “things seem to generally go better when you say ‘yes’”. That is what I said when presented with an opportunity to help scale a luxury retailer based in San Diego in the summer of 2013. My role focused on cultivating the culture of the organization as the company opened stores in cities across the US. It was an exciting and incredible challenge in many ways and one of the best learning experiences of my life.
Fast forward another few years and I’m excited to be a part of Bulldog Drummond, led by my dear friend Shawn Parr. My official title, which is not really all that important to me, is Chief Experience Officer. My work, which is incredibly important to me, is to launch Bulldog’s People Innovation practice focused on unlocking the potential of people and organizations. I also contribute across our other practice areas of brand, product and experience innovation and have the great fortune to work with clients ranging from start-ups to well-known international brands.
I got where I am today based on a handful of people who saw more in me than I saw in myself. They challenged me, helped me, loved me and supported me in so many ways.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Not a smooth road at all, but whose is? I went into the world of corporate finance to make money and THANKFULLY realized early in life that is not the most important thing when you spend so much of our life working, but I didn’t know what was next. Working in customer experience design before it was understood and valued was an uphill struggle which is similar to working in people innovation and culture which is often said to be valued, but doesn’t fit nicely in spreadsheets.
Constantly taking on new challenges means you are always learning and doing something new. Inherent in that is failure and frustration, often tied to not knowing what you don’t know. And, working in a start-up, the retail company, is a daily struggle.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Bulldog Drummond – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Bulldog Drummond is an innovation and design consultancy based in San Diego. We focus on brand innovation – rebooting, refreshing and building new to the world brands, product innovation, experience innovation and people innovation.
We are most proud of the relationships we have with clients and the value we help unlock in organizations. What we believe sets us apart is that we never believe we are the smartest people in the room. Bulldog takes a collaborative approach in all work, partnering with clients to co-design solutions to some of the most complex business challenges.
What’s your favorite memory from childhood?
Well, this just took a left turn. Playing basketball with my older brother in our front yard. My dad installed a hoop on a tree and we’d play for hours pretending to be our favorite Knicks players, listening to music on a boom box and getting out the floodlights when darkness started to set in.
- Address: 655 G Street, Suite B
San Diego, CA 92101
- Website: BULLDOGDRUMMOND.COM
- Phone: 619.528.8404
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org