Tim Blair Proves Early Career Plans Can Change

Tim Blair

Like many who have written here, I didn’t anticipate becoming a corporate communications professional until I had already completed my undergraduate work.

As an undergraduate at Marquette University, I was convinced that coaching basketball was my future.  However, as collegiate idealism gave way to the realism of life I realized that the critical thinking, writing, and speaking skills I developed at Marquette would be a natural fit for a career in public relations. After earning a master’s degree in recreation science (read: sports management – yes, it took a long time to put those hoop dreams to bed), I began my career with a series of athletics-related internships before settling into a rewarding track as a corporate communicator.

Making the leap from sports to business was rather unnerving at the time – I scarcely understood business so my strong arts & sciences background had to carry me –  but ultimately corporate communications proved to be a challenging, rewarding and fulfilling profession. I continue to appreciate having the opportunity to learn about any number of industries and issues, while teaming up with senior management to help a business reach its goals.

Right now I’m at the mid-point in my career – a long way from that initial detour out of athletics into corporate America – and am looking forward to the challenges still to come:

1991 – 1993 – The Internship Circuit:  Amateur Athletic Union, Milwaukee Brewers, Northwestern University athletic department.

1993 – 1995 – The John Buck Company, Chicago.  Manager, Marketing & Communications.

1995 – 1996 – Burson-Marsteller, Chicago.  Associate supporting the Andersen Consulting account.

1996 – 2011 – IBM, Westchester County, NY.  I supported every IBM business unit at some point during my tenure, concluding as VP, Marketing & Communications for Systems & Technology Group.

2012 – present – Grant Thornton, Chicago. Head of Communications.

…and of course, I have not lost my passion for college basketball.  Nearly eight years ago I created CrackedSidewalks.com, a blog dedicated to the Marquette basketball program, which continues to fuel my interest in that program as well as social media in general.

3 thoughts on “Tim Blair Proves Early Career Plans Can Change

  1. Bill,

    In many ways my minimun wage marketing internship with the Brewers was the best job I’ve had … for an entire season I was able to watch Yount and Molitor take batting practice, and I had some of on-the-field promotions to manage for the sponsors. That was the year Yount reached 3,000 hits – a great experience all around.

  2. Tim’s career — and his high level of professionalism — is a good example for any communications person. He has earned his great and varied career because of his focus on driving successful conclusions, and his ability to help execs understand how communications can help improve a corporate culture. He is the best of breed.

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