About John McCollum
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Thursday
Nov192009

Life is still good

For twelve years, I had the pleasure as Element's owner, chief strategist and creative director, of overseeing one of Columbus, Ohio's most respected marketing, communications and design firms. We attracted top-notch talent and A-list clients, and we launched brands, created marketing campaigns and crafted strategic communications that won international acclaim for Element and real, measurable results for our customers. 

Beyond the work itself, Element was known for its unique, people-centered professional environment. We had unlimited vacation days, four day work weeks, cocktails upon request and weekly breakfasts cooked together and enjoyed with coffee roasted on-site.

Life was truly good at Element. A better -- more complex -- life, however, was calling.

It started slowly. On something of a lark, I took a trip to Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 2001. That trip changed my perspective, and would ultimately change the course of my personal and professional life. Later that year, I co-founded an non-profit organization called Asia's Hope. My original goal was to "do the charity thing" on the side, and keep Element as my top priority.

Fast forward a few years and a completely different picture emerges: Asia's Hope is growing like crazy -- 16 orphan homes, 500 kids and 90 staff in Cambodia and Thailand -- and I'm the only person in the States working full-time for the organization. By Fall of 2009, it was clear to me that I could not successfully run both Asia's Hope and Element -- at least not without making some significant changes.

So, on October 25, 2009 I informed the Element staff -- and all of my clients and vendors -- that the agency would be closing. I shut off the phones, sold the equipment and began my new life as Executive Director of Asia's Hope. 

Now, the tables have turned: the majority of my time and effort is focused on providing homes for orphaned kids in Cambodia and Thailand at high risk of sexual and economic exploitation. I have, however, retained the Element brand, and as Element will continue to provide strategic and creative consulting services -- albeit on a very selective basis. 

If you're interested in working with a seasoned communications professional who has recently signed a new lease on life, contact me john@elementville.com or 614.859.9221.

 

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