One: He grew up in a Midwest family of extremely modest means and was raised by a single mother.
Two: He learned the importance of self-sufficiency at an early age, working after school to earn nickels and dimes to help feed his family.
Three: Burdened with numerous hurdles that otherwise convinced others to change course, he persevered by always keeping his dreams in sight.
Four: Upon reaching adulthood he was drawn to Chicago where he cut a wide swath in that city's culture, by appealing to the best in those around him.
Five: He was inevitably drawn eastward with the goal of taking what he learned to a larger audience, through creative and constructive leadership.
Six: He's inspired individuals to take on larger challenges that they otherwise thought were beyond their reach.
Seven: In a business of selfishness and cynicism, he's empowered groups, defensive by nature to work together, through his ability to illuminate their similarities.
Eight: After 9/11, he observed what he believed was a void of leadership and took action to understand the world's current view of the US, versus what he knows it should be.
Nine: His ability to have gotten this far and to be in the position to accomplish this is based on his natural kid-down-the street buoyancy and his ability to bring this out in others.
Ten: He's now applied his life's work to address the needs of others by applying his energies with global diplomatic action. And he can't do it alone.
Since the character traits and life stories summarized here seem familiar, if you assumed they reflect the life and times of President-Elect Barack Obama, you would be correct.
However, if you assume that they reflect the life and times of Chairman Emeritus of DDB Worldwide Keith Reinhard, you would also be right!
Beginning January 5th, the MadAve Journal begins its week-long coverage of Keith Reinhard's life and times on Madison Avenue. It's based on a comprehensive conversation we had with Mr. Reinhard last year. Keith shared several stories with us that have only been told once or twice, mostly between the people who were there at the time.
Since hindsight is 20/20 it didn't occur to us until after editor Tim McHale began reviewing the contents of their discussion that Mr. Reinhard's background appeared almost mirror-like to the life and times that our president elect has shared with us. That said, there are some differences. For example, one is where they went to school:
Harvard: President Elect Obama ranked top in his class and made the most of his education by graduating with honors from the very competitive Harvard Law School.
High School: Unable to afford college, Keith Reinhard made the most of his high school education and won honors as a teenager from art competitions offered by Scholastic Magazine!
Here are some of the topics Keith and Tim covered and the publishing schedule we have laid out, beginning January 5th, 2009:
Tuesday: The Creation of Omnicom
Wednesday: The Creation of McDonald's first ad campaign
In addition, we plan on publishing a number of other special segments, including:
For as much as this series covers the past, the genesis of it was based on our interest in catching up with Keith on the progress he has made as president of the Business for Diplomatic Action.
In the age of Obama, the BDA is a private-sector a-political non-profit created by Keith as an idea on October 11, 2001. It is directed by preeminent communications, marketing, political science, global development and media professionals. BDA's mission is to enlist the U.S. business community in actions to improve the standing and reputation of America in the world. The organization is leading the private sector effort to provide constructive business solutions for public diplomacy programs and initiatives with governments and NGO's around the world. http://www.businessfordiplomaticaction.org/.
Barack and Keith have experienced different struggles and opportunities; yet each leader is arriving at similar national and global crossroads. We look forward to illuminating some of Keith's past with you and hope it acts as a guide to shed light on where Obama and Reinhard want to take us in the days, months and years ahead.
What a way to start the year!
Wendy McHale, Publisher