ITA Spotlight: Sean Maconachy, Clique Studios
Friday, September 7, 2018
Posted by: Gary Hotze
Sean Maconachy, Growth Director, Clique Studios
We build great things. We offer digital strategy, design, engineering and marketing for high-growth organizations.
Chicagoan by birth or relocation?
Technically relocation, but Chicago has been the backdrop for my entire story of personal and professional growth as an adult. So genuinely, it feels like I’ve always been here. I moved to Chicago 15 years ago immediately after finishing my undergrad degree and never looked back!
If you relocated, what brought you to Chicago?
I didn’t know exactly where I wanted to live after finishing my degree, but I knew that I wanted to move to an entirely new environment and challenge myself to find my path.
I was offered a position (in the logistics industry with C.H. Robinson) that would allow me to live and work in a brand new city, which I had visited once as a kid but otherwise knew next to nothing about Chicago. That sounded like a fun challenge!
How did you come to work with Clique Studios?
Just before joining Clique I was completing my MBA. During that time, I was doing a lot of networking and exploring different industries, organizations, and career paths. I met the founders of Clique Studios (Ted Novak and Derek Nelson) through one of my networking connections just after finishing my graduate degree. I think both sides recognized pretty quickly that we had found a great fit with each other.
What about Clique Studios was appealing?
At the most basic level, it was the opportunity to be a part of creating impactful work to share with the world. Also, the ever-changing nature of working in digital where if you aren’t continually learning and improving you’re sure to get passed by. Then learning about the collaborative and entrepreneurial environment of the organization. Every opinion is valued and listened to. If you have a new idea for how something could or should be done you’re encouraged to test it out, assess the results, and then see if it makes sense to start rolling out to the rest of the organization.
What other roles have you held in the industry? How did they lead you to where you are now?
I started at Clique as a Project Manager/Digital Strategist. From there I transitioned to Account Director and now Growth Director.
Managing our projects from beginning to end was crucial for me because it gave me a comprehensive understanding of all the ins and outs of a Clique project. Also, by leading over 50 engagements from kickoff to site launch and beyond I learned how to think about engagement from a strategic level, identify opportunities for clients, and collaborate with our team to bring them to life.
Moving to an Account Director role allowed me to focus on a few critical ongoing accounts while also talking to potential new accounts about their goals and how Clique could help to solve them.
Out of all the positions you've held, which one is the most interesting?
My roles at Clique have been the most interesting of my career by far, so much so that it’s hard to pick one of the three to sit at the top of the list. Each role has challenged me to think about things differently, learn new hard and soft skills, and find new ways to add value for our clients.
What do you like most about what you do?
I’m lucky enough to have a lot of answers to this question, but I’ll narrow it down to three things:
1. I genuinely love talking to potential clients, learning about their businesses and goals, and helping to craft a strategy that will help them meet those goals through a true content experience on the web.
2. There is no standard engagement at Clique, and no set in stone way for attacking a problem. We have a process that we’ve refined over the years to allow us to bring world-class experiences to a wide variety of companies and industries, but that doesn’t mean projects follow a simple A-to-Z flow. Each client has unique goals and presents unique challenges for our team to solve together.
3. Working with the rest of the Clique team on a daily basis. We couldn’t do what we do without our highly collaborative environment and approach to problem-solving. Spending my days getting to learn while doing with some of the most talented designers, developers, strategists, and marketers around is quite a privilege!
Of which achievement at Clique Studios are you most proud?
I’m most proud of what we’ve achieved as a team rather than anything I’ve done individually. At Clique, we focus on growth through quality and every member of the team plays a significant role in that growth. I’m super proud of what we’ve achieved together in the last four years and can’t wait to be a small part of where we go in the future.
What’s your outlook on the local tech industry?
It’s almost becoming a cliche to reference the fact that Chicago is the most diverse major U.S. economy (or maybe it already is cliche, in which case at least it’s a cliche backed by actual data), but I still think that’s worth repeating as it relates to tech. The local tech community has such a fresh opportunity to solve a wide range of problems beginning with organizations in their backyard and then expanding outward. Combine that with the cross-pollination of ideas between industries and I think we’ll continue to see a lot of important work from Chicago tech for a long time.