If your mother tells you she loves you...check it out!
That's what I heard more than 30 years ago as a freshman at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. The point: take nothing at face value. Question, dig, push for the truth. Don't take someone's word for the authenticity of even the most seemingly minor shred of information.
So, what's this doing on an "About" page?
It's my invitation for you to check out details that I share with you, not only on this page or throughout this website, but in any aspect of my communication. Publicly elected officials should be held to a high standard. We must earn your trust.
Having covered numerous government bodies as a journalist over the years, I have seen the good, the bad, and the downright grotesque in the "trust" department.
To aid your investigation, I have inserted hyperlinks in various spots so you can learn more about the organizations and other details that are part of my life.
I can be described in myriad ways, depending on what element of my work, my past or my personality that you zero in on. But an overarching theme, I suggest, is that I am a lifelong learner. At the same time, I have been a mentor, a teacher, a trainer, and an expert on a wide gamut of subjects.
For 20 years, spanning journalism, math, interpersonal communication, public relations, leadership & relationship-building, I have been a frequent guest speaker from grade schools to graduate-level college classes at my alma mater.
Along the way, I have developed a passion for education and its powerful potential to impact individuals, communities and the world. That's a major factor that prompted my run, and election in April 2017, to the District 200 Board of Education.
~ Resident of Oak Park since 1994. My two children, boy/girl twins, are in the 8th grade at Brooks Middle School. My wife, Bridgett, and I home-schooled them for six years (Grades 1 through 6). Bridgett carried most of the load, while I focused more on my business, Inside Edge: Public Relations & Media Services.
~ Oak Park Public Library Board of Trustees, 2013-2017 (Board president for final two years of my four-year term.)
~ Active member of Harvest Bible Chapel Chicago West, located in the Austin neighborhood. Past community volunteer work includes serving as Hephzibah Children’s Association mentor & tutor and as a volunteer speaker for Junior Achievement.
~ Member of the Oak Park and River Forest Chamber of Commerce, 2005-present. Among wide range of local and regional clients, local work has included serving as Marketing Director for the Village of Oak Park’s “Shop the Village” intra-business district local shopping campaigns, 2008-2009.
~ Host of interview shows “Oak Park’s Own” & “A Beer With Baron,” Oak Park Cable Channel 6. (Below are three of my guests, left to right: Chicago Cubs photographer Steve Green, Pro Bono Network co-founder Donna Peel & Big Ten Network studio anchor Dave Revsine.)
~ Former President, Marion-at-Mills Condominium Association (2011-2013).
~ Celebrating Seniors Coalition, publicist, 2009-present.
~ Principal/Owner of Inside Edge: Public Relations & Media Services, 2005-present (based in Oak Park, with an office in Downtown Oak Park since 2009).
~ Numeracy expert, trainer of media organizations and others on the effective, ethical and responsible use of data in reporting and writing, 2001-present. (Go Figure: Making Numbers Count). (Image, below, is from a Go Figure workshop.)
~ Longtime volunteer for Junior Achievement, serving as a guest speaker at more than 20 schools throughout Chicago and the suburbs.
~ Newspaper reporter for 20 years, including six years as a freelance reporter for the Chicago Tribune and four years as a freelance reporter for Time. Work included extensive coverage of a variety of local governments throughout the region.
~ Graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.