Q&A With COO, Wendy Johnson

Q&A With COO, Wendy Johnson

Q&A With COO, Wendy Johnson 1440 428 Chute Gerdeman

What’s your role at CG?  

COO, EVP Account Management is my specific title, but what it really means is that I lead our amazing studio Program Management team to ensure our client engagements run smoothly and according to plan. We work to make sure the entire design process is thought through and executed at the highest level. I also oversee our business operations, finance, and our human resources.

What’s on your desk? (What’s critical for you to do your job?)

Currently, I’m trying to go as paperless as possible. My cell phone and laptop are basically glued to me at all times. I must have a second monitor to keep me working efficiently and connected. Oh, and a latte. Got to keep moving!

What’s the secret to the success of the projects on which you work?

Communication is key. I believe there is no such thing as over communication. Keeping the entire team informed along with clear tasks, deliverables and deadlines helps keep everyone focused, efficient and timely. Everyday we have many wheels turning, so making sure everyone is on the same page is a priority to achieve success.

What’s the most inspiring thing you have seen in our industry lately?

I thought the digital installation of Cite Memoire in Old Montreal was pretty amazing in December. The snowflakes falling amidst the large-scale video projections on the brick walls and cobblestone alleys was beautiful and completely unexpected. You are completely immersed in the experience throughout the city.

You started at CG as an intern, what’s the most pivotal moment of change you’ve seen during your time here?

The creative process is still the same but the tools to develop the end result is what has changed. It is amazing how in only 23 years the tools are so different. They’ve allowed our studio to expand what is possible and make even the biggest ideas a reality. It used to be pastels, markers, spray mount, drafting brush, pounce socks, slide projectors, kroy and fax machines were used daily and now it is all computer based and the output is digital with no need for printing. The technology has evolved so much over the years, that each day I’m wowed by what our studio is doing.

We’re early into 2017, what are the brands to watch, and what do you think is their secret for success?

Amazon Go is a big draw for me. Not only does it have the high-tech conveniences but a PR/Advertising strategy promoting it’s shock and awe of a shopping paradigm. I’m looking forward to seeing how other brands change their shopping strategies based on customer’s lifestyles in the coming years.

I was just in Nashville for President’s Day weekend and visited Hollar & Dash. This is craveble food! It’s a fun concept that are bringing in the crowds. Biscuits, fried pork tenderloin, raspberry butter, fried onion straws. Need I say more?

Columbus has been hot topic of late in the press, how is CG playing a role in the development of the continued development of this retail ecosystem?

Columbus has been our home from the beginning and we believe that its just beginning to showcase what we, as a community, can do. Retail has such a rooted history in Columbus; design, fashion, technology, manufacturing, and education all play a role. The press lately has been a long time coming and the story will only continue to grow. Currently, we’re excited to be working with community partners to showcase the Retail Ecosystem in the coming year.

What’s the most exciting thing happening at CG in 2017?

The transformation of the Icehouse! We are wrapping up phase 1 of our refresh/remodel including reclaimed wood floors, new carpet, new bench style work stations, collaboration spaces, community kitchen/lounge and a fresh coat of paint. Phase 2 will break ground in the spring and will include the expansion spaces with a media room, parking garage and outdoor terrace. It’s a very exciting time in our studio!


A collection of insights research and observations across retail, restaurant, c-store and grocery. Helping brands provide a better experience for their customers. Enjoy.

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