So Lee, how did you end up at Den Aviary?
It was a long, circuitous trip. Jason [Sisley, founder] and I met 10+ years ago when we both worked at Rewards Network, a Chicago-based restaurant marketing company. And, in 2009(ish) when I was leading the Apartments.com Marketing team, we hired Kevin [Gales, COO] to help us with a major project. Over the years, Jason and I stayed in touch and then in 2015 we started talking about how we might work together again. In early 2016 I took a consulting project with DA, trying to help evolve and grow the relationship with Restaurant.com. From there, we decided to make it permanent and I joined DA full time on 4/1/2016.
If you could have the email address of any famous person, who would it be?
Mario Lemieux. Currently, owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and formerly one of, if not the greatest to ever play the game. And, he’s now as well known as a supporter and fundraiser for pediatric cancer causes. He’s put his name and success to work in ways that benefit others.
Le Magnifique! What would you email him about?
He’s found success in life through god-given talent, but moreso through sheer hard work, determination and an ability to make everyone around him a better member of an overall team. He has an ability to make a collective group better than the sum of the individuals. And he’s done it as a professional athlete, and, more importantly, as a person - giving his time, name and money to support pediatric cancer services and research.
I’d love to ask him how he goes about making everyone around him work so well as a team, and how he does it in a way where others seem to benefit? How does he do it on such a big stage wherein he’s always working to make everyone else ‘better’. And succeeds.
We hear you’ve got a new hobby!
I’ve recently re-introduced myself to road biking and hope to spend a good part of this summer racking up the miles and experiences in/around Long Island on my bike. It’s a great way to exercise, let go of the daily stresses and to see parts of my town that I wouldn’t otherwise get to see.
What’s the farthest you’ve traveled?
I took a trip to Amsterdam with my wife, Amy. We spent a week exploring the city and nearby parts of the country - by canal, by bike and by foot. Early on we also found a favorite pub and spent late-afternoons watching the world go by. It was our one big trip, outside our honeymoon, before we had our son, Sammy. So, we look back at that week as a special series of moments and a time where we truly ‘checked out’ from daily life and enjoyed being together in a different part of the world.
What’s the best food you can make?
If you ask my son, Sammy, it’s French Toast.
If you ask my wife, Amy, she’d say my best dish is my ability to make reservations at a nearby restaurant.
If you leave it up to me, I’ll say peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I think I’ll have one right now.
List your pocket contents:
Cell phone & wallet.
Guilty pleasure song:
“Back in Black” by AC / DC.
When I lived in Chicago and commuted to the ‘burbs, this was the CD that was always in my car, to either help deal with the anger created by traffic, or a way to start a great road trip. And now, it’s often the song I play first when headed out for a run or before I head out on my bike.
Best advice you’ve ever received:
Do what makes you happy. Money doesn’t solve problems. It just creates more expensive ones. So, do what makes you happy.
GIF: how do you say it?