An artist with a literal lifetime of experience, my journey with the trusted advisor curriculum—which began when I was a participant in one of Andrea’s workshops in 2016—reignited my passion to use my natural artistic talents in the corporate realm and share them with others in a way that makes sense. Prior to the workshop, there were two versions of me: Work Wade and Home Wade. Andrea’s material drew me back into a more wholistic sense of who I am as a real person, leading with trust instead of censoring myself. Having found what I was missing, I began offering what felt the most natural instead of what I thought was expected of me.
College started out with a major in art education that ended quickly when I realized I could not grade others on their creativity. Moving on to a degree in theater enhanced my ability to communicate with others, taught me empathy at an early age, and helped me rely on role playing to conquer life’s challenges.
After a few twists and turns in my professional life, I landed in corporate consulting where I’ve spent nearly 16 years, working in cyber security for the Department of Defense and various intelligence agencies. I’m relied upon by military leaders and strategists for unorthodox thinking to offer alternative approaches that continuously challenge the status quo. Over time, I came to realize that my words on paper were simply not enough, and my reacquaintance with art unfolded.
Today, I offer graphic recording for clients (and friends) in agriculture, auto insurance, cyber security, government, consulting firms, intelligence agencies, and of course, my colleagues at The Get Real Project and Trusted Advisor Associates. My insider understanding of trusted advisorship and trust-based selling makes me uniquely positioned to visually capture the insights of any group learning experience. I support virtual discussions using sketchnoting for clients doing design thinking and meetings in all industries. On a smaller scale, I’ve illustrated reviews for a start-up company determined to disrupt the entire cleaning industry that relies on customer engagement beyond star ratings and verbal feedback. I’m also creating graphic novels for an intelligence agency history department to reflect upon our past beyond grainy photos, figures, and dates. I’ve learned more about WWII from drawing about it than from any book or class.
Drawing, illustrating, sketching, and painting are natural extensions of my personality. The shift away from providing typed text and numbers to including illustration is the result of courage, study, and mentoring from very talented professionals. Finding the right medium to connect clients to their content and tap into their visual learning feels naturally rewarding.
When I am not drawing for others, I am teaching my kids how to draw their favorite characters, spending large amounts of time outdoors, exercising for the annual Murph Challenge, and trying to balance out reading books for my book club with a healthy dose of Netflix.
My Get Real Story
- Graphic recording, for live events with large groups. This type of illustration occurs on a large sheet of paper covering the walls of the room helps groups see their ideas come to life. Each idea is intimate and unique.
- Sketchnoting, a creating a visual story to track the conversation and group progress leads to new areas of understanding, same as graphic recording but smaller. Balance between visuals and content is always key.
- Tailored illustrations to share ideas with others lead to customized infographics.
Getting a Little More Personal
Words people often use to describe me
Energizer, creative, caring, goof ball, “great listener”, go-getter.
What inspires me
Seeing people overcome their own inner critic and rise to meet their goals. Watching others focus on adding values to others (double win) instead of strictly improving their own situation.
What brings me joy
Laughing with my wife at our cat and imagining what he is thinking about us. Listening to my children sing and watching them draw. Building and enjoying fires in the fireplace in the hygge my wife created.
What anchors me
Walks in the woods and conversations with my wife.
What drives me nuts
Getting stuck in the same patterns that don’t make sense. Feeble attempts to overcome negativity. Disrespect.
My guilty pleasure
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for any occasion. Shooting my sons with Nerf darts. Secretly wishing to act in an epic film production like ‘Braveheart.’ Listening to instrumental movie soundtracks while I work.
A favorite quote
“We are going to be dead for millions, billions, and trillions of years. Why not stay up late tonight?”—Warren Nelson
What I can’t do without
My wife and kids supporting my creative journey, my sketchbooks and art kits, and my Subaru Forrester to take us wherever we need to go. With the right recharge, there is no challenge too great.
My secret ambition
Illustrating books for amazing authors without ever leaving the comfort of my own home.