Garry Howell – – Chicago Hospitality Professional of the Month (April 2017)April 24th, 2017 | hereschicago
Here’s our interview with Garry Howell, Owner & Founder of SOGO Marketing & this month’s Chicago Hospitality Professional of the Month (April 2017)
- First and foremost, can you tell us your current position, company and describe what you do? Owner and Founder of SOGO Marketing. SOGO is a millennial-based agency focused on making big things happen for our partners. We think, collaborate and create with brands that want to push the limits of digital marketing.
- What aspects of hospitality do you incorporate in your business today? Hospitality is a pillar at SOGO; it’s in our culture. It’s all about building relationships and you need to be hospitable to do that.
- Where did your hospitality career begin and when was that “aha” moment when you knew you were supposed to be in hospitality as a career? I was born into the restaurant industry- my family owned the renowned restaurant, Plentywood Farm. Hospitality is in my blood.
- How many years have you been in the hospitality business? My entire life. I grew up in the family restaurant and now my agency provides digital marketing services for numerous companies in the hospitality industry.
- Why do you feel you are hospitality professional of the month? What would your friends say about you if they were nominating you? SOGO is paving it’s own path in Chicago’s hospitality industry. We do things differently than your run-of-the-mill digital marketing agency. We don’t accept the social and industrial norms. Name another millennial-based digital marketing agency in Chicago that is doing what we are doing.
- What qualities to you feel a person needs to excel in as a hospitality professional? Keep building relationships and nurture your existing ones. Every client and partnership is important, treat everyone with the same amount of attention and respect.
- Who has been the biggest influence in your life? I can’t narrow it down to one individual. I have been fortunate to have many influential people in my life. Nowadays I have several mentors that guide and educate me on unknown experiences and life lessons. It’s important to surround yourself with positive people.
- What’s your favorite place in the entire world? San Diego
- What’s your biggest goal in life right now? Building SOGO & obtaining my pilot’s license
- Do you have any pet peeves? Loud chewing and people who don’t use their turning signal
- What was your family like growing up? Wild! The restaurant was a huge factor in my early life. It was very exciting to always be surrounded by my uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, mother, father, etc. as well as the clientele that came through the restaurant.
- What were you like as a kid? Loved to laugh and getting into trouble.
- Did you—or do you—have a nickname? What’s the story behind it? I am a junior because my father and I have the same name, so naturally people call me Junior.
- What do you love about planning events in Chicago? The people and environments Chicago has to offer.
- What is your favorite restaurant or bar (Personally)? Brickhouse in Downers Grove and De Campana in Bensenville
- When not working, what do you love to do? I love spending time with family/friends, attending sporting events, running, cooking, trying new restaurants, drinking beer and enjoying what comes next.
- Have you ever sung karaoke? If so, what song? Gin and Juice –Snoop Doggy Dog
- Future trends in event planning? Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality will undoubtedly take over, but storytelling will never die.
- Are you a Cubs or Sox fan? Cubs
- What’s your go-to meal when you’re home alone? Tough question- a homemade burger with sautéed onions & red peppers with Swiss cheese or grilled pork chops with the bone in or a t-bone steak. But I’ll never turn down a slab of ribs.
- What’s your favorite thing about your hometown? Elmhurst is the quintessential American town. I love the atmosphere. Can’t wait to move back.
- Which book(s) have you read multiple times? How To Win Friends & Influence People, Nail It Then Scale It, Good to Great
- What’s the most embarrassing moment you’ve had? One of my first interviews after graduating college… walked into the interview at a New York ad agency with ripped suit pants because I caught my pant pocket on the armrest on the train ride there. Good times.
- What are your thoughts about Hereschicago.com? The partnership between Hereschicago.com and SOGO is a beautiful thing. It’s hard to answer this in a few words. The benefits and exposure SOGO has because of Jim and his operation is remarkable. We learn, grow and create together- and that’s the type of partnership anyone would love to be apart of.