Tour De Zeno: London to Chicago
By Emma Nelson
This year, I spent my Zeno anniversary visiting Zeno Chicago as part of our secondment program Tour De Zeno. Zenoids across the network have the opportunity to visit and work at another office to deepen their understanding of Zeno culture, connect with other teams and share best practices between offices.
I knew this would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so of course I applied — a couple of weeks later, I was thrilled to be chosen!
Before, I only knew Chicago as the ‘Windy City’ – after two weeks with Zeno Chicago visiting local hotspots, I will remember the city for its food, sports scene, art and incredible architecture.
I first noticed how much taller everything is. The Zeno office is in the sixth-tallest building in Chicago — the views are incredible.
Being able to immerse yourself in another culture through work is a fantastic opportunity and programs like Tour De Zeno are great for professional and personal development – helping you learn and experience new things. This enriches your approach to work as you’re able to draw upon new insights and experiences.
Immediately, I knew I was in the right place, spotting ‘Fearless Pursuit of the Unexpected’ on the wall – one of Zeno’s core mantras.
This shone through during my two weeks. The teams were smart in their thinking, brave in their creativity and it was great to see them in action.
Their roster of clients was hugely diverse. It was great to meet with employees from each practice and learn more about their projects — I gained exposure to new work streams and was able to work on familiar projects from back home. With more of the work we are doing becoming global, having opportunities like this to share knowledge, insights and ideas is invaluable – which is why programs like Tour De Zeno are so important.
From greeting me with a Chicago goody bag to showing me the best restaurants, bars and sites, whatever the weather (sunshine, rain and snow), the team helped me feel at home. We checked out architecture during a boat tour, visited the Museum of Science and Industry, cheered on the Chicago Bulls, watched upcoming comics at the Second City comedy club and enjoyed plenty of brunch.
I attended the Off the Street Club trivia night with a host of other agencies. This organisation supports young people across the most vulnerable areas in Chicago, so it was great to be part of an event that backs such a great cause. Our team came third out of around 30 other agencies.
This adventure was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and while everything felt very new and exciting, it also felt very familiar. The core values and culture at Zeno Chicago felt true of those in London, highlighting how we are one big family.