The first edition was such a smashing success, so why not continue the fun? The FLIRT staff is full of many influential and creative minds – Each and every FLIRTie contributes to the final production. Us interns continued our research to discover motivation, career juncture, and ultimately, why FLIRT? Ladies and gentlemen, vendors and freelancers, event profs of all ages, please put your hands together for FLIRT Stories Part 2:

fflan_headshot_resizedNeed lederhosen? Francie is your girl. Need to talk to the embassy? Francie can hook you up. Need to Fedex a felt cowboy hat from Chicago’s Alcalas to Dallas,Texas? You better believe Francie has got you covered. No challenge is too big or too small for this cool nerd who glides around the office with her remote control Star Wars BB8. Francie is our Production Assistant in charge of everything and anything from packing our PA kits to cutting and sizing thousands of nametags for FLIRT’s renowned international travels. Just give this girl a lime La Croix and she can conquer the industry.

  1. Finding FLIRT: How did you become a FLIRTie?

“It’s kinda complicated. I started here as a freelancer in March answering phones, doing miscellaneous research, and helping with odds and ends. I went on site for programs earlier in the year and helped with a project in late 2015. Then I officially became a part of the immediate FLIRT family in late October” (of this year … woo! Go Francie!)

  1. What advice do you have for an aspiring event professional?

“Patience. Make sure you have your ears on at all times, too. I’ve been surrounded by this industry since I was very little. Eventually, as I began my career within this industry I’ve learned that listening is key and being patient is paramount. You learn a lot in the small moments. Ultimately, and this may sound cliché, never giving up is probably the best advice I can give you.”

  1. What’s the best memory you’ve had at FLIRT?

“I think of brainstorming for the decoration elements of a smaller event (with some of the other FLIRTies). Brainstorming and teamwork—Seeing an idea come from nothing and the ultimate end result was very cool to experience and really fun to be a part of.”

  1. If you could time travel, where would you go?

She chuckles, “It’s a toss up. Either the late 1500’s Renaissance England or the near future where all of our technological advancements have reached what we see in superhero movies.”

What would you do?

Late 1500’s: “Just a normal day, find some fun clothes, go around, and people watch.”

Near future: “Get a job with Tony Stark (Iron Man) and play with all of his cool toys.”

pete-candid-275If he’s reading this we just want to say, Hiya Pete! Serving as Creative Director, Pete is forever thinking about concepts and campaigns that excite audiences. Sometimes after hunkering down for hours in his office trying to crack the code on an idea he’s been working on, Pete will make a grand exit out of his office yelling, “HEY EVERYBODY!” (while everyone is busy on the phone or with clients) and energetically shares what he’s been working on.  

  1. How did you become a FLIRTie?

“I had been working with Kari, Michael, and Paul for over 15 years and realized we were four people who shared the same mindset on client service and creativity. So we decided to start our own agency that reflected our unique spirit.  We chose the provocative name FLIRT, and never looked back.”

  1. What advice do you have for an aspiring event professional?

“Know your client and know your client’s audience. When it comes to creative you really have to focus on two things, the strategy and message and how it’s delivered, and then the POV of the audience. What is the audience thinking now, what do you want them to think tomorrow, or a year from now? You discover what emotions the message triggers and then create an experience that is memorable and your message gets through the clutter and makes an impact.

  1. What’s the best memory you’ve had at FLIRT?

Pete thought for a moment (he’s had so many good ones). Finally he said, “I don’t know if I have a best memory, I really enjoyed when we started and there was 6 of us in a tiny two room office. What I always remember is we’ve continued to partner with many clients since day one.  As we’ve grown, we’ve seen them grow not only in the size of their events but also in the success of their organizations. That’s awesome!”

  1. Who is your favorite cartoon character and why?

“As a character, I have to go with SpongeBob SquarePants for so many reasons.  My favorite animator is Hayao Miyazaki. He’s a great storyteller who brings humor, emotion, and something for all ages in his films.” Totoro is his favorite, but he also like Princess Mononoke.

View More: needs to take a plane, train, and automobile to get to the workplace. You’ll know she’s in town when you begin to see our Chicago office decorated in licensed Buckeye merchandise. DiAnna is an Account Manager responsible for helping clients overcome corporate communication challenges and creating solutions to resolve them. DiAnna’s unique and personally relevant perspective comes from her years of experience in the industry and as a client. When DiAnna isn’t working locally or out maintaining the “Ohio Office,” you can find her in a comfy hoodie cheering on her four girls at their extracurricular outings.

  1. Finding FLIRT: How did you become a FLIRTie?

“I was a client! I spent 10 years at Cardinal Health in their marketing department and I was in charge of the marketing and communication for their large annual customer trade show and sales meeting – FLIRT was my vendor partner. After I left Cardinal Health, and took a bit of a sabbatical to figure out how to function and get through life with four little girls, Paul, Kari and Pete kept in contact with me and let me join in several brainstorming meetings – I was hooked and knew I had to be a FLIRTie…I’ve been a full-time team member since 2011 – but I’ve been a FLIRTie at heart for much longer than that!”

  1. What advice do you have for an aspiring event professional?

“Keep your eyes out for great shoes! Stylish, yet comfortable – when on-site – there is an incredible amount of walking and time on your feet. Oh, and remember that Vegas is fun…the first 10 times…but after that, forget about it!”

  1. What’s the best memory you’ve had at FLIRT?

“Office Christmas Party 2012.”

  1. What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

“Spent 10 days in an RV with my hubby, 4 kids and mother-in-law traveling 1500+ miles to explore the Grand Circle. Crazy, but fun – would do it again in a heartbeat!”


Finding new adventures, reading bedtime stories with her sweet girlies, cozy sweaters, crossing items off the seasonal ‘Baker fam bucket list’ and anything outside.  These are just a few things that make this delightful lady smile. Besides being a math, science and excel genius on the side, Ellen is our very own Executive Producer, AKA the Queen of Production. No meeting is too big or too small, dear Ellen here will produce them all! When she’s not on client calls, traveling to video shoots or producing events, Ellen is a fabulous photog, exercising her sharp eye for the perfect shot to capture her most favorite subjects – friends and family. She’s a proud mom and dedicated FLIRTie who is always willing to lend a helping hand. If you take away one thing about Ellen, let it be her immense warmth, beautiful smile and giddy laugh.

  1. Finding FLIRT: How did you become a FLIRTie?

“Paul went to the same church as my aunt and uncle; they’ve known each other for years. One day they were talking about their careers, exchanging ‘What do you do?’ questions back and forth. He told them he was an account manager and they said, ‘Oh, you’ve gotta meet our niece.’ The rest is history.”

“I met Paul in December 2002 and before that, I never even knew this industry existed.  He created a position for me with the intent of training me to become an Executive Producer and that he did.  I learned from the best…working alongside Kari, Pete and Andy as well.  After Paul left to start FLIRT in 2008, I was laid off shortly after…while I was on maternity leave.  It was a blessing in disguise because it allowed me to freelance for FLIRT among many others, learn more about the industry, spread my wings and grow as an Executive Producer.”

Ellen freelanced from 2008–2015, and working for FLIRT was always a priority. “They were my go-to,” she says. 

“I’ll never forget when Kari called (in early 2015) to ask me to join the FLIRT team full-time. I instantly started crying.”  Ellen smiles, “It was very humbling and touching. This is where I belong. This is home.”

  1. What advice do you have for an aspiring event professional?

“Patience and flexibility. Paul was a very good listener. He taught me to keep my mouth shut and to just listen. It’s funny I’m saying this because Paul was the last person to keep his mouth shut, but when it came to listening to clients’ needs, there was no one better than he. I remind myself of this constantly.”

  1. What’s the best memory you’ve had at FLIRT?

“Just walking through the door to my other family,” she giggles. “I mean, c‘mon, what other company sends group text messages to each other outside of work? And no, I won’t share what those are!”  Ellen continues, “I do think of when my girlies would come in with me for visits on our ‘downtown fun days’ —They’d love to go see ‘Mr. Paul’ and sit on his lap. When this new office edition was finally complete the girls would smash their faces on the glass doors in the fishbowl and blow faces.” Ellen smiles, “Oh man.”

  1. If you can only listen to one song for the rest of your life, which song would you choose?

“Hmm, ‘Best Day Of My Life’ by the American Authors because it’s happy and you should try to make every day the best day.”

We hope you enjoyed hearing straight from some of our brilliant FLIRTies—check back next time for the exciting third and final edition!