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SBJ/March 21-27, 2011/Forty Under 40
Forty Under 40
Published March 21, 2011, Page 25A
MICHAEL "GORBY" TIERNEY
“Jeff’s got this problem lots of people would love to have,” Woody Thompson, a longtime colleague and another Octagon executive vice president, said with a laugh. “He permanently looks 18.”
Accordingly, the IBM client “told me I wasn’t worth the price of the plane ticket,” Ehrenkranz said. He turned that impression around quickly, eventually building IBM a successful fan mail program and an Internet café in the athletes village. Ehrenkranz now refers to his years in Japan as a career highlight.
“I didn’t speak Japanese, didn’t know the culture and was still able to prove myself to the client,” said Ehrenkranz, who has been with Octagon and its Advantage predecessor since graduating from college.
An internship with the U.S. Olympic Committee got Ehrenkranz interested in the Olympic movement and he joined Advantage out of school, working in Atlanta at the 1996 Games. He followed that with assignments in London and with Olympic work in Athens and Sydney.
In 2002, he moved to Octagon’s Connecticut headquarters, working in the corporate consulting group, where he helped win or maintain accounts that included Snickers, Monster.com and The Home Depot. Two and a half years ago, he was chosen to run the 75-person Marketing Solutions Group, which accounts for about 40 percent of Octagon’s revenue and includes multicultural marketing, hospitality, digital media, merchandising, music/entertainment efforts and municipal marketing. Clients are Sprint, Home Depot, Clear Wireless Internet, and a recent win for Castrol’s new NFL sponsorship.
“Workaholic seems to be a fashionable self-assessment by anyone interested in drawing attention to themselves,” said Steve Gaffney, Sprint vice president of corporate marketing, who has known Ehrenkranz for more than 20 years, was his roommate and colleague in Japan, and is now an Octagon client. “With Jeff, it’s simply the way he is wired. He has methodically worked his way from entry-level account coordinator to now one of the most senior members of the staff. … It’s a credit to Jeff and to Octagon.”
Title: Executive vice president, head of Marketing Solutions Group
Education: B.A., political science, Tufts University, 1994; MBA, Columbia University, 2007
Family: Wife, Brianne; son, Seamus (14 months)
Career: Worked for Octagon in various capacities, abroad and domestically, since 1990
Last vacation: Skiing in Beaver Creek, Colo.
What's on your iPod: U2, Green Day, The
Guilty pleasure: Ice cream sundaes
Best stress release: Skiing or golf
Pet peeve: Being too reactive, instead of pro-
active, at work
Greatest achievement: Relationships with
family and friends
Fantasy job: Mayor of New York City
Business advice: Say yes to new challenges.