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Friday Forum

Headshot of Michael Fanuele
Friday, Sept. 27
11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

VCU Institute for Contemporary Art
601 W Broad St

Michael Fanuele

Author of Stop Making Sense: The Art of Inspiring Anybody and Former Chief Creative Officer / General Mills

Topic: Stop Making Sense: The Art of Inspiring Anybody

Stop Making Sense: The Art of Inspiring Anybody


After graduating from Vassar College with an Honors Degree in Victorian Studies, Michael realized his mother was right: he was professionally useless. That inconvenient fact, however, made him a perfect candidate for employment in American politics, and so, after traveling the country stuffing envelopes and hanging signs to help somewhat-decent people get elected to Congress, he was honored with an opportunity to work in Washington, DC for the U.S. House of Representatives.

But (surprise!) politics felt terrible, and soon enough, Michael was off to New York where he was a stand-up comic by night and an advertising executive by day. It quickly became apparent where his talent did not lie.

Michael Fanuele has been lucky to spend most of his career as a brand strategist working with some pretty awesome people at some pretty great places, including JWT, Havas, and Fallon, helping brands including Dos Equis, Arby’s, Cadillac, Charles Schwab, Cheerios, Unilever, and Volvo. He has in fact sold tea in China. 

For his work on these brand, Michael has won many Effies and a a record-breaking five Account Planning Group (APG) awards.

Recently, Michael served as the Chief Creative Officer at General Mills, a role in which he tried to inspire a big food company to be a good food company. Some progress was made.

His first book – Stop Making Sense: The Art of Inspiring Anybody – was published this past July and is already on its second printing. He’s also written for the Harvard Business Review.

Michael has a glorious wife and three totally-awesome young sons. He watches a lot of youth soccer, plays far too little tennis, and really, genuinely loves They Might Be Giants.

Brandcenter Forum presentation