Corey Michael Blake

Corey has been communicating creatively for over 15 years, first as the face and voice behind a dozen Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 brands as a commercial and voiceover actor, then as a film producer and director, as an author and publisher, and now as the founder and President of storytelling company, Round Table Companies. Now working with individuals and brands to help them creatively and emotionally connect with their customers, Corey is spearheading the use of film/video, comics, animation, and other storytelling formats in place of traditional marketing and advertising.

Why does the world need a work revolution?
First off, the USA needs a work revolution. It’s becoming more difficult to compete worldwide with other countries with massive populations of engineers, scientists, and mathematicians. But we can lead in workforce happiness and culture which will then influence the world to follow. There is simply no reason we can’t see a greater number of people love the work they do and make greater contributions to humanity as a result.

How are you or your organization reinventing work in some way (big or small)?
At RTC we grow our business around the passions of our staff. We focus on hiring people who are exceptional for our culture and then we support them in growing out their role and utilizing whatever expertise they bring to the table in a way that can benefit our clients.

Why do you do what you do?
Through twenty years of storytelling I have discovered that belief is the one ingredient that moves mountains. We believe in our staff’s ability to lead life changing work and we believe in our clients’ ability to positively impact large numbers of people. That belief, in addition to our storytelling expertise, is what clients pay us for. So why do I do this? Because knowing how to move mountains isn’t enough. You have to own the responsibility and then build a system to deliver the change.

What kind of art (any kind) do you like and why? Any recommendations we should know about?
My wife and I are movie fans. Mostly mainstream. I also enjoy losing myself in crime fiction (audiobooks only). I enjoyed the Girl with the Tattoo series, The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones as well.

What is one specific thing your company does that makes your culture unique and/or different?
We have a “Directoress of Happiness” whose sole responsibility is to ensure the happiness of our staff and our clients. We also give her a culture budget for the year to plan events and create other culture building opportunities. She also invests her budget in hiring coaches and therapists for our executive team members to ensure their individual growth through blind spots and the team’s growth as a whole.

What is one discipline/industry totally different from your own that has inspired you? How does it impact your work?
Executive coaching has influenced us since early on. One of our first clients was a coach and through working with her in writing her book (Edge! A Leadership Story), I felt formally trained in the value of coaching. Since then we’ve worked with half a dozen coaches in writing their books and we’ve hired a number of coaches to support the growth of our team members.

What’s one tangible and concrete technique other organizations should use if they want to create a more human and/or meaningful place to work?
Invest in your culture. By dedicating dollars to culture, you force yourself to also dedicate time, study the results, and enhance your understanding of how much influence you have over this aspect of your business.

What is one surprising thing we should know about you?
My first SAG acting job was playing a bartender on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I had three lines.

What time of the day do you do your best work?
Between 7 and 11am.

What is “required reading” or “required viewing” for people who want to understand what makes you tick?

  1. Jump: Creativity Lessons from 9000 Feet
  2. The Comic Book Renaissance
  3. Comic Books for Entrepreneurs

How can people connect with you?

Where in the world are you?
My home office is in Highland Park, IL; our administrative office is in Jacksonville, FL; and our staff work from around the country.

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The world of work needs you.