Conscious Company Business Leader

These forward-thinkers are saying no to profit at all costs and yes to advancing a new business-as-usual.

Michelle Hayward spent much of the ’90s in the then-new field of brand strategy, working with some of the biggest consumer products companies in the world — and yet she felt that the approach was lacking. Hayward dreamed of starting a new type of consultancy, one that focused on clients’ visions of the future, not just the execution of campaigns. In 1999, she founded Bluedog Design, a modern growth consultancy that specializes in business transformation, strategy, and innovation.

Hayward’s progressive workplace culture provides her team members with holistic support including a sabbatical every five years, full transparency, employee engagement surveys, yoga, acupuncture, parenting classes, meals, and even a concierge to help arrange things like car washes and dry-cleaning services.


Bluedog Design made the 2019 Crain’s Chicago Business Best Places to Work list and made it into the top 1 percent of the list’s Best Small Companies. “The culture of Bluedog is all-encompassing,” says her nominator. “It isn’t just about employees; it spills over to clients and resources. The Bluedog ‘feeling’ is palpable.”


“Culture makes or breaks strategy. At our company, we set out to solve hard problems and how we behave together matters if we want to accomplish what we set out to do. We need to all be moving together in the same direction with limited friction.”


Originally published on Conscious Company

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