Humans of TMA: Susan O’Leary Ciapciak

September 30, 2022

Humans of TMA is a content series that showcases our diverse, interesting, and creative people.

Let’s get to know Susan…

Can you describe what your role at TMA is? I’m part of the account management team, where we focus on client relationships and digging in to better understand their businesses so we can help bring integrated solutions that make a difference.

What led you to this career/industry? Luck! I was laid off from a sales job when the market took a turn and found my way over to media planning, working in comms planning and strategy.  Eventually, I left media and followed a mentor/friend to TMA where I started in what was TMA’s mobile/wireless division [ipsh!] – 15 years later, here I am.

What’s the coolest or your favorite thing you’ve worked on? There’s a lot. The top three – working on my first TV production for Quaker Breakfast Innovation, being part of the Lay’s Do Us a Flavor program and sitting right by the winner of $1MM (so emotional), and supporting the team as we worked to re-launch Jake from State Farm into the world.

What three words would your closest friends use to describe you? Empathetic, loyal, and party planner.

How do you bring your full self into your work? What unique perspectives do you bring? I’m a huge believer in not underestimating the power of simplicity. Wherever I am, whether a virtual meeting, in-office workshop, or at home with my family, I re-commit to being present and being all-in. It’s amazing what can happen when you simply listen, ask questions, and come to solutions together.

Where do you find inspiration? At home. I’m inspired by my husband who is an avid entrepreneur and one of the most creative people I know. And being surrounded by five little ones, ages 3-12 years old. Their humor, honesty, and love keep me grounded and grateful for what I can contribute to TMA.

What is your guilty pleasure? Brookside Chocolate Blueberries.

What has been your favorite cultural moment of the last few years? The onslaught of content creators with the launch of TikTok and watching that impact on the businesses I work on.

What causes are you supportive of and why? Michael J. Fox Parkinson’s Foundation. My dad has been bravely battling this terrible disease for 35 years. Also, Catholic Charities of Chicago, specifically programs like Family Self-Sufficiency, which provides resources to help enable families to be independent. The impact is immeasurable. 

What’s your hobby or passion project outside of TMA? Helping to raise five empathetic and kind humans.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from? You’ll never catch a ball if you don’t bring your glove.  From John O’Leary, my brother who is also an incredibly uplifting motivational speaker.

What is one thing you wish more people knew about you? How to pronounce my married name, Ciapciak! (“Chap-Check”)

Quick Hits…

What would be the name of your TED Talk? How to not take yourself too seriously at home or at work.

What are you watching? The Old Man on Hulu and about to re-watch The Queen on Netflix.

What are you reading? Bewilderment by Richard Powers.

What are you listening to? Presidential podcast (Washington Post).

What are you ignoring? Negativity. Always.

Photography: John Gress

Susan O’Leary Ciapciak | SVP, Account Service | Chicago Office

A graduate from Miami University, Susan spent some time soul searching before landing in Chicago and finding herself at TMA 15 years ago.