Our Focus is on Great Enthusiasms, Worthy Causes, and High Achievements. We believe in working on projects that make a difference, for clients who share our passion, with teammates that are committed to delivering impact. Let us help you get in the arena. Cold and timid souls need not apply.


Our True Passion

Delivering the impossible.

We love BIG IDEAS. Our entire firm is founded on the principle of creating and delivering them. We know precisely what it takes to nurture a concept from a tiny spark to a raging inferno, and we know how to use that burning platform to motivate everyone involved.

We relish COMPLEX PROBLEMS. We specialize in delivering order from chaos. We know how to manage the most complex undertakings, and how to manage the personalities and politics involved to get the job done.

We aren’t afraid of your BHAGs. Big Hairy Audacious Goals demand special tools and qualifications. They are not for the faint of heart. We have the attitude, ability, tools, and track record to ensure success.

We bring the MAGIC. Delivering success starts with knowing how to tell a story. Staying true to that story and true to your brand is at the heart of everything we do, and it ensures the magic never gets displaced by the process.

We value what is IMPORTANT TO YOU. We exist to deliver for our clients, and we make your success our top priority. We stand ready to help you succeed. Success means we all celebrate achieving joint goals.

Strategy Consulting

We know how to manage the most complex undertakings and lay out a clear and practical path to success. Every client, situation, and challenge is unique. We develop custom solutions that are tailored to your needs, capabilities and timeline.

Business Development

We know how to grow businesses. We develop solutions that improve both your top and bottom lines. Through sales support, marketing campaigns, sponsorship management, fundraising, and more, we help our clients reach the next level in their organizations’ development. We are driven to help organizations identify and execute opportunities for growth.

Production Management

We know how to deliver. Whether you need a unique brand activation, a private reception for hundreds, or a festival watched by millions on live TV, our team has the experience and passion to deliver huge impact. Our proven approach to production management provides our clients with the best experiences that actually deliver on their strategic goals. No idea is too big or too small.

Some of the brands we're proud to have worked with.


John’s innovative thinking and attention to detail are nothing short of remarkable. He quickly comprehends complex issues, takes on the burden as though it is his own, and comes up with unique and innovative solutions to drive results. Throughout planning, preparation and execution, he keeps his eye on every detail while never losing site of the goal.

Don WelshFormer CEO, Choose Chicago

We have partnered with Graeme on multiple Social Media Week events globally and have been impressed by the creative solutions they’ve provided to ensure our events engage attendees on multiple levels. Some of the experiences we’ve most enjoyed were the repurposed cargo pods used for breakout spaces and the client totems crafted to promote event sponsors.

Brian LeddySocial Media Week

Graeme became integral to the success of the Vodafone Retail Transformation Program enabling us to understand our cost structures and how to optimize them, have more efficient logistics and stock management in place and ensure our global vendors perform to the highest standards across Europe and Africa.

Jonathan HiltonHead of Retail Delivery, Vodafone

There isn’t a group out there that John couldn’t unite and lead. During the Olympic Bid he served as the hub, pulling together elite athletes, volunteers, vendors and top business and political leaders from across the globe. He has the skill, finesse and charisma necessary to work effectively with the most complex organizations.

Patrick G. RyanCEO of Ryan Specialty Group and Chairman of Chicago 2016

John has an unmistakable and undeniable passion for helping governments develop strategies for growth. This passion comes through in everything he does in the public sector.

Mark AngelsonDeputy Mayor, City of Chicago (2011-2012)

The Arena Partners team does a fantastic job of developing a high-level strategic approach and then distilling it down into practical actions that deliver real value to the bottom line. It’s great to have them in our corner.

Chris PezzelloSVP of Midwest Region, OUTFRONT Media

The Chicago project had some extraordinary dimensions that made it challenging and exciting in many different ways. To have your involvement and support throughout the project was one of the best things about it and something I will always cherish. You bring great experience and thinking to every situation, and there were so many times when you were my first call in a tricky situation. You were available day and night, and I know how demanding that was and really want to make sure you know how incredibly grateful I am for a level of service, support and care that was simply outstanding.

Denis DoolanChief of Organizational Excellence, Special Olympics

Our Inspiration


“It is not the critic that counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”