Have you heard the news? I’m stepping down as CEO of The Olinger Group to be a Business Growth Coach. I am following my passion for helping entrepreneurs and business owners grow their companies.

I’m handing over control of my baby, the company that bears my name and was, for many years, central to my identity. I still own the company; I am not walking away completely! But the TOG leadership team is quite qualified and capable of doing their thing, so now I can do mine.

I’ve discovered my new “Why.” It is helping entrepreneurs and business owners grow their organizations and getting more of what they want from their businesses. More revenue. More profit. More freedom. More [fill in the blank].

I want to help entrepreneurs and business owners do what they love with the people they love and help them make an impact on the world while still having room in their lives for things beyond their business.

First things first, though. I want to thank everyone who helped make TOG such an amazing ride. 


Thank you!

When I started TOG in 1994, I was a young guy with big dreams and the good sense to find and nurture relationships with talented, successful people. I am who I am today because of the people I met, learned from, worked with, and shot the breeze with during the past 30 years.

I wish I could name everyone in this blog, but then this thing would be novel length.

To the 18,000 contacts on my phone, and especially to the 4,000 or so people that I stay in regular contact with (you know who you are), thank you! I am grateful for all your support. I couldn’t have done this without you.

Some badass work!

When I look back at the past 30 years, I am blown away by what we accomplished at TOG. I mean, we did some real badass work. Amazing work. Very significant work that had a direct impact on the lives of millions of people.

I recently heard about a former client who grew her regional hospital from 350 people in one building to 1,100 people in multiple locations. That growth was possible because of a pivotal piece of research we conducted. Another client sold its brand to a Fortune 200 company for more than $200 million based on a research project with TOG. Still another rolled out a line of home-improvement products that are used in homes all over the country.

A few years ago, a major healthcare company hired us to learn what terminally ill patients needed during their final months, weeks, and days. Meg wrote a blog about that project and the effect it had on her. I know that project and many other health-care related projects we did over the years had a direct impact on the quality of people’s lives.

I also know that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people eat meals based on research we conducted on food and restaurant brands. Many more buy products for their homes, cars, and families from companies that relied on our insights and suggestions.

The variety and scope of research projects we conducted at TOG improved our society. I am incredibly proud of that! Like I said before, we did some seriously badass work!

Some amazing employees!

We couldn’t have done this great work without our amazing employees. I have had the privilege of working with hundreds of curious, talented, and fun people at TOG.

It has been my privilege to create jobs for them and to help them develop their skills and talents. Many successful careers were started or furthered at TOG, and I’m especially proud that we were part of their growth.

Some key moments 

  1. Hurricane Katrina

Running a business is hard any day, but some events really test your mettle. Events like a global pandemic and the economic downturn in 2008 affected everyone. Other events, like Hurricane Katrina in 2005, are uniquely New Orleans.

Katrina was, and still is, a trigger word for many New Orleanians. She shook our city to the core and destroyed a lot of good companies. I am so proud of the fact that TOG not only survived her destruction, but we became stronger and more resilient as a result. We learned so much from Katrina that hurricanes and other catastrophic events barely affect us now.

Case in point - Hurricane Ida. That Category 4 storm hit New Orleans exactly 16 years to the day after Katrina. We were ready. Our team worked from home for a few days, and business continued as normal.

As terrible as Katrina was, and it was pretty awful on so many levels, it made our people, our culture, and our company the best versions possible. It showed us that we could survive and thrive despite extreme adversity. We are better because of what we went through and the experiences we gained.

  1. Insights Association

While I was serving as the Chair of the Board of the Council of American Survey Research Organizations (CASRO), I helped engineer the 2017 merger that created the Insights Association (IA).

By merging CASRO and the Marketing Research Association (MRA), we brought together 325 U.S. and global business research companies under one umbrella association with one voice to promote, protect, and advocate for the market research and insights industry.

I am extremely proud of the work I did to bring these two great organizations together. It’s part of my legacy; it’s part of how I gave back to the industry that has been so generous to me.

  1. Live Well™

Times change, and successful businesses change with them. We transitioned TOG from a generalist firm to a specialist firm in 2022, and then combined our specialties into the Live Well focus in 2023. Michael introduced and explained the concept in his blog, “Live Authentically; Live Well.”

I am so proud of this transition of TOG. Live Well speaks to every business and every consumer. It is the promise of the life and values we each hold most dear.

And this focus will continue to drive TOG well into the future.

TOG . . . the next chapter 

Today, we have the most talented and passionate team that TOG has ever had. I credit my partnership with Chanttel Allen, who has been my right hand for 25 years, and the adoption of EOS, a business growth and operating system, for building a leadership team that is second to none.


Our leadership team is phenomenal. Michael Vasquez, Chanttel Allen, and Meg Scott are talented, capable, and passionate about the Live Well philosophy. These veteran, professional business leaders and managers have many decades of market research and insights experience. They are the right team to lead us into the future, continue our growth, and make a positive impact on the world.

I’m so proud of the team for all they have done to get us to the point where I could turn the reins over to them. Their dedication allows me to go out and pursue my passions. I know that TOG is their passion, and they have all the ingredients to be successful and take our company to even greater heights.

Starting immediately:

  • Michael takes over as CEO and Visionary.
  • Chanttel is the COO and Integrator.
  • Meg is our Director of Research Operations.

This change in leadership is the next logical step in the evolution of TOG.

Don’t worry, I am still the owner and still invested in the success of the company and our industry. I will always be cheerleading from the sidelines. I can’t wait to celebrate all the growth and success that this new leadership team will achieve for TOG.

Looking forward 

It is hard to leave something that I started 30 years ago and that has been my life’s work and career. At the same time, I am really excited to follow my passion – this is the next logical step for me and my growth.

I am officially hanging out my shingle as a Business Growth Coach. I help growth-minded entrepreneurs and business owners implement a system to grow their leadership teams, their people, and their organizations. I am bringing a proven system, a proven track record, and boundless passion for helping people and businesses grow!

Who is ready? Here we grow!

Jude dancing_nobg


Categories: Market Research, Live Well, Leadership /

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