Name: Johnny (yup… Johnny is my real name) Benedict (never used to tell people that) Brandeis
Position: VP of Business Operations/Chief Herder of Cats/CGO - Chief Gambling Officer/Coolest Guy on the Planet
Hometown: Mt. Prospect, IL (Northwest suburb of Chicago)
Education: B.A. in Engineering Psychology (Human Factors) from University of Illinois; M.B.A. also from University of Illinois
Years at PlaceWise: Just over 6 years
Tell us about your nicknames...
"Brandy" — People have been calling me this since I was a little kid. The first person I can remember calling me Brandy was my baseball coach for our 3rd/4th grade team.
Also, there's "Da Hood" — I was at a bar in downtown Chicago with some buddies in the late 90s, and we were trying to get on the pool table. I was trying to goad the people playing into betting us for it. One of them got fed up with the badgering and told me, “Please go away. I know your kind, you’re nothing but a Hoodlum.” This remark, of course, delighted my friends. Not sure if it was the weirdly polite way he put it, or because it’s about the last word they would have expected to hear. But… I’ve been Da Hood ever since!
What was the last item you crossed off your bucket list?
A few years ago, I finished the Chicago Marathon. I ran it to raise money for the LLS (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society). Certainly, the toughest thing I’ve ever attempted. But, man... What a rush when I crossed the finish line.
If you could travel back in time to see anyone perform live on stage, who would it be?
Chris Cornell. Hit me hard when he died this year. Voice of my generation. Click this and listen. See if you can without getting misty.
What was the best movie you've seen this year?
I thought "Logan" was really good. Great way to wrap up the character's story.
What's your go-to comfort food?
Mac & cheese — no contest. And Kraft Original! None of that frou-frou stuff restaurants serve with lobster, etc... If I’m at a restaurant, I can guarantee I’m not ordering the fancy shmancy mac & cheese. Kraft for me, thanks.
If you could have one pet, what would it be?
Love animals… Especially tiny german shepherds with smelly farts (this is a special nod to Leia, our newest PlaceWise pup, who is only 8 weeks old and quite gassy). If I could have one pet, it would be some kind of large-ish dog. I grew up with toy poodles (Bridgette and Jay Jay) and then had 2 mini long-haired dachshunds (Winston and Piper) when I lived in Chicago. So, I think it’s time to get a bigger pooch. I like Briards. Not many people know that breed. Look ‘em up. They’re awesome.
In a parallel universe, what would your career be?
Golf pro or a pro baseball player. But, I’d also need to be able to putt and hit a curve ball in that parallel universe you speak of. Or, a chef. But, the pay would have to be WAY better. :-)