“Why I Work Here” by Craig Romanok

Craig Romanok

I’ve been working at CDM Princeton since May of 2000, coming up on my 20-year anniversary next spring! In this industry, it’s unheard of working at one place for this length of time. So why have I worked here for as long as I have?

To answer that question, you need to know a little about me.  I am a very visual person with insatiable curiosity, which allows me to think through any challenge from a creative perspective. I love the fact that anything can be solved through creativity. “Knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do” is my favorite quote, my super power. I was introduced to this type of thinking when I was in 5th grade and had a field trip to an advertising agency. Back then they still had dark rooms, and typesetting was done by hand (don’t judge). Watching how this agency solved different brand problems using out-of-the-box insights and interesting creative techniques, I knew this was the path I would eventually take in my career. 

“I love the fact that people always refer to the air at CDM Princeton as being different. What they sense is the culture, caring, collaboration, and creativity. There isn’t a place quite like this.”

Skip ahead 2 decades, I was on a mission to find the perfect agency that would get me excited to get up every morning, one that aligned with my creative aspirations. Talk about perfect timing, since CDM just opened a Princeton office in the middle of the cornfields of central New Jersey.

I was honored to be part of the founding leadership of CDM Princeton. I was responsible for building the core principles and values that would ultimately drive our culture and success for years to come. Living the core principles and values at CDM Princeton is intrinsic to what makes the air different here. 

Good is the enemy of great

We have an amazing group of creative thinkers at CDM Princeton who all push further and leave no stone unturned. The author Jim Collins, who wrote Good to Great, stated that “Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline,” and, ultimately, “Great vision without great people is irrelevant.” CDM Princeton has great people and never rests until the work is great.

Taking unconditional responsibility for our actions

We hold ourselves to a higher set of principles to ensure success, including taking unconditional responsibility for our actions, having integrity, being an authentic communicator, keeping impeccable commitments, and having a values-based leadership style. The author Fred Kofman, who wrote Conscious Business, instilled in us the importance of finding our passion and expressing our essential values through work.

Employee and customer satisfaction before profit

We do what we do for the love of the agency, brands, and clients, not for the profit to be made. This theory is called The Service-Profit Chain, which is a business model evolved by a group of Harvard University researchers. The theory states that when you make employees and clients paramount, a radical shift occurs in the way we manage and measure success. Value is created by satisfied, loyal, and productive employees and clients, not by a number on an Excel spreadsheet.

The 4 core values that everyone within CDM subscribes toSubstance, Style, Conviction, and Graceis a distillation of all of these principles. They are not just words on a page, rather the fundamental beliefs of the agency.

We recently rolled out a new agency purpose around the word lifechanging. Lifechanging pulls together into one compelling word all of the amazing pieces that make this agency so special.


  • Lifechanging highlights the unique brands we work on and how each brand is transforming medicine in some way. We are focused on brands that truly change lives and not just another me-too brand
  • Lifechanging supports how we develop a culture for our employees that creates an environment that changes and challenges their lives for the better, giving them a chance to experience the same lifechanging opportunities this agency gave me
  • Lifechanging also focuses on our clients and their need for an agency that helps them achieve their professional aspirations. During one of the many discussions with a client, I was gratified to learn that by partnering with CDM Princeton they were confident about being able to achieve their career goals

“As Steve Jobs once said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” I am extremely lucky to have found an agency that allows me to do what I love to do with others who also love doing what they do.”

So why do I work here? The answer is simple: the strong culture, creative employees, and amazingly progressive clients. I love this agency.

by Craig Romanok
Managing Partner, Director of Client Services

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