Jill Clancy joined History Factory in April 2021 as business development director. You’ll run into her if you’re looking to put our diverse minds to work for your business. And you’ll like her, too — her time working in the B2B division of renowned Chicago comedy theater The Second City gave her killer improv skills to pair with her considerable wit and curiosity. Read on to get to know her, or else drop her a note at [email protected]:  

New York seems to suit you. Have you always lived there?

I’ve lived in New York for almost two years now and see myself being here for quite a while. I’m originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and lived in Chicago for a few years after college.

What did you enjoy most about Chicago?

Chicago’s an amazing city, with great food, environments and people. But it was my time working at The Second City’s B2B creative arm that was the most profound and the catalyst for unearthing what I’m most passionate about: leveraging the power of connectivity among people as a method of problem-solving.

Tell us more … was that a funny or serious discovery?

It was a combination of things: my own experience of taking improv classes by night and seeing the outcomes of the training our division delivered to the corporate world by day. In a world that often isn’t necessarily conditioned to connect authentically (and beyond a screen), it was profound to observe how the tenets of improvisation can disrupt those levels of awareness. In improv, you learn to really listen to understand, authenticity, co-creation, ensemble and empathy; what those things can accomplish in the context of connection, at both the individual and collective levels, is truly astonishing. Don’t get me wrong, though — I do miss the belly laughter that was almost a guarantee in our theaters.

What brought you to New York?

After living in Chicago for several years, I had my eyes set on a different environment, one that was a bit different from the Midwest. I would visit New York frequently and always be intrigued by the dynamics and demographics that were constantly changing. Train cars, parks, street corners — the atmospheres were always evolving with each moment. I eventually made the decision to leave Chicago and remain on the learning and development path, taking on a client experience role at Dale Carnegie.

What did you study in college?

I have a double B.A. in sociology and communication studies and graduated from the University of Michigan. Go Blue!

What are you enjoying so far at History Factory?

It’s been a fascinating first few weeks with the team, and I feel like I’ve hardly scratched the surface. I’ve spent time at both the D.C. office and the archival facility in Chantilly, Virginia, which holds more than a century’s worth of irreplicable stories, and I continue to pinch myself daily about the opportunity to be in an environment that is equal parts supportive, challenging, and compelling.

What are you excited about?

Coming from environments that blended creativity, learning, and talent development to help companies empower their people, I’m excited to now help new clients bring to life the stories that their people have shaped throughout generations.

I’ve always believed that the future is created by the decisions made yesterday and today. I feel so fortunate and inspired to be in an arena that focuses on those decisions, which are being made by former and current leaders in our world, and having an opportunity to support them in creating their futures.

What keeps you busy away from work?

I’ve always enjoyed traveling to both new and familiar places. In January, I had the opportunity to travel to and work in Pakistan, which was one of the most enriching experiences I’ve ever had. I also love (and miss) live music of all genres, exploring systems change, boating, practicing yoga, skiing (on both water and snow), and hiking.

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