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Andrea Hanis: Profiles inform, inspire -- and tee up interest

Stories about business executives can pack as much drama as any fictional tale, once you understand the plot. Since the Tribune launched a weekly in-depth profile of a Chicago-area executive in the Business section last year, we’ve written about leaders at Walgreen Co., Motorola Solutions, Deloitte, Goldman Sachs and the Chicago Fed; the editor of Ebony magazine; and the major donor funding the new Lurie Children’s Hospital.

These business leaders fight dragons that come in the form of troublesome competitors, boards, budgets or stock prices. They tend to have smart thoughts on management and career success. All deal with personal struggles and work-life balance issues, just like the rest of us.

As editor of the profiles, I gravitate toward subjects who connect with the broader community too. Better Business Bureau CEO Steve Bernas, a recent Monday subject profiled by Gregory Karp and illustrated by Rick Tuma of the Chicago Tribune, works a room full of business owners in a blur of greetings and throws a ton of energy into his professional life.

He took on his own headquarters in a fraught debate over ethics — and won. He’s also in a field that, like so many others, has felt the ground move under its feet as new breeds of competitors emerged.

Done right, a business profile informs, inspires and tees up interest in whatever the executive — or their company — will do next.

-- Andrea Hanis, business planning editor

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Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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