Meet Smokeballer: Bob Bednarz

//Meet Smokeballer: Bob Bednarz

For a business to succeed, we’ll always need someone who can teach the ins and outs of our companies, the goals we strive to hit and the purpose of why we do what we do. For us, that educator is Bob Bednarz. Bob has been with Smokeball since September of 2015 and throughout his time spent at Smokeball, he has played a large part to several teams and all of our employees. Whether it’s creating a plethora of training material, talking Chicago Blackhawks, or DJing throughout the office, Bob’s got it covered.

What’s your title and an overview of your daily tasks here at Smokeball?

I started with Smokeball in September of 2015. My current title is Client Training and Resources Specialist. Although I wear many hats at Smokeball, my daily responsibilities include:

  • Training all new hires with basic orientation and building other internal training resources
  • Client success team member training
  • Managing Smokeball’s Support Page and Smokeball’s Certification Program
  • Training clients
  • Other things that come up that I’m probably forgetting!

When you first came to Smokeball, you held a different position. What was that and how has the transition been to your current role?

My original position when I started at Smokeball was Sales Trainer. I was hired to help build and develop our sales training program for new hires as we grew our team of Business Development Representatives and Sales Executives. As a member of the sales team, I also managed a group of BDR and SEs at one point as well.

My transition into the Client Success Team has been simple since a lot of the responsibilities I was already doing for the sales team, I started doing on the client success team. However, I’ve helped develop client facing training articles and videos for our clients.

Before coming to work at Smokeball, you worked in sales for a bit. What piqued your interest to move into this new and different position?

Prior to Smokeball, I had spent my entire career working in sales doing inside sales, outside sales, B2B, and account management. My passion has always revolved around the enjoyment of training and developing people with important skills that help them to be successful in and outside the workplace. I’ve previously had a lot of experience in different roles mentoring or coaching sales people and employees to be successful. For a couple of years, I was passively looking for a position where I could use that passion every day. It was a matter of finding a good fit. After meeting with Jane (Smokeball’s President) a few times, I knew I could make an impact on the Smokeball team and wake up every morning doing something I enjoy.

What intrigued you most about getting into the role of training employees and clients?

One of my majors in college was education, so I always had the desire to “teach,” or coach and train people. The biggest thing that gets me up in the morning is knowing I can help others grow and be successful.

What are some of the most rewarding parts of your job here and Smokeball?

Other than things I’ve mentioned already, it’s been rewarding to see how Smokeball as a company and Smokeball’s people continue to grow as a result of some of my contributions.

As a trainer and employee here, do you have any advice or suggestions you’d offer to a new Smokeballer?

Once you get trained and ramped up in your position, do not lose sight of what Smokeball does for our clients and why we exist. We spend a lot of time on their first day walking through why we exist and how we create the epiphany for our clients: “So I can practice law.” Everyone and every role plays a huge part of allowing our clients to spend more time “practicing law.”

Outside of Smokeball, what hobbies and activities do you participate in?

Outside Smokeball, I spend time doing work around the house or with family (especially hanging out with my niece and nephews). I spend a lot of time involved in the swing dance and blues dance communities. I teach a couple times a week at Big City Swing and can be found DJ’ing and helping with live music for the local community. I’m also a huge Chicago Blackhawks fan and you’ll find me at the United Center, watching, or listening to almost every Blackhawks game I can.

By |June 6th, 2017|

About the Author:

For years, Josh has helped lawyers become more organized, productive, and profitable. A trained litigator, Josh came to Smokeball from a large east-coast law firm where his practice focused on franchise, insurance, marine, and general litigation. His work with Smokeball, and his continued passion for what he does each day, is driven by a desire to help lawyers and their staff do better in every way. Knowing well the stress and strain put on today’s legal professional, he regularly focuses on improving work and life in the law. He has traveled the country working with and learning from lawyers and their staff. Josh speaks regularly to bar associations about successful law firm practices and other legal topics. Recent notable engagements have been with the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Missouri Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Conference. In addition to his work at Smokeball, Josh serves on the Writing Resource Center staff at The John Marshall Law School. Besides legal technology, his research interests include judicial decision-making, jury decision-making and psychology, and legal writing. He has written and overseen research exploring causal effects of sex/gender on federal appellate court decision-making, and assisted with research for a forthcoming textbook on judicial decision-making. Additionally, Josh sits on the Board of Directors of Chicago-based Community Activism Law Alliance and on the Board of Directors of Chicago Fringe Opera Company. Josh holds his J.D., cum laude, from Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as a Senior Editor of the Wash. U. Law Review, held the prestigious Thompson Coburn Research Fellowship, served as Research Assistant to then-Vice-Dean (now Chancellor) Andrew D. Martin, and clerked at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and a B.M. in Music Performance with Honors Scholar distinction from the University of Connecticut, making him a Huskies basketball fan through and through. Follow Josh’s activity on LinkedIn, and keep up with new articles on the Smokeball Blog.