Group Creative Director | ANNEX / HAVAS

Let’s start with a confession, I discovered reading embarrassingly late. But when I did it made me fall in love with writing. Which became a passion for storytelling. Through sleepless nights, endless enthusiasm and horrid stubbornness I jammed my foot in the door and jump started a career. Some would disagree, but plenty thought I wrote some good articles, made fun videos and eventually built the third largest snowboarding website on earth. That got me writing for Nike, which led to boutique agencies and eventually Leo Burnett. That snarling behemoth demanded I be better,  that I create fast,, with purpose and always evaluate with brand problems in mind. After learning to manage teams, understand budgets, have the hard conversations and deliver growth I left to lead creative for someone else in-house. I bounced out of that sooner than I had expected to help John Norman and team at Havas Chicago. Hopefully, this is just the beginning. 


  1. What was your very first job?

I can’t remember if it was Janitor or Little League Umpire. Either way I made a mistake. Being a kid and having to manage grown men screaming at you, their kids, other children and other dads is a challenge. But, realizing how gross your peers are as you force your hand into a shower drain isn’t a great first gig either. 


  1. Please describe, in your own words, what your job is and what work it entails.

Linkedin says I’m a Group Creative Director. Unfortunately, any form of Creative Director has really lost its meaning as everyone with 10 followers and a t-shirt design now fly’s the Creative Director flag. In reality, I’m a fireman, a janitor, a junior copywriter, a strategist, a therapist and occasionally the punching bag. I wouldn’t have it any other way though. It’s a thrill finding where I add value, what problems I can tackle and how I can help my teams and groups create something every single day. 


  1. How did you discover that the creative world was right for you? Was there a time in your life that you credit to this discovery? What was there train of events that brought you to where you are today?

I wanted to be a pro snowboarder for the longest time. And in that world, creativity is king. Eventually I gave up and learned to write about snowboarding to stay close. One, two, skip a few and I was at the right party at the right time to meet a recruiter. One of the best in the business (shout out Debbie Bougdanos). They brought me on, didn’t fire me even though they wanted to and eventually I figured out how to be useful.


  1. In your constantly growing and expanding industry, how do you find inspiration to keep your work fresh, innovative and relevant?

Everything changes, so you either change or you become irrelevant. There are no stories of the great and mighty artist, athlete or businessperson who did the same thing for decades. I have no idea why people think it would work for us. Adapt or die, nature taught us that eons ago. My only advice, be interested, do creative things because you love to do them or find a different job.


  1. If you had to pick one piece of work or project that you are most proud of, more for the creative work and innovation it required, rather than its recognition or industry “success,” what would it be?

It would have nothing to do with advertising. It would be the careers I’ve help build. The students I’ve had the luxury of mentoring. The experiences creating the work alongside talented and intelligent people. It would be the signed baseballs from the Cubs players we helped do charity work for. The money we got clients to donate to great causes. It should never be some ad or product, it should be what it took to get there and who you got to work with along the way.


      Which creative disciplines do you commission most, and are most interested in seeing more of and why? (ie photo, film, social, experiential, vr, etc)

Historically I’ve hired a lot of photographers and cinematographers. I love finding the folks who see the world in their own way. Not those who mimic whatever’s popular on Instagram, but truly see the world differently and can share their vision in stills or motion. There’s nothing better than building relationships with these geniuses before they become famous and cementing lifelong friendships. Other than that, dear people of Earth, we need writers. Everyone wants to learn to take a photo or design a poster. Where are all the poets, storytellers, journalists ready to put pen to paper and make the buying public feel the power of their words?


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