Global Creative Director | STARBUCKS

Dena Blevins is a passionate Creative Director most recently at Starbucks where she seamlessly managed the constant shift and flow of in-store promotions around the world on one hand, while balancing the brand on her other. Before moving to work in-house at Starbucks, Dena created award winning work at advertising agencies in Chicago, Seattle and Portland. She has spoken at creative conferences across the United States and Canada. Her work has been featured in Communication Arts Design Annual & Advertising Annual, Print Regional Design Annual, New York Festivals, The Effies, Addys, Rosey Awards, HOW Design Annual and The One Show.


1.) What was your very first job? 

Wheat harvest, Walla Walla, WA. I was in charge of the grain silos for a wheat farmer, so when the trucks full of wheat came off of the fields, I would weigh them, dump the wheat and run the wheat up to the silos. I had a killer tan from being outside 13 hours a day during harvest.


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

I am currently exploring what my next career opportunity will be, but what I am passionate about is telling brand stories that are relevant, brand accretive and authentic. If the story you are telling doesn’t resonate with the customer, if it doesn’t feel authentic for the brand, then it is meaningless - no matter how creative or cool it is. I love being able to deep dive with a brand, which my time at Starbucks really allowed me to do — and at such a huge scale.  

3.)     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 often wonder if growing up in a small town made me creative, in the sense that there was really not much to do in Walla Walla. I was constantly exploring and inspiring myself through creativity whether it was painting, writing, cooking or sculpting. I was the kid in school that designed nearly every dance backdrop and program, the yearbook and the list goes on. I didn’t know at that time what an art director was, or a designer, or creative director for that matter. I remember the "aha" moment I had when I realized that EVERYTHING was designed and how amazing was that?!


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

Exploring the world is what keeps me inspired. From travel, to local retail excursions, seeing the latest play in town—being out in the world and being in those moments reinvigorates and inspires me. We’re a global company so keeping on the pulse of what is happening culturally and trending globally is imperative. 


5.)  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? 


There is so much work I am proud of – I would have to say one of the Global Holiday promotions from my time at Starbucks. Every year when Starbucks launches it's holiday promotion globally, and I know the red cup we designed is being held in the hands of people around the world  – it is an incredible feeling. 


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