Creative Directors come in many forms - some hands-on, some not. Which is right for you: serial freelancing, running a small agency of your own, scaling your agency fast, working on the client side or reigning over the creative department at a big-name agency? Hear from CDs in each of these permutations and decide which best fits your personality and life's goals.
Liz Gumbinner, Freelance CD, Former EVP/GCD at Deutsch
Sara Rotman, Owner/CD, MODCo Creative
Cathy Campbell, CD, Freelance
DeeAnn Budney, Owner, The Hive Advertising
Paco Viñoly, Design Director, Square
Moderator: Jen Bhalla, SVP/CD, Amazon Advertising
Jen Bhalla is SVP/CD at Amazon Advertising.
DeeAnn started the Hive Advertising in 2003, after a decade at Citron Haligman Bedecarré (now AKQA), and five years at FCB/Chicago prior to that. She worked first as an art director then as a creative director, largely on consumer-facing brands, big and small, old and new, some with huge national budgets and some on a dime.
DeeAnn is one of the rare optimists in advertising. She used every experience she had in her early career as inspiration for the agency that she had always planned to open. She learned how to build trust with clients, motivate agency teams and do good work in less-than-perfect situations. She believes that no matter how impossible the task may seem, there’s a way to get it done—and get it done beautifully.
Cathy is a freelance Creative Director in The Bay Area. She delivers creative strategies and campaigns to agencies and clients, as well as to pro bono non-profits near and dear to her heart. Clients range from Silicon Valley tech giants to the slightly less giant techies of Sea Crest Elementary School in Half Moon Bay.
A UCLA and Art Center grad, Cathy came up through the big agencies: Hal Riney, JWT, and Chiat Day, earning her chops on accounts like Levi’s, Bank of America, Alamo, Saturn, and Mondavi. She was lured to Silicon Valley to work with a team of ex-apple designers at CKS, where she stayed for several years. Her next career move was in-house as ECD of Macy’s SF, responsible for all television broadcast advertising. It was there that she learned the inner workings of retail commerce, and also, how a lifelong beach bum can rock a pair peep toe cork wedges.
Of all the projects in her portfolio, Cathy’s proudest of her Saatchi & Saatchi S work, advancing sustainability efforts for Walmart, FritoLay, and Proctor and Gamble. She headed up grassroots engagement movements, allowing the corporate heavies to lighten their footprint. It didn’t take long for Cathy to become the point person for the internal rally cry. In this new business space, she articulated the difference between what the client wants and what the client needs, and did it with a disarming smile that earned her trust from even the toughest corporate skeptics.
These days, Cathy frequently partners with Maternal Instinct, developing campaigns targeted at women and moms. She understands this vital target, as she has been a mom for 9 years, and a woman marginally longer. Her passions also lie with her pro bono accounts such as Sea Crest School, Save the Waves, Planned Parenthood, American Rivers, and Sierra Club.
In her spare time Cathy surfs, mountain bikes, travels, and sits on the beach with her husband, watching the endless loop of waves…as a backdrop to the endless loop of their nine-year-old’s sandy cartwheels.
Even with a successful career as an award-winning creative director, most recently as an EVP Group Creative Director at Deutsch NY, Liz Gumbinner is best known as a prominent voice in the social media space among parents. She's a Brooklyn mom of two, and the co-publisher and editor-in-chief of the influential shopping and trend blogs Cool Mom Picks and sister site Cool Mom Tech, along with partner Kristen Chase. The site has been called "the online arbiter of cool for the swingset crowd" by Parents Magazine, and cited as a favorite parenting blog by publications like Real Simple and inStyle
She has been named a top digital influencer by Forbes, Nielsen, and the NY Post, and is honored to be a recipient of the 2011 AWNY Game Changers Award and a 2012 Working Mother/AWNY Working Mothers of the Year Award
Liz has parlayed her expertise in parenting trends, marketing and culture into frequent appearances on shows like NBC's TODAY Show, CBS The Early Show, The Martha Stewart Show, HLN and NPR. She can also be found in newspapers and magazines around the country, and currently contributes to Huffington Post and to American Express’s Passion Project blog; as well as to her own personal blog Mom-101.com which has been featured in the New York Times, CNN and NPR, and called "funny some of the time" by an enthusiastic anonymous commenter.
She is also a frequent public speaker about the relationship between brands and blogs, working mothers, and the ever-evolving social media landscape, and now consults with many marketers and agencies as a freelance CD, or to help them navigate the digital wild west. Because it only keeps getting more wild.
As the CEO, CCO and "Boss Lady" of MODCo (which stands for "My Own Damn Company"), Sara leverages strategy and an eye for beautiful aesthetic to create and redefine iconic brands. Some of her most recognizable successes are the creation and launch of the Tory Burch and C Wonder brands, as well as working with Vera Wang across brand extensions including Vera Wang Lavender Label, SimplyVera, Vera Wang White and Vera Wang Love. Additional clients have included True Religion, Century 21, Nina Ricci, Theory, Jack Rogers and Carolina Herrera. MODCo is the only creative fashion advertising agency that is exclusively female owned and run.
Not content to simply run her own agency, Sara founded LOQUITA, a full lifestyle brand identify appealing to a sophisticated, edgy, independent audience. Sara legitimately established the brand within the fashion industry, ultimately reaching gross sales in excess of $2M.
Prior to forming MODCo, Sara’s professional experience ranged from Sony Music to Saatchi & Saatchi and RDA International, where she was the Creative Director for brands such as VH1 and Broadway Video. It was during this tenure that Sara found her niche working in fashion, beauty and entertainment.
MODCo’s key to success is developing cross platform approaches to branding, while understanding how to sustain brands for the long-term. Sara believes that a strong brand strategy is crucial to securing longevity in an ever-changing media and technical landscape – and that strong brands make strong businesses.
Now in its 12th year of existence, Sara has moved MODCo from SoHo uptown to the famed Madison Avenue, and has aggressive plans to expand MODCo’s capabilities to include media, digital and more.
Paco Viñoly is Design Director at Square. His background is as a design lead at BermanBraun, Yahoo!, CNET, and Bank of America. He's also led teams at various agencies as well as his own design studio, Artificialbutter. Viñoly has his degree from Carnegie Mellon University and later went on to complete his studies at Art Center College of Design.