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What 12 Advertising, Marketing And Design Leaders Learned From Their Unconventional Backgrounds

George Hammer, Chief Content Officer at IBM

“Before serving as the Chief Content Officer at IBM, I gained experience through working on the business consulting side, on the startup side, the agency side, the media company side, then on to agency and now the client side. During my years at Discovery Communications I managed an “inside digital company” to work across all Discovery properties, including Discovery Channel, TLC, AnimalPlanet, OD and the Science Channel. Prior to this, I helped launch Applebatch.com, a Linkedin networking platform for teachers where I wrote their business plan and raised preliminary funding.”

Vivian Kamen, Senior Producer at Doberman

“Before working at The New York Times, frog, and now Doberman, I was a professional pastry chef, receiving my training at the French Culinary Institute. I began working as a baker at One Girl Cookies, and then eventually moved on to be head baker at Prime Meats / Frankies Spuntino in Brooklyn, where I developed recipes and trained other bakers. My first deep engagement with design was when I began working with digital product teams at The New York Times in 2010; I used my experience as a baker to help launch a cooking platform that leveraged their large recipe database to power a dynamic tool that helped readers search and save recipes, and learn about cooking. I have since continued to use my baking expertise to juggle the many moving parts of being a Senior Producer. From playing a strategic role within Doberman, aligning with other leads on team management, program goals and activities, to working on the successful handoff of deliverables, I thank my pastry chef days for instilling a sense of organization and focus into my work.”

Libby DeLana, Founder at Mechanica

“Before turning into one of many founders of Mechanica, I had explored many various paths. In highschool, I used to be a wrangler in Wyoming at a spot known as E Bar L Ranch, the place I used to be in command of “riding the lines”. During that point I believed I’d be residing my life as a cowboy. I then went on to varsity at Mount Holyoke in Massachusetts and acquired my BA in Philosophy and History, solely to start working for the National Forest Service tagging leatherback sea turtles. My ardour for marine biology started to develop, in order that was my new path. However, that modified but once more after I went to cooking faculty in New York at The New School Culinary Program. When I graduated I moved to San Francisco to work at a restaurant earlier than lastly starting my profession in promoting at Mullen, after which ultimately turning into a co-founder of Mechanica.

Throughout my skilled life, I wasn’t essentially targeted on getting a profession, however slightly doing one thing that I loved. I didn’t go to advertising faculty, however cooking faculty was my artwork faculty. The artistic course of, whether or not making meal or an advert, it basically an train in drawback fixing. Cooking has texture and coloration and may be very visible, much like promoting. Designing a plate isn’t in contrast to designing a web page. My expertise in these fields has allowed me to have a extra outdoors and distinctive view, which is a superb asset while you’re attempting to create one thing simply as distinctive for model shoppers.”

Quynh Mai, Founder at Moving Image & Content

“My first job after graduating school with a level in Art History was working as a tour supervisor for a contemporary dance firm. As a pupil at UC Berkeley, I fell in love with the emotional storytelling that dance conveyed, having been a dancer myself through the years. I dreamed of residing in NYC, so I accepted an internship on the Bill T. Jones Dance Company and labored my method as much as Company Manager. I booked and managed excursions all around the world and labored instantly with the daring and controversial Bill T. Jones, who was met with protests for that includes nudity on stage and relating racial subject material. This expertise gave me some perspective from each PR and manufacturing factors of view, which I’ve parlayed into work with trend and portrait photographers together with Annie Leibovitz.”

Wayne Rodriguez, VP of Rights and Partnerships at United Entertainment Group (UEG)

“I needed to be an actor, so I skipped faculty and moved to LA to attempt to “make it”. Jobs had been scarce, so I received the hair mind concept to change into a safety guard for TV and film units so I may hopefully be “discovered”. I landed at Jimmy Kimmel Live proper from the premiere episode, the place I used to be the safety guard for the greenroom record (checking individuals in). After my firm was fired, I used to be in a position to parlay my safety gig right into a manufacturing assistant gig (getting lunches, espresso, operating errands and helping on taped shoots). After a yr of that, I used to be promoted to assistant for the Line Producer, and after a yr of that, I used to be promoted to help the Executive Producer, who occurred to even be answerable for all of our in-program integrations, partnerships, advertising and digital efforts. Working for him I began to study the enterprise of tv and ultimately a brand new place was created for me to completely promote/handle/produce/handle the branded integrations and partnerships. After eight years in that function, I made a decision to leap to the company facet to work in the identical capability, however in service of the manufacturers, slightly than program.”

Chuck McBride, Founder & Chief Creative Officer, Cutwater

“I learned so much having worked at famed global agencies like TBWAChiatDay, Wieden + Kennedy and Goodby Silverstein & Partners prior to founding Cutwater. But I was carpenter, prior to all of them. I did that until I was almost 28. And it was by far the more foundational vocational experience of my life. The quality vs cheap decisions you make when you’re physically building things is the perfect parallel to how ideas come to life. Construction trains you to keep your eye on the finished product knowing full well the process is going to get messy. In the end, you want something that will last.”

William Watson, Owner & CCO at Watson & Company

“While I’m currently the Owner and CCO at Watson & Company, I began my career in the art world. After cutting my teeth at Sotheby’s, I helped build a blue-chip gallery in Chelsea. In between selling works, I taught myself graphic design, and when an art collector asked me to design his wedding invitation, I broke every design rule there is- the result caught the attention of and agency head who subsequently hired me. I soon realized that like selling art, telling stories and connecting people to new art and objects is the foundation of brand building. In the twelve years since, I’ve built a team of twenty of the best creatives, designers, producers, strategists and entrepreneurs to create elevated brands for all.”

Raphael Rivilla, Partner, Media and Connections Planning, Marcus Thomas

“Before heading up the media practice at Marcus Thomas, I was an electronic musician and DJ in San Francisco for over five years. Electronic music and DJing allowed me to play music to many people in the tech scene, and also created in me the ability to learn new software and platforms–a key ingredient media professionals need to remain current in an industry that embraces technology and rapid change. DJing live also gave me the opportunity to “learn the room”–another very important part of my job that I get to exercise in team brainstorms and new business pitches.”

Luke Bonner, Brand Marketing Executive, GYK Antler

“I principally spent my complete life enjoying basketball. I’m the youngest of three siblings, and all of us performed division I and professional basketball. My skilled profession was principally spent in Lithuania and Austin, TX. When I transitioned out of basketball, I spotted I didn’t have a lot when it comes to ‘real world’ expertise and was fairly uneducated when it comes to the overall job market. However, all through my profession I maintained a gig as a contributing author and editor for a artistic writing web site known as FlipCollective, and I organized DIY music occasions again in my residence state of New Hampshire within the summers. So, I felt there was a spot for me in additional of a artistic business.

Coincidentally, throughout my final season enjoying for the Austin Toros within the NBA Developmental League (now the G League), I used to be going to seize a espresso whereas SXSW was on the town. As a seven-foot-tall human being, I can’t assist standing out in crowds, and I occurred to stroll by a SXSW occasion that was being run by a New Hampshire headquartered company for his or her consumer Dyn. Someone on the occasion acknowledged me, and invited me in. I ended up assembly most of the key group members from the company, GYK Antler. That summer time, I made a decision to maneuver on from basketball, and reached out to the sort of us I had met at that SXSW occasion. Next factor I knew, I took an internship function at GYK Antler as a 27-year-old. I used to be affectionately dubbed “Uncle Intern” by my school friends on the intern group. I ended up discovering a groove with the company and have been right here ever since—now not in an intern function. And, my deep data of the basketball panorama even is useful every now and then for consumer initiatives.”

Jeremiah Johnson, Senior Creative Technologist at Barbarian

“While I currently serve as the Senior Creative Technologist at Barbarian, I began my career as an electronic musician, where I gained experience in sound design, emerging technologies, and programmed everything from websites to microprocessors. I used my passion in this field to spearhead the launch of the 8bitpeoples low-tech music collective and tour extensively, performing over 200 shows in more than 20 countries. To showcase other independent artists, I went on to create the Blip Festival, an electronic music festival that ran for 6 years in New York City, Japan, Australia, and Denmark where I directed visual branding and established a voice for public communications. Currently at Barbarian, I’m responsible for evolving the firm’s creative vision by building prototypes to demonstrate the impact of new technologies on our lives, and curating a residency program that brings novel ways of thinking into the agency. I also establish development plans, in addition to designing and implementing new, interactive experiences.”

John Zieman, Co-Founder, Partner and Editor, PS260

“Like numerous youngsters, I needed to be no matter my dad was, so at an early age I made a decision I needed to be engineer. So in school I used to be this skinny child weighed down by big and heavy calculus, physics and Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) textbooks, studying about electrical engineering. Though I cherished studying about rational ideas, I by no means appeared to finish up with the best solutions on my homework or at school, and after three semesters I used to be near leaving the key. Meanwhile, I had a part-time job that I cherished as an Assistant Chief Engineer of a radio station, the place I used to be fascinated with music recording within the digital music studio there, together with making movies of their TV studio. It actually was an thrilling period — the start of numerous new digital, sound, enhancing and manufacturing know-how. After my final two years in class, the place I used to be in a position to create my very own main – Electronic Music and Media Production – I used to be provided an enormous job as an editor for an NYC TV station. Within a yr, I had reached the Union’s prime pay scale, then was employed to edit commercials. My company and artistic successes nonetheless owe rather a lot to the engineering nerd who almost flunked out however received excited by the enjoyable facet of know-how and by no means appeared again.

Join the Discussion @KimberlyWhitler

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About Beverly Hall

Beverly D. Hall writes for Entreprenuers and Leadership sections in AmericaRichest.

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