00   Figuratives / Philosophy


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Creative Director / Brand Strategist

As a seasoned leader of creative teams, I've seen and tried many different ways of inspiring and guiding the creation of stand-out work. Not all of them worked for me (nor, as a result, for my teams). Over time, I've come to know, trust, and rely on my own natural strengths as a team member and leader. This collection of descriptors shares a bit about what these are. 

 

Writer / Designer

I'm a writer by formal training, a designer through focused practice, and a conceptual, trans-disciplinary thinker in all situations and every medium. I love considering how every tool for expression available to the team (not just within the group but within our reach) might work together to make magic. Because to me, the secret of great storytelling lies in these intersections.

 

Observer / Listener

I'm a big idea person. But my most valuable role in the creative process is making space for great ideas (not just mine), recognizing these sparks in their most nascent forms, and helping the team expand on them, make them smarter and stronger, and stay strategically on-point. This requires letting go of my own pet ideas. And it means listening more than holding forth and observing more than critiquing (though it requires a little of all).

 

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Wildcard / Optimist

I'm full of seeming contradictions: At university, I studied Biology, English lit, and German language with equal fervor, hacked together a career trajectory based on passion and a love of writing and design, and, in the process, developed skills that are too sprawling to fit sensibly on a resumé. I revel in ambiguity but tenaciously pursue clarity. I'm creative, weird, and fun-loving, constantly trying out new ways of doing things, looking for new sources of inspiration, and pushing myself to grow.

 

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Iterator / Collaborator

If years of leading creative teams has taught me anything, it's this: Celebrate the process. Getting ideas out and into tangible form—making drafts, sketches, popsicle stick prototypes, sometimes multiples of all of the above—this is the only way you get to brilliant work. Whether leading or doing creative work, part of the job is cultivating the courage, trust, and patience this process requires, building chemistry and momentum, and holding yourself and the group together even when energy and enthusiasm flag.

 

Storyteller / Translator

I'm a storyteller by nature. I can dive into a big data set, a flurry of focus groups, many months of reading and conversation, maybe a series of wild brainstorming sessions and emerge from these depths with a narrative. I like making sense of things, finding the most compelling throughlines, and developing them into captivating dramas. This skill comes into play not just in building strong brands but in building strong teams. The kind of stories we tell about ourselves sets the tone for how we understand, value, and do our work together.

 

Pathfinder / Shapeshifter

Like anything worth doing, I don't expect great work to be easy. I expect shifting priorities, tough budget decisions, and inevitable setbacks. As a team lead, I sometimes have to put on my pragmatic-business-person hat, sometimes my inspiring-storyteller hat, sometimes my jump-into-the-weeds-to-get-a-teammate-unstuck hat. The challenge is to keep hold of the big vision as you clear a path toward making the impossible achievable. 

 

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Helper / Friend

My best friend knows how to listen, how to empathize, how to be supportive of me through the lows and stoked with me in the highs. He also knows how to push me to be and do my best. This kind of caregiving is at the foundation of the most successful human-powered endeavors. This is the kind of leader and colleague I strive to be.