What a difference a month makes

October at CI has been a month of big, but positive change! And, while it was a bittersweet farewell to our longtime blogger and friend, Andy, we’re very excited for what’s in store.  We’ll be shifting gears on gray matter, bringing in new insight from across the agency to share even more industry perspective with you, and stirring up some fresh ideas with our new Creative Director, Ken Gleason.

Creative Directors wear many hats – designer, artist, copywriter, adviser – but it’s what they keep under their hats that is the most interesting. I had the chance to sit down with Ken and peek into his vision for the future of the agency.

Welcome to CI Group! As Creative Director, what will your primary role be?

First and foremost, I’ll be guiding and directing the creative product, setting the standards and making sure that we exceed them. I’ve inherited some pretty stellar talent, so another part of the job is to nurture and push and teach my team to grow as people while doing the best work of their lives. And since I’m the lead copywriter, I guess I’ll need to push and nurture myself too. I’ll be working with the account management folks and our clients, developing the strategies that will lead to great work. And once we’ve done the work, I become its champion, selling and protecting the ideas all the way through the process to the finished product.

Anything else?

 Ken joined CI-Group in October of 2015, bringing with him over 20 years of experience and industry expertise.

Ken joined CI-Group in October of 2015, bringing with him over 20 years of experience and industry expertise.

Well, there’s new business and marketing the agency. Planning and management. Working to help everyone keep learning and growing and sharing our ideas with the world.

Oh. And we could use a football pool.

How did you become a member of the team?

I worked with Carrie Kane (our Managing Director) in the past and marveled at how good she was at this whole thing. When I heard she’d joined CI, I was expecting great things. When I heard they needed a CD, I knew I could help her make those great things happen.

When did you decide you wanted to get into the advertising business?

I always knew I’d be some type of writer (one look at my math grades and you’d understand). But I decided on advertising in college (Gig ‘Em Aggies!) and requested that my graduation present from my folks be a one-way ticket to NYC. I’d grown up in Texas and was looking for an adventure somewhere far away.

Of course, when I arrived, I quickly learned that I didn’t have a clue how to write an ad. So I got a job as a receptionist at an agency called Scali McCabe Sloves (think Volvo, Perdue Chicken, Hebrew National, Nikon), and started camping out on the creatives’ doorsteps with my spec work. I also took night portfolio classes at SVA. Eventually, I had enough good stuff in my book to get a job as a writer at J. Walter Thompson.

How has the industry changed since you got your start?

When I started, desktop computers were in their infancy. I did my portfolio on a Macintosh with a 1 MB hard drive. Ideas were presented with marker comps and mechanicals were done in paste up. TV spots were shot on film and edited old school. Computers changed all of that.

But I think the biggest change to our industry has been the digital arena. It’s a whole new world that changes and grows every day. It’s amazing. So many new ways to connect with people and blow their minds!

As an industry veteran, what’s the biggest lesson learned along the way?

Don’t be a jerk. Your career, and your life, will be a lot more fun if you’re nice to people.

What do you hope to achieve while you’re with CI-Group?

I want to help us flourish. I want us to be doing such great work that talented people are banging down our doors to work here. And I want to have fun.

– Rebecca Oriente is a Senior Account Coordinator with CI-Group

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