From the time I was 11, after stumbling upon Absolut Stoker in my mother’s Bon Appetit magazine, all I wanted to do with my life was make Absolut Vodka ads. I graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 2004, and decided to “cut to the front of the line”—so I placed my oversized portfolio into an oversized Tiffany & Co. gift box (complete with perfectly-tied, white bow), and had it messengered to Monica Buchanan at BBDO for $50.00. 15 minutes after it was delivered to her desk, I received a call from the legendary creative recruiter herself. Monica told me, “I was so excited when I returned from lunch to find a massive gift from Tiffany on my desk, I’m totally pissed that the only thing inside the box was a portfolio—but you’ve stolen my attention in a way I will never forget.” Needless to say, I began my crazy career as a copywriter at BBDO 4 days later.
However, as fate would have it, print advertising died shortly thereafter—along with my dreams of making Absolut ads (or any print ads for that matter). In 2011—a few years, agencies and cities later—I unexpectedly found myself interviewing for a B2B Sr. Copywriter position at Google HQ in SF. I had no idea how I got there. I had no digital experience. I had no B2B experience (I didn’t even know what B2B was). When I landed the job—I thought it had to be some sort of a mistake. From that career-transforming point forward, I’ve hustled to become one of the most experienced, reliable, fashionable, knowledgeable, passionate and influential copywriters in the world. I’ve known an extraordinary amount of failures and successes along the way.
My resume and my life were transformed when I added Google to it in 2012—like when Charlie found his golden ticket. I went from periods of having to fear unemployment to never having to worry about finding a great job ever again. In fact, there was an eight-year period that followed when I’d be recruited by one of the best companies in the world, and then, a year later, recruited by an even better one. Listing these brands on my Linkedin profile felt more like adding trophies to a collection than it did updating my resume.
Teaching at Miami Ad School SF proved to be the real highlight of my career. Any creative (team) can figure out ways to win advertising awards. But not every creative has the courage and the stamina to command the attention of 25 demanding advertising portfolio students—after a long, hectic work day which included a 2-3 hour commute on the 101—to offer them the attention, education, inspiration and hope they need to produce the type of award-winning work they need to land their dream jobs at agencies like Goodby, DDB and McGarryBowen. Four years of teaching made me a better leader, creative, and mentor. I’m still in touch with many of my students and have enjoyed watching their career trajectories.
In 2018, both McGarryBowen and Facebook both recruited me—in the same week. Two days apart, in fact. I was two weeks away from moving back home to NYC after two extraordinary years of personal and professional growth on the West Coast. I’ve called San Francisco home twice in my life at this point—even though I am and will always identify as a New Yorker. Bags were packed. Boxes were shipped. Ticket was purchased. I was already walking my dogs around Bleecker St. in the West Village in my mind. As honored as I felt to be recruited by these two famous companies, New York ultimately won out. However, one never forgets the feeling of being recruited by McGarryBowen and Facebook—in the same week.
Fast-forward to today—from Dolores Park back to Central Park. It’s now 2020 and I’m using the unique and invaluable set of skills and experience I’ve picked up over the past 16 years as a copywriter and brand consultant for startups and well-established tech brands on both coasts. I work remotely and love every second of it. This past year, I broke ground on my life-long dream project: a documentary about the greatest print ad campaign of all time, to which I owe my career in advertising.
Writing a bio gives us a chance to take a look back and reflect on all of the failures and successes that got us to where we are today. I’ve had plenty of both. However, as a futurist—it’s not about the last job or the latest portfolio piece for me. I’m anxious for the the opportunity which has yet to come my way.
Reaching out about a professional opportunity? Please connect with me on LinkedIn as well. If we’re a good match, I’ll get back to you ASAP. Thanks for visiting my site.