“Liz Craig is wicked smart and a wizard with words. Do your brand a favor and hire her.”
— Joleen K David on Jul 28, 2011
When I moved to Omaha in 1985, I worked as an Associate Creative Director for 19 hellish months at Bozell & Jacobs. I won’t go into detail, but let me say I was not the only creative there who was suffering the slings and arrows of an outrageous GM who crumbled and ate writers and art directors for breakfast like Frosted Mini-Wheats. Nearly everyone in the creative department was taking Xanax, seeing shrinks, or nurturing ulcers.
So it was a sweet relief to be let go during a mass layoff. My art director partner and I rolled our stuff out to the parking lot in a mail cart, and we laughed and laughed and laughed at our great good fortune to have been set free from whatever ring of Dante’s Inferno we’d been inhabiting.
I took the next couple of months off enjoying Thanksgiving and Christmas, and glory be! in January, I got hired at a local ad agency called Smith Kaplan Allen & Reynolds, aka SKAR. My colleague and head of the writers was the kind of woman some women might hate because they’re jealous. A delightfully smart, funny, gorgeous woman named Joleen. I respected her in every way—for her brains, for her client savvy, for her superb strategic thinking and writing, and most of all, for her wacky sense of humor.
These days, we keep in touch via email, and I’ve been back a couple of times to see her and the agency. As the daughter of Wayne Smith, the Smith in Smith Kaplan, now she’s heading up the agency. Under her guidance, the place has been transformed from what was a rather dowdy cubicle city to a cool, sleek, inviting haven for some of the best creatives in the Midwest. Joleen is a natural leader/innovator, and she follows the David Ogilvy philosophy of trying to hire people who are smarter than she is. Which is nearly impossible. But she finds good people and draws the very best out of them.
So thanks, Joleen, for the great recommendation, so many years since I ended my 10-year stint at SKAR., Sometimes I wish I’d stayed, but Kansas City lured me back home, and 15 years and three agencies later, here I am, happily freelancing and recalling the good people and good times at SKAR.
Joleen, I hope you continue to have fun, make money, and always remember me. I’ll remember you, I promise.