Former Goodby, Silverstein & Partners GCD Paul Stechschulte has joined Pereira O'Dell, San Francisco, in the newly created post of Executive Creative Director. Among his efforts at Goodby were the award-winning Sprint "Now Network" campaign and an Emmy-nominated spot for Nextel. Prior to Goodby, he made stops at W+K Amsterdam, 180 Amsterdam and Crispin, where he helped to launch MINI and created work for the American Legacy Foundation.
With Stechshulte's appointment, the agency will have creative leaders on both coasts, with Kash Sree as ECD In New York. "Andrew [O'Dell, CEO] and I had been talking about this for a while, having one ECD in San Francisco and one in New York so I can work with them in both places," explains Pereira O'Dell co-founder P.J. Pereira. The search went on for about six months before the agency landed on Stechschulte. "Paul has one of the most well-balanced portfolios out there," Pereira says. "He worked on at smaller and bigger places, ran small and huge accounts, did serious and wacky stuff; he can be high end or scrappy. And in all these different situations, he managed to make great work happen. Besides that experience, he has an opinion, a perspective on what's great or just OK, and that's critical for anyone in a leadership position at a young and creatively ambitious shop like us."
Stechschulte filled Creativity in on his plans for his new role, and how he thinks his past experiences will help him on the job.
Why did you decide to join Pereira O'Dell in this position?
Pereira & O'Dell has something magical going on. Its combination of youth, passion, and desire make it an extremely exciting place to be. They don't have a lot of rules. They don't claim to have it all figured out. Expectations of what this place will bring to the table for a meeting aren't defined. That to me is an extremely exciting position to be in.
How did you first hook up with PJ and Andrew?
My first POD experience was a Barre House event about 10 months ago. I'd heard a lot about the agency and the Barrel House prior to that. I met PJ and Andrew the old fashion way, through an arranged marriage. I mean meeting.
Did anything about the agency stand out to you as different from your previous jobs?
When you've been lucky enough to work at as many great places, and more importantly, with as many great people at those places, you get a gut feeling on the "good ones." This place is crawling with "good ones."
What's first on your agenda? What are your primary goals for the first few months? ? First thing is to use my "outsider" status for good. I believe your first few months at a new place contain the most clarity. My primary goals would be to improve upon the creative product, win some more new business, and continue to create an environment where we're all working our asses off, and having fun doing it. I think great creatives are happiest when busy, busy making great ideas for great clients who understand the power of those ideas.
From your past experiences at Goodby, Crispin, Wieden, 180, what sorts of skills/experiences do you think will prove particularly helpful in your new post?
Goodby, Silverstein & Partners: Craft, simplicity and passion trump all. W+K Amsterdam: Get out and have a life, your work will get better, your family, boss and clients will love you for it. 180 Amsterdam: Don't take one culture and impose it on another, instead live in and help create the unique culture of where you are. Crispin, Porter + Bogusky: Anything is possible if you really want it. "No" is just another problem to be solved.
What projects from your career do you think you learned the most from, whose lessons you think will help you on the road ahead?
MINI counterfeit taught me that a great idea is the quickest way to get people passionate about doing the seemingly impossible. The IKEA spots I did with Wes Anderson taught me that its more fun to actually work with and challenge your idols, then just give them the keys, cross your fingers and giggle in awe in the corner. The Sprint Now Network work taught me that client trust is everything. Losing the Levi's pitch taught me that failing sucks and all that crap about learning from failure is overrated.
Anything else interesting we should know about you?
I blame my affinity for John Denver tunes on the Muppets.
See some of Stechschulte's past work below: