Secrets of the speakers: Little-known facts about Ad Age’s Small Agency Conference participants
We were so impressed with the lineup for Ad Age’s Small Agency Conference & Awards coming Aug. 3-5 that we decided to dig a little deeper to learn more about what they are really like. We polled many of our participants and came up with some interesting insights into these industry influentials. What we found we just might surprise you. Or does it?
Lindsey Slaby, founder of Sunday Dinner
Even though I run a company called Sunday Dinner, people never seem to think I am actually a chef. Because I travel a lot, I have no time for cooking. But in quarantine, I cooked over 100 unique meals and documented it. As I started to post them on Instagram, everyone kept asking for recipes and saying it was the highlight of their day. So I created a blog. I'm slowly finishing it, but it lives here.
Mira Kaddoura, founder and executive creative director, Red & Co.
I am a Certified Yoga Teacher (twice over), English is my third language and I'm usually last on the dance floor.
Matt Lumb, VP-brand building and integrated communications, Procter & Gamble
I once spent several days of a week-long Scout hike "lost" in the Australian bush..... We lost some of the troop on the first evening going down a steep ravine and then spent a few days following a river we hoped was the right one.
Thas Naseemuddeen, CEO Omelet
I started my career as an ice skating coach in a food court in San Diego. At 17, I started navigating what “running your own business” was about—"marketing" and all—as an independent contractor. I was fortunate enough to train future Olympians under the comforting wafts of the Sbarro pizza and Panda Express while attending university full-time. Teaching toddlers through adults how to navigate ice on a couple of thin blades is a metaphor that’s never left me. Those lessons learned as a coach are ones I’ve carried deeply into my career.
Seth Gaffney, co-founder and chief strategy officer, Preacher
I got my first job in advertising through a competition called “Account Executive Survivor.” We lived and worked in an agency for a week.
Jamie Barrett, founder and executive creative director, BarrettSF
I was training to be a marine in Quantico Virginia, somehow lost part of my rifle during an overnight hike, and was ordered to write a 20,000 word essay as punishment. By the end of it, I discovered that I kinda liked writing.
Claire Telling, CEO, Grace Blue North America
I was a walk on to my college’s synchronized swim team freshman year.
Ly Tran, associate partner and chief media officer, Proof Advertising
I have over 350 pairs of shoes so I literally could wear a new pair every day for one year. Also, I’m obsessed with the band The National and when they tour, I’ll at least see them four times, VIP of course. So since 2001 I’ve probably seen them 30-plus times.
Sandy Greenberg, co-founder and CEO, Terri & Sandy
I often send emails from my phone very quickly, without paying much attention to the auto-correct feature. The result is something like "the meeting puppies are due with cream cheese and a poppyseed bagel at the dentist."
Lisa Clunie, co-founder and CEO, JOAN Creative
I quit advertising forever three times.
And Goodby Silverstein & Partners founder Jeff Goodby offered a full story.
My friend had a very lucrative summer job working in a grocery warehouse. It was a Teamsters shop, and his Dad was the secretary of the union in Rhode Island, so it was an inside job. I asked his Dad whether I could get a job there too.
“Maybe,” he said. “Here’s what to do. Go to the warehouse and ask for Charlie Marks. Tell him that Bobby Ribeiro sent you down and said there’d be some work for you.” Then he added a key request. “If you get caught, don’t mention me. That’s important. Ribeiro is the head of the whole union here.”
Charlie Marks was a Jack Lemmon kind of hassled character in a white shirt and tie. At the mention of Bobby Ribeiro’s name, the blood drained from his face. “Come with me,” he said and took me into an office nearly. “Bobby really said that?” he asked. “Listen, this is an awful job, three to midnight. It’s dirty, you’re lifting boxes and loading trains, and I have a stack of applications from other college kids.”
“Okay, well, maybe I…”
“Show up tomorrow at three,” he said.
I worked the second shift for a couple of months until one night the PA crackled. “Jeff Goodby, come to the office. Jeff Goodby.”
In Charlie’s office was a bunch of tough-looking guys I’d never seen before. Charlie pointed at me and asked one of them, “Is this the kid you sent over?” I suddenly realized that I was looking at Bobby Ribeiro himself. I was outed.
“Shit, I don’t know,” Ribeiro smirked. “I can’t remember everybody I send over, Charlie.”
Teamster power, baby.
To hear from these and many more speakers, sign up for our Small Agency Conference & Awards here.