The Spark

All beginnings, all possibilities, all inventions and
fixes, discoveries and leaps into the unknown
come thanks to creativity. We’ve used it as the
springboard to starting companies, creating value,
developing products, designing communications,
inspiring talent and just having fun.

We’re passionately committed to creativity as
the lightning in a bottle. It lies in finding the
surprising starting point, the epiphany in a human
relationship, the startling new connections made
by fertile minds. It doesn’t belong to the few. It can
be learned and brought to bear on any challenge
by anyone. Creativity is the crucial difference
between same-old and stratosphere.

Creativity can solve problems, pull opportunities from nothing, move and shake markets. Sparkstarters can engage your department, leaders, or entire company in new ways of approaching invention and overcoming obstacles. It all starts with tapping into your organization’s innate creative ability.

Innovate or die: The battle cry
of modern business.

Innovation is the greatest need in organizations
today, and creativity is the spark that drives it.
Yet we work in environments that squash creativity
at every turn. Fear of failure, intolerance of failure,
outdated “best practices,” poor collaboration,
time to do but no time to think. And we wonder
why the status quo rules.

So how do you light that spark—how do you
use creativity to transform a culture of “stand and
deliver” to one of “dream big and implement”?

Most of us operate on the assumption that
creativity is the domain of a “talented” few with
unique ways of thinking and the word creative
in their title. Not true. If you have people under your
roof, you have creativity. You just have to free it,
foster it and put it to work in any aspect of business
from sales to marketing to operations to finance
to manufacturing.

From inspiration to provocation to surprising
solution, creativity offers the greatest opportunity
for change and growth. It can become your best
competitive advantage and your corporate
lifeblood. Sparkstarters can help you get creativity
working for you.

We’ve been in your shoes. We are in your shoes.

We’re creative directors, strategists and marketers who have helped build some of the world’s most innovative brands. Innovators, startup founders, designers, writers, cultural anthropologists and educators who know your world because they work there. We’ve used the power of creativity to successfully transform businesses of all kinds. We’re hands on, brains on change agents who have earned billions for companies including American Express, Anheuser-Busch, Apple, Campbell, Coca-Cola, Ford, Hyundai, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft, Kimberly Clark, Nike, Nissan, Unilever and VW.

Our greatest successes have a common denominator: the creativity inside the many companies we’ve worked with. Among us we’ve launched the Apple Store, the iPhone and iPad. We were behind Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty and developed the Hershey Store in Times Square. We’ve led or founded full-service ad agencies, Fortune 500 companies, world-beating interactive agencies and design companies. We’ve also taught inside a classroom and know how to impart what we’ve learned in a way that will inspire.

  • Rick
  • William
  • Brian
  • Cindy
  • Mark
  • Cabell
  • Steve
  • Liz
  • Janet
  • Bob
  • Paul
  • Joe
  • Grant
  • Bob
  • Nancy
  • Rick
  • Steve
  • Paul

Businesses today are seeking innovative and creative problem solvers who are not easy to find, because creativity is not taught in most business schools. Sparkstarters was founded to help businesses with this problem.

Rick is the founding member of Sparkstarters.
For nine years he was Director and Professor at
the VCU Brandcenter, considered to be the best
graduate school for the Business of Marketing
Communications. Under his leadership, the school
doubled in size while its curriculum changed
constantly, earning it the "Most Innovative Business
School in the World" title in 2012.

Prior to the Brandcenter, Rick spent 30 years working on major brands at agencies including Leo Burnett, Chiat/Day, and Ogilvy & Mather. As Co-President, Chief Creative Officer of Ogilvy North America, he integrated Ogilvy’s North American offices leading the agency to be named Agency of the year by Advertising Age in 2000.

Through out his career, Rick has been dedicated
to improving the industry having served on the
Boards of the 4A’s, Art Directors Club and One Club.
Currently, he sits on the Board of Advertising Week,
where he has led project inspire for the past eight
years. He also has served as the Dean of the Roger
Hatchuel Academy in Cannes for the past six years.
He has previously sat on the boards of Martha
Stewart Living Omnimedia, Napster and Butler Shine
Stern & Partners.

Rick was inducted into the American Advertising Federation’s Hall of fame in honor of his many contributions to the industry in 2012.

Brand experience:

A new idea will forever change how you think about what you do, how others think about what you do and how others think about what others do.

Creative thinking is neither a talent nor a title. It’s a craft and a conviction that emerges from certain environments. William has been lucky to work within a variety of such environments, each different but each world class in their own right. This combination of luck and judgment led him to be part of the teams that took new ideas to major brands and in doing so transformed their business. From IBM’s transformation to an e-business to HSBC’s move to global banking, the campaigns William has worked on changed the fortunes of these businesses and set a new agenda for entire categories. Venturing where no brand had gone before became something of a hallmark of his work and led to him working with organizations such as the Acumen Fund to pioneer impact investing, The United Nations to identify behavior changes that would save millions of lives of young children and start—up businesses that are taking on social taboos of death and sex.

After 20 years of working in advertising agencies such as Ogilvy, BBDO and JWT , William left his role as Co-head of Strategy and planning for JWT NY to be the EVP, Chief Strategy Officer for R/GA, a role that was creates specifically for him. From 2010 to the end of 2013 he built R/GA’s strategy group from 15 people to 90 in12 offices around the world. During this tenure R/GA was was named “Agency of the Decade”, “Creative innovators of the year” (Creativity 2013) and “Most innovative agency” (2013) as well as winners more creative awards for digital marketing than any other US agency.

William sits on the Ad Council’s creative council and was the Chair of the Jay Chiat Awards for Strategic Excellence for 6 years from 2006-2012. He advises many large brands, non-profit organizations and technology start-ups.

Brand experience:

The real magic of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.

That’s what Marcel Proust believed. Acting on it—
trying to see the slog of everyday problems as
great opportunities–can be tough. That’s where we
come in. As a team of interdisciplinary thinkers,
we use creativity as an agent of change enabling
people to understand emerging challenges and
turn them to their advantage a into something
useful and powerful.

Brian Collins is the Chief Creative Officer of
Collins—a design company dedicated to inventing
brand experiences and communications that
shape companies and people for the better.
For ten years prior to the founding of Collins in
2008, Brian was Chairman and Chief Creative
Officer of the Brand Integration Group (BIG)
at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide.

Brian’s clients have included Levi Strauss & Co.,
Coca-Cola, Microsoft, CNN, NBC, Miller Brewing
Company, Motorola, Mattel, IBM,,
MTV, Hershey’s, The Ford Motor Company, Unilever,
The New York Public Library, Giorgio Armani,
American Express, and Oxfam America.

Over his career, Brian has won most every major design and creative award and was named one of five American Masters of Design by Fast Company. Collins has won Gold from The One Show, The Clios, the 4A’s Gold for Strategic Excellence and Cannes Lions. Brian was selected to represent the United States at 2012 Beijing Design Week and Moscow Creative Week in 2013 by the U.S. Embassy.

He was recently invited to join the Global Creative Council of Ogilvy & Mather and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council. Brian is Vice President of The Art Directors Club of New York and has been on the graduate faculty of the School of Visual Arts since 2001. Brian was made a Distinguished Alumna of the Massachusetts College of Art in 2004 and received an Honorary Doctorate from the Art Center College of Design in 2009.

Brand experience:

To own the future, you need a business where leadership is a universal mindset, not an individual status. Sparkstarters helps you make that happen.

Cindy Gallop’s background is brand building,
marketing and advertising—she started
up the US office of ad agency Bartle Bogle
Hegarty in New York in 1998 and in 2003 was
named Advertising Woman of the Year. She is
the founder and CEO of,
a web meets world platform that turns good
intentions into action, one micro action at a time,
to deliver Action Branding and build your Action
Graph, which launched in beta with a demo
at TED 2010, and of,
launched at TED 2009.

She acts as board advisor to a number of tech startups and consults for companies around the world, describing her consultancy approach as ‘I like to blow shit up. I am the Michael Bay of business.’ She has a reputation as a highly compelling and inspirational speaker at conferences and events around the world on a variety of topics: her talk on ‘The Future of Advertising’ has been described on Twitter as ‘The most brilliant speech on the future of advertising ever —not the usual buzzword-laden bullshit’, and ‘Watching @cindygallop slice and dice the ad industry status quo like a ginsu knife. #purewin’.

She published ‘Make Love Not Porn: Technology’s Hardcore Impact on Human Behavior’ as one of TED’s line of TEDBooks and is currently working on a book about her philosophy of life and business. She will be launched in in 2012. You can follow her on Twitter @cindygallop.

Brand experience:

The world is filled with complicators. Success goes to the simplifiers; the folks who can
take a complex idea and turn it into something you can fall
in love with. Sparkstarters can help people learn how to untangle themselves so their good ideas can flourish.

Called “the guru of new business” by The Wall Street Journal, Mark was the first agency person to ever hold the title of Chief Marketing Officer, and is among the 2 or 3 most successful new business developers in advertising history. In 2010, (along with his role as Vice Chairman /CMO at BBDO) he launched a new business consultancy called ELEVEN. The goal of ELEVEN was to work with CEOs of agencies and sales-oriented corporations to create a culture of winning inside their companies. The business was so rewarding that beginning in the summer of 2012, Mark made a full-time commitment to growing it. He’s also the Chairman of Grace Blue Americas, the world’s premier recruiting firm for C-level agency executives.

He joined BBDO in 2005 and helped the agency gain over $5 billion of billings (winning global pitches for Mercedes, HP, Motorola, Bank of America, etc.) as well as multiple Network of The Year recognition from AD AGE, ADWEEK, and Campaign. Before BBDO, he was Chief Marketing Officer at Fallon Worldwide from 1993 until 2004. He was the driver of the agency’s successful new business efforts (growing from $185mm in billings to almost $1bb). The win list includes some of the world’s most well known brands, such as Citi, BMW, United Airlines and Nikon.

Mark grew up as a writer and copy supervisor at Leo Burnett before becoming creative director and then agency president at Earle Palmer Brown, where he helped grow the agency from $3 million to $410 million in billings.

He has served for 20 years on the board of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. And in April of 1997 he was a member of the inaugural group inducted into Medill’s Hall of Achievement. Mark received a BSJ and MSJ in advertising from Northwestern University. He lives in Naples FL.

Brand experience:

These are amazing times we are living in. The Higgs Boson particle found, the dark matter filament discovered and Sparkstarters launched—all in the same month of the same year. Coincidence, I think we know differently. Learning will never be the same.
It’s great to be included in such
a group.

Andy Spade, CEO of Kate Spade may have said
it best: “Cabell has one of those minds that combines
a military strategist with a sense of humor, an ADD
child with business acumen, and a mad professor
with taste and a sense of composition. He’s a
wonderful, bright creative problem solver with more
going on in his own head than most of the entire
advertising industry today.”

Cabell’s work has been recognized in every major industry award show, and many publications have declared him one of the ad industry’s top creative leaders in the United States.

Cabell began his professional career in Richmond, VA, becoming the youngest VP in the history of The Martin Agency at that time. In 1994 Cabell founded WORK Inc., an ad agency for ad agencies. Since then, WORK was routinely called in to consult on tough advertising problems for agencies including Chiat/Day, BBDO, Fallon, DDB, Ogilvy and CP+B. Over the years, Cabell has had the opportunity to work with clients that include Exxon, Sears, Hershey’s, Miller Brewing, Sprint, United Technologies, HBO, Coca-Cola, Smith Barney, and numerous others. Few individuals have worked for more agencies or brands as Cabell.

In addition to running his agency, Cabell has launched a variety of products under the WORK banner, such as books, beer, apps, and online project management platforms. A professor at the VCU BrandCenter for the last nine years, Cabell has shared his passion for ideas and the business with over 900 graduates.

Brand experience:

Creating a culture of innovation, creativity and openness to new ideas is the biggest differentiator between companies that achieve real momentum and those in stagnation.
A learning experience with the Sparkstarters is the surest way to avoid the latter and attain the former.

Steve is one of the most celebrated and admired creative leaders in advertising today. He began his career at the end of the Mad Men era as a junior copywriter in Detroit for General Motors. After honing his craft at a number of agencies on accounts as diverse as Toyota and Treesweet, Steve was recruited to Chiat/Day where he and Lee Clow made advertising history as co-creators of the “1984” campaign for Apple.

In 1986, Steve moved to BBDO to become Chairman/CEO of West Coast operations, where he led the team that sustained Apple as an iconic brand, at the same time tripling the size of the agency, adding accounts like Sega, Pioneer Electronics, Dodge and Pizza Hut.

In 1994, Ogilvy asked Steve to join the agency as “brand steward” for the newly-won IBM global account. While leading IBM’s renewal, Steve crafted campaigns for other major brands, including American Express, Kodak, Motorola, Dove, Cisco, AT&T and SAP. His contributions have earned him almost every major award and recognition for the agency. As a member of Ogilvy’s Worldwide Board, Steve drove the agency’s engagement with digital media, setting the scene for the firm to become a leader in interactive advertising. He was an early proponent of integrated communications, and remains an early adopter of advertising and technology innovations. In demand as a guide and mentor to creative professionals he is also a sought-after speaker at industry and client forums around the world.

Steve serves on several boards, including Interlochen Center for the Arts, HighTower, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, Goal4, and Green Team.

Brand experience:

Creativity is a
fragile process that
must be fostered
and appreciated.
Sparkstarters was created
to help companies
create that kind
of environment.

Liz has served in the agency business for over 20 years. She has held leadership positions across multiple types of agencies and helped to build Tribal DDB, one of the worlds most creative, powerful digital agencies. Most recently, she was the CMO of Mediabrands, IPG's media holding company. Prior to her CMO role, she served as President of BPN, North America, since its inception in 2012. Under her leadership, BPN NA doubled its billings with major client wins including Hillshire Brands, Morgan Stanley, and Famosa Toys.

Prior to IPG, Ross rose to the role of Chief Growth Officer at Publicis Groupe’s Digitas after serving as U.S. President at Tribal DDB, overseeing the Clorox, Visa, and Pepsi Cola teams in the U.S. Ross previously spent time at Modem Media in San Francisco, where she led the business development groups in San Francisco and Norwalk, Conn. There, she pioneered interactive brand-consumer relationships for clients such as General Motors, Delta, General Electric, HP, Michelin, Citibank, and IBM. Prior to Modem, Ross worked in Business Development and Account Management for J. Walter Thompson in Chicago and New York. She served on varied accounts such as Dell, Continental Airlines, 20th Century Fox, Kraft, Mattel, and Nabisco.

Ross was inducted into the AAF Hall of Achievement in 2008 and was named a Woman to Watch by Advertising Age in January of 2008. She is currently on the Board of the AAF, on the Board of AdAdapted and an advisor to several companies.

Ross received Bachelor's Degree in Advertising from Michigan State University.

Brand experience:

When money is in short supply, only creativity can fill the void. It turbo charges every dollar and every brain cell. And distinguishes every great solution. Besides, it’s fun. Who couldn’t use a little more of that in their work day?

Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk were Co-Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy Toronto from 1998 to 2011. They led their office to two Cannes Grand Prix, a Grand Clio and Best of Show at the Creativity awards for work like Dove “Evolution” and “Diamond Shreddies”. They have judged Cannes, Clios, One Show, D&AD and Effies, and chaired shows including the Art Director’s Club of New York. Nancy and Janet were included in Creativity magazine’s Top 50 Creative People of 2008. They were advertising Women of the Year at both the WIN Awards in Los Angeles and the AWNY Awards in New York in 2007. In 2011 they were inducted into Canada’s “Marketing Hall of Legends.” In 2012 they were named to Advertising Age Magazine’s 100 Women in Advertising list of “ground-breakers, pioneers and innovators”.

They have a widely read advice column, “Ask Jancy,” on ad site, and penned Adweek book, Pick Me, now a staple in advertising schools from Texas to Turkey. HarperCollins commissioned them to write a career guide for women, due on shelves in 2014.

Janet and Nancy founded Swim, a creative leadership lab, in 2011. They empower groups from advertising creative teams to bankers, lawyers and architects with tools and insights to lead.

Brand experience:

Sparkstarters is a great way for a marketer to tap into years of experience and success. There’s nothing to lose, but rather, a productive way to augment your internal thinking.

Bob Lachky is best known for his long career with Anheuser-Busch, Inc. as their EVP, Global Industry Development, & Chief Creative Officer. His career spanned 20 years (1990-2009), where he oversaw the development of some of the marketing world’s most famous advertising campaigns and characters. Bob’s career coincided with record volume and share growth for Anheuser-Busch, helping build the world’s two biggest beer brands, Bud Light, and Budweiser and 50% share of the U.S. beer industry.

His personal recognition includes:

    1994 Adweek “Top Marketer of the Year”
    2001 Brandweek “Marketer of the Year”
    2003 Adweek “Marketing Top 50”
    2006 NBWA (National Beer Wholesalers Association) Industry Service Award
    2009 St. Louis Ad Club/AAF Silver Medal Award
    2009 The Advertising Club of New York “Advertising Person of the Year”

Today, Bob continues his career as a marketing consultant, helping craft business-building strategies and breakthrough advertising for a variety of clients. He also helps various not-for-profits with their marketing strategies and communications.

Bob is a strong advocate for new media and has long been a proponent for “cross-platform” marketing. He believes a strategy must be able to perform across all media forms, from traditional to online/social/mobile to PR and buzz. While executions might change to fit the medium, consumers must encounter the same strategy, wherever the touchpoint.

Brand experience:

Oscar Wilde
once said
that “Experience
is simply the
name we give
our mistakes.”

As painful as some of those mistakes were throughout my career, the effect was transformative. Sharing those experiences on relevant subjects will hopefully reduce the burden of error and accelerate the ambition of any serious student in advertising or design.

In 1992, Paul Lavoie co-founded TAXI with partner Jane Hope, successfully combining the disciplines of advertising and design. Growing into seven offices in Canada, the U.S. and Europe, and with an expanded digital offering, TAXI has been recognized in the industry for its fully integrated approach and consistent creative quality.

TAXI has been named Canadian Agency of the Decade in 2010 by Strategy Magazine. In the U.S. TAXI garnered the AAAA Creative Excellence Award in 2007 and again in 2008. Marketing Magazine, in August 2008, named Lavoie one of the 10 most influential pioneers in Canadian marketing over the past century. In 2007, Paul received the Spiess Award for lifetime achievement by the Canadian Bessies Awards. In 2006, he was listed by Creativity magazine in the US among the 50 most influential creative minds. That year, he also became the youngest inductee of the Canadian Marketing Hall of Legends.

Paul is the past President of The Art Directors Club of New York, a board member of the HEC Business School and the Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter, and is a past member of the Museum of Modern Art Marketing Board.

Paul’s short film, ‘Dear Theo’ played at the National Gallery of Canada this summer.

Brand experience:

Creativity should be the lifeblood of every marketer. Creativity drives innovation in all aspects of our marketing craft. The problem is that Wharton, Tuck, HBS, Stanford, Sloan, Kellogg and the other top business schools don’t teach “creativity” as part of their core DNA.

Often, brand leaders have to build their competency around creativity, informally and on the fly. Sparkstarters is built to help individuals, groups and organizations unleash this vital and critical asset, creativity. We’re proven practitioners.

Joe’s marketing experience has been marked by a commitment to creative leadership, brand building and consumer insight. He is one of the few marketing communications leaders with both perspective and experience, from all sides of the business including agency, client and independent entrepreneur. Joe is the President, Director of Strategy at Collins, an NYC-based brand strategy and creative company born out of design and design thinking.

Before joining Collins, he was CEO of Publicis New York (2008–2012.) There he drove significant growth despite a difficult economic period. New client growth included: Hilton WW, Homewood Suites, Merck, TGI Fridays, AXA, LensCrafters as well as organic growth from Procter & Gamble, Citi and Nestlé. Also, Joe had been Vice President, Worldwide Advertising and Marketing Communications at Johnson & Johnson. In that post, Joe had worked internally with J&J’s business sectors: consumer, pharmaceutical and medical device and diagnostics. Joe also worked closely with all of Johnson & Johnson’s creative agencies worldwide. Beyond that, Joe played a key role in the creative development of J&J’s Olympic program for the Beijing Games.

Joe started his career at Saatchi & Saatchi then joined Nike in the mid-90’s as head of Global Advertising where he was instrumental in leading the global refresh of the “Just Do It” campaign as well as helping to reposition Nike from a US footwear company to a Global Sports and Fitness company resulting in sales growth from $2.5 billion to $7 billion in just 3 years. Beyond that, Nike’s programs and campaigns were awarded many accolades at Cannes, One Show, Kelly and many other shows under his leadership.

After launching his own creative brand-consulting group working with agencies and advertisers, Mr. McCarthy was CEO and founding partner of McCarthy Mambro Bertino (MMB) in Boston in 2001. The agency still bears his name and worked with clients such as Subway, Sam Adams, Atari, Thomasville, Saucony, Jiffy Lube and ESPN.

Joe is a member of the Board of Directors for VCU Brandcenter and Rebound Sports. Joe lives in Princeton, New Jersey with his wife Livia and two daughters, Perry and Delia.

Brand experience:

Corporations need to innovate constantly. And this means tapping powers
of creativity they used to leave to the ad agency.
I joined Sparkstarters to help in the transfer of this essential intelligence.

Grant McCracken holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in cultural anthropology. He is the author of Culture and Consumption, Culture and Consumption II, Plenitude, Big Hair, The Long Interview, Flock and Flow, Transformations, and Chief Culture Officer. He has been the director of the Institute of Contemporary Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum, a senior lecturer at the Harvard Business School, a visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge and he is now a research affiliate at C3 at MIT. He named the “Diderot effect.” He has consulted widely in the corporate world, including the Coca-Cola Company, Campbell’s Soup, Diageo, IBM, IKEA, Sesame Street, Chrysler, Kraft, and Kimberly-Clark. He has served on marketing advisory boards for IBM and the Boston Beer Company. He is a weekly contributor to the Harvard Business Review conversation. His new book, Culturematic, was published by the Harvard Business Review Press in May 2012.

Brand experience:

A great idea
can come from
But not everyone
believes that.
was formed to
help foster an
environment and
mindset where
great ideas
anywhere and
by everyone.
Better ideas
really do lead
to better results.

Former Chairman and Chief Creative Officer
of DDB Worldwide.

As leader of one of the greatest agency brands, Bob embodied Bill Bernbach’s mantra that “word of mouth is the best medium of all.” In his 35-year career at DDB, Bob helped create some of the most iconic, talked about, and awarded creative work in the world. Bob was such a passionate believer in “Talk Value” that he trademarked the term which informed and guided DDB’s evolution to “Share Value,” the power of transformative ideas that people play with, participate in, and pass along. Inspiring ideas that become part of popular culture and connect communities was at the heart of Bob’s vision for his clients and for DDB, where the core belief is that creativity is the most powerful force in business. Bob was inducted into the AAF Advertising Hall of Fame in 2013.

Brand experience:

This group can help marketers show up every day as creative problem solvers.
I believe that’s
the key to getting to exceptional outcomes, and a much happier route to the goal, too. Sparkstarters delivers a crash course that’s hard, joyful work. I’m excited to help shake it up.

Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk were Co-Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy Toronto from 1998 to 2011. They lead their office to two Cannes Grand Prix, a Grand Clio and Best of Show at the Creativity awards for work like Dove “Evolution” and “Diamond Shreddies”. They have judged Cannes, Clios, One Show, D&AD and Effies, and chaired shows including the Art Director’s Club of New York. Nancy and Janet were included in Creativity magazine’s Top 50 Creative People of 2008. They were advertising Women of the Year at both the WIN Awards in Los Angeles and the AWNY Awards in New York in 2007. In 2011 they were inducted into Canada’s “Marketing Hall of Legends.” In 2012 they were named to Advertising Age Magazine’s 100 Women in Advertising list of “ground-breakers, pioneers and innovators”.

They have a widely read advice column, “Ask Jancy,” on ad site, and penned Adweek book, Pick Me, now a staple in advertising schools from Texas to Turkey. HarperCollins commissioned them to write a career guide for women, due on shelves in 2013.

Janet and Nancy founded Swim, a creative leadership lab in 2011. They empower groups from advertising creative teams to bankers, lawyers and architects with tools and insights to lead.

Brand experience:

Sparkstarters is an amazing bunch of people, and I am honored to be part of them. It’s exciting to join this team in helping companies utilize creativity to further their business.

Rick Webb currently serves as a consultant to
Tumblr on Marketing and Revenue, a mentor
to Tech Stars NY, and as a venture partner at Quotidian Ventures. Finally, Rick is the founder
and CEO of Secret Clubhouse, a tech coworking
space in Williamsburg, NY.

In 2001, Webb co-founded The Barbarian Group, an award-winning digital ad agency. He served as its COO for the first ten years of the companys existence. Webb left in 2011 to pursue angel investing in, and writing on, technology and advertising. He is an angel investor in Foursquare, Branch, Circa, Percolate, Docracy and others, along with two TechStars graduates, Nestio and Timehop. He is an advisor to several other tech startups and marketing services companies, including Sherpaa, Hard Candy Shell, and Small Girls Big Business PR.

Webb is the writer of a tech column for the NY Observer and Betabeat and an avid blogger on technology, advertising, economics, politics and the government. He graduated from Boston University with a degree in International Economics in 1992. He serves a board member of the VCU Brandcenter, one of the most renowned advertising graduate schools, and was named as Creativity Magazine’s 50 most creative people in marketing (2008). He was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska.

I enthusiastically joined Sparkstarters
for two reasons.
First, the caliber
of people is extraordinary and nothing is more fun or rewarding than working with people you admire. Second, I have a profound and passionate belief in the power of creativity and innovation in communicating with customers, developing new products, and building business value.

Steve Wilhite is the EVP/CMO at Medidata.
Prior to joining Medidata, Steve built a successful
career in sales, marketing, and business leadership
including senior executive roles at Volkswagen,
Apple, Nissan, Hyundai and the Jumpstart
Automotive Group. As marketing leader at VW,
Steve led development of the “Drivers Wanted”
campaign and launch of the new Beetle. As the VP
of Global Marketing Communications for Apple,
he led all global marketing activities, and worked
on development of the Apple store. Steve then
became VP of marketing for the Nissan and Infiniti
brands in the US where he led development of the
Shift_ marketing campaign before moving
to Tokyo as the SVP of Global Marketing for
Nissan Motors Ltd. He was recruited as the COO
of Hyundai North America and then became
CEO at Jumpstart Automotive Group. Steve
attended Stanford and received his MBA from
University of California, Berkeley.

Brand experience:

When you stop learning, you stop. Let Sparkstarters be your catalysts for change, your coaches and consigliere's

Paul has held leadership positions at the highest levels both globally and domestically in management, media, integrated business, brand, digital and communications strategy at holding companies including IPG, Y&R Inc, WPP, MDC Partners and Naked Communications.

He is currently devoting his energy to a portfolio of investments, board and advisory roles in a number of dynamic large client businesses, agencies, government, and social cause organizations.

Prior to his current entrepreneur role, Paul co-founded Naked Communications Americas, the objective communications management consultancy, dubbed by The Wall Street Journal as a "Top 5 Agency To Watch". The F.T. called it 'marketing's most creative business' and The Washington Post stated 'the agency of the future'. Paul was personally recognized as one of the top 10 most creative people in Marketing Services by Fast Company Magazine in 2010. 'The Media Maestro successfully disrupted the US Marketing scene with his agency's approach to communications agnosticism'. Championing innovative and disruptive thinking, Paul has been extensively published across all media and has served on a diverse array of creative, marketing, media, digital, effectiveness, strategy, innovation and integration gatherings, festivals, conferences and award juries. Born in Africa and raised in the UK, Paul has traveled extensively around the world both professionally and personally. He lives in Manhattan with his wife Carol and their two children.

Brand experience:

Customized, facilitation, collaboration, provocation, inspiration and seriously dirty hands.

We work with companies and organizations to
analyze their landscape, identify challenges and
goals to help bring about business and cultural
transformation. We customize, curate and create
a two day course structure specifically for each
client. We’ll work with your team to deconstruct the
status quo, challenge and inspire to create new
possibilities within your organization. And leave
you with the tools to ensure ongoing evolution.

Looking for a continuous stream of innovation?
Perhaps a venture advisor, a creative director,
and the former CMO can help.

How do you integrate teams after a merger?
Let a respected former CMO, a cultural
anthropologist, and a collaboration-minded
creative director guide your team.

Need to develop expertise in the ever-changing
digital world? A digital entrepreneur and tech
blogger, a world-class designer, and tech startup
advisor with a background in brand building and
communication can offer a deep dive.

Seeking a new way to bring a product or service
to market? A cultural anthropologist, a digital
entrepreneur and a venture advisor, can help you
find unique ideas and continue to think like
entrepreneurs going forward.

Elvis will not leave the building. (We’re with
you for the long haul). A Sparkstarter learning experience continues after your program
ends. Our partnership includes a proprietary
platform for ongoing dialogue between your
team and our instructors. Our closed site allows
your team to keep talking to their program
leaders as they implement new ideas for three
months afterward.

Going beyond the expected should be expected.

Sparkstarters are all-star creative coaches who’s experience and expertise delivers a creative collaboration program unlike any other, but don’t take our word for it:

"Sparkstarters captivated us for two days with their expertise and teaching. Every aspect of the course was a masterclass but not just in the actual content. It was a Master class in presentation skills, the power of storytelling, how to own and work a room and how to wear enormous success lightly so everyone is in awe of you and likes you! I feel truly honored to have been part of something special."
Angela Johnson, EVP Managing Director, Ogilvy Chicago

"We used Sparkstarters to wake-up our account directors to recognize the power of their position to inspire and sell a superior creative product. It surpassed expectations and I am sure inspired a more courageous team of agency leaders."
Nina Abnee, EVP Account Management, Leo Burnett

"Sparkstaters is truly a unique experience that can foster greater collaboration, creativity and respect at every level of an organization. I highly recommend it to any agency, marketer or media company that deals in the world of creativity."
Joe Zubizarreta, Chief Operating Officer, Zubi Advertising

"We gave Sparkstarters a specific brief addressing one of our toughest problems. Their two day program was laser-like, and went well beyond our expectations. Their fresh perspective opened up our minds and gave us the jolt we needed. We were stuck on a sticky problem, and they unstuck us."
Steve Chavez, CCO Leo Burnett Detroit

"Sparkstarters assembled a custom team of industry all-stars that spent two days with us. In that small amount of time they were able to initiate a foundational shift of our collective mindset and left us with an actual plan that we were vested in as well as the road map for putting that plan into action."
Ian Jones, EVP, Group Account Director, Leo Burnett Detroit

Get in touch with us soon.

To fire up creative collaboration and spark the creativity hidden in your company contact Sparkstarters today. With you, they will identify your challenges and customize a two day program that they will facilitate on your premises.

Get in touch with us today:
Rick Boyko
Office: +1 917 972 8620