I am a graduate student at the #1 ad school in the country and I love it. The image above is from my report card. Read closely and you will see talk of surveys, leadership styles, cooperative group work, marketing, electric cars, ad campaigns, and simulating an ad agency. That was an awesome year. At first glance, the comments above might appear to be from VCU Adcenter. Those comments are actually from my sixth grade GT report card in the 1990-91 school year (click here on the image above to see full document). GT stands for Gifted & Talented. Mr. Zirkle, my fifth grade teacher referred me into the program. He always told me I had a "warped" sense of humor. Thank you Mr. Z.
This is when I first became interested in advertising. I was creative, chubby, and twelve years old. It was my last year in elementary school. By the time I entered seventh grade, I wasn't chubby anymore and ladies noticed, and I noticed them. Advertising couldn't compete with hormones, so I moved on. High School was awesome socially, but academically, I didn't do so hot. I wasn't stupid, I simply had my mind on others things. It didn't help that our class schedule system changed from seven 45 minute periods to 3-hour long block classes. I couldn't concentrate (years later doctors realized I had ADD). I ended up at Pimmit Hills Alternative School and graduated from an adult program a year later.
I landed a cool IT job after that, but alas, I longed for a creative job. I started a small web company with some friends. It didn't last long. I was up for any challenge. I even ran my first marathon, in Rome. I took every opportunity I had to experience, design or create anything cool and original. Using limited technical knowledge, I created and sent this "connection concept" idea to Molex, a manufacturer of electrical components. The concept made it all the way to their C-level management, but fell short for a number of reasons. Here is their response on September 10th, 2001.
In 2002 I was laid off. That was the tipping point. I decided to take full charge of my life. I waited tables while I finished two semesters at Northern Virginia Community College. I applied for a transfer to Virginia Commonwealth University.
I majored in creative advertising and focused on Art Direction. I joined the VCU chapter of the American Advertising Federation and was later elected president. I was also elected student senator. In SGA I became Vice Chairman of Publicity and tried some non-traditional things. At VCU I learned about VCU Adcenter. I set my sights on graduate school.
One of the toughest decisions I had to make was choosing Creative Brand Management (creative MBA) over Art Direction. I applied into the CBM track and was admitted in. The first semester was difficult. Making it to the final round of The Innovation Challenge was second only to completing the semester in my list of highlights. I didn't do so hot my in peer reviews. I've been improving my cooperative group efforts this semester. I was humbled by academic probation and I've been forced to step up my game. This semester is going great. Extremely busy, but great. Professor Don Just and all the other Adcenter teachers are setting us up to be creative business leaders. I have rediscovered my passion for ideation and design, the same drive I had in sixth grade.
We recently had an assignment that required us to re-introduce a product of the past. Our team's product was the Pogo Stick. We came up with the Pogo Cobra. We came up with a totally new design and created a new extreme sport called "Bounding".
Our work is as exhausting as it is fun. Currently, all the first year students are searching for internships. I am open to going anywhere in world that appreciates where I may be of service. I am happiest when I help create new things. I am a creative generalist mastering the art of business and communication. I am living my dream.