Tuesday, June 2, 2009

the road not taken

I received an email today from my first mentor in 'the business'.  Richard was the agency producer at Ogilvy & Mather and had been for many years at that time.  As the newly appointed creative coordinator, I was also deemed 50% his 'bitch'. (the other 50% of me was owned by the Creative Director).   This was back in 1997 and I'm happy that 12 years later, Richard and I still keep in touch today.  I was a smart-ass kid just out of school, so stoked to work at a global advertising agency, but not so keen to take on some of my more menial tasks. Richard taught me many things - about friendship, about passion in what you do and about doing your best... in any job.  Back then (and for years to follow), I was pretty sure I wanted to follow in his footsteps and be an agency producer. 

In 2000, after 3 years of still having that dream on my mind, I was back in NS working at the only job that I have ever truly hated.   I thought that more education was the practical answer to reaching my goal. So, I applied to the "Radio and Television Arts" program at Ryerson.  I remember needing to write an essay and provide a few key references.  Of course, I called Richard.  He obliged and as it turns out I got accepted.   But, simultaneously I received an amazing new job offer working on the Alexander Keith's brand. This real life experience delayed, eventually even canceled my admission to go back to school. So...

The reason for Richard's email to me today?  He found the reference letter that he wrote for my application.  In addition to sending this along, he of course followed it up with a very caring and inquisitive, "how are you anyway, arsehole?"

To whom it may concern:

It has been my pleasure to have worked with Cheryl during her stay in Calgary while working at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising.  During her time at O&M she demonstrated a tremendous interest in all facets of advertising, but most specifically broadcast production.

An able student, she learned about production quickly and was soon responsible for producing retail TV commercials for Canada Safeway, a large western grocery chain, and radio commercials for Shell Canada and TELUS.

Unfortunately, another career opportunity took her back to her home province, Nova Scotia.  She and I have stayed in touch and have had several conversations about production and her passion to one day be an Agency Producer.

As a former student of Ryerson, I can honestly represent Cheryl by saying that I know that her refreshing attitude, straightforward working style and dedication are exactly the characteristics and qualities that make successful producers and directors in the marketplace.  The way she has gelled with every person on the set is a reflection of her great sense of humor and her ability to work with various differing personalities.  I strongly recommend Cheryl to the program and I grin when I say that she will make you laugh because she is truly unique.

Best regards,


Manager, Broadcast Productions

Today, I'm not an agency or line producer, but I am still very happy working in advertising. While I don't have any regrets with my path, I do wonder what the bulk of my days would have been like...

1 comment:

  1. did i hear NOT advertising anymore? well...in the tradish-sense...where are you? we need to talk! lol