Next Creative Leaders 2019: Erin Evon
on Nov 07, 2019
She / Her / Hers
Hometown and country:
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Current employer, city and role:
R/GA, New York, Senior Art Director
How did your upbringing, family or hometown shape you as a creative?
I’ve been told being an only child teaches you to not take “no” for an answer!
But seriously, my parents worked hard with full time jobs and long hours. I think I learned a lot of my work ethic from them. My mom in particular was the breadwinner and she challenged gender roles in our household.
I also remember some of my friends’ parents trying to push them into certain career paths. My parents encouraged me to do what I wanted. So when I decided to take art classes, and then pursue a career as an Art Director, they were supportive and never made me feel that a creative job is a senseless choice.
What’s your “breaking into advertising” story?
When I graduated college, I knew I wanted to move to New York City and get into advertising. I even signed a lease (on an apartment where I lived in the den…) before officially getting hired there. It was a little reckless, especially during a recession, but it meant I was committed to getting a job.
When I was applying to internships, most of them had been filled by people who were already living in the city. At the last minute, a friend at Saatchi & Saatchi NY told me they were hiring a Creative Assistant who could also work on creative. I was ready to take any job to get my foot in the door, so I jumped at the chance.
As a Creative Assistant, I was lucky to help the Head of Project Management and the Executive Creative Directors on Miller Coors. Between building presentations, booking travel and doing expenses, I worked on all the briefs I could get. Within a few months they were like, “This is crazy! You should be a full time creative!” and helped me move into that roll shortly after.
What’s the piece of work you’re most proud of and why?
“It’s a Tide Ad” for Tide. It was an honor to be a part of such a talented and creative team. I loved being able to create something that impacts culture and hacked the Super Bowl in a way that really hadn’t been done before. On top of that, it’s hard to make really creative work that moves business, but this piece of work helped continue to grow the brand. It was also amazing to work with such an ambitious client who encouraged and challenged us to make daring creative.
What does meaning this award mean to you?
It’s an honor to be considered alongside all these powerful, amazing women. Imposter syndrome is a real thing and it’s validating to know that some really accomplished people value my work.
Who has most influenced you in your career thus far?
This one is for all the talented copywriters I’ve partnered with. Thank you for always pushing me and encouraging me. From hunkering down and coming up with ideas until 2:00 AM, to helping me pull swipe images, I owe each and every one of you for making me a better creative.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career so far and how did it pan out?
Taking my first job as a Creative Assistant and not going to portfolio school.
I skipped portfolio school hoping to get a job before paying for additional schooling. It was a little nerve racking knowing that I didn’t have portfolio school on my resume and I was taking a job as a Creative Assistant that I knew could be hard to transition from and stifle my career.
Working as an assistant, I was watching the people around me working on briefs and producing creative while I was doing their expenses. In a way, I think that made me push even harder. I pretty much started working two jobs, Creative Assistant by day and an Art Director by night. My hard work paid off and I still can’t thank the people who saw something in me enough for helping me transition to a full time creative.
How do you “fill up your cup” creatively?
I love to read. I think it really gets you to see things from different points of views and a new perspective, which is really valuable in advertising. I always try to mix it up and keep myself on my toes. I am currently reading: Life of Pi by Yann Martel, The Book on Estimating Rehab Costs: The Investor’s Guide by J. Scott, The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and Early Retirement Extreme by Jacob Lund Fisker. Pretty random.
What’s currently inspiring you?
I’ve been reading and listening to a lot of entrepreneur’s stories which is extremely inspiring. They all build a life, not just a career, that they truly love. I usually listen to How I Built This by Guy Raz, and recently read The Magnolia Story by Chip & Joanna Gaines. I also enjoyed Work Party by Jaclyn Johnson, another entrepreneur, which is all about redefining the meaning of work on your own terms.
What would be your dream project and why?
As ridiculous as it sounds, I often joke about “building an empire,” but I do believe that would be my dream project(s). I’ve always been inspired by what the Gaines have built: from renovating houses and helping people, to creating an Emmy nominated TV show, then creating multiple businesses from the Silos to a restaurant and now a hotel. It’s pretty incredible watching a “creative vision” come to life in such a big and culturally impactful way. To me, they are redefining what a creative can be.
Who would be your dream collaborators and why?
I think I already met them! The Tide Ad team was really special. Everyone was extremely valuable and contributed to a special idea. It was an honor to work with this group where everyone put their egos aside to make the best creative possible. And it’s not just the creatives… to have a client who wanted daring creative, to account and strategy people who protected and supported the creative idea, to a one of a kind producer who helped create our vision, and all the production partners who brought it to life, I can’t think of a better group of collaborators to work with.
How are you leaving the work, the workplace or the world a better place than you found it?
By trying to be reliable and a pleasure to work with. It’s a tough industry that can take a lot out of you. I hope that I can be there to make everyone’s job a little easier so that making great work is fun and easy.
What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give to women embarking on a creative career?
Don’t ever let people make you feel like you’re not good enough. And if they try to, ask them directly to their face why they don’t think you’re good enough, and they’ll never make you feel that way again!
Next Creative Leaders 2019---Click any headshot to view their interview---