An award winning designer, art director and creative director with over 20 years of experience working in advertising, design and corporate communications. Susan’s notable clients include: Amway, Foremost Insurance Group, Gilmore Car Museum, Gordon Food Services, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Spartan Stores Inc., Steelcase, The Pampered Chef and Zondervan Publishing. Susan has worked with a focus on product literature, online marketing, and corporate communications in B2B and B2C industries. She is skilled in all forms of print and digital media and has broad experience directing resources including creatives, photographers, illustrators and producers.
Susan earned her BFA in Visual Communications from Kendall College of Art & Design. She has been involved with mentoring young designers and has participated in Creative Smackdown at GVSU as well as Portfolio Day with KCAD/Ferris State University. Susan is a past member of both AIGA and Ad Club of West Michigan.
Where I’m from: Kalamazoo, Michigan
Where I went to school: Kendall College of Art & Design
What I do: You could say that I’m the band leader, as well as cheerleader, of the creative team at LEAD Marketing. My goal is to orchestrate, inspire, collaborate, and create communication and design concepts that our team is proud to present to clients. Delivering concepts that solve problems, reinforce brands, and get results across all media.
Project: I enjoy working on a full campaign. One that starts with meeting a client to understand their problems and objectives, then moves onto strategizing solutions with a team and carrying them out through well-crafted designs and tactics. Creating a strong brand and developing it entirely into a campaign that communicates and performs beyond expectations is my ideal project.
Client: My ideal client is one that understands what we both bring to the table and can share their vision of what is needed to help them succeed, yet is open to new ideas. A client who can see the solutions to their goals in what our agency develops as a communication plan that is impactful and creates results.
Quote: “The best creative solutions don’t come from finding good answers to the questions presented…They come from inventing new questions!”– Seth Godin. “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon. “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Pablo Picasso.
Pastime: I admit that I love food and have a huge collection of cookbooks, of which I spend evenings perusing and planning dinner parties that could feed a family in Tuscany. I dream-script blogs highlighting travels, musicians, and savory foods—but I yet have to create and post one. I love antiquing and searching for hidden art and treasures with my daughter and husband. We spend summers boating, kayaking, paddleboarding; winters skiing, snowshoeing, or gathering around bonfires with friends in the north woods.
An Insight: If you’ve got time to be creative, take it. The best initial idea likely won’t seem very creative, but it will develop or inspire other ideas in time. The worst idea is one that is never shared.
Someone who has influenced my professional career: My mother. She was a passionate art teacher who inspired and supported my dreams to pursue a creative career. I traveled to Italy and France with her experiencing art, culture, and food—which I continue to dream of and fall back on for inspiration.
An out-of-the-box solution: I think we all come up with “out-of-the-box” solutions daily but often don’t realize it. We find new ways around obstacles using new or borrowed solutions from completely different challenges. This year has been one for finding new ways to work, communicate, and function as successful teams, and will continue to require “out-of-the-box” thinking.
Did you know…
When I was ten: I took first place in a drawing contest with my rendition of Bugs Bunny—winning tickets to Cedar Point for my family. I spent most of my spare time drawing fabulous princess gowns, and I believed the world was filled with magic.
I aspire to: Always make genuine connections with people and the changing world around me. To gain a greater understanding of how to communicate best, influence, inspire, and understand my peers. To be able to see the best in the people around me, as well as help others see the same in me. And last but not least, to teach my daughter that compassion and love win, even when dreams don’t come true, or your heart is broken.
I’m a LEADer because…
Skills: As a leader, I am knowledgeable, adaptable, and open. My desire to mentor, guide, and help others grow to their fullest potential is strong. I strive to be an example to follow and enjoy helping others to better themselves and advance in their careers.
Attitude: I have a positive, can-do attitude, and I’m committed to doing the right thing for our agency, our clients, and my team members. I respect everyone’s talents, experiences, accountability, creativity, and innovative spirit, and I have an overall passion for everything I do.