How did you feel when you saw your name on Campaign’s 40 Over 40 list?
Wow, it only took 16 years.
Sum up your journey to where you are now in fewer than five words?
A labor of love.
Three qualities you need to be successful and achieve longevity in the creative industries?
Curiosity. Determination. Resilience.
Worst thing about the crazy last few months? Any silver linings?
Feeling disconnected from people I enjoy and care about.
Feeling more connected to people I care about – especially my wife and kids.
Best use of creativity you’ve seen during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The myriad ways small businesses and corporate America are adapting. If government had just a small bit of that creativity and resourcefulness, we would all be in a better place right now.
What needs to happen to make the industry truly diverse?
We need to generate better awareness of our industry among those in BIPOC culture and communities and promote career paths. From 5th graders to college freshmen, we need to promote how integral our industry is to business and culture and create a personal connection.
Purpose in business: A flash in the pan or the fundamental basis for the future?
Or a third option: successful companies have been purpose-driven since the industrial age and will continue to operate that way. Purpose in business means having a strong vision and finding ways to serve all of your constituents: clients, employees, community and your ownership.
How does the culture at your organization help you thrive?
I view our culture as a meritocracy. I need to deliver like anyone else. In fact, I need to be a step ahead.
If we took your team out for a drink, how would they describe you?
Amazingly informed. Perpetually engaged. Pretty good sense of humor.
Describe one piece of work you produced in the past 12 months that excites you?
I’m excited about our launch work for the Jeep Wrangler 4Xe, the brand’s first EV. This film features a passage from Carl Sagan that is amazingly relevant and poignant today. His voice is distinct, familiar and a little bit haunting. This passage makes me think of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” album, recently named Rolling Stone’s best album of all time. It was recorded in Detroit almost 50 years ago, but every lyric and note feels like it could have been created today. I love works from advertising and culture that are timeless.
Who's your biggest inspiration? And why?
Not any one person. I have great admiration and respect for people who have commitment to their craft, remain relevant and continue to surprise. From Bruce Springsteen to Ruth Bader Ginsberg to Roger Federer to the 77 year-old guy who came over to fix my dryer vent this week.
What advice would you give to someone entering the industry? Any tips for success you'd like to share?
It’s a marathon. Not a sprint. Too many young people think if you’re not a billionaire by 25, you’re not going to make it. You’re only limited by the size of your imagination and the depth of your work ethic.
What’s in store for the future of your brand – and the industry in general?
Doner will continue to reside at the intersection of Modern & Main Street. We will work to attract talent and clients that share our values. And we will continue to help brands create lasting connections with the consumers we know best.