Three Steps to Help You Reimagine Your Creative Career



Our latest Ari Agency Leadership Series event brought the creative community together at our WeWork office in Toronto for an intimate and interactive conversation on “Reimagining Your Creative Career.”

Ari Agency's “Reimagining Your Creative Career” Leadership Event

Thanks to all the attendees for coming out to hear industry leaders share their stories about how they paved their own road, in some very unique ways. After years working in agency-land as successful ECDs, CCOs, and Creative Directors, these leaders have gone on to do amazing work, including launching and then selling their digital publishing platform, starting a world-class SaaS product company, or creating innovative strategic consultancies.

(From Left) Kaye Puhlmann, Israel Diaz, Janice Diner, Dré Labre, Jon Finkelstein

(From Left) Kaye Puhlmann, Israel Diaz, Janice Diner, Dré Labre, Jon Finkelstein

So what helped them get there? A combination of thinking out-of-the-box, self-awareness, and hard work helped our panelists achieve their career goals, on their terms. Here’s what we learned:


It takes a thoughtful plan before taking a road less travelled, especially after years working at traditional agencies. Our panelists, all award-winning Creative Directors, agreed taking a step back before taking a leap into entrepreneurship served them well. Israel Diaz suggested even keeping your day-job and getting up 90 minutes early to work on your new career.

It’s important to look at your career in a broader context. Take time to map out your whole life plan (yes, including retirement and finances). Don’t allow yourself to be boxed in by your current role and what they may be telling you about what’s out there. There are a lot of options, use your creative mind to do some lateral thinking and explore them all, and don’t rule out larger corporations. They’re often running internal teams that are run like mini-startups and innovating at the same pace. ~ Kaye Puhlmann, Co-Founder Storybird


The industry, particularly agencies, have been focussing on winning awards and “the work” as opposed to solving their clients’ problems their number #1 goal. Jon Finkelstein shared that working at PwC, a global consultancy, has allowed him to work on solving bigger problems, which is exciting and rewarding as a creative. Janice Diner commented that there is so much work in her field that she could work forever solving her clients’ problems.


We’ve seen huge shifts in the industry and there are so many possibilities for creatives—from start-ups, technology companies, and consultancies to going client-side or media publishing. The future is bright for creatives because it’s such an innate skill and at its core very human-centric. Dré Labre reinforced the point that technology will be more assistive for a long time coming and creatives must learn how to use and embrace technology to make their jobs easier. 

Companies are focusing on mastering their creative processes as a competitive advantage in our whole new digital world, and it’s really what’s driving so many facets of many organizations. An authentic marketing campaign is all about creativity. Creating an awesome user experience is developed by a creative team. The opportunities are endless! ~ Ari Aronson, Founder Ari Agency Executive Recruitment

Special Thanks to Our Panel:

Janice Diner—CEO & Founding Partner Horizn Studios (former CD Armstrong and Segal (Interpublic), Head of Strategy Syncapse)

Kaye Puhlmann—Co-Founder Storybird Inc (former VP Creative at Critical Mass & CD Blast Radius)

Jon Finkelstein—Executive Creative Director at PwC Digital Services (former ECD Mirum and Proximity/BBDO, partner at Grip Ltd)

Israel Diaz—Founder Sunday+Night Inc. (former CCO Jackman, Y&R, & Leo Burnett)

Dré Labre—Futurist & Founder (former CD Rethink, Tribal DDB, & MacLaren McCann)