Lori Sayre (Advertising & Graphic Design, 1985) beams with pride in her praise for the team she leads as SVP Group Creative Director at GSW, a global advertising agency specializing in healthcare. “I'm really proud of this team,” she said from her office in Worthington, just north of Columbus. “We've got national Addy awards, we've got people winning Emmys.”
Sayre is a bit more humble about her leadership role, although she knows that it takes a special mindset to effectively lead a team of creatives. And she knows this because she has been one herself, in a career that’s taken her from CCAD to the corporate world.
“I think one of the things I'm most proud of in this team is that I'm able to work with them individually so that they can be the best they can be,” Sayre said. “I feel like where they may not have been as successful on other teams, they come over here.”
A career in advertising that has spanned decades for Sayre builds on the foundations she developed when she came to CCAD from her hometown of Marion on her high school art teacher’s recommendation. The challenges of her time in the advertising program prepared her for her real-world experience, she says.
For instance, developing a thick skin remains as applicable now as it did then. “You come from high school where you're probably a standout, and you go to a place where there are a lot of standouts,” Sayre said. “So it's a lot harder to elevate above and stand out.”
She recalled the challenges of those early courses teaching her that “not everything you do is so precious.”
“Especially for advertising,” she added. “We all joke around here that if the clients don't like it, it's like, eh, Doritos, we'll make more. You have to develop that kind of an approach of just tackling problem-solving.”
After graduating from CCAD in 1985, Sayre landed a gig at an industrial design firm and later landed her first ad agency gig, spending six years at Lord, Sullivan & Yoder — under then-president Bob Bender, also a CCAD graduate — before moving to the agency that has been her home for 20 years.
“I came in as an art director and kind of grew with the company,” she said. “When I started here, there were eight people in the creative department, and now there are literally thousands across the country. I think in this building there might be 120 creatives.”
Not only does her current position still incorporate lessons Sayre learned at CCAD, it gives her a unique insight into what it means when she sees CCAD on a résumé that crosses her desk.
“You know the dedication that it takes to get through that,” Sayre said. “You know that the person had to work hard. You know what they're exposed to, that they probably do have thick skin because they go through some rigorous feedback.”
“You know that they're really well-prepared to handle the job,” she added. “When I see those resumes, it definitely is a leg up.”