Q: What do people say about you behind your back? To your face?
Boyko: I’m a pain in their ass on the first one. And the second one is that I’m passionate.
Rodgers: Behind my back, they say: “He’s too nice. He’s too trusting.” Ironically, what they say to my face is: “Thank you.”
Drake: I suspect that what people say behind my back is that I can be a little abrupt. To my face, they tell me I have a nice tan.
Kennedy: I don’t have a clue. They probably bitch about my incompetence with the computer. I’m terrible, I’m such a slow typer that I avoid email and can never remember what to do next. Technically I’m an idiot. It’s frustrating for people to communicate with me. They say that to my face too.
Q: What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from the experience?
Boyko: When I first started at Leo Burnett, one of my first bosses hated his job. I asked why he stayed if he hated it so much and he said he was making too much money. I learned from him that I would never take a job for money nor be afraid to walk away from one when I was not happy. I took a huge cut in pay to come to this school, but it’s a better legacy than doing another ad, it’s more fun and it’s more rewarding.
Drake: In the work realm, my biggest mistake was agreeing with Foote Cone to go back to London after they merged the New York agency. I didn’t get along too well with my boss and I never should have gone. The lesson was that I should have followed my instincts and put my foot down.
Zubizarreta: It wasn’t really a mistake, but she had a job commuting to Puerto Rico for an advertising agency in the early ‘70s when my brother and I were children. Every Monday she would leave home and not get back until Friday. Eventually she couldn’t do it anymore and every Monday, she would get sick; finally she was fired. So she opened her own agency. It wasn’t really a mistake—it was just life circumstances being thrown at her. She had to decide how to play that deck of cards and she played it very well.
Q: What one memento do you have that best symbolizes your career?
Kelmenson: A letter from Henry Ford that wishes him good luck with the Chrysler new business. It was an unsolicited letter in which [Ford] said he’d never been fired by an advertising agency before, but he wished him good luck.
Rodgers: In my home office, not on my desk but on a bookshelf, I have the black manual Royal typewriter that I used in my first job as a print journalist when I worked for Sports Illustrated. In addition to that, my wife’s first name is Royal. Every day I’m reminded of my wife Royal and where I came from.
Drake: My father [Owen Burtch “Obie” Winters] is also in the Advertising Hall of Fame and I have his trophy. My mother and I accepted the award when he was inducted in 1984. I kept that trophy in my office wherever I worked and it’s now on the bookshelf by my desk.
Zubizarreta: Mom was on the cover of Adweek in 1996 when she had just landed the Ford account, which put the agency into a different stratosphere.
Kennedy: I’m a collector of junk so I have a million mementoes. One that’s interesting is based on my love of print-making. I fell in love with wood type and I bought some years ago to make a table out of. It’s covered with glass and has assorted wood type figures and characters and designs. It was in my office for years as my coffee table and is now in my studio.