Kansas City’s Bernstein-Rein Names Lara Wyckoff as Its New Creative Leader

By Patrick Coffee 

Kansas City independent agency Bernstein-Rein has hired veteran art director Lara Wyckoff as its newest executive creative director.

She succeeds The Richards Group/RPA/GSD&M veteran David Smith, who joined the shop last August and left after 8 months for personal reasons.

Wyckoff has almost two decades of experience in various creative roles, starting her career at Minneapolis agency Periscope and later serving as VP/group creative director at Martin Williams and president/ECD at Risdale Marketing Group in Minnesota.


In 2011, she launched LEE Branding of Minneapolis with a creative partner and grew that shop from two employees to 20 over a period of three years before moving to Kansas City in October 2015 to become a creative director at WPP’s VML, which recently expanded its Chicago office with several key hires. Throughout her career, she has worked on campaigns for such clients as Pepsi, Tropicana, MasterCard, L.L.Bean and E-Trade (portfolio here).

“Lara has an impressive record of consistently developing ideas and experiences that fuel client growth while casting a powerful halo over the agency brand at the same time,” said managing director Chris Perkins, who left StrawberryFrog to move to Kansas last fall. He called her “the ideal leader for our growing creative department.”

The most recent news from B-R came in February, when Bryan Michurski became its newest group creative director. He joined the agency from Minneapolis-based “creative consortium” Saints & Hooligans, where Wyckoff also served as partner and creative director in addition to her jobs at LEE and VML.

Regarding her new position, Wyckoff said, “Bernstein-Rein doesn’t just do advertising. They build and invest in brands. That’s a rare differentiator today and very appealing to me as a creatively driven entrepreneur.”

The agency has not named a new chief creative officer since Brian Brooker left that position in March 2015 to go client-side as global creative director at industrial production company Garmin, and it has no plans to do so.

Moving forward, Wyckoff will be leading its creative department.