She’s vivacious and bright. In fact, let’s say brilliant – many do. Debbi Vandeven has taken on the role of global chief creative officer of the newly merged VMLY&R. If that’s a tough job, she is unperturbed by it. Her positivity about most things seems inextinguishable. If she had the current problems of Time’s Up on her mind when we met, and there’s little doubt that, as one of its founding members, she did (it was the first topic she brought up), all that showed was her ability to see an issue from every viewpoint. So far, the job has made her uproot herself and her family from Kansas City and move to New York. And spend a lot of time in the air. She offered to talk to The Stable during the couple of days she was in Sydney. I took that as quite an honour.
Predicting the future power of digital
Getting to the top creative position in a digital, and now a digital-creative, agency is still unusual for a woman. When digital was just an awkward newcomer to the world of advertising and still not quite sure of where it would fit and what it would become, Vandeven, whose career had begun as a traditional designer, foresaw its potential. “I was working on my Masters and everything I was doing was in digital,” she recalls. “I told my husband, ‘I think digital is the future,’ and I set my sights on VML. Even my husband questioned my judgement.” It turned out to be a good one.
Read the full interview on The Stable here.