I received the most wonderful email this afternoon from Jessica (Schulman) Edelstein. She was a part of the LA office for many years, working as everything from Director of Corporate Branding to Worldwide Director of Art and Design. She is now transitioning her many talents (and her heart) into a new field: art therapy.
Thank you, Jessica!
Just wanted to let you know I just made a small donation on your PayPal. As I pull a little money from my Chiat/Day 401k each month to help cover the cost of my going back to school for my Masters in Clinical Art Therapy and my career change to put thinking & visuals together in a new way after 19 years with the agency, I often reflect on all the amazing adventures, life lessons, drama, creativity, and friendships of my time at Chiat/Day/Mojo\TBWA. This month I pulled a little extra just for you. I'm thinking it probably is from a little bonus Jay gave me in 1992 and so I'm giving it back.
Jay used to say the agency's most valuable asset goes down the elevator and out the door every night. There were so many incredible people I cherish having worked with that are too many to name, but while some people are lucky enough to have a mentor or two, I couldn't believe the list of mentors who taught me life lessons I still use almost each & every day:
It was Kupe (who was my teacher at ArtCenter) who taught me to want to be in a place that does great work; it was another ArtCenter teacher Yvonne Smith that taught me that women were capable of immense talent; it was Jay that taught me to believe in myself (& museums!); it was Lee that taught me to be passionate about seeing and to have love for a place and not jump ship for shiny things; it was Laurie Coots that taught me teamwork, corporate culture, the art of global travel and perseverance; it was Mark Bilfield who taught me to plan for the future (he told me my first week if I contributed to my 401k I'd never miss it but would thank him later - 23 years later I do!!); it was Dave Butler and Jerry Gentile who taught me it was about doing really great work daily and not the flamboyance of awards or credit that others may partake in; it was Amy Miyano who taught me to respect the talents, kerning and space of the hardworking studio team that made the magic real; it was Hank Hinton who taught me that having a quick-witted officemate makes life more enjoyable; it was Margaret Keene who taught me the joys of sharing what I know with others & of laughing in the wee hours; it was Nancy Alley who taught me the importance of respect for everyone in all departments; it was Elaine Hinton & Richard O'Neal who taught me peeking in while ostensibly taking candy is ok —but to let producers do their job; it was Dan & Beth Bootzin who taught me you can get beautiful water from a dry stone if you cut it enough and just the right way; it was Cheryllynn Carter who taught me to laugh and not let naysayers get me down; it was Adam Morgan who taught me to listen to what people really think; It was Jim Juback, Rob Fleming, Diana Johnson, Jill Savage, Shelly Holden and Christine Donohoe who taught me to care about a job all the way through every department to its finish despite what other "creatives" think; it was Velda Ruddock who taught me to research and not stop at the first thing I find; it was Monica Karo who taught me grace under fire, and it was she & Fred Sattler that taught me that it mattered where and how people saw my work; it was Zach Rosenberg who taught me the power of networking and client diplomacy; it was Carol Madonna who taught me to buy myself flowers & the price of a post-it note; it was Amy Moorman & Jigisha Bouverat who taught me to respect copyright law and the talents of contributing artists; and perhaps most importantly, it was my favorite production manager Andrew Edelstein who taught me that late nights were for love and not just for concepting, typesetting, press checks or making comps.
And the donation Steve is to you, for teaching me (and all of us) to be grateful for the special place we were fortunate enough to grow and learn in. As Jay said when he gave me the small cash bonus literally from his own pocket, "I wish it could be more." Once my private practice is on solid ground (& a dent made in my student loan!) I will donate more. Until then, I encourage others to support you & the jay/day site. Thanks for keeping us connected.
Back at ya', Jessica