Evelyn Monroe Neill
Co-Founder, Sanibel Sea School
Formerly a Creative Director at Wieden, Deutsch and Doremus
I fell into advertising. I had an Ivy League degree in Theatre Arts and French. I sold radio to pay the bills by day and acted at night in Key West. Then a nice guy in who owned a lot of radio stations in California told me he thought I’d make a great ad writer. Since I had no clear job path and plenty of college loans, I followed up on it. I went to Portfolio Center and started working at Ogilvy Atlanta with Charlotte Moore. Within six months we took a job at a small shop in Oregon that no one had ever heard of, Wieden & Kennedy. Unbeknownst to us, W&K was under a mandate from Nike to hire a female creative team or else. At that time there weren’t many if any women in the creative departments of Hal Riney, Fallon…
I was at W&K for 11 years. Eventually, I was creative director on Coke and Nike, lead writer on Microsoft and was part of the 6 person team that started the Amsterdam office where I worked for a year and a half. With John Jay, I was creative director on Nike in Asia Pacific. I also did a lot of smaller projects that were creatively fulfilling and weren’t big revenue accounts for the agency: Oregon Tourism, Anne Klein, Alta Vista, Paramount Hotels. We all won a lot of awards those years (if awards matter – which is debatable)
I quit amicably three times – once when I left Amsterdam and after the birth of each of my children. I think every woman should ponder that last sentence – it carries the crux of a lot of issues.
I went to NY in 2001 to a small integrated shop. Then I was a group creative director at Deutsch on Starwood Hotels (Sheraton, Westin) and MCI teamed with Florence Buchanan. For the past 3 years in New York I was the President of Creative at Doremus, an agency that focuses on big business, big banks and complex audiences.
At the moment I am living in Florida starting a non-profit school to teach kids about the ocean with my husband who is a conservation biologist. And I’m freelancing. My kids are now 6 and 9 and I am 43. There you have it.