As the Director of W+K Studios and JOINT at Wieden + Kennedy (Portland), Patty Brebner is a pretty big deal.
She’s the one running things behind-the-scenes of many of the most iconic brand stories and spokespeople we all recognize—the likes of Nike, Coca-Cola, and KFC to name a few. But you won’t find her taking the credit; she saves that for the teams she drives to create the next best thing. Take a peak inside the mind of one of the leaders driving innovation at AdAge’s 2019 Agency of the Year.
What inspired you to get into this industry?
Passion for storytelling and the craft behind it.
How has your role in the production process changed over your career?
When I started in the industry, I was supporting production. Now I’m accountable for driving it. That means more strategic leadership—managing managers, talent and relationship strategy, business development.
The most exciting aspect is that our industry is constantly changing, innovating, and challenging how to tell or experience a story.
The most exciting aspect is that our industry is constantly changing, innovating and challenging how to tell or experience a story.
What is one piece of advice you wish you had gotten earlier in your career?
Work to retain partnership or stakeholder status. Don’t merely take a job as an employee, but advocate for—and be willing to take risks for—a larger stake in a project, business, partnership, etc.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Passion. I respect anyone who’s passionate about their idea.
Conviction. I’m inspired by those who stand for something (without wavering), especially when it’s unpopular or risky.
Selflessness and resiliency. I’m inspired by those who put their talent and the work first, and are able to pivot or recover from setbacks.
Risk-takers. People who break every rule of status quo and find success. Creatives who approach something completely outside of convention and are able to tune out distractions that take away from their intended goal.
Humility. The most visionary and talented people are humble, generous and always own their mistakes.
The most visionary and talented people are humble, generous and always own their mistakes.
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done on the job?
Visiting the Minister of Culture in France to secure permission to shoot at the Palais Garnier.
What do you love about working in Oregon?
Everyone is singularly focused on the work and the talent. Fewer distractions make a highly creative, talented, focused, and innovative community.
We also get small town lifestyle benefits with big city creative and professional opportunities in a highly supportive environment.
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