32 Under 32: Patrice Speed

By Egotist / /

Patrice Speed – Associate Creative Director at Cibo. She’s our next fabulous interview in our 32 Under 32 Series from the SF Egotist and AD2SF. Give it a read and learn more about another young leader in our community.


Congrats on being chosen as one of the top 32 advertising and marketing professionals under 32. We selected people who really go above and beyond in their work. How do you think you approach your job differently than other people?

I try not to think of it like a job. I’m lucky enough to get to do something I’m really passionate about every day. That helps. Also my main gig is never my only gig. I always try to have two to three side projects going on at any given time from consultant work to photoshoots. Intentionally creating variety in my work keeps me engaged and inspired, which in turn gives me the energy to treat every day at work like it’s my first day.

What kind of accounts/projects are you working on these days?

I work on all kinds of different projects from advertising campaigns to site redesigns to live events. I spent a lot of the last year working on Lenovo doing product launches for them. Our team launched 7 products in 12 months, it was intense and we were averaging about a campaign a month for a while, but it was a great experience. I’ve also been consulting for a startup called Britelite Immersive and helping them with interactive events like the first ever TEDx conference at the United Nations. At the moment I’m doing a project with Tesla Motors.

What is it about where you currently work that really pushes you to be better?

Right now I’m working at Cibo, which is an independent agency where everyone in the building works on making stuff. Anyone who sits at a desk in the office is creating work in some way, which I think is a great model for an agency. There’s less bureaucracy getting in the way of doing creative and therefore less excuses. It’s also a place where everyone has a voice and a lot of autonomy, which is an environment I thrive in. Every decision you make and piece of work you do can have an effect on the overall company so you feel a sense of ownership in it. Knowing my own job is in my hands pushes me to work harder and swing for the fence every time.

In thinking over your career so far, what work had made you the proudest?

It’s not necessarily a piece of work, but recently I’ve started teaching at the Miami Ad School and I feel a lot of pride when my students bring in great ideas. I’ve been really impressed when they walk away from a lesson and come back a week later with campaigns that incorporate what we covered in class in a really polished package. Teaching is challenging and rewarding at the same time. Writing lesson plans from scratch on top of working crazy advertising hours can feel like a balancing act, but it makes me happy to contribute to the future of the industry. If I could look back in a few years and see that all of my students are wildly successful that would make me really proud! (No pressure, guys.)

We hear you’re involved in SheSays SF. Tell us about that.

Sure. SheSays is a global organization for women in advertising. There are chapters in cities all over the globe now and I’ve been helping to run the San Francisco chapter for a few years. We hold free events where speakers talk about a wide variety of topics and also offer mentorships. Ale Lariu, one of the founders has recently expanded SheSays to include digital classes and a hotlist of female creatives.

I fell into the role of organizer for SheSays somewhat early in my career when I reached out to Ale looking for a mentor in San Francisco. She said, “I don’t have a chapter in San Francisco yet! Do you want to help get it started?” I’ve been doing it every since. Championing women in the creative industry is something I’m really passionate about. There are many more women in the industry now than there used to be, but they don’t always stay and they don’t always make it to the top. Hosting SheSays events is my way of contributing to trying to change that. It’s like hosting little mini versions of the 3% Conference all year long. That sounds kind of lofty! But even if all I do is create a space in SF where people can come and get inspired and network a bit that’s OK, too. The San Francisco chapter is on track this year to have an event every other month and they are free for anyone who wants to attend. The purpose is to inspire and connect women in advertising but we always have guys who show up, too. I’m glad they’re interested in what we’re talking about! The more the merrier.

Here’s a ridiculously clichéd interview question for you: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

While I am an obsessive goal setter, I don’t know where I’ll be in ten years and I like that. Part of why I love advertising is that every day is different and things are always changing. The industry is always shifting and giving you an opportunity to make it into whatever you want to be. I hope that in 10 years I’m still really inspired and passionate about my work and that I’m doing kickass projects with cool people. That’s my sweet spot of a happy and successful career. I don’t want to overthink it.

This might be tough, but here’s your chance to give a shout out to one person who has helped you get to where you are today. Go.

Just one?!?! I’ve had so many great mentors and people championing and guiding me. I’ve been really lucky in that way. Many of the bosses I’ve worked for have been women I still keep in touch with and call for every bit of career and life advice I need. Pamela Raitt, Paige Grossman Nelson, Adriana Sesana, Lori Jepsen, Alle Aufderhaar… among others. They’re my board of advisors and I owe them a lot.