Leo Burnett Celebrates 87th Anniversary with the Greatest Show On Earth

On the agency’s anniversary, Leo Burnett honors “Milestoners” who are agency veterans, alongside newly welcomed talent including participants in the Pencil Project.

As one of the most awarded creative agencies in the world, we proudly celebrated our achievements and our amazing talent during Leo Burnett’s 87th anniversary on August 5, 2022. To commemorate the day, we gathered for a carnival on Lake Michigan in Chicago.

Leo Burnett opened our storied agency at the height of the Great Depression, placing a bowl of apples at the reception desk for visitors. Every year in August, offices around the world preserve that same generous spirit, by recognizing our people and dynamic communities. Find a list of our “Milestoners” below – agency veterans who have built their careers in advertising with us through the years.

All the while, the agency moves at the speed of culture and centers humans in all we do. This includes our Pencil Project philanthropy, a program that provides opportunities through non-traditional pathways for the next generation of creators – encompassing mentorship, scholarship opportunities, and career pathing.

We are proud to share the experiences of our interns from the Pencil Project, as well as alum of the program who have come on board as full-time employees.

Megan LaRocque (She/Her)
Art Director Intern, from Cawker City, Kansas

The case competition at Fort Hays State University (FHSU) prompted Megan to participate in the Pencil Project. She shares that it has been an eye-opening experience to work with notable companies and see the creative process unfold, from brief to production.

In the future, Megan is interested in working for a corporation much like Leo Burnett, where she can become a Sr. Art Director and possibly start her own branding business for upcoming companies. Megan encourages those interested in the program to never be afraid to ask questions.

Omar Strong (He/Him)
Production Intern, from Chicago, Illinois

Omar became aware of the Pencil Project from the Creative Bootcamp Leo Burnett started at Chicago State University (CSU), getting a glimpse of branding and learning about creative strategy.

As a production intern, he has been able to learn how audio and visuals come together for advertisement. Omar advises prospective participants to maintain the drive and passion to bring fresh ideas into the mix. The Pencil Project has provided Omar with insight on creativity when coming up with a product, as well as pinpointing how to reach a particular demographic.

Miguel Lee (He/Him)
Business Leadership Intern, from Florida

Miguel also became interested in the Pencil Project through the Creative Bootcamp at CSU. He has learned the fun behind advertising and the overall creative process. In the future, he hopes to work on a film or in television production, whether it be in front of the camera as an actor or behind the scenes. Miguel shares that he’s had an unexpected journey and one that he will remember for years to come.

Luka Gray (They/Them)
Sr. Art Director, from Minneola, Kansas

In the Pencil Project’s earliest stages, Luka was drawn to the program because it validated their own unique and meaningful perception of advertising. Coming from an impoverished rural Kansas town, they felt that the aspirations of a queer and quiet child were limited growing up.

Luka shares that Leo Burnett provided them with a network of colleagues that have become allies, role models, and friends. Being a multidisciplinary artist, they were given the freedom to explore non-traditional roles in advertising under the guidance of great mentors. Luka lives for the late-night “aha” moments when a project is coming together and intends to follow the passion of training the next generation of creatives!

Morgan Choitz (She/Her)
Sr. Art Director, from Hays, Kansas

From the start, Morgan understood that the Pencil Project would offer valuable insight into the real world of advertising. Through the program, she learned that everyone wouldn’t love the same exact things, and feedback would vary. “Everyone has their own opinions, take it, learn from it and move on!”

To someone else considering the Pencil Project, Morgan encourages to be yourself and remain genuine. Morgan shares that participating in the program has opened doors to new opportunities and connected her with people she wouldn’t have known before.

Emily Brecht (She/Her)
Jr. Art Director, from Wichita, Kansas

Emily was drawn to the reputation of the Pencil Project and the opportunity to gather valuable critiques from creatives in the industry. She immediately learned the value of teamwork from copywriters, strategists, UX designers, production artists, and overall business leadership. As a lifelong learner, she is thrilled to have found an agency that fosters growth and offers the chance to work alongside some of the most talented people in advertising – shaping her confidence in the industry and inspiring the spirit of creation.

 Paige Simpson (She/Her)
Jr. Art Director, from Salina, Kansas

Paige was drawn to the Pencil Project by the unique objectives to show her skills to create, inspire, and tell her story. She has learned the power of storytelling and hopes to live a life full of continuous learning and doing the things that make her happy.

Paige encourages others to find team support and to not be afraid to speak up for themselves. She underscores that the Pencil Project has helped her reach complete creative potential, specifically for graphic design.

Looking forward to the future, we also honor the following “Milestoners” who have made a legacy at Leo Burnett:

  • Susan McGarrigle, Vice President, Director, Agency Operations – 40 years
  • Molly Stewart, Vice President, Director, Talent Management – 35 years
  • Tom Keramidas, Senior Vice President, Executive Producer – 35 years
  • Caryn Kosinski, Rights Manager – 35 years
  • Vito Sabsay, Associate Creative Director, Art Director – 30 years
  • Mark Burgess, Executive Vice President, Head of Business Leadership – 30 years
  • Marty Harper, Executive Vice President, Strategy Director – 30 years
  • Gerry McAvoy, Senior Vice President, Director, Agency Operations – 25 years
  • Tameko Smith, Associate Director, Resource Manager – 25 years
  • Jim Stallman, Senior Vice President, Executive Creative Director – 25 years
  • Toni Duttweiler, Account Director – 25 years
  • Jennifer Kaczmarek, Senior Copy Editor- 25 years
  • Billie Smith, Chief Talent Officer, Publicis Communications North America Central Region – 25 years
  • Christopher Warmanen, Vice President, Creative Director, Copywriter – 20 years
  • Nickay Penado, Senior Vice President, Account Director – 20 years
  • Eing Omathikul, Vice President, Design Director – 20 years
  • Meghan Miller, Vice President, Director, Client Finance – 20 years
  • Todd Thiry, Vice President, Creative Director, Copywriter – 20 years
  • Karen Markos, Asset Manager – 20 years
  • Jennifer Valentini, Senior Vice President, Publicis Communications United States Controller – 20 years
  • Tony Cregler, Senior Vice President, Director, Strategy – 20 years
  • Andy Knudsen, Manager, Core Data & Analytics –15 years
  • Laura Dauley, Vice President, Creative Director, Art Director –15 years
  • Andrew Page, Manager, Agency Operations – 15 years
  • Matthew Curran, Senior Vice President, Account Director – 15 years
  • Randy Rogers, Production Designer – 15 years
  • Steve Bonnell, Executive Vice President, Global Client Leader – 15 years
  • Kate McClean, Account Director – 15 years
  • Chris von Ende, Senior Vice President, Creative Director, Art Director – 15 years
  • Marshall Medler, Vice President, Core Data & Analytics – 15 years
  • Ana Matta, Vice President, Director, Strategy – 10 years
  • Patrick Brennan, Strategist –10 years
  • Cyndi Hanlin, Design Director –10 years
  • Allana Emery, Client Finance Director – 10 years
  • Jenny Lapp, Senior Strategist –10 years
  • Scott Manthei, Senior Systems Analyst – 10 years
  • James Errico, Production Designer –10 years
  • Christopher Bridgland, Executive Vice President, Strategy Director –10 years
  • Spencer Peters, Vice President, Account Director –10 years
  • Darlene White, Associate Director, Creative Resource Management –10 years
  • Alex Alvarez, Production Designer –10 years
  • Alex Fuller, Senior Vice President, Design Director –10 years
  • Jake Brusha, Senior Digital Photographer – 10 years
  • Deirdra Donahue, Senior Vice President, Director Equity and Inclusion –10 years
  • Lauren Marion, Vice President, Director, Digital Strategy –10 years
  • Ricardo Cuellar, Associate Director, Client Finance –10 years
  • Susan Anderson, Senior Producer –10 years
  • Kelly Gibson, Senior Business Manager –10 years
  • Phoebe Alvarez, Director, Creative Resource Management –10 years
  • Rebecca Kastelic, Associate Creative Director, Art Director – 5 years
  • Juan Carlos, Senior Designer – 5 years
  • Jeff Norman, Senior Copywriter – 5 years
  • Cody Kupiainen, Billing Specialist – 5 years
  • Jeff Jimenez, Job Specialist – 5 years
  • Scott Taylor, Associate Manager – 5 years
  • Latisha Groves, Senior Analyst, Financial Reporting & Controls – 5 years
  • Marnie Chase, Financial Controls Analyst – 5 years
  • Charon Dennis, Financial Controls Analyst – 5 years
  • Tammy Kerekes, Billing Specialist – 5 years
  • Dan Cernugel, Associate Manager – 5 years
  • Amy Manning, Business Manager – 5 years
  • Stephanie Dials, Senior Vice President, Director, Strategy – 5 years
  • Emily Levy, Senior Account Executive – 5 years
  • James Lee, Associate Creative Director, Art Director – 5 years
  • Alex DeFranco, Project Manager – 5 years
  • Caroline Schoenberger, Senior Analyst, Digital Marketing Operations – 5 years
  • Sam Schmidt, Client Business Manager – 5 years
  • Kevin Omans, Senior Interaction Designer – 5 years
  • Ingrid Mortonson, Senior Account Executive – 5 years
  • Brette Wakefield, Associate Director, Finance – 5 years
  • Mark Zellner, Experience Engineer – 5 years
  • Austin Paramore, Senior Copywriter – 5 years
  • Bobby Kuhn, Senior Copywriter – 5 years
  • Sara Hill, Account Supervisor – 5 years
  • Marieli Ronda, Account Supervisor – 5 years
  • Paco Fernandez, Associate Creative Director, Art Director – 5 years
  • Keisha Wilson, Billing Specialist – 5 years
  • Loryn Smith, Account Director – 5 years