Leanne Cook: The Creative Collaborator
This article was originally published at Makervillage
When I say Creative Director, you think Donald Draper of Mad Men. When I say Medical Marketing, you think of Microsoft Word flyer templates. However, when I pair the role of Creative Director with the genre of Medical Marketing, you are entirely unsure what to think.
Meet Leanne Cook. She’s currently the Senior Marketing Director at Northwest Georgia’s Harbin Clinic, the largest privately owned medical clinic in Georgia. In addition, she is the co-owner of Sturdy Girl Sports, an award-winning sports bra producer designed for the well endowed. To further round out her persona and further complicate the formation of any stereotypes, she majored in English Literature while attending Berry College and contributed to the creation of the integrated marketing field in Atlanta. Also, somewhere along the way she squeezed in a Masters of Divinity from Emory University.
As with most passionate people, the road from there to here, wherever it may be, was not an assembly line life. Although she had a gift for words, Leanne did not land the Facebook status worthy job directly after graduation. She did have offers. She did have opportunities. However, the correct combination of patience and providence, soon moved Leanne from a waitressing job at Houston’s at Lennox Square to an internship with a small but noteworthy ad agency. This was the catalyst for a career driven by a passion for fostering creative collaboration.Along the way, she has worked with a rock star client list including AT&T, Publix Super Markets, and British Airways. Also—no big deal—she has served as the Executive Director of Marketing for the Savannah College of Art and Design. From press release writer to top shelf marketing professional, Leanne Cook is a world changer.
How do you pair the chaos of creativity with the specific and measurable goals of a marketing department? What’s your secret recipe?
Creative ideas do not work unless tied very intentionally to the specifics of the marketing strategy. I do not like funny and off the wall for the sake of funny and off the wall. It may work for an Avant-garde artist but it will not cut it in the world of professional marketing. At Harbin, my team and I, all day everyday work to be inventive, be original, and to match our content to our customer. However, the “great ideas” are only art and words unless they track back to the strategy.
And I believe these “great ideas” can come from anyone on the team, a writer, a designer, or even an intern. Behind every successful campaign, the ones people remember and respond to, is a creative collaboration, and behind every creative collaboration is a team determined to produce strategic, sensational content.
Her energy is compelling. Her passion is evident. With over 25 years experience in cultivating creative collaboration, Leanne is a natural leader and a willing teacher. As she continues to propel her team toward excellence, often crafting the copy herself or discovering the “great idea,” she visualizes the role of creative director as a coach for a team of capable and ambitious art directors, graphic designers, and copywriters. Together, they hustle toward the goal of creating that “strategic, sensational content.”
So, she’s not Donald Draper, and she has no particular affinity for Comic Sans. You might be tempted to describe her as a marketing guru, and we might agree. An entrepreneur. A theologian. A former waitress. Labeling a life should never be easy, and in the case of Leanne Cook, why bother, because who knows what she will be doing next.