Rather than just repeat my bio, which is available on the VCU Brandcenter site, I thought I’d tell you a little story about my career:

I attended the Cooper Union School of Art

After graduation, I worked as an art director for a small firm in midtown

When my first son was born, I left New York to work at a small ad agency in Virginia

I worked for several local agencies, becoming a senior art director, creative supervisor and creative director, then…

I started my own company, O’Keefe Marketing

In 1994, I launched O’Keefe Interactive, one of the first Internet marketing companies

The business became one of many voices advocating a revolution in the way brands were built

As a result, we were named AdWeek‘s Southeast Agency of the Year, they called me a “web pioneer” and told us we were the youngest agency ever to win

I was named Virginia Entrepreneur of the Year and Richmond Ad Person of the Year

Over the years, my creative work has won dozens of awards, including The One Show, CA, Print magazine, the Clios, Art Directors Annual and AIGA

I sold the business to Cadmus Communications and became group president for their marketing division

I also became a partner in a venture capital firm, Monument Capital

Later, I left Cadmus and formed a branding firm, Emergence, which focused on the intersection of new media and brand building

Emergence bought an Atlanta-based creative business and attempted to integrate it with our core business – After several rocky years the business was closed down – a painful lesson in humility

Since then I’ve run O’Keefe Brands, advising companies like ESPN, Hamilton Beach, UPS and the NAB, as well as entrepreneurial businesses, venture capital firms and investment bankers

Throughout this history, I’ve been a board member of nonprofit organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs, AdTech, the Southern Technology Council, FIRST Robotics and St. Joseph’s Villa, and for companies like Rasmussen Reports, FirstSTREET and Office Furniture USA

I also served as board member of the VCU Brandcenter at the time of it’s launch

I spent 10 years on the board before joining the graduate program as professor and director of executive education in 2006

Throughout my career I’ve tried to remain an artist, a thinker, a challenger of conventions and an advocate for honest, effective and culturally meaningful approaches to building brands