Twenty five years ago, Dan and Dave set up a card table and started an advertising agency with one small client, Nike. 25 years later, Nike is an empire in the shoe industry and Wieden + Kennedy is the world’s largest independently owned advertising agency network. Sounds like a good reason to celebrate how far we have come. For this founders day, WK New York came to Portland to party with us. Like any good gathering, it is good manners to bring a contribution. A bottle of wine or dessert would be nice. This was a different kind of event. A different kind of party. The folks from NYC brought us all something that can’t simply be put in a package. They brought the original Rock Steady Crew to help get this whole thing started.
Dan And Dave gave us a nice reflection of how far they have come and let us in on the founding principles of this agency that has become a world leader in communications.
This year founder’s day was a two day event. The first day featured several guest speakers. Rives, Alex Steffen, Cameron Sinclair, Graham McReynolds, Daniel Gilbert and Arrianna Huffington.
Rives has appeared on the last three seasons of HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam,” and was a cast member of the “Def Poetry Jam” international touring group. He was an individual finalist at the 2002 and 2004 National poetry slams, and his team, team Hollywood, won the national title in 2004, as seen in the documentary “Slam Planet.”
Alex Steffen has been a newspaper columnist, a radio producer and host, and an on-air television news analyst. His beat is looking for ways to create a future that is sustainable, Dynamic, prosperous, and fair—a future that is both bright and green. His work has taken him around the world, working as an environmental journalist on four continents, and has also led him to provide strategic consultation to over fifty environmental and many foresight projects. Check out his website here.
Cameron Sinclair is the co-founder and executive director of Architecture for Humanity, a charitable organization that promotes architecture and design solutions to humanitarian crises and provides design services to communities in need. Currently he is working in nine countries on projects ranging from school building and tsunami and hurricane reconstruction to developing mobile medical facilities to combat HIV AIDS.
He trained as an architect at the University of Westminster and at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London. During his studies, Mr. Sinclair developed an interest in social, cultural, and humanitarian design.
Graham McReynolds, executive vice president, marketing, for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, is a celebrated leader and activist. Prior to his current role, Graham served the local ms community as the president of the Oregon Chapter of the National MS Society.
Daniel Gilbert is a leader in the study of affective forecasting, or how people predict their emotional reactions to a he is the author of the 2006 national bestseller “Stumbling on Happiness” which has been published in 21 countries and received rave reviews
Arianna Huffington is a nationally syndicated columnist, author of eleven books and co-founder and editor of the huffingtonpost.com. She is also co-host of “Left, Right & Center,” Public Radio’s popular political roundtable program. Her weekly commentary is syndicated in newspapers across the country by Tribune Media Services. In 2005, she launched the Huffington Post, an internet publishing venture featuring an innovative group blog where some of this country’s most creative minds weigh in on topics great and small, political and cultural, important or just plain entertaining.
Dan and the partners of the agency gave some of their perspectives and answered some questions from the audience. They also celebrated the career of Gail Jacobson who has answered the phones here at WK for 19 years. Gail is retiring and she was honnored by everyone in the building for her contribution. Nay a dry eye in the house.
With our heads full of inspiration it was now time to soak the gullet and enjoy the afternoon sun. Everyone was out on the roof to enjoy what turned out to be one of the nicest days we have had this year in Portland.
After the roof it was on down to Bar XV in old town. Everyone was primed to get their freak on into the wee hours. And we did.
Friday morning was an awful hangover for some. Those capable of regaining consciousness had several choices of activities to do. Kayaking on the Willamette River, speed race go-karts at a race track, a hike up to the rose gardens, a mid day lap dance at Portland’s oldest strip club, Mary’s, or visit the historical Shanghai Tunnels. Later on, we were bused out to a secret location for a huge blowout party. We were greeted at the entrance by burlesque fire dancers, unicyclists, magicians, fortunetellers, jugglers and other freaks. A massive puke generator called the Tornado stood idle for anyone who dared. A carnival of epic proportions for everyone to enjoy.
The Beastie Boys.
A huge thanks to Sudeep, Jose, Michelle Seely, Dan Wieden, David Kennedy and an endless list of others who helped make Founders Day XXV happen.