Patti McConnell: Something Different Co-founder & Managing Partner

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My Native Admission Statement: My partner, Tommy Henvey, and I love everything about this business. Not just advertising, but entertainment, marketing, storytelling…simply creating and making stuff. We’d worked in celebrated agencies, but back in 2008, the business started to change. The bottom fell out. The relationship between agencies and clients changed. There wasn’t a partnership any longer. After that, every year became a little more soul-sucking. In 2014, Tommy and I decided to do something. We were on location in Los Angeles, we had some downtime and we drew up a business plan. At that time, we didn’t know exactly what our model would be, but we knew we had to get back to what we loved about the business. That meant creating ideas, telling stories, working directly with clients, nurturing those relationships. Two years later, the stars aligned, and we had the opportunity to launch Something Different. It was the perfect time for a new model to emerge. We were going to be lean and mean. We were going to work alongside clients, bring them behind the scenes and make them part of the process. We also curated our staff in a particular way. It took a year to hire our director of accounts, Meghan Linehan, because we felt we had to get it right. And you know what? It couldn’t be more right. Garrett Crabb, our special ops/agency oversight manager is also absolutely perfect. Nobody else could be Garrett. Everybody who works at Something Different is exactly who they should be. We’re growing, but don’t want to grow so fast that we lose any bit of the sheer joy we get out of what we do.

What’s your career advice for young people in the industry?

Be a sponge. Listen. Leave your ego at the door. It doesn’t mean you can’t have a strong personality or definitive opinions, but if you have to be the center of attention, it’s going to be bumpy. A lot of times, you have to step back, listen, learn the room and understand the dynamics. If you do that, trust and comfort develops. That’s when you can emerge and find your place. And, you gotta be who you are. If you’re faking it, it won’t be five minutes before someone sees through you. Lastly, remember that there’s never a “no.” There is always a way to figure it out and make it great. Our job is to do just that. There’s always a way. It may be hard, but it can be smart, calm, savvy and joyful too.