Kate Baynham ’08: History & Advertising
Having pursued further training in advertising, Kate now lives in San Francisco and works as an Associate Creative Director and writer at the advertising agency, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO MAJOR IN HISTORY AT PC?
Frankly, I stumbled into it. When I was looking to start my undergraduate schooling, I had all my wagons hitched to the star of journalism. I planned to go to an elite school, get a degree in journalism, and write for the Tribune, and maybe become a John Hughes-type character. However, one fateful meeting with the head of the journalism department changed all that. Even before the economic crisis, print journalism had been declared dead and the department head pronounced that path a dead end. So having been accepted to a few other places, I chose PC because it is so stinking charming and decided to study history, which I genuinely enjoyed. Though I accented it with some art classes and English courses, history was my true love.
WHY HAVE YOU DONE SINCE GRADUATING FROM PC?
I did my one year as a good-for-nothing millennial, but then I found advertising. Not intending to sound cultish, but it is where I have always belonged. I went to a portfolio school in Atlanta to prepare myself and create a book that I could take around to ad agencies. Then a recruiter from San Francisco offered me a position at Goodby, Silverstein, & Partners. I advanced from intern to associate director in five years, creating work for clients like Nintendo, Sonic Drive-ins, and Adobe. I’ve also created an anti-bullying campaign that, with the help of Apple and Google, got the first emoji tied to a social cause into every Apple and Android device. Groups like the D&AD, One Club, Art Director’s Club and the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity have since awarded it. And I was recently named one of the ‘Next Creative Leaders of 2017’ by The One Club and The 3% Conference, the latter of which seeks to identify creative women who are making a difference through their work and changing their industry for the better and making way for more diverse voices.
HOW DID YOUR HISTORY MAJOR PREPARE YOU FOR YOUR CAREER PATH?
So much of advertising relies on the human experience. It takes a lot of effort to make a global corporation seem human in 30 seconds. A lot fail at it. Maybe those people were not history majors, because it was through my study of history that I acquired much of the knowledge of the human experience that I use daily.