Lisagh King is truly agency queen as she presides over a busy creative hive. As director of creative services, she manages the ebb and flow of the creative department, which is comprised of graphic designers, art directors, copywriters, production managers and web and digital media developers.
Every new campaign or piece of work must first go through Lisagh, who determines how many creative people will work on the project based on time, budget, the complexity of the project, creative strengths and current workflow. She’s also the agency’s busiest proofreader.
In fact, her job may be an anomaly in the Canadian advertising industry. A business professor contacted her for that very reason while researching his textbook, Integrated Advertising, Promotion and Marketing Communications.
Lisagh’s job organically evolved from a combination of necessity and invention. And she’ll be the first person to tell you how perfectly the job suits her skills, expertise and personality.
“I have a weird aptitude,” she explains. “As creative as I am, it’s not even as close to as pragmatic as I am. I’m right- and left-brain balanced. I’m a person who’s rules-oriented, who likes structure and fairness, and who just happens to be creative.”
The proof is in her education, childhood and work history. The diploma on her wall designates a fine arts degree with a dash of linguistics. Her dad taught her how to sew as a young girl, and from that moment the needle and thread became the medium for a lifetime of impressive crafts and projects, including anagram embroidery (no small feat), piece quilting and dressmaking. Add to these hobbies, a popular blog where she features her projects, and a website dedicated to the world travels of one very naughty sock monkey.
One of Lisagh’s first jobs was at her dad’s busy outerwear manufacturing plant, where she started by organizing threads and sorting items on the assembly line. The remainder of her student years were filled with workplaces that sound just as creative-pragmatic as Lisagh is herself: retail, popcorn shop and daycare.
How she came into the advertising world is both fluke and no surprise. As a creative person, Lisagh was naturally drawn to the industry. So when a friend from university spoke about her job at McKim Communications, the former incarnation of McKim, Lisagh’s ears perked up.
“I realized you could actually do graphic design for a living. I loved that idea.”
Next thing she knew, she had a job at the agency doing layout and design and was forming what would become a lifelong friendship with co-worker Audra Lesosky, who was a copywriter, and who, like Lisagh, is today part of the agency’s management team as VP accounts and strategic services. That was around 1998. Kismet.
“It was truly trial by fire, because within our first few months at the agency, both our bosses left and we were on our own,” says Audra. “We had a unique partnership because Lisagh is a great writer, and I could do design – we respected that in each other.”
Their best work, Audra says, resulted from collaborations where they couldn’t remember which of them came up with the idea.
“It was an exciting environment,” says Lisagh. “It was perfect for learning, with Audra and Ron Sawchuk and Carey Pradinuk all there. With my creative background in fashion and a BFA it all came together.”
Lisagh was eventually promoted to senior art director. After a few twists and turns and more than a decade, Lisagh is now the agency’s director of creative services.
“It was a natural evolution. I pretty much know exactly what it takes to do every job in the agency. And I still dabble in creative from time to time. When the team posts work on the wall for contemplation and feedback, or when ideas are just starting to brew, I always get in there and give my opinion. We work best in a collaborative environment. This type of thought and input is expected and welcome from everyone here.”
“I love this company,” Lisagh continues. “I feel so fortunate that McKim has allowed me to evolve to where I am and that I was encouraged and supported along my journey. Some people grow out of their jobs. Not me. I’m lucky; I grew into mine.”