By thelaegotist / /
VCU Brandcenter, one of the most respected graduate advertising programs in the country and among the industry, has named award-winning creative veteran, has named award-winning creative veteran, Vann Graves, as its new Executive Director. Currently Chief Creative Officer at JWT Atlanta, Graves is set to begin his new role on August 10th, taking him back to his native Richmond. He follows an esteemed roster of industry executives who have led the Brandcenter, among them, founder Diane Cook-Tench, Rick Boyko, Helayne Spivak and most recently, interim executive director, Brad Armstrong.
Graves began his career in 1993 as an intern at BBDO and worked his way up to the role of VP and Creative Director. Following the events on 9/11, he decided to leave advertising and enlist in the U.S. Army, where he rose to the rank of Captain and became a decorated combat veteran for his service in Iraq. After seven years in the Army, Graves joined McCann WorldGroup as a vice president and creative director in 2009.
According to Graves, BBDO taught him to focus on making great creative work while the U.S. Army taught him to lead — two important skills he uses daily as an advertising executive. Throughout his career Graves has worked across mega brands like Shell Oil Co, American Airlines, MasterCard, Coke, M&M’s, AT&T and GE, to name a few.
“Vann’s unique combination of skills, along with his energy, influence and ties to Richmond make him the perfect fit to take the helm of the VCU Brandcenter,” said Ed Grier, dean of the VCU School of Business. “As businesses of all types are starting to recognize the importance of creative problem- solving, Vann’s leadership of the Brandcenter will play a critical role in the advertising industry and beyond.”
Throughout his career Graves has worked across mega brands like Shell Oil Co, American Airlines, MasterCard, Coke, M&M’s, AT&T and GE, to name a few.
“The decision to come to the Brandcenter was an easy one,” Graves said. “The VCU Brandcenter embodies a culture of creative thinking and craft that is second to none and as our industry continues to evolve these are the skills that will be critical for its future leaders. The reputation of the school combined with such an amazing group of talented individuals in the alumni, the faculty and staff, the board and the members of the VCU community made this a unique opportunity and one that I was immediately drawn to.”