COEx | Seattle

Creative Operations Exchange

January 28-29, 2021
Renaissance Hotel | Seattle, WA

This event was rescheduled from the original dates of July 23-24, 2020

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January 2021


Day One

  • 7:30 AM
    Registration & Networking Breakfast
  • 8:20 AM

    Welcome and Chairperson’s Opening Remarks

  • 8:30 AM

    Featured Panel: Examining Our Biggest Challenges and Biggest Wins in Creative Operations This (Very Complicated) Year

    Creative operations leaders share the inside scoop on:

    • • How they overcame their biggest challenges during the height of the COVID-19 crisis
    • • Lessons learned from working through the pandemic that will change the future of creative ops
    • • How they achieved their biggest successes, and what you can learn
    • • New opportunities and challenges they see on the horizon
    • • Bring your own questions to this spirited discussion! Or submit them early to: [email protected]

    Karen Hodges, Head of Studio Operations

    Molly Queen, Senior Director, WhiteSpace Internal Agency

    Brian Unflat, Creative Director

    Evan Mager, ice President, Brand Strategy and Operations

    Travis O’Neal, Director, Creative Operations

  • 9:35 AM

    Optimally Integrating Remote Workers into Your Creative Team

    With the recent crisis, creative leaders have developed a new set of insights on team members’ working remotely. We look at strategies they are using to seamlessly integrate remote employees:

    • • Using technologies most adapted facilitating remote work
    • • Choosing collaborators whose roles are best suited to being a remote member of a team
    • • Strategies for training remote workers
    • • Ensuring remote collaborators remain engaged and motivated

    Wayne Barringer, Director of Creative Services

  • 10:20 AM
    Morning Networking Break
  • 10:35 AM

    CASE STUDY: Lessons Learned from Building an In-House Agency from Scratch

    Hear how two innovative companies brought agency needs in-house for a large percentage of their work. The session examines:

    • • Creative an agency blueprint
    • • Establishing an SOW
    • • Building out phases
    • • Org structure
    • • Resource planning
  • 11:45 AM

    Spotlight: Leveraging the Chaos of Constant Change to Build a Dynamic In- House Creative Team

    At Quicken Loans, the in-house marketing agency embraces the idea that “the only constant is change.” They focus on a set of core principles that create a stable environment keeping team members engaged and allowing them to thrive. These concepts include:

    • • Establishing an overall purpose
    • • Working “on” the business, not just “in” the business
    • • The key role of communication

    Kristin Licata, Senior Director, Marketing Operations

  • 12:15 PM
    Networking Luncheon


  • 1:30 PM

    How ‘Authentic’ Leadership Drives Team Harmony and Success

    A journey in self-awareness to become more in-tune and connected with employees–getting the best out of them AND yourself. Gen Y and Z are entering in-house organizations bringing new workforce and managerial dynamics with them. This session will reveal how new managerial methodologies such as vulnerability and mindfulness can unlock the true power of ‘team.’

    Paul Kidd, Senior Creative Design Manager

  • 2:10 PM

    Managing the Dramatic Growth in Video on the Horizon

    Fully 59% of in-house agency teams project their demand for video will grow in the near future, and yet there is widespread uncertainty about how to cope. This session looks at strategies for:

    • • Determining whether to build or expand in-house capabilities or look to outside vendors, or both
    • • Estimating future needs
    • • Developing a staffing strategy
    • • Tracking key metrics for video production

    Lorien Steele, Creative Director


  • 1:30 PM

    What Are the Key Attributes for a Successful Creative Project Manager?

    In this unique discussion, PM leaders review the key skills and qualities that you can hone to optimize your effectiveness as a project manager.

    Sherry Choe, Director/Senior Creative Project Manager

    Sara Johnson, Creative Project Manager

    Maria Estigoy, former Project Manager

    Additional panelists to be announced
  • 2:10 PM

    Effective Pre-Planning on Projects and Setting Realistic Goals

    A key element of effective PM is understanding where the project is headed. This involves evaluating a project from the outset to establish clear goals, with an achievable final objective and realistic checkpoints along the way. We look at:

    • • Determining the feasibility of your project’s timeline
    • • Setting effective interim progress goals
    • • Involving creative personnel in initial planning

    Leslie Patinkin, Director of Operations

  • 2:50 PM
    Afternoon Networking Break


  • 3:20 PM

    Case Study: Optimal Data-Driven Decision-Making

    Utilizing web-based project management software and their payroll time entry system, this company optimizes decision-making focused on:

    • • Staffing and forecasting
    • • Aligning resources to client groups
    • • Performance management
    • • Budget tracking

    Jeff Schlotzhauer, Visual Communications Operations Manager

  • 4:00 PM

    Agile Methodologies—Are They the Answer for Boosting Creative Ops Effectiveness?

    In a key study, 61% of marketers said they plan to integrate Agile methodologies into their workflow in the next year. This session looks at Agile’s potential applications in the creative ops field and how you can apply them in your own context.

    • • Understanding the origins of Agile in IT
    • • Examining Agile methodologies such as: dividing a project into stages, constant collaboration with stakeholders, and strategies for continuous improvement
    • • Hearing from creative teams where the methodologies have made a difference

    Evan Mager, Vice President, Brand Strategy and Operations


  • 3:20 PM

    Our Favorite Strategies and Tools for Effective Project Management

    Find out how these senior leaders address project management and process evaluation holistically, and how they’ve boosted their teams’ performance.

    Brynne Roberts, Director, Creative Operations

  • 4:00 PM

    Creating a Culture Where Great Creative Happens

    Insights for shaping an environment conducive to optimal creativity include:

    • • Eradicating Fear – fear is the enemy of creativity; it is your role to protect your team
    • • Empowering Your Team – getting the most out of your team means giving up some of your creative control
    • • Recruiting and hiring the right people is one of your greatest creative acts.
    • • Growth – a healthy creative culture focuses on individual growth

    Nick Kelly, Creative Director

  • 4:35 PM

    Interactive Breakout Session

    This is a unique opportunity to compare notes with your fellow creative ops professionals. Choose a topic and go deep— get answers to your specific questions and hear insights from attendees on the challenges you face.

    • • Topic: TBA
    • • Topic: TBA
    • • Topic: TBA
  • 5:20 PM
    Networking Reception


January 2021


Day Two

  • 7:45 AM
    Networking Breakfast
  • 8:25 AM

    Chairperson’s Recap of Day One

  • 8:30 AM

    Creative Director Senior Leadership Panel-- The Inside Scoop on How They Are Navigating An Evolving Environment

    Senior leaders from both in-house and external agency perspectives share their insights on the evolving landscape, where in-house agencies are playing an ever- greater role. This in-depth conversation will look at:

    • • How are relationships between in-house and outside agencies evolving to streamline operations and more effectively achieve goals?
    • • How can in-house teams better serve internal stakeholders and enhance the strategic value they add to their companies?
    • • How are external agencies adapting to the trend to more and larger in- house teams?
    • • How can creative ops and project management roles evolve to become more effective?
  • 9:30 AM

    How Can You Demonstrate the Value of Your Creative Work to Company Leaders?

    With more and more creative agencies in-house, their work increasingly represents a key force behind achieving business objectives. However, it remains the responsibility of creative leaders to make clear the value to the company of their teams’ work, in order to gain a seat at the strategic table and more effectively contribute to the business’ success. This session examines:

    • • Measuring key metrics such as ROI for creative operations
    • • Ensuring you are looking at the whole picture, by including effects on aspects that are more difficult to measure such as building a brand image, customer engagement and retention
    • • Strategies for demonstrating the value of in-house versus external creative operations
    • • Ensuring you understand your company’s overall goals in order to speak the same language as business leaders
    • • Using data to advocate for increased creative budgets

    Paul Kidd, Senior Creative Design Manager

    Carrie Crow, Creative & Photo Operations Director

  • 10:15 AM
    Morning Networking Break


  • 10:30 AM

    Reducing the Administrative Burden for Creatives

    Research shows that nearly half of creatives spend at least one day per week on administrative tasks. We examine innovative strategies for improving productivity by minimizing administrative work for creative teams.

    Brennan Swing, Vice President, Creative Media

    Andy DeVito, Director, Creative Services & Branding

  • 11:10 AM

    Special Case Study: Innovations at WhiteSpace Agency

    Learn how Abbott Nutrition’s in-house agency known as WhiteSpace has evolved from largely a production shop to a full-service in-house team. The session examines their innovations in:

    • • Finding the best path forward in terms of financial models, talent mapping, mission and more
    • • Selling WhiteSpace within the organization and demonstrating where value is added
    • • Moving beyond the external/internal rate differential to real value as defined by time to market, better utilization of resources, and thought leadership
    • • Tiering, express work, bench talent and more
    • • Lessons learned along the way and adapting to shifting needs

    Molly Queen, Senior Director, WhiteSpace In-House Agency

    Chris Warga, Production Manager, WhiteSpace In-House Agency

  • 11:40 AM

    Interactive Breakout Sessions

    Small group discussions with your fellow attendees where you can brainstorm, problem-solve, and seek solutions to immediate challenges.

    • • Topic: TBA
    • • Topic: TBA
    • • Topic: TBA


  • 10:30 AM

    Special Feature: Understanding PM Career Paths

    This session provides an inside look at how leading PM professionals have moved up in the field and what you can learn from their success, including:

    • • Positioning yourself for advancement within the creative department at your company or elsewhere
    • • Leveraging creative department PM experience to advance into another field
    • • Evaluating the benefits of available formal training options and PMI certification

    Brynne Roberts, Director, Creative Operations

  • 11:10 AM

    Panel Discussion: Project Manager/Account Manager—Can the Roles be Combined?

    This session examines the pros and cons of giving PMs the added responsibilities of account management. We examine how some companies have combined the roles, and why your organization may or may not want to follow their example.

    Maria Estigoy, former Project Manager

    Leslie Patinkin, Director of Operations

  • 11:40 AM

    Interactive Breakout Sessions

    Small group discussions with your fellow attendees where you can brainstorm, problem-solve, and seek solutions to immediate challenges.

    • • Topic: TBA
    • • Topic: TBA
    • • Topic: TBA
  • 12:30 PM
    Networking Luncheon
  • 1:45 PM

    Successfully Integrating the New Responsibilities Creative Teams Are Being Asked to Take on

    As creative teams become more of a strategic partner in their companies, many are being tasked with new roles beyond traditional creative duties. This session examines how creative ops professionals are working with creative leaders to adapt to these new trends including:

    • • What new tasks are their creative teams assuming?
    • • Where do they see the most value in their contribution?
    • • What new roles are on the horizon?

    Andy DeVito, Director, Creative Services & Branding

    Brennan Swing, Vice President, Creative Media

  • 2:30 PM

    Leaders’ Technology Report: New Tools that Have Enhanced the Productivity and Efficiency of Our CO and PM Teams

    In this special session, creative leaders share their thoughts on which new IT solutions they are passionate about for increasing the effectiveness of their work.

    • • A look at the most effective software for proofing as well as project, content, document and digital asset management
    • • Evaluating a tool’s potential for boosting your own creative operations efficiency
    • • Connecting tools across your tech stack
    • • Overcoming system overlap and complexity to design the optimal technological ecosystem for your team
  • 3:15 PM

    Conference Concludes

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