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Award-winning ad executive Stan Richards delivers lecture

Award-winning ad executive Stan Richards delivers lecture

Stan Richards, founder and principal/creative director of The Richards Group

Audiences might not be quick to recognize Stan Richards, but they are probably very familiar with his work. Richards is the founder and principal/creative director of The Richards Group, the largest independently owned advertising agency in the United States. Richards delivered the 2012 McLane Lecture, titled “Leadership Applied,” to a crowd of more than 1,000 students, faculty, staff, and community members March 29 in the Mayborn Campus Center.

Under his direction, The Richards Group has developed such memorable creations as the Chick-fil-A cows and the Motel 6 “We’ll Leave the Light on for You” campaign. Richards was named one of the Wall Street Journal’s “Giants of Our Time.” In 1999 he was inducted into the Art Director Hall of Fame, which is the highest honor available for members of the creative community.

During the lecture, Richards shared insights he’s gained as the head of an agency that employs 670 people and bills $1.25 billion annually. He said his agency is known for its discipline as well as its creativity—a combination that surprises many people. “Creative work requires discipline,” he said, “because we have a lot of things that we have to solve. You don’t solve them by waiting until a flash of inspiration comes your way. You solve them by sitting down and working at it, and you get to the answer by pursuing it until you get there.”

There are no doors on offices at the agency, and co-workers are not allowed to communicate via e-mail with each other. Both policies are aimed at promoting face-to-face interaction on a daily basis, which fosters “a tremendous amount of energy,” Richards said. He emphasized the importance of an egalitarian culture, saying that when every employee is expected to be a leader, employees are more likely to think outside the box and try new ideas.

The McLane Lecture brings nationally recognized speakers to the university to promote awareness and information about issues concerning business. The annual lecture is hosted by the College of Business and is offered free to the public through the generosity of Temple residents Elizabeth and Drayton McLane, Jr.