Ten years ago, as Hurricane Katrina battered the Gulf Coast and struck New Orleans with catastrophe, Robert X. Fogarty sat in front of his television in Eugene, hour after hour, transfixed by the images of flooded city streets, houses submerged in water, and stranded residents waving helplessly from rooftops.
Fogarty can’t explain exactly what he was feeling back then. It’s been too long, and too much has happened since. But he knows those images stuck with him, following him to New York City and to an unfulfilling sales job and eventually to the crisis moment when he realized his plans to conquer the Big Apple had spoiled on the stem. “I had my tail handed to me,” he says. “I just had to leave New York.”
Fogarty could have gone anywhere, but for those who believe in destiny, it seems inevitable that he would land in New Orleans as an AmeriCorps volunteer tasked with helping rebuild the city that he’d watched nearly wash away a year earlier. It turned out to be the perfect match.
In 2009, after deciding to stick around following his AmeriCorps commitment, Fogarty co-founded Evacuteer, a nonprofit that trains local volunteers to assist in future evacuation efforts. The organization has now trained thousands of “evacuteers” and placed statues at 17 pick-up locations around the city — part of a plan to safely evacuate as many as 40,000 residents who might otherwise be stuck in the city.
“It was the absolute, 180-degree opposite of a sales job in New York City,” Fogarty says. “It changed my life.”
Stop there and Fogarty’s New Orleans story would already be a journey come full circle. But he was only getting started.
In 2010, an even more ambitious chapter began, rather unexpectedly, at an Evacuteer fundraising event during the Super Bowl featuring the hometown New Orleans Saints.
The fundraiser had a simple directive: write a “love letter” to New Orleans on your hands, then add $5 to the jar and pose for a photo. The messages Fogarty photographed that night were heartfelt and touching.
“The only city I’ve ever missed,” one guest wrote.
“Better than before,” wrote another.
Fogarty’s images went viral online, and soon local celebrities like Saints quarterback Drew Brees were joining the action. The whole city seemed to be tuned in. “It just took off in a way that was really neat to see,” Fogarty says. “I thought, ‘Man, I ought to see this through a little bit.’”
Months later, as he continued staging shoots across the city, one message helped Fogarty see the project’s potential beyond New Orleans. It happened with two words, written in block letters across a man’s chest: CANCER FREE.
That photograph marked the launch of Dear World, a campaign that brought Dear New Orleans’ message-on-skin approach to the international stage. The project has captured messages from cancer survivors, first-generation college students, celebrities, and thousands of other people with a simple but powerful story to share.
Again, the response was astounding. In addition to its global social media buzz, Dear World has been featured by CNN, The New York Times, and NPR, among others, and Fogarty now travels to photo shoots and speaking engagements across the country. In 2013, he even brought the Dear World campaign to his alma mater, photographing hundreds of students, faculty, and staff at the Erb Memorial Union on campus.
During September, Fogarty and Evacuteer will mark Hurricane Katrina’s tenth anniversary with a celebration event to raise money for the organization’s latest initiative: adding solar-powered lighting to the city’s 17 evacuation sites. Evacuteer is accepting contributions at the event’s Indiegogo site, which has already raised more than $28,000.
It’s the kind of support that still amazes this year’s outstanding young alumnus. “There are hundreds of people, maybe thousands by now, who have helped me out directly,” Fogarty says. “That’s a real gift.”
Andy Maser’s decision to move West from his hometown of Baltimore, Md., was fueled by the perfect combination of academics and outdoor recreation – the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication and the city of Eugene.
Maser’s journey at the SOJC was not what he expected. He studied advertising, but found his passion was working in film.
Despite the change, Maser found the skills he developed as an advertising student applied directly to his life behind the camera. Advertisers have to understand their audience to communicate a message to them – Maser is now a master of this.
After graduation, he joined eNRG Kayaking, where he executed a six-week long adventure film festival tour, visiting 12 universities. The tour promoted an active lifestyle by generating excitement about outdoor recreation opportunities close to campus. The tour’s success attracted the interest of National Geographic, which awarded his team with a Toga Award for actively promoting awareness through creative programs.
Maser made his first trip with National Geographic Explorer for a project in Papua New Guinea in 2007. It solidified his passion for adventure-based science and conservation storytelling. His team explored a river that began deep underground in the world’s largest cave system and flowed through a remote jungle to the Pacific Ocean. That’s all it took. One amazing trip with National Geographic and Maser has excelled in this craft ever since.
Maser has traveled around the world for multiple, diverse projects. He’s told stories for the World Wildlife Fund, Namibia Film Series; Patagonia Athlete Profile Series; Travel Oregon; Discovery Channel; and Oregon Public Broadcasting’s, Oregon Field Guide.
In the spring of 2014, his talent was formally recognized with four regional Emmy nominations. Maser took home two Emmys, the first for a project for OPB’s Oregon Field Guide about the removal of the Condit River Dam on the White Salmon River, which took more than a year to film. At the time, it was the largest dam removal in history. The second Emmy was for a story about a recently discovered system of glacial ice caves on the west flank of Mt. Hood. The story won an Edward R. Murrow Award and an Online News Association Award for excellence and innovation in digital, online storytelling.
Currently, Maser is finishing a project called “International League of Conservation Photographers,” where he is shooting America’s national parks for IMAX. He is also working on a commercial series for National Geographic in Patagonia and India.
Aside from his passion for film, Maser enjoys the water. When he is not traveling the globe, he likes to surf, spearfish, and experiment with underwater photography.
If you ask Sheena Brady, she will tell you that she came to advertising by accident. As a student at Oregon, she was busy writing essays and studying for midterms when a friend showed her an assignment from his copywriting class in the School of Journalism and Communication.
That was all it took.
Within a year of becoming an advertising major, Brady held leadership positions on both the Ad Team and on Allen Hall Advertising, a student-run agency on campus. As a senior, she won the Thompson award for copywriting.
After graduation, Brady headed for San Diego where she worked for Big Bang Idea Engineering and Vitrorobertson before heading home to Alaska for a creative recharge.
Once again it was a visit with friends in Oregon that set her next course. After they encouraged her to join to the creative scene in Portland, Brady connected with Wieden + Kennedy and began working for the agency six months later. For the next several years, she worked alongside a group of people she says raised the bar for writing and creativity, pushing her to get better and prove herself.
And prove herself she did. With her trademark combination of principles and bluntness, Brady developed a portfolio that includes work for Starbucks, Nike, Careerbuilder.com, and — perhaps most importantly — Coke and Diet Coke.
Working with a junior team that had much to prove and little to lose, Brady helped land the international account. It was Brady’s head-turning Coke spot Videogame and the Super Bowl standout It’s Mine that catapulted her onto what W+K creative director Mark Fitzloff called a “superstar trajectory.”
From there, Brady was named AgencySpy’s Hot Ad (Wo)man of the Day in 2008 and her commercial Heist for Coca-Cola, which aired during the Super Bowl in 2009, won an Emmy. Brady also served as creative director for Siege, for Coca-Cola, which won a 2011 Silver Clio for film. In addition, she earned critical acclaim for her work with Nike in the short film Black Mamba and the commercial Pretty.
In October of 2011, Brady left Wieden + Kennedy for New York-based agency Anomaly, where she again won accolades as creative director the Wear Sneakers campaign for Converse account. In January of 2013, Brady was selected to participate on the panel of judges, comprised of “thirty of the advertising industry’s most esteemed professionals,” at the 38th annual One Show Awards.
In October 2013, she left Anomaly to freelance and pursue her own creative interests. Brady says that even though she’s no longer with the company that brought her to New York, she will stay for a bit.
“In New York you just walk out on the street and there is always something going on,” Brady said. “There’s lots of creative fodder.”
Brady says she’s not sure where she’ll be in five years but she does know she will still be trying to create.
“It’s easy to put your head down and work but time goes by quickly,” she said.
“I always want to be creative. It’s my life-force, it keeps me energized. I don’t want to be holed up somewhere grumbling.”
Jon Carras knew when he was a student at the UO what he wanted to do with his life. “I wanted to be a journalist,” he says, “because I’m curious and interested in so many things. I think that curiosity breeds learning, discovery, and imagination. I love that I can dive into a topic and become a miniexpert on a subject that I know nothing about.”
Born in Manchester, England, Carras spent the first nine years of his life in Oxford, where his father was a professor; his family then moved to Spokane, Washington, where he graduated from Mead High School in 1997. At the UO, Carras dove right in, first with an internship at KVAL and then at KEZI, where he produced the morning news during his senior year at the SOJC. After graduation, he landed a job as a producer at News 12 Cablevision in Norwalk, Connecticut. After nine months, he was hired as a producer on a then-new show on MSNBC, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, an experience he calls “a privilege and a pleasure. . . . Watching this show take off and do well was really special.”
In 2006, Carras took a step back (and a pay cut) to get his foot in the door at CBS Sunday Morning, which he remembers as “a tremendous risk from both a career and financial standpoint.” But Sunday Morning was his dream, and the decision has proved right. After six months, he was promoted from broadcast associate to associate producer. Now a producer, he has produced nearly 200 stories for the legendary broadcast, ranging from news topics, such as fatherhood with President Obama, Second Lady Jill Biden’s first national profile, the demise of the Pennsylvania steel industry, and the fiftieth anniversary of JFK’s inaugural, to feature stories, such as film critic Roger Ebert’s cancer battle, Mike Tyson’s struggle to stay sober, fashion icon Anna Wintour, and the houseboats of Sausalito, California.
For his work at Sunday Morning, Carras earned an Emmy Award in 2010 with correspondent Jeff Glor. He won James Beard Foundation Awards in 2012 for a story on British food photographer Carl Warner, and in 2009 for a story on the history of salt, reported by correspondent Martha Teichner. He has been honored with an AWRT Gracie award for his work with contributor Nancy Giles and a Genesis Award from the Humane Society for his work with correspondent Bill Geist.
“When I first met him, he was thorough,” Teichner says of Carras. “He was considerate. Constantly coming up with the research you needed to put together in a form that made it easy to study everything you needed to study to prepare. He dotted every “i”, he crossed every “t”. He never let anything be chance. What you saw was his ambition, his dedication, and unbelievable work ethic at all times.”
Carras is completing a master’s degree in public policy and management at the University of London; he will finish in 2013. He hopes to go into management at the network level and possibly teach one day.
Carras serves on the CBS News Advisory Council, which helps shape guidelines, initiatives, and newsgathering at the network. In 2009, he initiated an internship at CBS News for University of Oregon students; sixteen students have benefited from his mentorship. He has been a fellow and guest lecturer at the Journalism Ethics Institute at Washington and Lee University in Virginia four times since 2004. He also serves as an Emmy Award judge. He is involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York, Boys and Girls Clubs of Hudson County, and the TriBeCa Film Festival.
Carras lives in Rumson, New Jersey, with his wife, Lauren, and their son, George Soane Carras.
Kari Boiler says that her success has been a combination of “guts and naivety.” Born in Portland, Oregon, Boiler attended Peninsula High School in Washington state before attending the University of Oregon. At the UO, she chose advertising as a major, attracted by the “creativity, culture, big brands, travel, communication and strategic skills.”
She was a member of Delta Gamma women’s fraternity and an avid runner and intramural soccer player; she worked part time at the NIKE store in Eugene to earn money for school, spending her summers at the NIKE store in Portland as well as waiting tables at Jake’s restaurant. These efforts helped her fund an overseas study trip to Lyon II in Lyon, France, during her junior year, an experience she calls “amazing” and one that sparked her interest in living and working overseas.
After graduating, she landed an internship at Wieden + Kennedy and returned to her native Portland, working in account services for clients that included NIKE and Oregon Tourism. Boiler remembers that time as “sink or swim.” She chose to swim but remembers it as “more or less a doggie paddle . . . figure it out as you go.” There she worked closely with Glenn Cole ’92 and John Boiler ’87, (Architecture) who would later become her husband.
“You really couldn’t have a better launch pad to help form your future,” she says of the agency. “The fast pace, importance of a clear thought, strategic refinement, multitasking and organizational skills, client management experience, and [you are] surrounded by amazing people.”
At Wieden + Kennedy, Boiler distinguished herself by her contributions to the Global Nike World Cup campaign of 1998, the 1996 Olympics Initiative, and regional support for campaigns for the Nike Asia Pacific region. In 1997, she got her opportunity to work overseas when she was promoted and transferred to Wieden + Kennedy in Amsterdam, Netherlands, to further her international business experience on global brands such as NIKE, Coca-Cola, Audi, and Lego. “We did a lot in five years—we really lived and worked there,” she remembers. “It hardly felt like being expatriates. It was an incredible experience that taught me flexibility, adaptability, creativity, incredible work ethic, and how much I love cheese.”
She and John, since married, had their first child, Charlie, in 2001 while still in Amsterdam. She took a leave from Wieden + Kennedy in order to focus on motherhood, and she bought her first Bugaboo stroller. Visiting the U.S. with her young family, she found that the stroller was the center of attention. Using the business sense she honed at Wieden + Kennedy, she persuaded the company, based in Amsterdam, to launch Bugaboo North America, which she did (with fifteen strollers in her garage) after moving back to Los Angeles in 2002. The company hit the U.S. map after a flash of brilliance in which Boiler made a cold call to the producers of the popular series Sex and the City, offering an exclusive on a new model for Miranda, one of the show’s characters, who was pregnant at the time. The stroller debuted on the show in June 2002 and had a six-month waiting list by the time of its U.S. release six months later. “I knew nobody at HBO,” Boiler remembers. “They didn’t know me. It took five minutes and had massive impact on our launch moment.” For her, it was an A-ha moment, a reminder to “stop thinking so hard and just try it.”
From 2002 to present, Kari has served the company in varied roles, first as marketing director and since 2008 as president, Bugaboo Americas. Bugaboo has been credited with redefining the stroller category in the U.S. Boiler currently lives in Manhattan Beach, California, with her husband John Boiler, daughter Charlie, son J.P., and dog, Ned.
As a student at Billings Senior High School in Billings, Montana, Rob Elder, then executive editor of his high school paper and the school’s literary magazine, met Oregon native Ken Kesey ’57. Kesey gave him the following advice: “Do what you love, do it now. Start early. If you want to be a journalist, dig in now. You’ll be so far ahead of the crowd later—it won’t matter.”
“Good advice, and I’ve followed it ever since,” says Elder, who also followed Kesey to the UO, receiving both the Lucien P. Arant and Arlyn Cole scholarships from the School of Journalism and Communication as a freshman. While a student, Elder wrote for the Oregon Daily Emerald, served as associate editor of Flux magazine, and as associate editor and later publisher of the student-run independent newspaper Oregon Voice, where he interviewed “everyone from David Foster Wallace and Oliver Stone to Maxine Hong Kingston and a very difficult Kurt Vonnegut.” He earned two Hearst Awards for writing, a Centurion Award for extraordinary leadership and service, and was a member of the Friars.
He also seized every off-campus opportunity to hone his craft, compiling an impressive list of internships at radio and television stations, movie sets, and newspapers throughout the U.S., including Premiere magazine, where he was an editorial assistant; and The Oregonian, The Dallas Morning News, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, where he was an entertainment writer. When the movie Without Limits filmed in Eugene in 1996, he signed on as a publicity intern. Soon after graduation, he landed a one-year spot at the Chicago Tribune as an arts writing resident—one that lasted almost nine years. In the meantime, he contributed chapters to a number of edited collections—including A Friendly Game of Poker (Chicago Review Press, 2003), Graphic Communications Today (Thomson Delmar Learning, 2003), and The Neil Gaiman Reader (Wildside Press, 2007), among others. His first edited collection, John Woo: Interviews (University Press of Mississippi, 2005, Conversations with Filmmakers Series), was the first English-language oral history of the legendary filmmaker’s life and work.
He also began teaching, first at Columbia College, Chicago and later at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. During that time, he continued to write for the Chicago Tribune, interviewing FBI undercover agent Robert Hamer and writing investigative pieces on the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, and “cantankerous” author Harlan Ellison. His work also appeared in The New York Times and The Boston Globe.
Elder left the Chicago Tribune in 2009 and founded the Web 2.0 company Odd Hours Media. It launched the user-generated sites It Was Over When: Tales of Romantic Dead Ends and It Was Love When: Tales from the Beginning of Love. Both sites went viral very quickly, attracting more than 1 million hits within a few months.
Elder’s most recent book, Last Words of the Executed (University of Chicago Press, 2010), was released in June and received extremely positive reviews from The Economist, The New York Review of Books, and Harper’s Magazine, to name a few. In the book’s foreword, the late Studs Terkel called it “a remarkable, deeply moving assemblage.” Sister Helen Prejean (author of Dead Man Walking) also praised the project, calling it “a dangerous book.”
He is currently working on two more books—The Film That Changed My Life— interviews with filmmakers about the movie that made them want to direct, will be released in early 2011—and The Best Films You’ve Never Seen, which he calls “a complete rewrite of cinema history, wherein directors champion a much reviled or little-seen cinematic gem,” in 2012.
In the spring of 2010, Elder was recruited by AOL as a regional editor to build and run hyper-local news sites for Patch.com, which he calls “a dashing, bold adventure. As I write this we have almost 100 sites, and we’ll have hundreds more in the following months. It’s exciting, exhausting work.”
Glenn Cole ’92, principal and creative director of 72andSunny, an advertising agency with offices in Los Angeles and Amsterdam, is the first recipient of the SOJC’s Eric Allen Outstanding Young Alumnus Award.
The award was created in the name of Eric W. Allen, who served as the school’s first dean between 1916 and 1944, to honor alumni under the age of 40 who have already made significant contributions to journalism and communication.
Cole, a Philadelphia native who moved to Seattle with his mother at age seven, was officially inspired to look at advertising as a career thanks to a UO dormitory roommate who was a student in the school’s advertising program. But his advertising roots run a little deeper, as Cole admits he often performed parodies of ads while he was in high school.
Of key faculty members-including Ann Maxwell, Bill Ryan, Duncan McDonald, and Charlie Frazer-Cole says, “They all taught challenging courses and pushed me in important ways. Ann probably worked closest with me and ultimately guided me to become a writer, and I learned a lot about craftsmanship from Bill Ryan.” Cole spent part of his UO career as a bit of a “science geek,” a committed snowboarder, president of the Allen Hall advertising agency, and a sprinter for the track team.
Prior to starting 72andSunny, Cole spent time as an intern at Wieden + Kennedy (“I basically stalked Dan Wieden for four months before that,” he says) before working for seven years as the agency’s Amsterdam office director, where he led the global launch of the Audi A2 and was responsible for all of Nike”s European advertising. While with Wieden + Kennedy, Cole helped lead Nike from the number five world soccer brand position to the very top by 2002.
Cole and partner John Boiler founded 72andSunny in 2004, with the goal of “unleashing creativity across all platforms and solving tough business problems with massively integrated ideas.” 72andSunny serves diverse clients that define today’s modern global culture, including Nike, the Discovery Channel, the CW, Bugaboo, and Quiksilver. The agency also has curated Microsoft’s Zune Arts project.
Cole is not just about effective advertising: he also produced the first official remix of an Elvis Presley song with “A Little Less Conversation,” which was sung by Junkie XL and eventually rose to platinum record status. He serves on the board of directors of One Club, the world’s foremost nonprofit organization dedicated to the recognition and promotion of excellence in advertising.
So what else makes this early advertising achiever get up in the morning and go forward? “I’ve always tried to surround myself with people better than me,” he says. “That has probably defined me more than anything. And tenacity and passion count for a lot. There were so many “a-ha” moments during the first year of 72andSunny that I can’t remember a single one. But that’s when the role of advertising and marketing became very clear to me, and I became more focused in my work.”
When not leading 72andSunny to new heights in advertising creativity, Cole likes to spend time with his wife, Jennifer; son, Carter; daughter, Mia; and their cats, Dude and Awesome.