Capitol Communicator is running “Up Close and Personal” profiles of communicators in the mid-Atlantic. In this profile, we feature Diane Cook Tench. Photography for the series is by award-winning Cade Martin.  Wardrobe, hair and makeup by Michelle Torres.

Diane, please provide us a short bio.
After graduating from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design, I became an art director. This evolved into working as a creative director at The Martin Agency where I fell in love with mentoring young creative teams. Moving into the educational field enabled me to launch the VCU Brandcenter. It’s a grad-level school focused on creating the next generation of communications leaders. Today I’m the CCO of a consultancy called Brandgoodness, teaching brainstorming and creative problem solving to business execs.

Are you involved in any other organizations?
I helped launch Creative Mornings RVA. It’s mission is to build up a city’s creative class. Internationally, I’ve worked with The One Club for Creativity, delivering talks during their recent Creative Week in Shanghai. I just finished judging the Greater China Ad Awards and am about to judge their international Young Ones competition.

What are the things you are most proud of?
I’m most proud of helping others launch strong creative careers. I’m also thankful that The One Club For Creativity honored me as one of just four Hall Of Fame Educators. My two daughters are forging interesting careers in financial and veterinary fields and impress me non-stop with their accomplishments, too!

Who are your personal role models?
My entrepreneurial dad launched his firm at 21 and taught his four daughters that we could accomplish whatever we believed in. Harry Jacobs, former CCO and CEO of The Martin Agency, helped me set broader career goals. Gene Trani, former President of VCU, taught me the power of innovation and collaboration. Yichi Zhang, 2015 Brandcenter alumni named 30-under-30 by Forbes China, inspires me to build bigger bridges to other cultures.

Did your role models offer professional advice that helped you in your career?
Harry Jacobs taught me to never fear failing and how to use failure to improve. Dr. Trani taught me to laser-focus on big goals and keep pushing myself to accomplish more. Yichi Zhang teaches me to better network and embrace opportunities to speak before more business groups.

What professional advice do you have for others?
Never fear the future because it comes just one day at a time.

What’s on your Spotify and Pandora playlists?
Spotify: podcasts – Mobituaries (about people & things lost to the past); Radio Lab (covers stories of anything interesting) Revisionist History (focuses on the overlooked & misunderstood). Pandora: Billie Eilish, Adele, Meghan Trainor, Ed Sheeran, the Dixie Chicks, Jack Johnson and Ashley McBryde.

What’s your favorite restaurant?
We’re blessed with many terrific options in Richmond. My favorites are Saison, Stellas and Can Can.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
I never expected to work in advertising; travel across the world; start a school; or make friends with so many international, creative professionals. I’ve always called my career “serious fun” and it’s been a godsend. 

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