Capitol Communicator is running “Up Close and Personal” profiles of communicators in the mid-Atlantic. In this profile we feature Sean Flanagan. Photography for the series is by award-winning Cade Martin, wardrobe styling by Pascale Lemaire and Sybil Street for THE Artist Agency; and hair and makeup by Patti D Nelson, Janice Kinigopoulos and Lori Pressman for THE Artist Agency.

Sean, please provide us a short bio.

For the last 18 years I’ve been creating effective, award-winning work for clients big and small. From entire advertising and branding campaigns executed from print to digital, to broadcast and experiential.

I have an advertising degree from Penn State University, and a Master’s degree in Graphic Design at the Pratt Institute in NYC. I’ve worked at Baltimore-based agencies including Frank Strategic Marketing and Siquis before moving to Under Armour in 2011. At UA, I was a Senior Global Creative Director, leading the internal category creative team. That team serves as the in-house agency for eight different Under Armour sports categories. I am now Creative Director for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Are you involved in any other organizations?

Most recently, I co-host the Creative How Podcast. Along with fellow UA Creative Director Jed Jecelin, we conduct honest, fun, eclectic investigations into how creativity “works” and how creative professionals think via an interview format.

What are the things you are most proud of?

I take pride in my work ethic. When you work with me you’re going to get the passion and energy that’s served me well up to this point. I’ve really had to work to prove to myself that I can make a living doing this. I really like to work a problem, look at it from all angles. I try to consider all solutions, which may include design or writing. Its all about what the challenge calls for.

Who are your personal role models?

I think the first guys that ever saw the potential in me were John Peebles, Jack Smart and Scott Riesett. They were creative heavyweights in NYC. They brought me in as an intern and ended up letting me hang around their agency for the next four years. I couldn’t have asked for a better environment at that formative stage. I think that’s really where I learned to truly think conceptually, and the confidence to come at problems from every angle. I learned that this process is often iterative, to where you keep working the problem, version after version, until you really feel like you have a break through. I would also say Ron Thompson, when I was at Siquis , showed a ton of faith in me and empowered me pretty early on to take projects and run with them. To keep pushing and have fun.

Based on what you have learned over the years, what professional advice do you have for others?

This is probably advice for more of the up-and-coming creative. It’s advice I wish someone had sat me down early on and told me: Don’t be a jerk!

Put another way: It’s OK to be passionate, it’s OK to have confidence, and it’s really OK to defend the work. But, perhaps, try to have a little bit more emotional intelligence and empathy for the people you’re in the trenches with and especially the client. Really just try to have a holistic point of view of everyone’s motivations with regards to the project.

What’s on your Spotify and Pandora playlists?

Right now its pretty eclectic. From Hayes Peebles, an up-and-coming alt-country singer from Brooklyn, who was recently a podcast guest. To Megadeth, whom we’ve also talked to on the show. To local D.C. powerhouse RDGLDGRN. I’m all over the place. My daughters also keep me current.

What’s your favorite restaurant?

The ones with the crabs!

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?

I have a great wife and two beautiful, spirited daughters. Our entire household is obsessed with visual arts in some form or another. Having grown up in Pennsylvania, I’m a lifelong Eagles and Phillies fan, as well as a Nittany Lion fan. I enjoy having an overly Irish name. And, I’ve recently started learning about and exploring all manner of whiskey as a hobby.

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