Name

Connie Ball Didonato

About

PROFESSIONAL HISTORY
Creative Director
ARS Advertising Group, Saint Joseph, Michigan
October 2006 - April 2013

Senior Creative Specialist
Lakeland Regional Health System, Saint Joseph, Michigan
May 2000 - October 2006

Senior Account Executive/Creative Director
ARS Advertising, Benton Harbor, Michigan
1994 - 2000

Vice President
DiDonato Associates, Chicago, Illinois
1984 -1993

Art and Production Manager
Success Magazine, Chicago, Illinois
1983 - 1984

Graphic Designer and Promotions Coordinator
Harry Weese & Associates, Chicago, Illinois
1973-1983

AGENCY EXPERTISE/RESPONSIBILITIES
~ Lead creative teams to develop strategically strong, world-class creative for Fortune 500 companies: cross-channel campaigns, brand identity refreshes, advertising, web sites, point-of-sale displays and materials, training publications, package design, promotions and photo assets

~ Work closely with executive management, account teams, creative teams and vendors and foster a synergetic relationship with them all

~ Manage and motivate teams of print, web, photo and video professionals

~ Integrate and collaborate with international agencies on 360 degree campaigns

~ Responsible for managing well over 100 projects simultaneously

~ Create advertising, point-of-sale, package design, and collateral materials from concept through production

~ Provide shot lists, create set designs, and art direct photography to develop brand photo assets for use by other agencies and trade partners for Whirlpool and Amana brands

~ Effectively and passionately present agency work to clients at all levels

~ Foster and maintain excellent client, partner and vendor relationships

HEALTHCARE MARKETING EXPERTISE/RESPONSIBILITIES
~ Worked with senior management, department leaders and physicians to develop successful communications and tools to increase awareness, growth and referrals

~ Managed the creation, roll-out and ongoing development of a recruitment and retention campaign which contributed to substantial increases in new hires and employee retention and helped create record attendance at employee forums

~ Managed the creation and implementation of a multi-service line consumer-focused marketing campaign which raised awareness of medical expertise and services

~ Developed new strategic marketing plan to align with new corporate goals and objectives

~ Designed materials for physician recruitment

~ Created new newsletter targeted to physician audience to help increase referrals to specialists

~ Worked with agency to develop updated logo and graphic standards and managed roll-out both internally and externally

~ Supported fund-raising efforts of foundation through effective print and web communications as well as event planning

~ Chaired a committee created to select healing art installations from local artists for new Center for Outpatient Services facility

~ Fostered excellent working relationships between the marketing department, executive management, service line management and physicians

CLIENTS
Whirlpool Corporation, Jim Beam Brands, Quaker Oats, Swift/Eckrich, William Wrigley Company, Helene Curtis, Canfield's Beverages, E.J. Brach Corporation, World's Finest Chocolate, Lakeland Regional Health System, Universal Statuary, Atwood Yachts, Lifeway Foods, Price Waterhouse, Shure Brothers, Inc.

AWARDS
2011 CIMA Star Award for Best Cross-Channel Campaign, Amana
2009 Addy Award, for Whirlpool photography
2006 Aster Award, Gold Award Winner, Lakeland Regional Health System for External Newsletter, Physician's Advantage
2003 Aster Award, Gold Award Winner for Best Campaign, Lakeland Regional Health System

EDUCATION
University of Kansas, School of Fine Arts

ENDORSEMENTS

"Connie is a phenomenal asset for any team. Her fresh thinking, creative genius, and overall pragmatic approach to problems is remarkable. She has a keen eye for details, and is also honest and collaborative in her approach. I highly recommend Connie as a true creative expert, and also as a highly valuable consultant in any 'out-of-the-box' pursuits!"
~ Brandon Buckingham, MedSurg Product Marketing at Stryker

"I had the pleasure of working with Connie when I was the Director of Whirlpool Brand Marketing. Connie leads the Whirlpool brand agency creative team and has a unique combination of creative talent and business acumen that makes her an indispensable part of the brand team.

Connie is able to balance the business challenges of Whirlpool’s flagship brand with the creative needs of this high-focus global brand. The creative she presented is always on target yet varied. She never simply presents different “flavors” of the same thing. Instead she gives the business leaders completely different approaches to consider while being true to the spirit and positioning of the brand for which she is responsible.

Connie is able to keep perspective and keep her team calm in the face of rapid pace, constant change, and shifting objectives. She handles these challenges with professionalism and a sense of humor. I highly recommend Connie as a business and creative partner."
~ Melissa Wikman, Director of Whirlpool Brand Marketing

"First, I want to congratulate you on all the additions and upgrades....OUTSTANDING. The minute that I saw the catalogs....I said that you just took hours of work off of hundreds of sales people. Thank you from 300 Whirlpool Reps, and 50,000 trade partner sales associates. You listen to your internal customers' needs and then recreate your product to meet our needs. You have eliminated a lot of hours of grief and confusion on sales floors across the U.S., and a reduced a lot of future phone calls to our sales force. You removed non-value added work from our work days, so we can focus on driving incremental volume. Thank you to you and the brand teammates that put these together.
~ Whirlpool client on the Whirlpool 2011 Full Line Catalog

"That's an awesome compliment guys. Well deserved. This piece is beautiful! Great job to you and your teams."
~ Kim Finch, EVP, Managing Director, ARS Advertising Group

"The whole team was really happy and excited about the direction we are headed. Lots of oohs and aahs - so that is always good :) They totally "got" the soft lighting, feminine feel - big win for us." :-D
~ Allison Gillespie, Marketing Specialist, Whirlpool Brand on the new look for Whirlpool photography

"Thank you all again for the presentation this morning–you guys totally rock! I'm so happy you are all on the Amana team!"
~ Carolyn T. Kelley, Senior Brand Manager, Amana

"Our VP of Design is really pleased w/ the POP he saw on the WDF750SAYM. Thanks for the nice job!"
~ Suzanne Berberet, Lead Industrial Designer, Whirlpool Global Consumer Design

"Thank you so much for the time you have dedicated to the duet POP Project. It is an affirmation of your commitment to the brand, ARS and to your creative standards."
~ Michael Davis, V.P. Creative Director, ARS Advertising

“Connie has a very unique skill set for a creative. She brings tremendous creative energy, unique vision and design expertise to any project. She is detail-oriented and organized as most creatives eschew. More importantly she is a joy to work with, makes the most insane or tedious project an adventure. She started as as a colleague and will remain a friend for life.”
~ Vida Kluko, colleague at ARS Advertising

“Working with Connie is always a joy. She is inspiring with her ideas, open minded to alternatives and confident to let you run with your interpretation. I feel a great sense of trust and support when working with Connie, not to mention I always have a good laugh with her too.”
~ Johanna Lowe, photo stylist

"...she is very bright; she becomes steeped, with intelligence and commitment, in an editorial environment and what it stands for and she is therefore capable of contributing to its visual, intellectual, indeed emotional qualities, all of which are tightly woven in the pages of a fine publication."
~ William Marlin, Editor, Inland Architect Magazine (Harry Weese & Associates)

Specialties

Creative direction, management, brand development, healthcare marketing, photography art direction, new business development, graphic design

Skills

InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Excel, KeyNote, PowerPoint