From waffles to an office 'overrun by gnomes:' 10 questions for Virginia Devlin

The Current Marketing founder and president explains how she goes from making breakfast at home to her unique office and back every day.

Morning routine
I have a problem waking up in the 6 a.m. hour, so my alarm goes off at 7 a.m. After a quick email check, I wake my daughter and make her waffles — with a side of fruit so I don’t feel guilty about her excessive syrup consumption.

First app checked
I can’t get dressed without checking Dark Sky.

Most distinct aspect of your personal office
My office is on the cusp of being overrun by gnomes. They’ve become our mascots. Hopefully they bring a bit of luck.

Daily required reading
I start with The New York Times, check out The Huffington Post, then read PRWeek and other marketing outlets.

One thing most people don’t realize about running an agency
Perhaps the challenge of balancing short-term needs with long-term goals. What’s happening today can feel very urgent, but if you lose sight of the big picture, you’re never going to realize your vision.

How I explain my job in layman’s terms
My mom still tells me when she sees my ad for a client on TV, so maybe I’m not doing a good job with this answer. When I talk about PR as reputation management for a company or brand, people seem to understand.

Mentor
My mother was my first role model, showing me from a young age the strength of an independent-minded career woman. As I near my 20-year anniversary with Interpublic Group, I’ve been fortunate to have many mentors along the way. Three women stand out — no offense to the men. Susan Howe inspires with her people skills, Cathy Calhoun taught me how to think strategically, and Gail Heimann sets the bar on creativity.

Best career advice
Chart your own course. The path to agency leadership is pretty well-defined, and there’s only so much room at the top. Exploring a different road can reap greater rewards, so don’t be afraid to dream big and be bold, because executives value that kind of thinking. Current Marketing would not exist today, and I would not have this job, if I didn’t pitch the idea for a new agency under the IPG umbrella when I saw the need.

Guilty TV pleasure
I’m caught up on The Americans, and we’re watching Big Little Lies. I’m a Top Chef fan, watch Project Runway with my daughter, and Formula One racing with my husband.

If I wasn’t running an agency, I’d be
An interior designer, but I could only have clients that love a modern look. My husband and I recently saved a 1956 mid-century modern home in South Florida from the wrecking ball. Decorating was my favorite part of the renovation. 

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