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Elizabeth Rooney

Elizabeth Rooney

Vice President of Creative

Q

What technological innovation in the last few years are you the most excited about?

Genetic engineering. Need a new lung — let’s grow one. Need a protein you can’t produce — done. Just incredible. What I find interesting is that it combines technology and biology into systematic problem-solving. We are messing with the building blocks of life in a very specific way and affecting change on a very big scale. Instead of treating symptoms, we are changing the biology to actually target and heal the problem.

Q

How many languages do you speak?

English and Hausa, a North African language spoken predominantly in Nigeria and Niger. (“Speak” is a loose term. I haven’t used it since 1996.) I was a biology major in college, and there was a language requirement. My sister was in the Peace Corps and stationed in North Africa, so I took Hausa. To practice, we would write letters in Hausa.

Q

What was the last good book you read?

Fiction: Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. Beautiful.
Non-fiction: The Art of War by Sun Tzu. I read it in college, and about a month ago I pulled it out and went back through it. It’s amazing how much is applicable to my life today. It’s about getting ahead of issues and solving them before they become an intractable problem. Not to compare my job to war, but the best leadership is thoughtfully proactive rather than reactive.

Q

What was your first paying job?

Doctor X Pet Store at the local mall. Tidbit: I forged my license to make it look like I was 16. I figured there were more dubious ways to break the law when you want money. ☺ I was chasing independence. I didn’t have an allowance, so if I wanted to see that movie, I had to find a way to pay for it.

Q

What was your favorite college course?

All of them (with the exception of those with a bad TA leading the course). Genuine answer. My bucket list: go back to college. Love it.

Q

How did you get started in this industry?

After pursuing a degree in biology, I discovered my passion for design and graduated with a BA in Communication Arts in ’97. I have been focused in digital marketing in the years since, many of them spent at VML, a global (largely consumer) digital agency. That’s where I met Jeff MacFarland, now a creative director at Intouch Solutions. Fast-forward a decade, and we both happened to call one another to recruit the other. He won! That was just over three years ago. Little did I know my interest in biology would come back around nearly 20 years later!

Q

What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

Putting away laundry. Pick up, sort, wash — all good. Put away? Pain in the ass. If you delay it and you get all the way through your tasks, then you still have to put it all away.

Q

What is your favorite drink?

Mint Julep.

Q

Why were you given your name?

My mom wanted to call me Leigh, my dad wanted Elizabeth. They went with my dad’s preference and the family nickname, Lisa.

Q

Do you have any hidden talents?

I’m a mean mimic. I can pick up on a person, their physicality and tone, and just embody completely. (Mean as in “surprisingly talented at embodying and mimicking a near stranger,” not as in “complete jerk.”)

Q

If you could live during any time period, which would it be?

Turn of the century — Paris in 1920s. Art started taking off, all the abstract artists and authors. It was kind of a modern renaissance, where there was a shift in how people viewed the world.

Q

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Pre-kids: night owl. Post-kids: morning person. I haven’t been awake for Saturday Night Live in nearly a decade.