Veteran creative director will now lead VCU Brandcenter

Spending a year on the lookout, the VCU Brandcenter, one the best advertising programs in the country, has finally landed a new director.

After nearly a year of searching, the VCU Brandcenter has a new managing director. Helayne Spivak, chief creative officer at New York-based Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, will take over the position in August.

“I’ve known Helayne for a long time and thought she’d be the perfect candidate…She knows how to manage people, but also how to move things in a direction that is going to be current and contemporary. She also has a great wit about her.” said predecessor Rick Boyko, who oversaw a doubling of student enrollment and a tripling of faculty at the Brandcenter during his nine years at the helm. In April, Boyko was inducted into the American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame.

Spivak began her advertising career in 1976 as a copywriter. She went on to serve as an executive creative director at Hal Riney & Partners and chief creative officer at Y&R New York, Ammirati & Puris, and JWT. She even spent time as a stand-up comedian.

Spivak joins the VCU Brandcenter when the advertising school will began partnering with the School of Business. The VCU Brandcenter enrolls over 200 students who study in one of five graduate tracks: art direction, copywriting, communications strategy, creative brand management, or creative technology. More than 95% of program graduates work in the advertising industry within a year of graduation.

“Things continue to change every day and we have to maintain a permanent position on that cutting edge,” said Spivak. “That’s why I can’t think of a more exciting time to join VCU Brandcenter as its new director: To continue VCU Brandcenter on its forward path igniting creative minds, nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit and preparing our students to excel and lead in a time that will go down in advertising history as the Second Creative Revolution.”

“Helayne Spivak will bring humanity, wisdom and humor to this very important industry position,” said Mike Hughes, president of the Martin Agency and chairman of the VCU Brandcenter Board of Directors in a statement. “She will be a forward-thinking, idea-based, humane thought-leader–and a wonderful nurturer of young talents.”

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  • We incorrectly reported that students would have the option to earn an MBA through a partnership between the Brandcenter and the School of Business. The details of the partnership are still being worked out.

photo courtesy of VCU Brandcenter

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