2 Minutes With … Kate Higgins, CGO of Öpinionated

On fostering an environment that allows creative ideas to thrive

Kate is the chief growth officer for Öpinionated, a position she took in 2023. Earlier, she helped launch Erich & Kallman as its first head of accounts. She has also held senior posts at MullenLowe, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Carmichael Lynch and Fallon. 

We spent two minutes with Kate to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations and recent work she's admired.

Kate, tell us …

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

Early, Iowa: population 750 back in the day. I currently live with my wife in Colorado. We split time between Boulder and Leadville.

How you first realized you were creative.

High school. I always loved being outside and playing sports. But in my sophomore year I decided to try out for the school play and loved it. 

A person you idolized creatively early on.

Super early in my advertising career I had a chance to work with an amazing designer at an agency in Minneapolis that launched Belvedere Vodka. Watching what he did designing the logo and bottle was so inspiring. It was a chance to see art as commerce up close.

A moment from high school or college that changed your life.

It was the '80s, and airband contests were THE thing. Imagine an auditorium filled with 300 teenagers watching their friends lip sync to the best songs. So dumb, and so great. I performed "I Send a Message" by INXS. I loved dancing around as Michael Hutchence. We won, and that's how I met my first girlfriend. 

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

Taylor Swift. I am a Swiftie through and through. She has a brilliant way of bringing catharsis to pain we've all felt in our lives. All great art is the art that sees you, and that is why Taylor is such a driving force in our culture today. 

A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.

I am addicted to podcasts. I love how intimate they are. I've really been enjoying Wiser Than Me, with Julia Louis-Dreyfus. There is a reason why it won Apple's Show of the Year. Until not that long ago, women over 50 pretty much vanished from culture. Passing down wisdom from these female icons is such a gift. From a business standpoint, I recently discovered Brand New with Marisa Thalberg and Steven Wolfe Pereira. The way they call BS on much of how our industry thinks is super refreshing.

Your favorite fictional character.

Elsa from Frozen because I'm an ice climber. When Frozen came out, I bought my wife an Elsa watch that would sing "Let it go, let it go!" We would play that at the belay stations and just crack up. 

Someone or something worth following on social media.

I really hate social media. I'm not off it, but I am also not ON it. But if you must, Melissa Clark at NYTimes Cooking. I have a crush on her. Don't worry, my wife knows. 

One of your favorite creative projects you've ever worked on.

Citi's "Identity Theft" is still no.1 on my list all these years later. The only Emmy I've ever won.

A recent project you're proud of. 

We made a really crazy, fun project for New Belgium Brewery's Voodoo Ranger. The world's strongest IPA needed the world's strongest can. I am so not the target, and yet I loved watching all these guys try to demolish the 12 lb. can of steel. You can check it out at: strongestcanofipa.com.

Someone else's work that inspired you years ago. 

I remember sitting at Crispin when W+K launched the Old Spice campaign. We were so jealous of not only how great the campaign was, but also how they were using digital to connect with consumers in real-time. We had meetings about upping our game after they launched that work. My current creative partner Mark Fitzloff was the CD on that campaign. My world has come full circle. 

Orchard's Etsy campaign is so great. I am a huge Etsy user. Not only is that campaign well produced, but it's born out of really smart thinking. Hats off to them, and I hope they survive when the next CMO shows up. They deserve to stick around.

Your main strength as a creative person.

As a very creative account person, my biggest strength is my willingness to not be scared. You need to foster an environment that allows the creative idea to thrive without stressing out. It sounds easy—it's anything but. I think it's one reason I've been successful at some of the best creative agencies. 

Your biggest weakness.

My frustration and lack of patience when people aren't doing their best work. It's the flip side of my previous answer. 

What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.

Have my own talk show. I genuinely love meeting people. Love connecting with them and hearing their stories. There's so much inspiration when you open your eyes to someone else's situation.

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

Advertise With Us

Featured Clio Award Winner



The best in creativity delivered to your inbox every morning.