2 Minutes With … Leyla Touma Dailey, President and CCO of Doe-Anderson

On finding the potential in ideas

Leyla is is the first female president and chief creative at Doe-Anderson. Over the course of her career, she has worked with Maker's Mark, Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, Tyson, KitchenAid, Whirlpool and a portfolio of Constellation brands including Corona and Modelo.  

Leyla also sits on the board of Fund for the Arts, and dedicates much of her time to mentoring the next generation of advertising talent.  

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

Leyla, tell us …

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in one of the last places you'd expect to find an immigrant family from Syria—a small town in Eastern Kentucky. Starting in high school, I bounced between Connecticut, Vermont, New York and Boston, then 20 years in Chicago before settling in Louisville in 2021.

How you first realized you were creative.

As a kid I was a voracious reader (including the liner notes of every record, cassette and CD I owned), which led to filling hundreds of notebooks with poetry, lyrics, screenplays, sketches and ridiculous stories. In high school I'd spend entire weekends in the dark room developing film I'd shot during the week.

A person you idolized creatively early on.

Madonna. She was just such a rebel cool girl and a master chameleon with an eye for anticipating trends and bringing them to the masses. She single-handedly inspired me to wear more neon and lace than I probably should have.

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

As a comparative religion major in college, I chose to spend a semester in Nepal, then spent the summer traveling through India with a dear friend. I was young and free and fearless and said yes to everything. There are truly no words to describe how that experience shaped my perspective.

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

David Bowie. One of my favorite memories is taking my three kids to the David Bowie exhibition at the MCA in Chicago. It was magical.

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

TV: The Bear. Even well before the Calvin Klein hullabaloo.

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

Working with Anderson .Paak on Modelo. He's a creative genius, and a genuinely cool guy. You can feel it in this director's cut, courtesy of director Matt Bieler:

A recent project you're proud of. 

A holiday partnership we created for Maker's Mark with The Endery, a women-owned, sustainable fashion brand out of Peru, to keep the tradition of ugly holiday sweaters from adding to the waste of fast fashion. A small and mighty creative team collaborated intensely with them for months to design and produce a small batch of hand-knitted sweaters using only pre-existing, dead-stock wool. Even cooler, 100 percent of the profits were donated to the Peruvian knitting community.

Someone else's work that inspired you years ago. 

That gorgeous Volkswagen Cabrio ad with Nick Drake's "Pink Moon." It really took my breath away. I was struck by the beauty and power of storytelling without words. 

Someone else's work you admired lately.

The Saucony Student Nurse NIL Initiative is so simple, so brilliant. Bravo.

Your main strength as a creative person.

My ability to identify potential. I love nothing more than plucking an idea out of the rubble, helping nurture it and watching it become something spectacular. 

Your biggest weakness.

Dessert. And my three beautiful children.

How you're paying it forward with the next generation of creatives.

The more time I spend with younger creatives the better human and leader I become. So I selfishly seek out opportunities to hang around them as much as possible. More formally, I've been a mentor with MAIP, the Effie Effectiveness Bootcamp, the One Club Elevate Program and part of the One Club Next Creative Leaders Jury. I'm always up for connecting.

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

Fashion photography, interior design, directing films and jetting all over the world, living out my wildest travel dreams.

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.

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