2 Minutes With … Stacy Tarver Patterson, Head of Brand Strategy at Code and Theory

On becoming a 'curious solver'

Stacy, aka STP, is currently head of brand strategy at Code and Theory. She is a former client-side marketing executive turned entrepreneur, who co-founded COR, a digital healthtech company. Stacy's career began at Bear Stearns, where she built automated tracking and analytics tools. However, she felt called to make a grassroots impact, leading her to nonprofit fundraising and marketing for the YMCA. Later, she spent over a decade at Nike, leading some of its key promotional ventures in China.

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

Stacy, tell us …

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up on the Jersey Shore. I moved to Manhattan the same day as the Northeast blackout of 2003, and the city has been home ever since. I've progressively made my way further uptown, landing in Harlem. I've also lived in Portland, Ore., San Francisco, Beijing and Shanghai.

How did you first realize you were creative?

In grade school, we used to write and bind our own little storybooks. I was pro-lif-ic. I certainly understood the "quantity before quality" part of the ideation process, lugging home stacks of newly "published" books each week.

A person you idolized creatively early on.

My dad. He's an electrical engineer who left a prestigious job at Bell Labs to start his own company building telecommunications test equipment. There were CPU boards and parts all over the house when I was a kid—it looked like my dad was playing with adult Legos. He did this at a time when it was next to impossible for a Black man to get a mortgage where we lived, let alone VC funding. So he bootstrapped. And as cellphones started to become mainstream, there was a time when almost every handset sold contained a modem tested with his company's inventions. It also meant I was the first kid I knew to have my own phone.

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

During indoor track season my junior year of college, I developed a kink in my intestines like you might find in a garden hose. I had to spend a month in the ICU after several weeks of not being able to poop. That's right, I was "full of it." So thankful for modern medical science.

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

Wangechi Mutu

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

The Great Simplification With Nate Hagens

Your favorite fictional character.

Is Larry David technically a fictional character?

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

The launch of the Nike Run Club App along with the rebranding and reprogramming of Nike Run Club.

A recent project you're proud of. 

In the next five years, 10 percent of global spending power will be wielded by nonbinary consumers. I believe we're about to see a lot of brands try (many inauthentically) to grab from this community's pockets. For now, both& is the only brand serving a real sense of belonging, multifaceted identity, self-expression and gender joy to transmasculine and nonbinary folks, and I am proud to be a part of it.

Someone else's work that inspired you years ago. 

"Freestyle" - Nike Basketball

Someone else's work you admired lately. 

The Pudding explains oft-debated cultural ideas with data science and visual essays. Fandom Aesthetics Wiki is an encyclopedia of thousands of niche cultures and online/offline aesthetics. This is where you can find me rabbit-holing.

Your main strength as a creative person.

I'm a curious solver. I live to question.

Your biggest weakness.

I'm a curious solver. Sometimes I try really hard to bring a solution to the table when a simple smile would do just fine.

A mentor who helped you navigate the industry.

Nikki Neuburger, Andrea Perez, Melanie Strong. I call them my "frentors."

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

I believe that an empowering culture eats smart strategy for breakfast, and I try to breathe "we can be anything together" energy into anyone I encounter.

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

Pursuing a PhD in social psychology with Dr. Valerie Purdie Greenaway.

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.