2 Minutes With ... Tom Francesconi, CD at Joan Creative

On mentorship as a superpower

Tom is currently a creative director at Joan Creative in NYC. His resume also includes posts at agencies in Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco

We spent two minutes with Tom to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations and recent work he's admired.

Tom, tell us …

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in Wallingford, Conn., spent years in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and now I call Brooklyn home. 

How you first realized you were creative.

In middle school, my family was moving to a new house and my WWF action figures got lost. Rather than accept my fate, I decided to draw every single wrestler I could remember, front and back, cut them out and glue them together so I could keep playing with them. I also recorded each of their entrance songs on a CD for when I played with them. You could call it an obsession. 

A person you idolized creatively early on.

Tinker Hatfield

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

During my senior of college a recruiter from Mullen in Boston came to speak to my class. That was it for me. I knew before that conversation was over that I had found the career I wanted to pursue. Almost three years later to the date, after taking night classes and enrolling in portfolio school, I landed my first gig as a junior art director at Mullen. 

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

Sebastian Curi 

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

Poor Things. The entire movie is incredible. Yorgos killed it again.

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

#MakeItStop was a project from early in my career for VH1's Save the Music foundation that I remain proud of. The goal was to raise awareness of music programs that were being eliminated from public schools across America. We imagined a world where music was no longer taught and created the worst Christmas song of all time. It was played by children who had never played an instrument, and it sounded terrible. The only way to make the song stop looping was to download it from iTunes.

A recent project you're proud of. 

Zen Business - Above the Grade. 1 in every 3 entrepreneurs are neurodiverse, it’s actually a super power, yet many of those with neurodiversity struggle to succeed in a one size fits all education system. So we shredded the report cards of neurodiverse students and turned the remains into free LLC certificates, giving them the ability to rise above the system that held them back. 

Someone else's work that inspired you years ago. 

Ragu's "A long Day of Childhood."

Someone else's work you admired lately. 

British Airways' "Every Reason You Fly"—Incredibly simple, true and genuine. 

A mentor that helped you navigate the industry.

Joe Bardetti. Joe and I worked together at Mullen. He was larger than life, everyone's best friend and an incredible mentor. Joe passed recently, and he will be greatly missed by anyone fortunate enough to have been in his orbit. He was a special human being.

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

Mentorship is a superpower of mine. I take pride in knowing that anyone who ever worked for me knows my calendar is always open if they need me. I mentor several creatives (and non creatives) at my current agency, and even a few who have reached out independently for guidance.

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

Chef. I absolutely love to cook—it's cathartic for me. 

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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