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New Faculty Spotlight: Derek O'Leary, advertising

Jul 31, 2020

Posted in: News

Derek O'Leary

Derek O'Leary is the newest professor in the Robertson School's advertising sequence. He will join us as an instructor this fall semester. 

Welcome to the Robertson School! Tell us a little bit about where you are from and where you worked, or studied, previously?

I was like a nomad living in a bunch of states including Alaska, California, Texas and Rhode Island before receiving my B.S. in Advertising at Michigan State University. After graduation, I traveled across the country working with the famous Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

I originally came to Richmond to receive my M.S. in art direction from the VCU Brandcenter and fell in love with the city. I have been here for the last 10 years working at several local Richmond agencies such as Yebo (Formally Barber Martin), The Virginia Lottery, Big River, Storywerks and co-founded the design studio O’Fung Studios.

What is your teaching philosophy? 

I like encouraging students to tap into their creative potential no matter what topic they are studying. Finding with advertising and business problems there is rarely one correct answer. I believe that when students are pushing themselves to be open minded they can surprise even themselves with their solutions. I’ve been studying gamification and like to keep things interesting with a game every now and then.

How do you keep current in this ever changing media environment?

I like to focus on what companies are doing in the experiential space. With these ever-changing events we can see cutting edge in technology, user experience and design. A lot of these experiences are on the forefront of the industry since their main objective is to connect and surprise their customers.

Tell us something personal about yourself. What hobbies and interests do you have outside of the classroom?

My wife and I are co-owners of a design studio, O’Fung Studios, and we enjoy working on small projects for local businesses in Richmond, bands playing in town and national music festivals. I’ve been busy with our new baby, Miles, and can’t wait to share my passion of traveling with him.