Goodby Silverstein & Partners Opens The Academy at GS&P To Help Bring Diverse New Talent To The Industry
In-house, tuition-free advertising school to be led by Dan Balser and Zach Canfield
  • SAN FRANCISCO
  • --

Goodby Silverstein & Partners is launching an in-house advertising school, The Academy at GS&P. The tuition-free school housed at the agency’s flagship location in San Francisco will train the next generation of advertising leaders, providing real-world experience inside the highly awarded creative agency. It will launch with an intentional, active focus on helping to reduce the inequity endemic to the advertising industry. 

“The concept behind The Academy at GS&P is that it allows a diverse cohort to go to school in the type of place they want to work, learning from pros and developing relevant skills from day one,” said Zach Canfield, director of talent, GS&P. Canfield originated the idea of a school and recruited Dan Balser. Canfield added, “The goal of the Academy is to add a wider perspective to the talent pool when there are more companies than ever are looking to hire diverse creative talent.”

Balser, a former program director at The Creative Circus in Atlanta, will lead the school as director of The Academy at GS&P. Balser has taught and mentored close to 2,000 copywriters and art directors, many of whom are running agency and in-house creative departments today. During Balser’s 18-year tenure, The Creative Circus maintained a 95+% placement rate and garnered dozens of national and international student awards.

“This isn’t my dream job, because my dreams aren’t this good,” said Balser. “I have admired GS&P for decades, and I’m humbled and thrilled at the opportunity to create a world-class academy with some of the sharpest minds in the industry.”

In addition to formerly running The Creative Circus advertising program, Balser is also the creator, host, and producer of the long-running, popular advertising podcast Don’t Get Me Started. He is the recipient of an AAF Educator of the Year award. And he has been featured on NPR and in various trade magazines, blogs, and speaker series. As copywriter for a decade in New York, Balser worked on national brands including Hershey’s, Jaguar, IBM, Verizon, TBS, and Fosters Beer. While in New York, he also appeared as an extra on Saturday Night Live.

The year-long, intensive program will include classes from founders Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein (hosts of their own 18-class MasterClass series), as well as chief creative officer Margaret Johnson, famed streetwear designer Benny Gold and additional agency talent. 

The school will focus on teaching the specific skills and qualities GS&P leadership has learned over 40 years of being an agency combined with Balser’s 18 years of education expertise. The powerful combination will train the future leaders in design, art direction, copywriting and technology. Interested applicants can apply between now and December 1 here. Classes will start in February 2022 in San Francisco. 

One of GS&P’s proudest legacies as an agency has been shaping the current leadership at some of the best ad agencies in the world. The list of GS&P alumni now leading the industry includes Chris Beresford-Hill (Ogilvy's president of advertising for North America) and Nancy Reyes (president at TBWA NY); David Kolbusz (CCO at Droga5 London) and Sarah Thompson (CEO at Droga5 NY); the founders of FRED & FARID in Paris; Joakim Borgström (CCO at BBH Singapore); Karin Onsager-Birch (VP of creative at Lyft); Erich Joiner (CEO at Tool of North America); Gerry Graf (founder of Barton F. Graf 9000); and Paul Venables (founder of Venables Bell & Partners). 

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