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ThoughtMatter Expands Leadership Team with Women Design Directors
- Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019
Wednesday Krus and Samantha Barbagiovanni to further the agency’s mission of building stronger brands and inspiring positive change
Expanding its team of cross-disciplinary creatives and strategists, New York-based brand design studio ThoughtMatter announces Wednesday Krus and newcomer Samantha Barbagiovanni as its new Design Directors. A kinetic mix of creative expertise and unbridled curiosity, both designers bring complementary skills and unique perspectives that will spark conversations as well as provoke bold action for brands and organizations embracing change.
Krus and Barbagiovanni will help lead the already predominantly female design team at ThoughtMatter, a rarity for the creative industry. “When we say we want to be a different kind of agency, this is what we mean – we’re concerned not only with having the right talent, but having people from diverse backgrounds and with different perspectives in the room,” says Managing Director Jessie McGuire. “That’s how you get the best results; solutions that reflect the diverse world we live in. Wednesday and Samantha are enormously talented designers and trusted ambassadors of ThoughtMatter’s socially-conscious mission. They are women whose fearless voices will make them valuable mentors to our team.”
Originally joining ThoughtMatter as a designer, Krus’ flexibility and empathy helped her rise to a leadership position – encouraged in part by the studio’s passionate and supportive environment. She was a driving force behind the studio’s branding work for Staten Island, a radical redesign of the Constitution that was covered by Fast Company. More recently, she spearheaded the launch for direct-to-consumer clean beauty brand Ivy & Elder. In her new role as Design Director, Krus will take on a host of leadership responsibilities, helping to mentor and guide design talent across everything from branding to experiential design. She also will manage project workflows, collaborating with Account Manager Katie Williams to meticulously plan budgets and timelines, making sure that each project under her care goes smoothly.
To Krus, this new position represents a major achievement in an ongoing career goal. “When you see some of the statistics about women in senior leadership roles in the design industry, it’s easy to become disheartened,” she confesses. “So knowing that the studio has trust in me is vital and demonstrates a growing desire for change, not just with clients but within our own agency as well. It’s great to be part of a team that steps up and lives its values.”
Barbagiovanni joins from design agency Elmwood, drawn by ThoughtMatter’s innovative and mission-driven approach, as well as her previous partnership with former Elmwood Creative Director Ben Greengrass. Over her career she has earned various accolades, including a Mobius Award for her designs for coffee brand Alterra, as well as American Package Design, GDUSA and Dieline Awards for her work for online retailer Jet.com. Now, as Design Director, she will collaborate across account and strategy teams to guide each project to success. She has already proven invaluable in designing the digital hub for literacy and job skills nonprofit The Harlem Empowerment Project and the neighborhood branding for Long Island City, NYC.
“What I love about ThoughtMatter is that everyone approaches projects from different angles and perspectives,” says Barbagiovanni. “Curiosity is ingrained in the culture here, which leads the team to ask tough questions and passionately pursue answers that encourage change. By carefully selecting like-minded clients and making a difference in communities, ThoughtMatter stands by its values and it shows.”
Not only do these new additions showcase ThoughtMatter’s commitment to excellence, they signal a shift in the larger culture. “These are different times,” affirms McGuire. “Now more than ever, leaders of women's organizations and key clients, as well as company board members, are women. More stories are being told from real women’s points of view while, at the same time, fights for women’s rights, pay parity and more are dominating the cultural conversation. In this climate, companies demand that their partners have senior leaders who can speak to these experiences in authentic ways.”
“These are designers who aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo, with creativity and craft to spare,” emphasizes Greengrass. "Of course, it’s about hiring the best, whatever the gender. Diversity for diversity’s sake is never the intention. But it’s always important to have the right team and the right people to guide it. It’s clear that Sam and Wednesday both hold qualities that make them contenders as female Creative Directors of the future. We’re all lucky to have them aboard.”
ThoughtMatter is an award-winning creative design agency with an artful perspective. We believe in using our skills to elevate issues that we deeply care about by helping businesses and institutions learn from and engage with the people they serve in more meaningful ways. We envision a world in which brands with purpose are the ones that matter the most. #WorkWorthDoing