Monday, September 13, 2010

Tribute #8: Norm Grey

I have no clue when or why I decided to pursue a career in advertising, and to be honest I’m still trying to figure that out. At any rate, it’s the path I’ve been on for the past decade and one that led me to The Creative Circus in Atlanta, Georgia. Norm Grey is one of the founders of the Circus, but it wasn’t there that I first met him. It was on a snowy night back at Michigan State.

I learned that someone from the Creative Circus (an advertising portfolio school) was coming to speak, and figured I should hear what they had to say. I remember it was in the middle of winter and that particular night was one best spent inside watching TV. Unlike my typical behavior I actually forced myself out the door, and I’m very fortunate I did.

I’m not sure who I was expecting to meet that night, but Norm was the last person I envisioned. He was both gentle and kind. Not the typical in your face, fast talking ad guy one would expect. He wore a baseball cap with an embroidered circus ball on it and spoke with his hands. Norm didn’t romanticize a career in advertising; he was clear about the pluses and minuses of choosing such a path. I think he even mentioned God.

Norm Grey is a legend. He has touched thousands of lives through his work and teachings. He taught me a great deal about advertising, but the most beneficial lesson I learned from Norm was how to be a better person. It’s easy to get caught up in our careers, especially in advertising, and to be defined by our job title. However, like Norm, I don’t want to be remembered for the number of awards I’ve won, but for the number of lives I’ve touched. Like Norm, I want to lead a spiritual life- not encroaching my beliefs on others, but inspiring through example. Like Norm, I want to leave this world a better place.

Norm, thank you for showing me the ropes. Though I’m not sure how long I'll stay in this crazy industry, I know that for now it’s the path I’m meant to be on. You inspire me to use my talents and I thank God the ad world has you. 

Norm at my Circus Graduation

1 comment:

  1. I can only imagine how deeply this message will touch Norm. After reading it, I'm so grateful for his presence in your life, too.