Getting to Know LaVon Eby

Title: Chief Financial Officer
Here since: 1962

What exactly do you do at SKAR?
I’m involved with a lot of the inner workings of the agency – like overseeing workflow and media placement, client billing, vendor payments and monthly balancing of the books.

You don’t need to watch “Mad Men” to see what advertising was like in the ’60s. You were there. What was the culture like?
Advertising was exciting in the 1960s. Everyone was challenged with developing new and different ways of expressing themselves and finding unique ways to utilize newspaper, magazines, television and outdoor. The advertising community didn’t seem to have the competitiveness you see today. It was more of an industry family.

You seem to disappear for a few weeks every January. What’s up with that?
My husband and I fly to Maui every year to whale watch and enjoy the incredible weather. We enjoy it so much that we’ve been going there for over 10 years.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
What is this thing you call “spare time”? Actually, when I’m not at work, I take care of the house, do a lot of cooking, watch the grandkids and tune in to Nebraska football.

You’ve experienced many changes in the industry since you started. Which ones stand out?
Computers really changed the way advertising did business. Every department – from accounting to account service and art direction – could do things faster, easier and better than ever before. Using a PC to simply add numbers together was actually pretty exciting back then.

What do you miss about back in the day?
I miss the camaraderie among agencies. The advertising industry worked together as a group, and although there was competition, it wasn’t as fierce as it is today.

What challenges do you see facing agencies today?
There is a higher demand for fast turnaround. Also, the explosion of social media has resulted in new staffing demands and a broader knowledge base required in every agency position.

Name something that made you laugh so hard you cried.
At the end of a SKAR Christmas party, one of the young employees offered to give me a ride from the bar to the bus in an abandoned shopping cart. For some reason, I agreed. After picking up speed, the cart hit a bump and I went flying. You don’t see that every day.

What makes you madder than a wet hen?
Telemarketers calling my house after 8 p.m.

Any hobbies?
I like crocheting, putting puzzles together, reading mystery novels and watching sporting events on TV.

What is the secret to advertising success?
Hard work and having good relationships within the industry.

What is your favorite Omaha eatery and which menu item do you recommend?
Spezia. I love the restaurant’s seafood risotto and the hunter’s lamb.

What advice would you give to someone interested in a career in advertising?
If you love it, do it. You won’t find a more interesting field. It can be demanding but rewarding.