Getting to Know Lisa Whalen


Title: Production Coordinator
Here since: July 1987

What exactly do you do at SKAR?
Bookkeeping and babysitting. I cut back to part-time in March 2012 to be home in the afternoons with our daughter and to further confuse her with her homework. My day-to-day production duties are less rigorous than they have been, and I’ve taken on more of the billing and invoicing side of my role. Basically I crack the whip at the creatives to make sure they’re meeting deadlines and entering their time.

You’ve been at SKAR for a number of years. Explain.
If I’m doing my math right, I’ve been harassing people around here for more than 25 years. Better yet, don’t do the math – I’m not that old. I started on the phones, moved into the secretarial pool and then slid over to production. It’s been a wild ride.

What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon as a kid?
My brother usually hogged the TV, and with only three channels and no remote, we watched what he wanted. You can’t go wrong with all the classic Looney Tunes!

What skills do you need to be great at your job?
Patience. Multitaskability. And a good sense of humor.

What is the biggest change you’ve seen in advertising since you started?
Well, again, I’m not that old, but there were no computers or internet back in the day. The artists did “paste-up” and we ordered “paper positives” to provide the newspapers so they could do “camera shots” for every page.

What do you like to do for fun?
Nothing. I mean, really, nothing. The thought of just sitting to relax and work a puzzle book is delightful. Or mindless game show network shows … glorious.

What do you miss about the old days at SKAR?
There has always been a steady stream of rowdy characters. The Friday Happy Hours were particularly memorable! I used to have a pretty decent figure, too. I miss that.

Where do you see production in 20 years?
Well, I’ll be retired by then, so it will probably all fall apart without me. Or it will be even more digital and streamlined and they’ll realize they never really needed me after all. Poor schmucks.

Favorite cocktail?
I’m an equal opportunity drinker. Whatever is available is what I’ll drink.

If you could travel to any place in the world, where would it be?
I’d travel back in time to hug a few people just one more time, say things I didn’t say and not do some of the stupid things I did when I was in school.

What annoys the bejeezus out of you?
The word bejeezus. Thanks for that.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
Deciding on which color pen or pencil or marker I’ll use for the moment. I have an endless stash with every color in the Crayola color box represented. I change colors many times a day. Keeps things spicy.

Some people say that production is the backbone of the agency. Why would they say that?
Without a backbone, you would be spineless and fall on your face. I guess that would be unpleasant.

You seem to have a wealth of expertise in many areas of advertising. Does that make you feel superior to others?
Superior!? Yeah, sure, we’ll go with that. I learned everything I know from Wanda Ruff; she was an industry relic. I ‘spose you could say I was a “Wanda-be.”

What was your favorite toy as a kid?
Not really a toy, but I spent hours and hours on huge color-yourself posters. These things had teeny, tiny patterns all over and every single square inch was covered. Probably where I got my love of colored markers. Back then there weren’t any electronic gizmos that would suck the time and life from your brain. We had to think for ourselves without the aid of Google.