Third Thursday Creative Speaker Series

About the Series

The Third Thursday Creative Speaker Series is a monthly lecture series that is sponsored by the College of Arts & Letters Excel Network and the Graphic Design Program in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design. This series offers students industry connections, alumni networking opportunities, and insights into a variety of industries and disciplines presented by working professionals who lead design and creativity efforts in organizations such as design firms, advertising agencies, nonprofits, and Fortune 500 companies. Speakers who are selected have a variety of experiences including graphic design, writing, user experience, brand strategy, creative technology, and digital media.

Upcoming Speakers

0.jpgSusan Bennett, Partner and Executive Creative Director @ Simple Truth

January 24

Location TBD

Susan is the Simple Truth rock star who has built a career of 20-plus years as a creative director upon intrepid and surprising design. She leads our team with spot-on intuition and spark, and she challenges us to be risk-takers who boldly question the status quo. With her steering the ship, whatever brands she touches are in good hands.

Past Speakers Grillo, Owner of The Grillo Group, Inc.

November 15, 2018

A Fellow of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, Maria’s talent and achievements as a designer over the last 25 years have been recognized by some of the profession’s most notable organizations and publications: Communication ArtsGraphis PosterPrint, and ID magazines, the New York Type Directors Club, and British Design and Art Direction. Maria has taught aspiring designers and peers how to plan and implement branding and design programs at various institutions. At The Grillo Group, Maria and her team work for and with their clients every step of the way from solid research, analysis, and planning to clear positioning and sound message strategy to expert visual and verbal creative execution.

Man looking off camera with a slight smileSol Sender, Strategist/Writer/Designer

October 18, 2018

For more than 20 years, Sol Sender has been honing the expertise required to be just such a partner—and has put it into practice shaping, strengthening and transforming some of the world’s leading brands. With a broad set of creative skills that span strategy, writing, design, user experience and agile development, Sol has developed core brand strategy and experiences for a diverse set of clients including, IBM, Goldman Sachs, Motorola, GE, Citadel and Obama’08. His commitment to client success, focus on lasting value, and relentless hunt for the biggest ideas have built a reputation for deeply thoughtful work of the highest quality.

Man with short hair smiling and wearing a black collared shirtCurt Schreiber, Chief Design Officer @ VSA Partners

September 20, 2018

Curt Schreiber blends a lifelong interest in art and design with a passion for leadership, and has developed a highly successful professional career around brand strategy and corporate marketing communications. As Chief Design Officer and President at VSA PARTNERS, Curt ensures that VSA upholds the standards of excellence upon which the firm was founded 32 years ago and its belief that design has the power to solve complex business problems. He is known for building an internal culture that emphasizes consistency in producing stellar work, attracts the top talent in the industry, encourages free idea exchange, and focuses on long-term growth.

Series Founder - Alumnus Sam Landers

Man with short dark hair wearing a white shirt smiling and posing for a photoThe Third Thursday Creative Speaker Series was founded by Michigan State University alumnus Sam Landers. Sam is the founder and Executive Editor of Trope Reader, a new content publishing company that is focused on producing highly crafted books and films. Previously, Sam was part of the global executive team at Wunderman, a WPP company – which acquired Designkitchen, the Chicago creative agency he founded in 2008. During his eight years with Wunderman, Sam served on their global board and held several positions including, Global President of the Wunderman Brand Experience Division and as CEO of Blast Radius and Designkitchen. Throughout his career, Sam worked alongside some of the most talented and diverse creative thinkers in the industry, making him a strong believer that while great ideas often come from individuals, the key to making them successful is almost always through the collaboration of a well orchestrated team.


Career Communities

Entrepreneurship, Business, and Innovation

Visual Arts, Arts Administration, and Performing Arts

Publishing, Editing, and Authorship

Design, Technology, and Media

International Affairs, Law, and Government

Nonprofit, Education, and Social Impact