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Industry Innovators 2024: Lindsay Gaddis

For the vice president of creative and design services for Public School, innovation is about fostering a culture of curiosity and refusing to settle in a comfort zone.

Gaddis' most memorable event experience recently was Porsche’s Rennsport Reunion 7, where Public School, along with their partners at Porsche, designed and produced the world’s largest gathering of Porsche race cars, racing enthusiasts, collectors, renowned drivers, and legendary engineers at Laguna Seca in California.
Gaddis' most memorable event experience recently was Porsche’s Rennsport Reunion 7, where Public School, along with their partners at Porsche, designed and produced the world’s largest gathering of Porsche race cars, racing enthusiasts, collectors, renowned drivers, and legendary engineers at Laguna Seca in California.
Photo: Courtesy of Public School

Lindsay GaddisLindsay GaddisPhoto: Courtesy of Public SchoolLindsay Gaddis is the vice president of creative and design services for Public School. She's based in Atlanta.

How she got her start: "Coming from a family of teachers in the New York public school system, I was exposed to amazing art, music, photography, and theater classes from a young age. During summers spent with my mom attending theater and street fairs, she introduced me to so many interesting people with fascinating careers, including TV and movie writers, scenic designers, entertainment managers, and so many others. These experiences inspired me to parlay my own creativity into a career—although it wouldn’t be on a stage like some of my mother’s friends. I was far more interested in what was going on behind the scenes—the people who supported the experience the audience was seeing.

This led me to pursue a degree in architecture and design from Clemson University, and after graduating, I spent 13 years in the creative department at different Omnicom agencies, where I designed brand experiences for fashion, luxury automotive, tech, and sports brands, eventually achieving the title of executive creative director. With over a decade of experience and a persistent passion for creative design in hand, we founded Public School, a creative agency, where I continue to find the experiences of my younger years in NYC inspiring the work we do."

What innovation means to her: "To me, innovation is not really about inventing new products or technologies; it’s about fostering a culture of curiosity and refusing to settle in a comfort zone. It’s about daring to challenge the status quo—the ability to see the world not as it is, but as it could be, and the courage to make that vision a reality.

Staying innovative is crucial because the world is in a constant state of flux. Markets evolve, industries shift, and audiences change faster than ever before. Add to that the fact that we experience advertising in one form or another 10,000-plus times per day, and you quickly see how brands that never stray from an old playbook risk becoming the worst thing a brand can be: irrelevant.

We’re fortunate to create with brands that are curious to explore what’s next instead of re-creating what’s been done. These are the kinds of brands that lead their industries and create lasting impact, not only with their products, but with how they share their products with the world."

Where she finds inspiration: "Similar to what encouraged my choice to pursue a career in a creative industry, I still find inspiration in the team of people I’m fortunate to work with.

We started Public School to be a home for all creative walks of life, and we still live that philosophy to this day. In fact, at any given moment, you could come to our studio and find children’s book authors, musicians, portrait illustrators, cosplayers, photographers, and choreographers working hand in hand with talents from the advertising, experiential, entertainment, architecture, design, fashion, and digital worlds.

I truly believe that collaboration between talented people from diverse creative backgrounds is the way to inspire the best and most innovative work."

'To work on an experience that is fueled by so much passion is beyond inspiring,' Gaddis says of Porsche’s Rennsport Reunion 7."To work on an experience that is fueled by so much passion is beyond inspiring," Gaddis says of Porsche’s Rennsport Reunion 7.Photo: Courtesy of Public School

Memorable moments: "It’s been a busy year. We went from designing brand experiences at the Super Bowl, Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, and 24 Hours of Daytona to shutting down Ninth Avenue in New York City for a brand experience for the Met Gala. And currently [as of this writing], the team is crafting an original experience for Canva.

For myself and the rest of the team, the most memorable event experience recently was Porsche’s Rennsport Reunion 7, where we, along with our partners at Porsche, had the honor of designing and producing the world’s largest gathering of Porsche race cars, racing enthusiasts, collectors, renowned drivers, and legendary engineers together for one unforgettable weekend at Laguna Seca in California.

It was like being an architect of a pop-up city with 90,000 inhabitants.

To work on an experience that is fueled by so much passion is beyond inspiring. It also enabled our diverse team to flex their talents across experience branding, merchandise design, content creation, digital experience design, entertainment and influencer management, architectural design, spatial design, product launch events, experiential production, and sponsorships and collaborations."

Her vision for the future of experiential: "My vision for the future of experiential is to further blur the lines between advertising, marketing, PR, and experiential. I see the industry transitioning into taking a more seamless and integrated approach to brand storytelling that’s truly just communication.

But, as for what that communication looks and feels like, how it is presented to audiences, and how they interact with it… it’s just impossible to predict, and I love that. As more and more brands are throwing out the old playbook, evolving their strategy, and innovating their creative approach, I think we’ll see more and more unbridled creative thinking making its way off the pages of a deck and into real life. That makes this a very exciting time to be a creative mind or a courageous brand."

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This feature is sponsored by Gladiator Productions, a new kind of production company igniting magic in the arena of live events, entertainment, and experience. We consistently partner with our clients by providing high-touch service through every step of the production process. 

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