When Leeann Leahy joined VIA in 2012, she brought years of New York City experience with her to the Portland-based advertising agency. First as President and now as CEO, she fosters a creative atmosphere where getting out of comfort zones is part of everyone’s job description.

Monday –

7 AM: Time with my family is valuable, and the morning is our time to catch up. My assistant sends me a rundown of the coming week on Sunday, so I’m as ready as I can be.

1 PM: I try to make time for breakfast or lunch with one new person a week. The culture established by VIA’s founder is one of openness and transparency, and it’s important to listen.

6 PM: My goal isn’t to have work/life balance; it’s to have a full work experience and a full life experience. I get home in time to make dinner, check homework, and relax.

Tuesday –

6 AM: When I wake up, I play solitaire on my phone and tell myself, if I win, today’s going to be spectacular. If I lose, I think, well, it’ll be great anyway. It fires me up to attend early morning events like Eggs & Issues or a United Way board meeting.

1 PM: I invented a thing called “Go Do” at VIA. It includes everything from bocce games to sabbatical leaves for longtime employees. We do things like “Free Beer and Fiction,” where employees from all parts of the agency write short stories, or we’ll go sledding or try sushi rolling.

Wednesday –

11 AM: I randomly choose a name of a VIA employee to go on a “Hey You, Go Do,” which has sent people to the North Pole, Burning Man, and Art Basel. They go, experience, and report back to the agency. Creativity is a mindset, and we want everyone to have inspiration and fuel to create.

4 PM: Working with an agency should be the best part of a client’s day. We keep our client relationships fresh and relevant and fun. One time we learned that it was a client’s birthday while he was visiting. We were going on a schooner cruise, so we had a plane fly overhead with a banner that read “Hey Derek! The one on the boat. HBD.” It was just right.

Thursday –

6 AM: I travel to New York City for the day. I have a pair of shoes we call my “secret weapons”—they’re black and spiky, with a red outsole. I’m a Mainer now, but I’ll still rock killer heels for a big meeting.

3 PM: When I’m in NYC, I squeeze as much into a day as possible: lunch with the trade press, meeting with new recruits or clients, or a business development meeting.

Friday –

9 AM: My day is off to a running start. I don’t drink coffee anymore—now I love all the marvelous Polar seltzer flavors, like clementine cranberry or pomegranate.

1 PM: Client, consumer, and brand service is fast-paced and challenging, which is why I tell staff to “Run towards the fire” when things get tough. To succeed, you have to be honest and decisive, take responsibility, and solve problems.

6 PM: I’m heading out for a dinner party or a harbor cruise with friends and family. I’m currently in an end-of-summer relationship with pop country music, which just sounds so good on a boat.

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