Someone once said of their professional drive: “It’s smart people, doing smart work.” That person? Sonya Cooper, 160over90’s new Executive Director of Client Services here at 1 S. Broad.
A Detroit native and Midwesterner at heart, Sonya’s spent most of her professional life navigating the small, intersecting world known as the Philadelphia ad industry. While she brings 15 years of work experience and perspective to the table, plus the occasional mom gear, there’s one thing that really sets her apart—her history with the agency. Sonya was a member of the 160over90 team way back when… when Tiger Woods was still a champion golfer, when velour tracksuits were stylish, and when Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” topped the Billboard charts. In the early 2000s, she worked her way up from Account Executive to Account Director in our newly formed branding shop, and built and implemented many of the agency processes that are best practices today. Fast forward nearly 10 years, and Sonya is back in action at 160over90, with “Executive” in her title.
After giving her all of, maybe, four days to get settled, we tapped Sonya for a glimpse into 160over90’s early days, what brought her back, and what makes Sonya, Sonya.
Q. Back in 2002, what was it like to work at 160over90?
A. We were certainly a smaller agency—small and nimble. There was this “all hands on deck, get it done” mentality. No matter the category, project, or scope of work, we would find a way to make great work. We didn’t feel like a small agency. We did a ton of work and we did it well.
Q. Since leaving the agency in 2006, what was the main impetus to return?
A. This agency has continued to grow and define its place in the industry. It’s never stopped challenging itself or its employees. When I was here before, higher education was a growing practice, so it’s amazing now to see us as leaders in this space, alongside consumer and sports specialties. Plus, we’ve formalized the agency structure and systems. What was organic account movement is now a defined process. The agency now approaches scheduling and project management with more rigor—all great assets for continued growth and opportunity.
Q. Being a mother of three, what is going to keep you going in this new role?
A. If I’m going to be away from my three little ones all day long, the work has to be meaningful and rewarding. To me, the key is working in a place that has an energy that makes me excited to come to work every day.
Q. In your experience working with various brands, is there one niche you especially enjoy?
A. It’s not about a particular industry or vertical for me. I love solving brand challenges. I’m category agnostic. Finding consumer insights and how they can impact a business challenge is really what drives me.
Q. What is one piece of advice you would give to an account person who is just getting started in the business?
A. In a collaborative, creative agency, everyone’s voice should be heard. So speak up!
And now for the burning questions…
Q. Deep Dish Pizza or Cheesesteaks?
A. Thin crust
Q. The Broad Street Line or “the L”?
A. Broad Street Line
Q. Favorite thing about the City of Brotherly Love?
Q. Funniest mom ‘accessory’ that’s made it into work?
A. Barbie’s high heels
Q. Guilty pleasure music choice?
A. If I’m being honest, the Frozen soundtrack!
Q. Favorite show to binge watch.
A. Currently, VEEP
Q. Fun fact.
A. I’ve never had a cup of coffee…in my entire life.
Q. Any hidden talents?
A. I can recite the alphabet backwards… in four seconds. Hit the PLAY button on the left of the audio player below.