2 minutes with … Rhonda Contreras from the group Richards
Rhonda Contreras, Collaboration Director of The Richards Group, is dedicated to finding the untapped potential of a person, client or campaign and then helping to make those people and projects the best they can be through collaboration, sharing of experiences and determination.
Rhonda joined The Richards Group in 2006 to work at Home Depot. Since then, she has led the agency’s efforts on Chuck E. Cheese, Summer’s Eve, ULTA Beauty, Zale’s, Cache Creek Casino Resort, Choctaw Casinos & Resorts, and Firehouse Subs. She also leads the agency’s experiential practice, Latitude, which brings brands to life through events and experiences.
As a member of the agency’s leadership team, Rhonda is responsible for facilitating the creation of resources, removing barriers and sharing best practices to achieve new levels of collaboration and engagement within the agency.
Rhonda graduated from the University of Arkansas with a BA in Business Administration and received her MBA from Indiana University. She and her husband Ivan spend their weekends on Lake Texoma with their Goldendoodles, Sir Francis Bacon and Lady Godiva, on their aptly named boat, the Nauti Dog.
We spent two minutes with Rhonda to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations and the recent work she admires.
Rhonda, tell us …
Where you grew up and where you live now.
I was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, and even spent the first 10 years of my career there. My desire to advertise on a national stage prompted me to join Dallas and The Richards Group.
How you first found out that you were creative.
As the youngest of four children, I have been a collaborator and a creative problem solver all my life. I consider this to be a basic survival skill that I was fortunate enough to learn very early on.
Someone you creatively idolized from the start.
Mary Wells Lawrence. I read A great life in advertising and I knew I had found my calling.
A visual artist or band / musician you admire.
Andrea Bocelli. Laura Pausini. Eros Ramazzotti. Johnny Cash. Dolly Parton. Willie Nelson. ABBA. Beastie Boys. Fleetwood Mac. Queen. AndrÃ© Rieu. Glenn Miller Orchestra. When words fail, the music speaks, and I love it all.
A book, movie, TV show, or podcast that you recently found inspiring.
This is nothing new, but Simon Sinek’s simple book, Together is better, offers 100 little reminders of the importance of empathy, inclusiveness and leadership as we continue to rebuild ourselves into a people-centered agency.
Your favorite fictional character.
Rocky Balboa taught me early on that it’s not how hard you can hit, but how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. Words of wisdom from an unlikely source, I know, but I remember them almost daily.
Someone or something to follow on social media.
View from my window. As we have all isolated ourselves over the past year, it has been both humbling and inspiring to see the simpler parts of the world through the eyes of others.
How Covid-19 has changed your life, personally or professionally.
I have become more empathetic, more transparent, more vulnerable. We’re literally all in the same boat, so why try to be anything else?
One of your favorite creative projects you’ve worked on before.
After a building imploded right across from the Richards Group, social media dubbed it the Leaning Tower of Dallas, and our creative team saw an opportunity to engage our client in that conversation. Twelve hours later, we projected a message for Choctaw Casinos & Resorts from our parking lot, across the highway, and onto what was left of the building. The image spread on social media, even before the police arrested us 90 minutes later. I like this project for its creativity, its immediacy and its simplicity, and the fact that it is based on years of trust maintained with our client.