Character and integrity are the highest of compliments, and I can say Jill has no shortage of either. Jill is not only a wonderful creative person, but she is a wonderful human. Seriously wonderful. Maybe the best in the world. I can say this because I know her quite well, as we were partners for several years (and on one of the most brain melting 100 day projects that ever was.) Beyond being creative and scrappy, Jill is the ultimate Peacemaker and Cheerleader. The ultimate Soul Sister, Mother, Friend, Do Gooder, and Comedian. It is possible Jill is a Superhero with the Superpower of "1000 Faces," because I don’t know how one person can do all these things well. Jill has seen me at my best and worst. She’s been a North Star to me in business (and funny business). Jill has the mind of a Tiger and the heart of a Golden Retriever. What more could one ask for?
Jill will always be my "Jilly Beans." Because she makes me as happy as a mason jar chock full of colorful, eternally youthful candy. Someone great once said, if you leave this life with a handful of true Friends, you are lucky. I feel so lucky that this very weird business, made knowing Jill possible.
Jill ruined my career.
For it is no longer possible for me to work with a Creative Director and not feel slightly disappointed that they're not Jill. Seriously.
Whether she's setting the bar, or just open to kicking around a few ideas in one, Jill's passion and work ethic are infectious. She's talented, inspiring, patient, kind, and just about everything else you could wish for in a colleague, and more importantly, in a human being.
Jill's work speaks for itself, which is a good thing, because she's one of the most humble people I've worked with.
It's not just that she's won pretty much every award there is to be won, been named on countless "most creative" lists, or managed to do all this while raising a wonderful family, it's that she does it all with no ego, or complaints. And with an even more infectious smile on her face.
Damn you, Jill. What's wrong with you?
Jill is an impossible mix of a battle-hardened, foul-mouthed, take-no-prisoners warrior queen and a compassionate mother figure you just want to hug—the perfect ingredients for a Creative Director. I’ve had the pleasure of working on Warrior-Queen-Mother Applebaum’s team for the last 1+ years, and have learned a lot about being a better leader and a more confident creative. She has an incredibly steady hand even in the most stressful situations, inspires her teams even on the not-so-inspiring projects, and keeps us laughing the entire way.
That’s why, come this November, I’m endorsing Warrior-Queen-Mother Applebaum for President of the United States. If that doesn’t work out, she’s more than suitable for a position as Group CD, ECD or whatever titles you got over there.
Jill is one of my all time favorite Creative Directors. No matter the challenge of category, client or circumstance Jill brings insightful and beautiful ideas that excite clients, consumers and agency teams alike and that is no small feat. She pushes account and strategic partners to provide the best brief and then truly leads creative teams to deliver. She speaks the language of clients and business challenges without losing an ounce of her creative soul. Jill is driven and determined, guarding ideas and team members like her children. Jill is also one of the funniest people I know - she kept me laughing through very unfunny episodes. We'll all be working for Jill one day and I won't mind at all."
There aren't many Creative Directors left in this industry who can create magic, but Jill's one of them. I've seen her take the most mundane product, the most inarticulate client request, and write work that can make a whole room of jaded professionals smile even when it's still just a thought on a piece of paper. She has a wonderful gift for copywriting, of course, but more than that she has a gift for understanding why someone would care about a brand, and capturing that in work that speaks to people as human beings, not as 'targets' or 'consumers'. I learned a lot from her, and I was honored to make work with her.
Auro Trini Castelli:
Jill isn't just a talented creative, but also one of the most strategic minds I've worked with. She has a talent for listening and understanding; no wonder why she always comes back with thoughts that are as surprising as spot on. Don't be fooled by her pleasant, quiet and welcoming character. She definitely has an edge, which you'll always find in her game-changing ideas and in her sharp irony. Jill is not just a great partner. She's a great leader. She knows how to take the best out of people, and give her best to each of them. It doesn't matter if you're talking cookies or vodka, cars or electronics, baby products or products for hipsters. What matters is talking with someone like Jill; she'll always have a great answer, or a great question, or both.
As Head of Broadcast Production, I had the good fortune to work with Jill on the Jaguar X-type launch a few years ago. She didn’t look like a sheet metal kind of girl at the outset, but I soon learned that she could trash talk with any mechanic I’d ever met. Better still, her ideas were smart, intuitive, elegant and inventive. To call her a writer is to diminish her importance to the creative process. She’s got a great eye, a cynical sense of humor and a gift for making others better at what they do. In addition to working with her as a producer, I also had the chance to throw into turbulent waters when I was Director of Creative Services at Y&R. She met each challenge with real vision and clarity as well as an occasional groan because she didn’t think she knew anything about the subject (the New Jersey Nets would be a good example of smarts overcoming ignorance of subject.) She does, however, have a lousy jump shot, but I digress.
Most people can't get past Jill's warm, friendly, and considerate manner. But I was her partner for over 12 years, so I can tell you that underneath all that rubbish lies a creative tenacity, a rigorous work ethic and an insuperable ally. Jill is most certainly responsible for my first grey hairs, and It would be worth a head full to work with her again.
Josie Garber Harris:
Jill is the creative partner an agency person and client dream of - clever, quick, engaged in broader business issues, without all the heavy drama. She is truly a pleasure to work with and she keeps you laughing throughout. Jill and I were team leaders on the Burt’s Bees account. I've been in the business for (eek) 20+ years, and she's the first person I would want to be part of my team to solve a client's marketing problems.
Jill always has the perfect words -- whether they're ones that persuade you to buy something you'd never really considered, or a few lines of personal advice that turn up, across the miles, on a business-laden Blackberry. She knows what to say and, more importantly, how to say it, in ways that continue to surprise, amuse, reassure and cajole. Jill's voice is that rare thing in advertising, or any creative field...original, honest and true.
Knowing that clients and creatives are by natural order sworn enemies, the following testimonial may come as a shock. As a former client of Jill's on the AT&T account, I cannot speak more highly of her talents and skills that were the foundation of an ideal partnership and business success. She's smart, savvy, collaborative, and has the underlying insight to know how to maintain creative integrity while fully balancing the demands and dynamics of corporate clients. All this...and she’s even fun to have a martini with. I told you this would be shocking.
I was Jill’s day-to-day client on the Jaguar Cars business for several years. I couldn’t have asked for a better Creative Director to partner with. In the process of being business partners, we became friends. After a career change for me, Jill and I had the opportunity to work together again when I hired her to do some writing and consulting on the GE Healthcare business. She picked up everything she needed to know about the biotech industry with ease. Jill is a confident leader, smart, witty, creative and on top of her business. Her eye is always on the big picture and yet she never let a detail fall through the cracks. I can’t think of anyone I would recommend more highly.
Barbara Applebaum (Jill’s Mother):
Jill has always been a very hard worker. From the time she was in second grade, she would come home from school and begin doing her homework. Her father and I would have to say, “Jill, it’s beautiful outside. Go play. Your homework will still be here later.” If you have the pleasure of working with her, please do me this favor. Make sure she goes out and plays every once in awhile.