Astrid Stavro on why she’s by no means had a profession plan

Six months into her role as vice president creative director at Collins, the former Pentagram partner talks to us about why it’s good to be uncomfortable

Before Astrid Stavro joined Collins, the US behemoth of an agency wasn’t particularly on her radar – nor was she especially looking for a new job. When she began conversations with Collins, Stavro was freelancing, having left her role as Pentagram partner in October 2021. “I was enjoying the freedom of being freelance – taking on my own clients and so on, and just organically growing the team for whichever projects required it,” she says. “But it felt a bit … I was essentially on my own.”

As for many of us during and post-lockdowns, there was a sense of isolation: working remotely wasn’t entirely new to many creatives, but the enforced solo-ness for vast swathes of time can lead to even the most introverted of freelancers feeling a bit, well, off. Before Stavro had even been introduced to Brian Collins, the eponymous co-founder of the agency, she had admired its work for clients like the San Francisco Symphony, OpenWeb, and Medium. “That’s when they fell into my radar to be completely honest – partly because they’re in the States and I was more European-centric,” she says.

It was her first Zoom with Brian Collins that changed everything. Introduced by a project manager Stavro had known from a previous job, Stavro was assured they would get on like a house on fire. Long story short, they did. “I had no expectations whatsoever – I didn’t know him personally, but I thought it’s always good to meet people,” says Stavro. “I literally had tears of laughter rolling down my cheeks for an hour. He’s so hilarious; he cracked me up, and it was totally relaxed. And I like a good laugh; I like people with a sense of humour.” They reconnected around a month later, when Collins said Stavro should also meet Leland Maschmeyer, the agency’s CEO and co-founder. 

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