Anne Ryan

The Basics (how many years have you been in the business and what’s your education – no fluff, just the facts, ma’am)

15 Years. Started out brand side. Then the Internet happened and so I went to a digital agency to learn all things web. Then society became more brand-centric, so I shifted and became hyper-focused on the power of brands. Which led me to Brownstein Group – I saw the roster of clients and immediately knew I wanted to invest my passion in BG’s clients.

What does 215 mean to you, in one word?


What does gritty mean to you?


What would your superhero name be?

The fabulous female conjuror!

How do you know when your digging is done?

When my head, my heart, and my gut are in perfect alignment

Why do you love sharks?

They are graceful creatures that have withstood the test of time over millions of years. Then suddenly, in the 1970’s, a movie debuts that grossly stigmatizes the Great White and now over 100 million sharks are killed each year. I’m all for the underdog – and in my mind, there is no greater underdog than a shark.

What’s the USP for Anne Ryan?

I work really hard to push my world view and approach every person and every situation with empathy. Anyone can be smart. Real brilliance is in emotional intelligence and making people feel seen, heard, and supported. The greatest strength I can exercise is vulnerability in both listening and sharing.

How do you know when you’re on to something?

When my head, my heart, and my gut begin harmonizing as one

Would you rather surprise or delight a client?

I’d rather delight. Surprising clients feels a bit self-serving. Delighting them feels more focused on them and their needs. I do believe, though, that surprise can exist within delight. The task should always focus on answering the assignment and addressing the business need, first and foremost. If there is an element of surprise within, then fantastic, as long as it’s strategically aligned with the ask.

What’s the ratio of hard data/research to intuition/feeling?

If you’ve noticed, I rely on my head, my heart, and my gut. It is equal parts all three. I need my head to analyze the data. My heart to transform it into a meaningful consumer insight. And my gut to stress test that my instinct is right. This is what I strive to teach the team. It’s not enough to rely on data and research alone. It’s how we use it to connect with consumers and culture that means the most. And connecting happens in the heart.

What’s the most important thing some strategists tend to ignore?

REALITY. As strategists, we tend to philosophize and pontificate on EVERYTHING and proceed as if our clients’ brands and consumers live in an ideal world built on conviction and values. They don’t. Business is real. Human needs are real. The struggles in life are real. And we need to be mindful of creating brands that answer the realities of life because that’s where brands win affinity and loyalty.

You’re trying to overthrow a dictator – what’s the first thing you do?

Get her drunk

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