PBS Kansas CEO Victor Hogstrom’s popular 30-minute One on One show recently featured Greteman Group President and Creative Director Sonia Greteman. The show bills itself as a lively, insightful conversation and this one certainly is. There’s never a lull or lack of interesting banter.
Hogstrom kicks off this episode with a big question: Who are you? We won’t steal Sonia’s thunder by answering that here. You want to watch and find out for yourself. But she covers a lot of ground during her allotted half hour.
Sonia reminisces about the life experiences that showed how she could turn creativity into a bankable business. She shares a-ha moments from childhood – taking, developing and selling photos for “a buck and a quarter” at the local speedway under the tutelage of her father, chief photographer at Boeing Wichita. Learning to respect the power of words from her librarian mother. Invest in the stock market at age 17 and discovering the value of patience paired with planning. Of introspection turned into action. Of setting and achieving bodacious goals.
“Greteman Group was my destiny,” Sonia says, as she talks about her professional journey. Pivoting from design only to branded, holistic, results-focused marketing. When asked about her secret for success, she acknowledges it’s no one thing, but many. Under-promising and over-delivering. Reinventing yourself regularly. Fueling efforts with passion. And giving back to the community every step of the way.
What was it like to grow a business at a time where she was usually the lone woman at the conference table?
Sonia: “I believe the men liked me being outspoken and opinionated. Being female may have been an advantage.”
How does she keep ahead of the game when digital tools change so quickly?
Sonia: “I surround myself with the best and brightest. Being able to put a measurement strategy on everything triggers my left brain. It’s so much fun to see the results.”
What does she think are the qualities of a good campaign?
Sonia: “Simplicity, unity of word and visual, and disruption – surprising, thrilling, charming you. Whatever’s needed to grab your attention.”
What would she like her legacy to be?
“So much of what we do doesn’t last, so my lasting contribution may rest on some of the environmental graphics we created – the Keeper of the Plains Plaza and the aviation history display at Eisenhower National Airport. They tell stories worth knowing and remembering.”
There’s much more. Including what makes her laugh – and cry.