Martin Oleksy

Who are you and what do you do?

Martin Oleksy, Founder of FLYING MINDS, LLC, a company of creative collaboration.

Where are you from?

I was born in Cleveland, OH, raised in Cedar Lake, IN, and educated in Chicago, IL.

How did you get started?

My first advertising gig happened when I was 26. It was a small agency that only grew smaller. We went from a staff of 12 to 3 within one year. With every resignation, I picked up their job duties. I was account manager, copywriter, and media buyer. Sometimes I played the role of agency attorney. The boss would always say, “you want to learn the game of advertising, right?” It was like Advertising boot camp, and all for $15,000 annually. However, I will always be grateful for the experience.

That experience led to landing on the McDonald’s Public Relations team at GOLIN. (The N.Y. Yankees of PR.)

Do you have a side hustle or hobbies?

I was lucky enough to co-host an NPR radio show called THE AD MEN. As you can summarize from the title, we celebrated all things branding and design. I had my own Flying Minds podcast for a trial run. We did 3 solid shows then I left the station. I’d like to get back to the podcast. I really enjoyed discussing the stories behind the flying minds of creatives.

What was one of your biggest mistakes and what did you learn from it?

Hoarding ideas and concepts. Holding on to them so tightly, they never had a chance to breathe. I learned to share them, to collaborate-to act, not react.

What are the top tools you need to do your job?

MacBook Pro

An open mind

An exceptional pen

Daily Industry articles

Intimate but explosive brainstorm sessions

Exercise (very important-it helps clear the mind and/or strengthen an idea.)

Chopin Vodka

Who or what inspires you and why?

What: The Art in Advertising. I used to spend hours devouring Communication Arts Magazine. So much inspiring creativity. Now I follow CA along with most of the branding industry trades. Everyday is new creative. It’s not so much the artist, but the work that is celebrated.

Who: People who are confident in their creative instincts. Those who have persevered through rejection, ignoring or punching through it, until the concept becomes reality.

Also: The classic rock band KISS. (pause for laughter) They taught me more about marketing than anyone could. They were a band that looked laughable on paper, but killer on stage. They had it all, a unique brand, a simple name, an intro slogan chanted by fans for over 40 years, one of the best logos in pop culture, and confidence to change the game. One could argue they belong in the Advertising Hall Of Fame along with the Rock-N-Roll HOF.

What do you love about Northwest Indiana?

The potential that exists here. Like my friend and NWI Times columnist Rob Earnshaw once put it, “NWI could be to Chicago, what Brooklyn is to Manhattan.” A community unto itself with families, art, commerce and the finest craft beer. All within an hour of one of the most coveted cities in the world.

What resources are you finding to educate yourself?

I’m fortunate enough to partner with Alan Myskowski and a very talented media production team at LOCAL 219. I am surrounded by experts, so I am attempting to pick up tips by observing. All local region people too.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in your industry?

Be confident in your ideas. Share them with the world. People will take notice.

What’s next for you?

Aside from working on LOCAL 219’s expansion, I have 3 clients currently for Flying Minds. My current pro bono campaign is working to get the National Suicide Hotline automatically installed in every cell phone contact page. The working campaign theme is: Help Within Reach. No search. No stigma.

Where can we find you?