You may know Theckla Sterrett as the savvy businesswoman who helped get your nonprofit off the ground. Or the advertising pro who delivered your company’s best and most successful ad campaign. Maybe, you just know her from that one time you sat next to one another and talked about your shared love of plants and cats. But at Saturday, we’ve had the pleasure of knowing Theckla as “T1”—our fearless leader and friend with an incredible story and career worth celebrating.
Theckla Sterrett wasn’t always an advertising expert. She started her professional career as a medical researcher. She spent her days in a hospital lab, studying diseases, and looking for a breakthrough or scientific advancement. She found the work to be interesting, but soon realized it wasn’t her passion. So, she left the sterile rooms and Petri Dishes behind for an unexpected career in marketing.
In 1982, Theckla opened the doors to her very first agency. She spent her days cold-calling potential clients and her evenings selling a special line of jewelry to help finance her dream of running a successful agency. In the beginning, Theckla was the agency’s account executive, strategic planner, production manager, media buyer, and accountant. You name it, she did it.
But Theckla’s innate marketing sense, strategic thinking, and do-what-it-takes attitude were hard to deny and impossible to ignore. It wasn’t long before she saw the hours of hard work pay off. Soon, Theckla found herself leading an agency comprised of stellar talent, and serving the advertising needs of an impressive client roster. Along with work for the Charlotte Knights and Checkers, the agency crafted creative campaigns for the first seasons of the Charlotte Hornets, helping them realize record attendance in their early years. Her agency won the Inc. “Fastest Growing Companies Award” two years in a row. With true dedication and perseverance she had turned her dream into a reality.
35 years later, Theckla’s passion for advertising has not diminished, and her many contributions to our industry have not gone unnoticed. She created an agency culture where innovation is the norm, and strategy and creative both work in harmony to create inspired advertising. While she’s won almost every industry award, her successes and influence extend far beyond the awards and the walls of her own agency.
As one of Charlotte’s very first successful female agency owners, it’s safe to say that Theckla is a symbol for far more than professional success. And lucky for all of us—she always finds the time to share her time and stories. She’s never been too busy to attend a local ad club meeting or award presentation, and she always finds the time to give guidance and advice to young people looking to pursue a career in advertising. It is these types of actions that have inspired future leaders of the industry and helped the Charlotte advertising community grow to what it is today. And that’s something pretty special.
We could never thank Theckla enough for starting the agency we are all so lucky to work and create for. We know the lessons she taught us will continue to make us laugh and guide our work long after her office has been emptied and her feral cat-feeding duties have been passed on to the next (unsuspecting) employee.
Cheers to an incredible 35+ years T1. Enjoy your retirement—you’ve earned it!