Tina White, recently named the first CEO at Shinebox, is working to bring some internal disruption to the Minneapolis agency that says it creates “disrupter brands.”

White is collaborating on agency positioning, mission and values with the management team of Randy Larson, chief creative officer, and Nancy Prososki, chief client services, co-founders who launched Shinebox in 2010.

“It’s not managing to the status quo,” White said of Shinebox’s disrupter role and hers. “It’s looking at the same sort of challenges that a business has looked at for however long and saying there’s a different way to approach solving that problem that is disruptive, and it does change and grow your business.”

Shinebox waited until it found the right person to bring on a CEO, Larson said in a news release.

“Brands today need to be disrupters to cut through the marketing clutter and keep consumers engaged,” Larson said. “It took us 10 years to add a CEO who would help us cut through our own clutter.”

This is White’s first turn as a CEO.

“It changes the leadership dynamic from two owners who have worked together closely for a decade to add a third party who isn’t an owner,” White said. “My role allows for more of that taking things off Nancy and Randy’s plate to allow them to be much more involved in the things that they’re passionate about.”

In pursuing new business, White said she wants to clarify what Shinebox wants to be the best at with a focus on taking its strategy and video and film services a step further.

White also has worked for Carlson, Target, Frwd and Martin Williams.

Shinebox, which has 25 employees, offers strategy, brand and creative storytelling services. Clients include 3M, Boston Scientific, and Electrolux.

Q: What appealed to you about this opportunity?

A: It was an interesting opportunity to be a decisionmaker and to see if I could help grow and change a business model in an industry that I know very well. I know what the product is, I know talent —but how do I help grow an agency in numbers and dollars but also in staff that is retained and happy and excited to be here?


Q: How how are you disrupting things at Shinebox?

A: Because of my operational background, I’m not looking at it solely from the lens of a client or a creative but have a great understanding and empathy for both of those roles and knowing how they work. I’m disrupting them on small levels from challenging how we think through process or estimating or scope to a larger scale of strategy and where we want to be in the marketplace, our positioning and what we want to be the best at.


Q: Was going to an independent agency such as Shinebox important to you?

A: I didn’t realize at the time what a change it is from working in an organization that is owned by a larger organization. Decisionmaking is faster. There’s less bureaucracy and I enjoy that a lot. We’re quick to learn. I enjoy being able to say, “Let’s try this, we’re all on board.” If it works, brilliant. If it doesn’t, we course correct in real time because the owners are here.


Todd Nelson is a freelance writer in Lake Elmo. His e-mail is todd_nelson@mac.com.