There’s no proof that the adage “enthusiasm is contagious” was first uttered after the speaker met Debbie Scoppechio – but there’s no solid proof to the contrary, either.
The chairman/CEO of Creative Alliance is a walking, talking embodiment of energy, grit and inspiration who was once nicknamed “Hurricane Debbie” by a local publication, a moniker she more than earned. Since starting Creative Alliance 25 years ago, Scoppechio has also deserved several honors and accolades, including being named Top Kentucky Woman Business Owner of the Year, election to the Kentucky Business Hall of Fame as only the second female honoree and an entrepreneurial excellence award from Working Woman magazine.
“I absolutely cannot believe it’s been 25 years,” Scoppechio said during a recent interview at her office on Jefferson Street, which was partially shut down on Sept. 6 for a silver anniversary party that brought out hundreds of guests for a stellar performance by the Grammy-winning Pointer Sisters.
“It seems like only yesterday,” continued the bunny-slippers-wearing CEO as she navigated a water bowl for her dog (canines are welcome at Creative Alliance). “Of course, when you look at every thing we’ve done, it’s been a fun ride. We have a great team. I really get my energy off of them,” she claimed, though her employees say the opposite occurs.
Regardless of where it comes from, the enthusiasm, tenacity, originality and creativity of Scoppechio and her team have become their brand as they strive to build the brands of their clients.
“We never give up. Ever. If we pitch somebody and we don’t get them, we’ll be back. … The secret to our success is we never say no,” Scoppechio said. “When you’re in this business, you’re only as good as what you have today.”
Creative Alliance, 437 W. Jefferson St.
• Founded by Debbie Scoppechio in 1987
• Ranked among the nation’s top 200 agencies by Advertising Age since 1995
• 147 employees
• Largest advertising agency in Kentucky and one of the Top 100 largest agencies in the U.S.
• Clients include YUM! Brands, LG&E, Kentucky Humane Society, Humana, Kentucky Center for the Arts, Jewish Hospital, Nanz & Kraft Florists, Churchill Downs and KFC – Creative Alliance’s first client
All About Debbie
Born: Nutley, New Jersey
Grew Up: Wappingers Fall, New York
Education: Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y., bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology
First Job: Social worker
Husband: Rick Duffy, Chief Operating Officer of Creative Alliance
Photos by CHRIS HUMPHREYS | The Voice-Tribune