Andrew Gordon

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Andrew Gordon

Master Storyteller & Champion for Creative Company Cultures; Award-winning Animator and Film Director; Co-Founder, The Animation Collaborative

Biography

Stories matter. They spark the imagination, influence perceptions and inspire stakeholders to believe in an organization’s values and brands. How can leaders leverage the power of storytelling to communicate their messages in memorable, actionable ways? Master storyteller, former Pixar animator and recent winner of the Brand Personality Award in Animation from The Asia Pacific Brands Foundation, Andrew Gordon teaches business audiences how to awaken their storytelling superpowers and use them to unleash larger-than-life innovation.

For more than 20 years, Gordon led Pixar’s animation team to create wildly imaginative films, including “A Bug’s Life,” “Finding Nemo,” “The Incredibles” and many more family favorites. Through the lens of Pixar’s filmmaking process, Gordon demonstrates how emotional and potent storytelling isn’t just good for movies; it’s great for business too. In his talks and highly interactive workshops, he provides practical, yet fun, tools and processes that build storytelling skills, encourage feedback and collaboration, and teach the value of learning from failure.

Gordon, who is currently co-directing a film for Illumination Entertainment, the creators of such hits as “Despicable Me,” “Sing,” “The Secret life of Pets” and “Minions”, has been teaching others the art of creativity for decades. He has worked internationally with companies like Salesforce, Cisco, Pinterest, Deloitte and IDEO to help leaders implement new processes and approaches that disrupt the norm and cultivate creative, innovative cultures. He also helps organizations tell their unique stories in new and more compelling ways, helping them more effectively reach, engage and motivate their audiences toward action.

From 2004-2017, Gordon worked as Pixar’s animating director and director of promotions. In addition to his animation work, he is passionate about educating the next generation of animators. Gordon has taught animation and storytelling classes since 2000, and has helped lead the Pixar Animation Internship program four times. He also co-founded The Animation Collaborative and the animation programs at California College of the Arts and The One Academy of Communication Design.

Gordon began tinkering with animation in his teens. He studied at art schools in Vancouver, New York, California and New Jersey. Prior to joining Pixar, he was an animator in the Looney Tunes division of Warner Bros. and lectured on art at a variety of schools. The Visual Effects Society presented Gordon the Outstanding Character Animation in an Animated Motion Picture award for his work on “Finding Nemo.” In 2017, he received the Brand Personality Award in Animation from The Asia Pacific Brands Foundation for his contributions to the world of animation.

Andrew Gordon is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, and conference talks, and advisory/consulting services, through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

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A-Z Name

Gordon, Andrew

Biography

Stories matter. They spark the imagination, influence perceptions and inspire stakeholders to believe in an organization’s values and brands. How can leaders leverage the power of storytelling to communicate their messages in memorable, actionable ways? Master storyteller, former Pixar animator and recent winner of the Brand Personality Award in Animation from The Asia Pacific Brands Foundation, Andrew Gordon teaches business audiences how to awaken their storytelling superpowers and use them to unleash larger-than-life innovation.

For more than 20 years, Gordon led Pixar’s animation team to create wildly imaginative films, including “A Bug’s Life,” “Finding Nemo,” “The Incredibles” and many more family favorites. Through the lens of Pixar’s filmmaking process, Gordon demonstrates how emotional and potent storytelling isn’t just good for movies; it’s great for business too. In his talks and highly interactive workshops, he provides practical, yet fun, tools and processes that build storytelling skills, encourage feedback and collaboration, and teach the value of learning from failure.

Gordon, who is currently co-directing a film for Illumination Entertainment, the creators of such hits as “Despicable Me,” “Sing,” “The Secret life of Pets” and “Minions”, has been teaching others the art of creativity for decades. He has worked internationally with companies like Salesforce, Cisco, Pinterest, Deloitte and IDEO to help leaders implement new processes and approaches that disrupt the norm and cultivate creative, innovative cultures. He also helps organizations tell their unique stories in new and more compelling ways, helping them more effectively reach, engage and motivate their audiences toward action.

From 2004-2017, Gordon worked as Pixar’s animating director and director of promotions. In addition to his animation work, he is passionate about educating the next generation of animators. Gordon has taught animation and storytelling classes since 2000, and has helped lead the Pixar Animation Internship program four times. He also co-founded The Animation Collaborative and the animation programs at California College of the Arts and The One Academy of Communication Design.

Gordon began tinkering with animation in his teens. He studied at art schools in Vancouver, New York, California and New Jersey. Prior to joining Pixar, he was an animator in the Looney Tunes division of Warner Bros. and lectured on art at a variety of schools. The Visual Effects Society presented Gordon the Outstanding Character Animation in an Animated Motion Picture award for his work on “Finding Nemo.” In 2017, he received the Brand Personality Award in Animation from The Asia Pacific Brands Foundation for his contributions to the world of animation.

Andrew Gordon is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, and conference talks, and advisory/consulting services, through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Speech Topics

The Anatomy of a Great Story

Can better storytelling lead to greater success for individuals, brands and organizations? “Absolutely!” says master storyteller Andrew Gordon, a veteran Hollywood animator who builds memorable, lovable characters and narratives for audiences of all ages. But too often, messages fall flat, are boring or sound repetitive rather than remarkable. In this highly practical talk, Gordon takes participants – sales reps, marketers, human resource professionals, lawyers and others – on a journey through the anatomy of a great story, from premise to protagonist. He walks them through a seven-step process of breaking down a story and then shows how to apply this knowledge to create meaningful messages about brands, reputation, an organization’s value, and more. After his talk, Gordon enjoys conducting intimate and engaging workshops that help individuals from companies like Deloitte, Facebook and Salesforce further expand their storytelling skills and address specific challenges.

How to Crank Up Creativity – Even for Non-Creatives

Between the to-do lists, the back-to-back meetings and looming performance targets, many employees say they simply don’t have time – or the talent – to be creative. Creativity, posits Andrew Gordon, comes in many forms, is essential to differentiating one brand from another, and can be learned. In this talk, Gordon offers a peek inside organizations that crank up creativity to accelerate success and innovation. Using eye-opening exercises and practical tools, Gordon gives audiences a break from the busyness and teaches them how to tap into creativity to develop the jaw-dropping innovations that stakeholders demand.

Feedback, Iteration and Learning From Failure

Films do not often start out perfect. The process is hard and failure at various stages is unavoidable. How we deliver and receive feedback can either elevate the process of making an innovative product – or it can hinder it. For more than 20 years, Andrew Gordon has led creative teams to produce some of Hollywood’s most successful film projects. In order to learn from failure, he says, leaders must build trust amongst their teams, communicate feedback through candid conversations, and then revisit and rethink ideas to make them better. By examining the process of making an animated film, Gordon illustrates how leaders can make a business more innovative and agile by learning from failure. Concepts explored are:

  • Creative problem solving
  • ‘Plussing’ ideas – continuously adding to ideas to take them from bad to good to great
  • Breaking down power structures and hierarchies
  • Shifting from a negative to a positive mindset
  • Building a confident, trusting team

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Recommendations

“It’s rare that you come across world class talent like Andrew Gordon. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Andrew to learn storytelling skills and invest in the Salesforce Ignite teams culture of feedback. During story workshops, Andrew is able to listen deeply and coach creative teams to breakthrough levels of creativity and collaboration. What makes working with Andrew most satisfying is that he is fueled by feedback. The learning and impact from our teams work with Andrew grows with each new session.”

-Scott Jorgensen, Executive VP, Ignite Innovation Program at SalesForce

“Andrew’s presentation and story opened a window into a world that most people never hear about, the world of animation and movies, and how that world functions. He did this with great audience engagement; his storytelling ability is equally as good as his animation skills. We really enjoyed his presentation and at the same time learned a lot. His presentation was exemplary of innovation and creativity in action.”

-Elizabeth B. Davis, Dean, USF School of Management

“Really enjoyed the session and took two things away in particular. First, we tell stories every day to our teams, our peers, our board, and external partners and investors. While not all elements of the process we used yesterday apply in every case, crispness and clarity of messaging, holding the attention of the audience, and energy in delivery all matter. It was a good refresher on how a little extra effort in prep to tighten the storyline can help us do better work and cover more ground efficiently. Second, the open feedback process spurred creativity and engagement from the group. I plan to emphasize that approach in meetings to draw out constructive ideas more broadly from the team.”

-Pinterest

“Andrew blew away the crod, got them inspired and returned them to their childhood dreams of becoming their own super heros.  The workshop afterwards was so inspiring and informative, people talked to us about it for weeks to come, a truly incredible experience left behind for the Dubai Community.”

-Ramy Alawssy, ING Creative Dubai

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