Yamamoto Restructures Creative Department


By Egotist / /

Yamamoto, a leading brand and creative agency based in Minneapolis, has restructured its creative department, and elevated several key creative personnel. The moves were made to recognize the agency’s incredible talent as part of Yamamoto’s ongoing mission of moving mountains for clients.

Shawn Pals, formerly the agency’s Group Creative Director, has been elevated to the position of Executive Creative Director. Vince Koci and Carrie Whalen, formerly Associate Creative Directors, have been promoted to Creative Directors, and Sarah Koster has been promoted to the role of Design Director.

Shawn Pals is the clear and driving force behind Yamamoto’s reputation for strategically sound, brilliantly crafted, award-winning work. He’s universally respected within the agency, by our clients and in the broader creative industry.

Sarah Koster, a brilliant designer and consistent creative star at Yamamoto, has designed award-winning work for Cargill’s portfolio of animal nutrition brands, including Nutrena, ProForce and ProElite, as well as Blue Cross Blue Shield and, most recently, the creative campaign for The Show annual advertising awards celebration sponsored by the Minneapolis Ad Fed.

Carrie Whalen has been the creative north star behind agency wins with clients like Lineage Logistics, SprayWay from PLZ Corporation, and Glenmede Financial Services.
Vincent Koci has been Yamamoto’s lead writer on some of the agency’s most visible campaigns for clients like Marmot outdoor apparel, Berkley Fishing, Toro and Analog Devices, among many others.

“In our job-hopping industry, it’s a privilege to see our people stay and grow to new roles,” said Chief Creative Officer Grant Smith. “We have always believed in them, and together we have won more awards and business than at any point in Yamamoto’s history. This next chapter will be exciting, and we get to write it together.”

“Our people are our agency,” said CEO Kathy McCuskey. “Yamamoto is a place you can come and stay. We are deeply committed to our team. They move mountains for our clients, and we move mountains for them. This new structure better allows us to elevate and amplify creativity in the agency and provide leadership opportunities to our talented, tenured creatives.”

When asked to comment about his new role as Executive Creative Director at Yamamoto, Shawn Pals, a man of few words, stated, “It’s going to be great.” He’s usually right.


  1. Deborah Vaughan June 29, 2022

    Congratulations to all of these talented creatives! Well-deserved!

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