Fast Company

Director of Intelligence

Job Titles of the Future: Velda Ruddock

Name: Velda Ruddock

Title: Director of Intelligence, TBWA Chiat/Day

Age: 44

Has Held Title For: 3 years

With the Company For: 4 years

Previous Job: Information Disseminist

Degree: BA, Social Science; MA, Library and Information Science

When account executives at TBWA Chiat/Day want to know something -- from what is sexy to how to keep people out of jail -- they consult Central Intelligence. As the firm's Director of Intelligence, Velda Ruddock (velda_ruddock@tbwachiat.com) maintains vast files on markets, clients, and competitors from a high-tech wing in the ad agency's flashy Venice, California headquarters.

Why does an advertising agency need its own CIA?

Intelligence is not just providing data or synthesizing information. It's about thinking and linking the right things together to move forward.

So intelligence isn't just another name for research?

Right. We're detectives. It's about getting beyond what we know we don't know to what we don't know we don't know.

How do you know when you're on to something?

The hair raises up on my arms when all the pieces suddenly fall into place -- often simply by turning a question on its side. Such as when, for United Airlines, we investigated different cultural attitudes toward flying. I asked how flying fits into people's dreams. Are they flying? Or are they flown?

What's the best training for an intelligence officer?

It's in the blood. I ask questions of everybody. I also read lots of mysteries and watch "The X-Files."

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