99. Celestine Maddy

Founder of Wilder, How To Build Your Dream Job

99. Celestine Maddy

Last fall, Celestine Maddy left her full-time gig as director of digital strategy at the ad agency Strawberry Frog to launch Wilder, a media business that produces a quarterly gardening publication aimed at people like her: young, diverse, urban green thumbs. To do so, she had to preserve some things from her adland experience and ditch others.




“See the audience, segment them, quantify them, figure out what they need that’s missing. I could do all those things for Wilder, from having done it for brands like Sony Ericsson and Jim Beam.”


“In advertising, because you’re talking about vague things–concepts, insights–a lot of your job is arguing. It’s made me intellectually fearless.”

Mood Boards

“It’s like the visualization of a business plan without the numbers.”




“Advertising’s greatest failure is not letting the creative idea come from anywhere. At Wilder, everyone pitches ideas because everyone comes from different places.”


“I can’t count how many times I or my team had presented some amazing, creative strategy, only to get 10% of it approved.”


“I got tired of explaining to clients why putting R&B music in an ad won’t speak to the diverse landscape of blacks in America. I’ve made sure there are black people at Wilder, because I’m black, and garden magazines never feature black people.”


  • 1996

    Drops out of college

  • 2001

    Moves to New York City

  • 2004

    Becomes the Circulation Director for PAPER magazine

  • 2008

    Launches the infamous ad blog, Agency Spy

  • 2010

    Works with Dare on a Cannes Lion winning global advertising campaign

  • 2008

    Fails at two other poorly conceived small businesses over the past ten years (one in 2002, the other in 2008); meets her husband who also has an entrepreneurial spirit

  • 2009

    Starts a speaking series about ethnicity and video games; gets a backyard and learns how to garden

  • 2011

    Launches Wilder