Sanky Spotlight: Kira Dunleavy
Welcome to the Sanky Spotlight, where we shine a light on the talent we have at Sanky. For over 45 years, we have succeeded because of our team of trailblazing fundraisers — who are not just invested in what fundraising looks like today but what it could look like tomorrow. This month, our spotlight is on Designer Kira Dunleavy.
Kira got her start as a designer at Rodale, a magazine and book publisher that specializes in health and wellness. If you’ve heard of “Men’s Health” or “Women’s Health,” then you’ve heard of Rodale. After working for multiple wellness brands at Rodale, Kira moved on to work at Joie, a company that makes safe and sustainable baby gear, and then later, at Lehigh Valley Hospital. Kira says, “I always wanted to be a part of organizations whose mission was helping the greater good in the world and serving their audience base. And that’s what I did! I was able to help design materials that helped people shape balanced lifestyles at Rodale. At Joie, I helped create landing pages that promoted safety guidelines in the car seats being built. At Lehigh Valley Hospital, I was able to combine my expertise for design and passion for social responsibility. As a visual storyteller, I helped leverage the print and digital platforms to create messaging and materials to help keep our patients and community safe during COVID-19.”
Thankfully for us at Sanky, Kira’s longtime friend and mentor — and Sanky Senior Copywriter — Alexis Sachdev, let her know that there was a design opening that she would be perfect for. Kira and Alexis met in high school, and Kira describes Alexis as “one of the cool, older girls who took me under her wing.” They’ve been best friends ever since. Kira even briefly lived with Alexis and her husband during the peak of COVID.
Kira joined Sanky right in the middle of busy season last year. Needless to say, that’s a hard time to join an agency and learn clients and protocols, but she managed to transition into the team seamlessly. Kira says joining Sanky when she did was “truly the best way to learn client brands, by just jumping right in!” But she also says she couldn’t have done it without the support of her coworkers. “With being new, I did have questions and I really felt like I was able to slack and reach out to team members [for help]. Everyone here is cheering on each other and wanting to succeed as a whole and as a team, and I really felt that. I’m very proud of the work we get to create here and honored to be part of truly such a special team and organization.” In fact, when asked her favorite thing about working at Sanky, Kira said it was the people she works with.
And the feeling is mutual. Kira is a beloved member of the Creative team. Creative Director Regina Ryan says, “She's by far the most positive person I've ever had the pleasure to have on my team. And her hair is consistently fabulous.” (For context, a lot of Creative team meetings start with us collectively complimenting Kira’s hair.) Regina continued on to say, “She brings this positive energy to her designs and tries to push her clients creatively at every turn.” Design Director Karl Smudski agrees, saying “Kira’s design approach is thoughtful and collaborative from the start, and she always brings a chipper attitude to every sprint!” And Alexis says of Kira, “Aside from being my best friend in real life, Kira is also a true gem to work with. She brings so much positivity, creativity, and joy to the workplace. Even when deadlines are tight and there never seem to be enough hours in the day, she never fails to send a ‘good morning!’ message and take some time to ask how your day is going.”
Another favorite part of her job is working with the Women's Sports Foundation (WSF). They joined us as a client right around the time Kira joined our team, so she’s gotten to work with them from the beginning of their program. “I feel we have really shaped and enhanced their creative materials. I also just love any clever messaging with sports. We have amazing writers that help shape these headlines and content. It’s really fun to work together and then find imagery, iconography, etc. to pair with the copy to bring the messaging together and create something really fun and impactful.”
Outside of work, Kira is an avid runner. She unwound on Summer Fridays by going for runs and then lounging poolside. During the busy season, she gets a little more extreme and does hot yoga sessions in the evenings. “It truly is a mental and physical reset. I feel like a little sweaty puddle of relaxation once the class is over, and it’s a really great way to end the day.” But she’s also quite the foodie. “I live in Philadelphia. Philadelphia has become a huge food hub and new restaurants are popping up all of the time! I love hearing about new places and being able to go and try them out!”
Kira is also a major Regis Philbin fan. In elementary school, she dressed up as him for Halloween one year. Her mom recognized her budding obsession with Regis and got Kira tickets to one of his shows, where she got to meet him (uncostumed). Unfortunately for all of us, she didn’t reprise that costume this Halloween.