Six months into my freshman year at Syracuse University, I knew I was in trouble. Upstate New York, in the dead of winter, provided its own set of challenges, but living in an 'all guys' dorm where partying was the norm, only exasperated my concern. Don't get me wrong, it was a trip, but was it the one I was supposed to be on? It was too easy to do well without even trying. Completing assignments the night before, skipping classes, and yet still making Dean's List, only meant I wasn’t just wasted all the time, I was in fact wasting my time.
"Send to Mike" was handwritten on the Post-It note adhered to the announcement torn from the advertising section of the Wall Street Journal. My father wanted me to know that Mr. Kay was starting his own ad agency with Lois Korey, another executive from Needham Worldwide, who also happened to be a very experienced copywriter. Together, in the classic pairing of Art Director & Copywriter, they were forming Korey, Kay & Partners as a boutique creative agency and breaking away from Madison Avenue to do so. It had been a few years since we last saw each other, but I took the opportunity to write him a letter to congratulate him on his big move, give him a brief update on what I was up to, and then, to ask for a possible summer internship. Although their first office was in The Empire State Building, which in itself is like giving the middle finger to the agency behemoth they left behind, by the time I heard back from Mr. Kay, they had relocated to an Eastside classic brownstone on 75th Street. He offered me an unpaid internship for the summer, and I gladly accepted the opportunity to be as close to the action as possible.