Your Guides


We’re Heather and Jesse.


We worked together at another portfolio school in Chicago for a while — Heather ran the joint and Jesse was a teacher. Then Jesse moved back to Colorado, where he grew up, and Heather decided that sounded a lot better than another -200 degree winter by Lake Michigan. That’s pretty much our story.

We started this school to try and help the next generation of creatives enter the business more prepared, have a better experience than we sometimes did, and hopefully turn advertising into a more relevant and enjoyable form of communication that’s a part of the greater good.

There’s so much to love about working in advertising. It’s an incredible job that should never be taken for granted — we get paid a ton of money to wear whatever the hell we want to work, have fun all day, and make weird, wild, and creative things. Anyone who’s lost sight of that is either young and jaded or old and an asshole — so to hell with ‘em.

We don’t have any reverence for the status quo in advertising, so we’re totally honest and transparent with our students every step of the way. We’ll tell you the good right along with the bad, prepare you for what to expect in the agency world, and give you the tools and advice to help you kick start a long career. So as you continue to grow and someday become leaders in this industry, you can take some of our punk rock spirit and shake up this business for the better — because it needs it.


Heather Vanisko


Jesse on Heather…

Heather is the best. If she didn’t agree to move halfway across the country and run this school, I wouldn’t have started DAD. She knows the agency world inside and out and there’s no one I’ve met who’s better at preparing young talent to enter this business. All of the students in Chicago loved her — she’s kind, relatable, easy to talk to, wears a new pair of Vans seemingly every week, has a Corgi that is an absolute nutbar, and is a powerful advocate for students to have in their corner. All that, plus Heather’s a total goof — she’ll be a big part of what makes your DAD experience so much fun.


Jesse Alkire


Heather on Jesse…

I feel really lucky to be working with this guy. He's a ridiculously talented writer, art director and photographer. Plus he's freaking hilarious. He started DAD because he cares about making great work and making the people around him better. And most importantly, he has a lot of fun doing it which means we'll all have a fun time doing it. With probably some 90s ska or punk band playing in the background, Jesse will always give you smart, forthright and thoughtful feedback. He'll never let you play it safe and your book will be better because of it. Outside of all that good stuff, he's a huge sports fan, loves comedy and has two wild little kids. Have him take you out for a burrito and he'll give you the scoop.


Let those who
have gone before
you be your guide.


The creative journey can be a scary one. Hell, anything new and different often is. But that’s why you come to DAD — to take risks. And on the creative journey, sometimes taking a risk means following a path that can unexpectedly veer off into the unknown. Which isn’t so bad, as long as you’ve got someone with you who knows the way back.

At DAD, we’re not so much your teachers as we are your guides. No one’s passively giving lectures, we’re with you every step of the way. Because we’re all working professionals with years of experience at the top agencies in Colorado, we know exactly what you’re going through. So when your creative path takes an unexpected detour, we’re here to guide you back to where you need to be.

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Full guide roster coming soon.