Susan Flinn Cobian
EVP, Managing Director
The Master Agency Builder
Susan Flinn Cobian’s entrepreneurial spirit may be best summed up by a quote from Milton Berle, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” Over the course of her 30 years in healthcare advertising, Susan built two agencies from scratch and rebuilt three others that were on the verge of shutting their doors by relying on her instincts, her knowledge, and her drive to succeed.
In 2002, Euro RSCG Life (now Havas) was a fast-growing New York-based agency looking to open a new office in Chicago. Susan was tasked with getting the business off the ground in the Windy City—armed only with her Rolodex, a shared office suite, and zero clients. She literally went door to door pitching her vision of a new kind of agency and eventually landed assignments from three former clients. From there she grew the office from a single-person startup to a 35-person agency with annual revenue of $15 million and average gross margins of 36%—all in less than three years.
Susan took on a new challenge when she left Euro RSCG Life to become the President at Lyonheart Communications (now LLNS). This time she was asked to revitalize a stagnant agency. During her tenure, she restructured and rebranded the agency, resulting in a 22% increase in annual revenue, a 50% drop in the attrition rate, and a recharged creative team that ended up with 12 industry awards.
Most recently, Susan was once again targeted to create something new. Chicago-based consumer agency, HY Connect, wanted to jump into the healthcare field. Once Susan won their first true healthcare client, the company asked her to build a complementary healthcare-focused agency around that client and expand from there. So she turned to her trusted Rolodex and HYC Health was born. Within a year, Susan had tripled the initial business, added three new AOR clients, and amassed a team of 20 healthcare agency pros.
“We’ve had two years of rapid growth, but this is just the beginning for us,” Susan says. “We’re constantly adding resources and talent to ensure we’re equipped to service every client as if they were our only client.”