I come from a family of artists, immigrants and entrepreneurs.
My father was a fine artist and an advertising creative director. My grandfather (on my mother’s side) manufactured some of the first mass-market coffee filters in Cuba in the 1950s. My mother fled that country in the 1960s with nothing but the clothes on her back and a few words of English to begin a new life in the United States. My grandfather (on my father’s side) started an auto body repair shop, matching the paint on rebuilt cars by eye – not by computer. A great-grandfather invented Neapolitan ice cream after World War II; another (on my wife’s side), invented the bazooka on the eve of World War I.
They taught me to see the joy and connection in everyday things. They taught me to love what I do for its own sake. They taught me to take risks and chart my own path.
It’s also a lot to live up to!
In my early 20s, I co-founded a creative agency in 1999 that lives on to this day: Ecra Creative. My clients included Boston Scientific, Target Corporation, and Michael Foods – along with dozens of smaller firms. Missing the perspective of my clients, I left the agency environment to hold executive positions in marketing, experiencing the daily trials of driving growth in a complex, competitive, global environment.
In addition to learning the advertising business at my father’s side, I was classically trained at the University of Wisconsin (Bachelor of Science), the University of Minnesota (Master of Arts) and MIT’s Sloan School of Management (Executive Education in Data Analysis).
In other words, I think I’ve seen every side of the fence.
What I have learned is that for all the changes in our markets, our methods, and our technology, one facet of marketing remains constant: People. Marketing is a human discipline. Marketing is at its best when it mixes one part “commercial” with one part “art”. My career now is dedicated to exploring both sides of that equation, and how they can work better together.