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Meet the Team

 Tina Young

Position/Responsibilities:
Owner, President – Fiscal oversight, growth strategies, client relationship management.

Name one thing you can’t live without, and one that you can.
I can’t live without my books. I can live without negative people.

What’s the last book you read and why did it interest you?
“Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos – I read it because his speech at the recent Inc. 5000 conference I attended was so inspiring and I wanted to learn more about Zappos’ success.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?
Any beach…from the “Redneck Riviera” (that’s the Alabama coastline for all those not familiar) to the Amalfi Coast in Italy…the sound of the waves instantly lowers my blood pressure!

Who are three famous/important people you would most like to meet and why?
Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State under President George W. Bush – To learn the real scoop on post-9/11 decisions.

Dr. William Mayo, Founder of the Mayo Clinic – To hear his perspective on healthcare and the vision he and his early physician partners had related to excellence in healthcare delivery.

Sandra Day O’Connor – To meet this intelligent, trail-blazing woman and hear her stories.

After work you’ll find me…
Still on the phone
On a run through the neighborhood
Eavesdropping on other’s lives through Facebook

What are you most passionate about when it comes to your work ?
Getting it right…whether that means saying it well, listening attentively, having the right idea, or covering the thousands of details that are a given with running a business. I want to make sure we get it right for our clients, our employees and our community.

Top 3 songs on your best party playlist? (or a few of your recent playlist favorites)
It’s all over the map! Pre-party might be a little Steely Dan or Dave Matthews Band. During the party might be Earth, Wind and Fire and old-school funk, or if I’m in a country kind of mood it’s George Strait or Lyle Lovett, and late-night party timeframe is definitely Usher and anything danceable.

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Kristin Bult

Position/Responsibilities:
Executive Assistant to Tina Young – Assist with the day-to-day operations of the business.

Name one thing you can’t live without, and one that you can.
I can’t live without satellite radio. I can live without rude people.

What’s the last book you read and why did it interest you?
“A Pirate Looks at Fifty” by Jimmy Buffett – I’m a Parrothead, what can I say?

What’s your favorite vacation spot?
Oregon coast

Who are three famous/important people you would most like to meet and why?
Jimmy Buffett – I want to spend my days living by the ocean, sailing and sipping margaritas.

Oprah – She has met/interviewed just about everyone over the years and must have some fascinating stories. She’s also a great philanthropist.

Any living U.S. President – I would just love to meet someone who is influential.

After work you’ll find me…
Running errands
Going home to relax
Facebooking

What are you most passionate about when it comes to your work ?
Doing the best job I can do.

Top 3 songs on your best party playlist? (or a few of your recent playlist favorites)
“Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey
“Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson
“Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes” by Jimmy Buffett

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Annie Dawson

Position/Responsibilities:
Administrative Assistant – I assist all team members with various administrative needs.

Name one thing you can’t live without, and one that you can.
I could not live without my relationship with Jesus – He is my life.  I could live without arrogant people. Really, just who do you think you are?

What’s the last book you read and why did it interest you?
“The Choice” by Nicolas Sparks. He writes books about everyday people in small towns. I enjoy his writing style, the characters and how they deal with struggles in their lives, love and romance, and the important things in life.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?
I like to vary it – life is short. I hope to visit Belgium, Italy and Puerto Rico in the next couple of years.

Who are three famous/important people you would most like to meet and why?
Any of my ancestors – to hear about their life in history

Corrie Ten Boom – her experience and survival of the Holocaust

Tim Tebo – I respect him for making a stand for his faith in the sports world today

After work you’ll find me…
Spending time with my family and friends
Crafting
Walking my bulldogs Max and Lexi
Checking out Facebook and Pinterest

What are you most passionate about when it comes to your work ?
I enjoy seeking more efficient ways to complete work, providing organization to the office place, and developing good relationships with all those with whom I come in contact.

Top 3 songs on your best party playlist? (or a few of your recent playlist favorites)
Hmmm…. Most of the time I listen to contemporary inspirational because it lifts my spirits and reinforces my faith. I also enjoy music from the 70s like Steely Dan, James Taylor and Eagles.         

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Buck Choate

Position/Responsibilities:
Creative Director – Creative and digital projects.

Name one thing you can’t live without, and one that you can.
I couldn’t live without my iPhone. I could live without whiny people.

What’s the last book you read and why did it interest you?
“A Big Life in Advertising” by Mary Wells Lawrence . Her perspective on the ever-changing advertising world through the decades is completely fascinating.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?
Anywhere with a beach in my sights and a drink in my hand!

Who are three famous/important people you would most like to meet and why?
Winston Churchill – He was a defining personality in world history.

Chelsea Handler – She’s hilarious. She would like me.

President Barack Obama – He’s the leader of the free world and not a bad basketball player either.

After work you’ll find me…
Watching a new movie
Relaxing with friends
Catching up on all my social/news sites on said iPhone

What are you most passionate about when it comes to your work ?
I’m passionate about work that’s high-quality and strategic. There’s nothing like delivering an idea that works!

Top 3 songs on your best party playlist? (Or a few of your recent playlist favorites)
Anything Robyn, Gaga or Radiohead

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Melissa Gullickson

Position/Responsibilities:
Director of Client Services – I make sure that our service and project delivery functions are working  to ensure an excellent experience for  clients. I also run Ask Oncor. We Deliver., an award-winning community relations campaign for Dallas-based utility Oncor.

Name one thing you can’t live without, and one that you can.
I can’t live without a sincere sense of humor about life and what it throws my way, but could certainly live without having to take off my shoes at airports. That is just wrong.  

What’s the last book you read and why did it interest you?
“A Moveable Feast” by Ernest Hemingway. I love Paris, art and the 20’s. This book is a gorgeous portrait of those things.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?
Spain, it was so beautiful and the people were lovely.

Who are three famous/important people you would most like to meet and why?
Gary Kelly– CEO and President of Southwest Airlines. My inspiration at work lately, I’d love to learn how Gary does it, and would find out what inspired him to run such a customer and employee-driven company. Of course, I’d also spend some time begging for free Southwest flights for life!

Tina Fey – Her writing and acting is so unique and her sense of humor exactly matches mine. I think I would try to convince her we should be best friends.

Jon Hamm – The phenomenal actor who plays Don Draper on my favorite show, “Mad Men.” I’d love to meet the person who plays a 60’s ad man. Those guys (despite some of their not-so-attractive qualities like sexism in the workplace) actually paved the way for marketers in today’s world. Plus, Jon Hamm is incredibly good-looking (and funny!).

After work you’ll find me…
At yoga
Networking at one of the many Dallas-area organizations
At home with my Macbook Pro where I read about Web 2.0 and contemplate about the way marketing is changing

What are you most passionate about when it comes to your work ?
Helping clients understand that marketing is a two-way street. While spending time and resources talking about your company to your current and prospective customers is vital, you should also be spending as much (or more!) time listening to your customers, and making your business better from the feedback.

Top 3 songs on your best party playlist? (Or a few of your recent playlist favorites)
“Let the Light In” by Bob Schneider
“Howlin’ for You” by The Black Keys
“The Walk” by Mayer Hawthorne

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Michelle Jones

Position/Responsibilities:
Account Manager – I handle strategic planning, project management and coordination for the clients I serve.

Name one thing you can’t live without, and one that you can.
I can’t live without humor. I can live without disrespect.

What’s the last book you read and why did it interest you?
“Bossypants” by Tina Fey – I think she’s a very clever writer, and like I said, I can’t live without humor.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?
Tofino, B.C. The ocean and mountains in a quaint little surf town where everyone is enjoying life and eating incredible food. Couldn’t ask for more.

Who are three famous/important people you would most like to meet and why?
Willie Nelson – I’d love to have a discussion with someone who writes songs as well as him.

President Obama – He’s our president, of course, but also because he’s leading our country during a very challenging time.

My dad’s parents – They both passed before I was born. I’d love to know more about my father’s side of the family and our ancestry.

After work you’ll find me…
From the minute I leave the office until about 8:30 at night it’s all about my daughter. Then I usually get some time to read a few blogs and catch up with my friends and family on Facebook.

What are you most passionate about when it comes to your work ?
Finding the best way to tell a client’s story, whether it’s through media relations, marketing, social media or all of the above. I am passionate about creating and implementing the best strategy for each individual organization. I believe there is never a one-size-fits-all approach in this business, and those who do it well can identify and adapt to each client’s needs.

Top 3 songs on your best party playlist? (Or a few of your recent playlist favorites)
I don’t think I can narrow it down to a few favorite songs. There are too many I like! But, I’d say David Bowie, Tribe Called Quest, Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings would be on there for sure. I could also listen to Arcade Fire or The Black Keys all night and be completely happy.

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Angela Ulrich

Position/Responsibilities:
Digital Marketing Manager – I’m responsible for developing digital strategies and leading campaigns utilizing social media, web analytics, email marketing, word-of-mouth, video, viral marketing and SEO/SEM.

Name one thing you can’t live without, and one that you can.
I can’t live without laughter. I can live without ill-mannered people.

What’s the last book you read and why did it interest you?
I’m currently reading “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” by Jenny Lawson. I’m obsessed with her blog and just had to have her book!

What’s your favorite vacation spot?
Ravello, Italy on the Amalfi coast

Who are three famous/important people you would most like to meet and why?
Jimmy Fallon – He is absolutely hilarious and I think he and I’m pretty sure we’re destined to be besties!

Tina Fey – I love her style of comedy and, again, I’m sure we could be BFFs!

Julia Child – She was such a character and taught people how to turn cooking and eating into an extraordinary experience.

After work you’ll find me…
Testing a new recipe
Spending time with my friends, family and husband
All over social media, from checking-in on Foursquare to posting on Facebook

What are you most passionate about when it comes to your work ?
Having fun and enjoying the work I do. I like being able to help a company tell their story in a creative way and coming up with innovative marketing ideas.

Top 3 songs on your best party playlist? (Or a few of your recent playlist favorites)
“No Strings” by Mayer Hawthorne
“This Must Be The Place” by Talking Heads
“Up Up Up” by Givers

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Sofia Ruzo

Position/Responsibilities:
Senior Account Executive – It’s a dynamic atmosphere here, so I am called to develop content, research market and trends, brainstorm for strategic marketing plans, and utilize social media on any given day. As a Hispanic American, I also serve as a source of first-hand knowledge of the U.S. Hispanic/Latino market.

Name one thing you can’t live without, and one that you can.
I can’t live without my husband – in addition to the obvious reasons, he is a Bear Grylls fanatic, and therefore would be the best asset to have on a deserted island or the Apocalypse. I can live without coffee, the single most important discovery for me this year. I didn’t think it was possible. Now, I drink masala chai tea (except for dates at Starbucks – that would be too cruel).

What’s the last book you read and why did it interest you?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It interests me because Coelho writes of profound truths, and in a simple, earnest writing style. A line from the book inspires me daily: “When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.” I think we are all, at one point or another, fed the idea that we can’t fulfill our dreams. This book inspires me to pursue my aspirations without fear or self-doubt, and to be confident that the roadmap to happiness is paying attention to the things that impassion us, and living out those passions!

What’s your favorite vacation spot?
Cusco, Peru. I love the museums, hiking the Inka trail, Machu Picchu, and drinking “mate” while walking through the cobblestone streets lined with Incan walls. I asked TSA if I could bring home an alpaca, but I don’t think they found it very funny…

Who are three famous/important people you would most like to meet and why?
Pope John Paul II — He managed to inspire legions of young people to unite for days under a common cause, and his message was simple and passionately delivered. He was a master marketer!

Neil deGrasse Tyson — One of my favorite people to follow on Twitter. He is so intelligent and witty, and he manages the delicate balance of being a scientist and still maintaining a sense of wonder and awe about the world.

Adele — I want to meet her to thank her for being an example of authenticity, confidence, and natural beauty in an industry that doesn’t make it easy to be those things.

After work you’ll find me…
Taking a long walk with Mr. Ruzo on one hand and hot tea on the other
Facebooking, tweeting, and Pinterest-ing
Learning about Ayurvedic medicine through online courses and workshops

What are you most passionate about when it comes to your work ?
Being a better person and a better worker today than I was yesterday.

Top 3 songs on your best party playlist? (Or a few of your recent playlist favorites)
“Feel So Close” by Calvin Harris
“Chan Chan” by Buena Vista Social Club
“Home” by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes

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Bana Varnon

Position/Responsibilities:
Senior Account Executive – I handle all sorts of projects related to media relations, content development and social media marketing. I’m always up for new projects and happy to help where I can.

Name one thing you can’t live without, and one that you can.
I really can’t live without my music – a good song can completely change my day around for the better, move me and even inspire me. I could do without cilantro; I’ve never liked it.

What’s the last book you read and why did it interest you?
“Dogs Never Lie About Love” by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson. It completely changed my perspective on the emotions of dogs and how they perceive their own little world.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?
Dublin, Ireland. Everything is so green, fresh and alive – and I’d venture to say it’s the most beautiful countryside I’ve ever seen outside of the States. Dubliners also make it great – they remind me of Texans and of home.

Who are three famous/important people you would most like to meet and why?
J.K. Rowling – How does one person have a seven-book series of creative characters and plots all in her head?

John Lennon – I think he had an amazing message in his songs, and he’s an inspiration for a lot of people.

Helena Bonham Carter – She’s an incredibly talented actress and the girl can sing.

After work you’ll find me…
Jogging with my dog
Documenting my world with a camera
Checking up on what’s happening on Twitter

What are you most passionate about when it comes to your work ?
I’m most enthusiastic about telling a story in a compelling way that reaches people. You can push out messages all day long, but when you can really activate someone with a great story, that’s what it’s all about for me.

Top 3 songs on your best party playlist? (Or a few of your recent playlist favorites)
“Supermassive Black Hole” – Muse
“Stairway to Heaven” – Led Zeppelin
“Life in the Fast Lane” – Eagles

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Meredith Steffen 

Position/Responsibilities:
Account Executive – Marketing collateral development, event management, project management with multiple vendors, managing timelines and leveraging social media tools.

Name one thing you can’t live without, and one that you can.
I can’t live without laughter and smiles. Laughter is the best medicine for a REALLY bad day and helps make a frustrating situation not so terrible. I can live without people who don’t have a sense of humor. It’s not that difficult to crack one little grin people!

What’s the last book you read and why did it interest you?
A murder mystery by Harlan Coben titled “Long Lost.” It was on The New York Times Best Sellers list about a year ago, which is how I often choose my books if a friend hasn’t recommended one recently.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?
Anywhere I can relax and spend some time in the sun. Mexico is always on the top of my list because my cell phone doesn’t work there. There’s nothing like vacation when the real world can’t get a hold of you.

Who are three famous/important people you would most like to meet and why?
Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low – Founder of Girl Scouts of the USA. She has given young girls a place where they can develop self-esteem and  learn how to grow into strong independent women, while preparing for the professional world.

Stephen Colbert – He’s hilarious!! Like I said, I can’t live without laughter.

Sandra Bullock – She’s by far my favorite actress. Smart, talented and funny – what’s not to love? Have you seen “The Blind Side”? She earned that Oscar!

After work you’ll find me…
At the gym
Spending time with my family, friends and boyfriend
Tweeting from my Palm about what’s happening around me

What are you most passionate about when it comes to your work ?
Quality. I want my clients and co-workers to be pleased with the final product I present to them, therefore I strive to do my best on every project by paying special attention to details and seeking help from others when necessary.

Top 3 songs on your best party playlist? (Or a few of your recent playlist favorites)
“I Want You To” by Weezer
“The Fixer” by Pearl Jam
“Thank You” by Led Zeppelin – It’s not a party song, but it does hold a special place in my heart.

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Whitney Starling

Position/Responsibilities:
Account Executive – Marketing and PR program support, event planning and support, marketing collateral development, project management with various vendors, and helping to create and implement social media activities for clients.

Name one thing you can’t live without, and one that you can.
I couldn’t live without laughter or love – they make the world go ‘round. I could definitely live without humidity and beans. I can’t stand either of them!

What’s the last book you read and why did it interest you?
I recently finished The Help – I choose to read it because I constantly heard people say how great it was. I love reading a book that mixes history with fiction. It’s a fun way to learn about history and such a relaxing activity.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?
I haven’t been here yet, but I would love to go to Greece!

Who are three famous/important people you would most like to meet and why?
Elvis Presley – he is so talented and handsome! Elvis’ music spanned so many different genres and he evokes a time when life was simpler.

Emmitt Smith – I think he is a stand-up athlete with admirable morals. He is my favorite Dallas Cowboy and in my opinion, the greatest running-back ever.

C.S. Lewis – He was a great writer and I would love to pick his brain about his conversion from atheism to Christianity.

After work you’ll find me…
At the gym, at home teaching myself how to cook, hanging out with friends, cheering on the Dallas Cowboys or Texas Longhorns, and watching way too many ridiculous reality T.V. shows.

What are you most passionate about when it comes to your work?
Effectively communicating the client’s story through multiple avenues is what I am most passionate about.

Top 3 songs on your best party playlist? (or a few of your recent playlist favorites)
So tough to pick just three!

Party:
Garth Brooks “Friends in Low Places”
Tom Petty “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”
Chris Brown “I Can Transform Ya”

Playlist Favorites:
Any and all Texas Country especially Randy Rogers, Wade Bowen and Aaron Watson.
Dave Matthews Band “Rapunzel”
James Morrison “Call the Police”
Elvis Presley “Jailhouse Rock”

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