I love branding. Not only is it my job, it's my passion. I started compiling a digital collection of corporate icons and logos while in college. I have amassed over 20,000 logos, and they are all neatly organized in alphabetical folders. The reason that I like logos is because they are the initial building block of every brand. This is where the journey begins.
I started brand building at my first job after college. I was a designer at a toy and package firm. Since it was a boutique design firm, I also had to play the part of account manager for the clients. I worked with a lot of high-profile entertainment brands: Disney, NFL, Campbell's, Marvel, and Topps. One week I was designing the new Spiderman action figure packaging or working on the logo for the New York Islander's, and the next week, I was managing all of the production for Fleer's football card sets. It was a lot of late nights, but I mastered Photoshop and Illustrator in the process. It was a great first job experience.
I decided to make a 180 creative turn and started working for a massive advertising agency. I was now creating for corporate brands: Coca-Cola, Comcast, Atlantic City Medical Center, NJ Transit, South Jersey Industries, NJ Lottery, and Aramark. My marketing knowledge was expanding rapidly. I was creating advertising campaigns, designing billboards, and cutting radio and TV spots. It was here where I learned how a brand needs to maintain continuity across all marketing channels.
My knowledge for branding continued when I took a position as a creative director at the country's largest advertising agency specifically focused on serving the casino industry. I became a marketing expert in hospitality, gaming, retail, and food & beverages. I was managing a staff of 18 creatives, comprised of 3 teams who produced over 15,000 projects per year. No, that is not a typo. My team was responsible for all of the direct mail, signage, events, advertising and promotions for 12 casinos across the country. Besides managing the day-to-day activity of my team, I was also responsible for managing client relations. I would fly around the country presenting advertising campaigns to in-house marketing teams. I was working 60+ hours per week and always under intense deadlines, but for some strange reason, I LOVED IT!
I decided that it was time to slow it down, so I returned to working at a smaller advertising agency. This would allow me the time to work on a personal social networking project that I had been wanting to start. The project was called Hero Network (originally Wish Upon A Hero), the world's largest social helping network. It would connect people in need with those who could help. It was the first business crowdfunding platform on the market and it has help make over 200,000 wishes come true.
I designed and built the entire Hero Network brand from the ground up. I managed all of the UI/UX for both web and mobile. I was responsible for the development and implementation of strategic marketing plans and company growth. I oversaw the legal and financial aspects of the company. I became an expert in social media, Google analytics, and marketing metrics. In addition, I became very knowledgeable about pitching to equity investors. I created enough value for Hero Network brand to raise $2.4 million in investments.
As a way to help more people in need, I created the Wish Upon A Hero Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit charity. I applied my corporate branding knowledge to the Foundation. As the executive director for the organization, I created the Hero Award Gala, a national award show to showcase and honor philanthropic heroes. I also created over 20 programs to support specific causes and established Hero Chapters in 16 states with close to 400 volunteers nation wide. The Foundation has received over $1.5 million in donations through my strong marketing and public relations efforts.
I have won over 60 creative awards, have been published in 5 design books, and I have received numerous awards and accolades through my career. (View Accolades). In addition, I am a public speaker who frequently talks to students, schools and businesses about my entrepreneurial journey through philanthropy.