Member Monday Spotlight: Michael Gualandri

Name: Michael Gualandri
Hometown: Metamora, IL
Day Job: Project Manager at Three21
Board Position: Membership Co-Chair

What is the best part about your job?

The best part about my job is keeping an eye on and adapting the latest marketing trends for our agency and our clients!

How would you describe your responsibilities in a tweet (yes…160 characters or less)?

Responsible for maintaining client accounts, discovering & analyzing their needs, and making sure they are beyond satisfied!

Why did you join Ad 2 Orlando?

I joined Ad 2 to surround myself with like minded people; young professionals who want to do more than the usual 9 to 5 in their careers. Everyone’s enthusiasm and curiosity for the industry is invigorating to say the least!

Most memorable Ad 2 moment?

My most memorable Ad 2 moment was helping with the Public Service committee’s video shoot for their selected non-profit, Tech Sassy Girlz. I was asked to help last minute and I didn’t contribute much, but the gratitude from the committee and the women in Tech Sassy Girlz made me so thankful to be a part of something much bigger.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

I would love to have the ability to teleport. Fulfilling the Millennial stereotype, I’m a naturally impatient individual so I would love to cut down an 8 hour flight to Europe down to an instant!

If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?

I would be a house cat. They get a pretty bad rep, but I’m trying to understand how being taken care of AND getting to sleep all day is a bad thing? Plus there’s a 99.99% chance I could easily become internet famous.

Member Monday Spotlight: Ralphy Perez

Name: Ralphy Perez
Hometown: Orlando, FL
Day Job: Account Executive at Clear Channel Outdoor
Board position: VP of Development

What is the best part about your job?

I love meeting small business owners who are passionate about what they do and hearing their stories about how they started their business. It is such an honor to assist them with their advertising and being part of their growth!

How would you describe your responsibilities in a tweet (yes…160 characters or less)?

I assist businesses with outdoor advertising by managing a book of business of existing clients, while prospecting for new advertisers. Basically, I sell billboards for a living 🙂

Why did you join Ad 2 Orlando?

Being relatively new to the ad world, I needed to learn more about the industry and I enjoy being around like-minded people.

Most memorable Ad 2 moment?

Going to Ad 2 Mid-Year Conference in Tucson! It was so much fun to meet Ad 2 members from different parts of the nation and now I call these people my friends.

If you can have any dish right now, what would it be?

Fried Chicken and Waffles! This is by far the best combination in the world and if you must know, the best fried chicken & waffles are at The Coop in Winter Park! You must get the bourbon syrup with it!

Member Monday Spotlight: Lisa Esser

Name: Lisa Esser
Hometown: Willingboro, NJ
Day Job: Communications Manager at Adventist University of Health Sciences

What is the best part about your job?

I get to do my favorite thing 99% of the time: writing. And it’s really satisfying to be able to use a skill I’m passionate about to find creative solutions and support my team’s efforts.

How would you describe your responsibilities in a tweet (yes…160 characters or less)?

The office word nerd and grammar geek. I do the writing and manage social media. You could probably replace me with an autonomous thesaurus.

Why did you join Ad 2 Orlando?

I originally joined Ad 2 for all the conventional reasons: networking, portfolio/resume building, learning new skills, etc. But what I thought would become a chore, turned out to be an awesome experience both personally and professionally! I’ve made real friendships and I’m always connecting with people from varied backgrounds and industries. Ad 2 is a terrific resource for people in professions other than marketing or advertising.

Most memorable Ad 2 moment?

I’ve had some great times with Ad 2, but recently, I’ve really enjoyed my time working with the Public Service Committee. It’s a very different experience from my day job duties – pitching completely new ideas, collaborating with a client, and working on entirely new content.

If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?

Ooh, I’ve thought about this one a lot. I feel like it’s too cliche to say “flying” or “super strength”, although those would be great. I like the idea of time manipulation. I think every adult wishes they had more time to get things done, ha ha. I feel like stopping time or turning back the clock wouldn’t work out well in real life, but since when do comics factor in logic?

How To Land a Marketing Job in Orlando

By: Tim Mehta, Public Service Marketing Lead & Marketing Strategist at Designzillas

There’s two types of people that absolutely need to read and bookmark this post.

  1. You just graduated college. Whether it’s UCF, Full Sail, Valencia or somewhere else around here. You’ve interned at a couple agencies, you’ve attended some networking events, or maybe neither. You feel like you’ve done what you need in order to land a job. But you still don’t have one lined up.
  2. You graduated college a couple years ago. You’re pretty disappointed (or straight up unhappy) with your career choice. Now you’re trying to transition into the Orlando marketing world. But you don’t know how.

I could easily say “relax, this post has you covered” but I’m not going to lie to you like that.

Orlando is riddled with young professionals hoping to become the next Gary Vaynerchuk or Seth Godin (If you don’t know who either of those people are, you are not on the right track. Google them as soon as you’ve finished reading this sentence).

But just because the volume of competition is high doesn’t mean you should lose hope. Orlando hosts so many different businesses and companies that there is always opportunity.


On Indeed alone there are almost 3,000 jobs that employers are looking to fill as of one-minute ago.

On top of that, Orlando was crowned with the highest rate of net job creation in 2015.

But no, I’m still not going to tell you to “relax, this post has you covered.” What I’m trying to say is to not lose hope so quickly.

Before we dive into these juicy tips (sounds kinda gross), let’s take a guess of some of the thoughts that you’ve been having as a frustrated marketing job hunter.


  1. I keep getting rejected because I don’t have “enough experience.”
  2. How the hell can I get experience if no one will give me a shot?
  3. I just need that one first job and then it’ll be easy from there.
  4. Even entry-level jobs are looking for 2-3 years of experience. It doesn’t make sense!
  5. I will take any marketing job at this point, I’m getting desperate.
  6. I’ve submitted my resume and cover letter to like 20 places and I haven’t heard back. What’s the deal?!
  7. What miracle do I have to pull to get a damn interview?
  8. Just because I don’t have experience doesn’t mean I wouldn’t rock that role (get it? rock…role…).

Believe me, I’ve been there. Three years after I graduated UCF, I decided to take the leap from a finance career into marketing.

Thanks to all the mistakes I made along the way, it took me a whole year to find a job.

But I don’t want the same thing to happen to you.

Listen. Literally. Say this out loud and listen to the words. “Stop. Complaining. Start. Gaining.”


For every bit of energy you spend complaining, you are wasting valuable time that you could be gaining. By gaining I mean gaining experience, gaining relationships, gaining knowledge, just getting gains!

Their Perspective

For business owners, it doesn’t make sense to hire someone with no experience. I mean, it’s a huge risk and cost to hire a new employee.
You’re a stranger, they’ve never heard of you, you don’t have directly relevant experience, and nobody recommended you. Admit it, you wouldn’t even hire you.

So what can you do? Well, this first tip is pretty obvious, but it’s the “how” part that’s the challenge…

1. Find any opportunity to gain experience (yes, I said “gain” again)


If you’re still in college, or if you can afford to, you need to find an internship and jump on that ASAP.

When you get there, you need to impress. Don’t just get stuck doing administrative work or fetching coffee for people. Ask every person you can to sit down with you and show you what they do.

And don’t just talk shop either. Ask them about what they like to do outside of work, their favorite food, whatever you can think of.

You don’t want to leave an internship with zero connections. People will remember you better if you engage in conversation beyond work. Find something that you have in common and chat about it.

Continue to ask for learning opportunities. Seriously, keep asking to learn everything you can until someone tells you no. Don’t be annoying, but be a little annoying.

Nobody is going to come and find you and ask you if you want to learn something, you have to take the wheel.



Maybe you’re in your mid-20s and you can’t afford to intern during work hours because you have a full-time job.

No worries. There’s plenty of volunteer opportunities out there where you can get your feet wet.

Reach out to local non-profits and ask if they’d like some help with their marketing. The more specific you are about how you’d like to assist, the better.

The beauty of volunteering is that you can discover what you enjoy and what you’re good at. Spend 2-3 hours a week of your own time on these types of opportunities.

Now it’s much more difficult to individually reach out to organizations who need volunteer help. I highly suggest reaching out to Ad 2 and asking about the Public Service team. You don’t need to submit a resume or go through any interviews. If you want to help, you can.

This is actually how I got the experience that I needed. I volunteered for Ad 2’s Public Service team and worked on a campaign for Save The Manatee Club in 2015. The results and references that I got from this project were the direct reason I landed my first marketing job.

It’s the easiest way to get experience that you can slap those employers in the face with and say “YES, I do have experience.”

2. Attend keynotes, events, trade shows. Get your face out there.


The word networking sounds so… dirty. That word triggers visuals of stock-photo-business people shaking hands in a well-lit room. Don’t think of that word.

Think of it as becoming familiar.

Your resume is just a piece of paper with a bunch of letters on a word doc. You need to make yourself familiar.

Science has proven that people are more inclined to like you (or call you back for an interview) if they recognize you. It’s called the “familiarity principle.” It says that “the more often a person is seen by someone, the more pleasing and likeable that person appears to be.”

For example, after you attend a keynote, stick around and mingle among the attendees. Talk about the topics of the conference, ask them questions about what they do and try to connect on any level possible.

Here’s a common mistake people make: familiarity events (see what I did there) are NOT about trying to impress people. It’s about finding commonalities and connecting with people. The “impressing” part is for later.

You have to be as authentic and genuine as possible during these events. People are attracted to that.

Let me give you an example. I went to a forum event where they had several expert speakers engaging in a discussion. Afterwards, everyone was mingling and chatting with some of the forum speakers. One of them was wearing a hat with the Florida State flag on it.

This yuppie-looking fella walks up (T-shirt, jeans and blazer) and says “Oh I bet my generations go further back then yours in Florida. Let me just put it this way – my last name is Primrose. I think my grandpa was the mayor or something like that.”

If you have ever heard a real car crash, try to re-imagine that sound right now. This type of forced self-promotion is a big no-no.

The point of attending these things is to find opportunities, not to try and create them on the spot.

It’s always good to prepare for these types of things. In the week leading up, listen to some marketing podcasts or read up on what’s going on in the marketing world (which you should be doing anyway).

The more knowledge you can drop, the better. If you can bring up a perspective or insight about something marketing-related that the other person hasn’t heard of before, it will be 10x more impressive than being named after an old mayor.

3. It’s not who you know, it’s who you reach out to.


Don’t forget to re-connect with people you already know or reach out to meet some new people.

If you had a course with a group project, reach out to some of those fellow students to see if you can get them to write up a recommendation for you on LinkedIn or even as a job reference.

For what little experience you do have, you want to leverage it as much as possible. There’s no better way to do this than establishing social proof. Once you have real people vouching for you, your credibility (and likeliness of getting hired) skyrockets.

But before you ask them for anything, do something for them. Write them a LinkedIn recommendation, share something they’ve done, or provide them with an article you recently read that you think they might find interesting. You want to give before you ask.

If you know the person well enough, they might be willing to do you a favor without receiving one first.

Just remember, reciprocity is a powerful thing. Bonus points if the favor you originally give requires more effort than the return favor you are asking from them. If they really like you, they will try to “out-do” your original favor, which is the best you can hope for.


You’re going to find yourself in a cycle. One where you look back 6 months and say “what the heck was I thinking?” This is a good thing.

If you’re looking back that far and NOT saying that, then you aren’t growing or adapting. If you’re doing it right, you’ll constantly be learning better ways of starting and advancing your career.

Try to catch yourself every time you are complaining about your job hunt and say “stop complaining, start gaining.” There is no secret formula for success, everyone’s path is different.

But the one thing I can guarantee you is that nobody has ever reached their goals by stressing themselves out. They did it by getting out there and gaining (that’s the last time, I swear) experience, knowledge and connections.

Good luck on your hunt, and please remember to bookmark this post for the next time you find yourself struggling to find a marketing job in Orlando.

Digital Media from All Angles

Our Digital Media From All Angles program was a success! With more than 100 attendees, four Orlando-based digital experts as our speakers and huge support from our sponsors, this was one of our biggest events of the year and in Ad 2 Orlando history.

The event took place on Thursday, February 21st at the new office of Purple, Rock, Scissors in the heart of downtown Orlando.

Our panel of experts included:

Michael Parler, Chief Strategy Officer, Purple, Rock, Scissors
John Payne, President, Monster Media
Mark Unger, Partner/Director of Interactive, Push.
Ted Murphy, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Izea

Our Programs chairs, Jeff Malczyk and Chris Merritt, asked a variety of questions which garnered interesting responses. Notably, digital advertising is only going to continue to grow, content is key, and it’s OK to advertise national campaigns in smaller markets.

We’re proud to host programs and feature guest speakers for the enjoyment of young professionals in the advertising industry. Ad 2 Orlando is composed of forward thinking and forward moving people looking to make a difference professionally, personally and throughout the community. It’s always great meeting people who have been members of Ad 2 Orlando for multiple years as well as non-members who are attending an event for the first time.

We would like to once again thank our sponsors: Macbeth Photography, Black Leaf Signs and PRPL. Check out the event photos from Macbeth Photography here.

*images featured in this post provided by Macbeth Photography.

Introducing…our 2012-13 Public Service Client!

We are beyond excited to introduce our Public Service campaign for the 2012-13 year! And we are even more thrilled about the amount of talented and enthusiastic young professionals showing interest in joining the team!

Without further ado, Informed Families and its Lock Your Meds program, is our client this time around! If you are at all familiar with the pill mill problem in the state of Florida, you know that illegal prescription drug use is a serious issue that needs addressing. Our goal is to help the Lock Your Meds program reach its audience and provide valuable resources to parents about the drug trade going on right under their noses with their prescriptions.

If you are interested in getting involved, here are a few reasons why public service is the place to be…

  1. Learn something new! You may work in a day job that keeps you focused on one facet of communications. For example, Ashley works in PR and Hannah works in Marketing for a living. But, what about bringing a campaign full-circle? We love having the chance to dip our feet in all areas of making a communications campaign complete. Graphic designer by day, but interested in media buying by night? You got it!
  2. Your opinion counts! Public service is a TEAM effort so your creative and strategic thoughts will always be considered, which is why we want every member to commit to coming to the monthly meetings.
  3. Give back. Decide what you have to give and we’ll take it! You will get as much out of Public Service and Ad 2 Orlando in general as you give. We’re all here to do something meaningful and great with our skills. Last year, our campaign for SafeHouse of Seminole saved 4 lives from domestic violence!
  4. Meet new friends! This one is a no-brainer. Get to work hard and play hard with people that are FUN and talented. Everyone can use a new friend 🙂

If you have any questions about getting involved, reach out to We look forward to meeting each of you! More information coming soon about next steps.

Here’s to a FANTASTIC campaign!

Hannah & Ashley

Public Service 2012-13 Co-chairs

On Joining Ad 2 Orlando

A few months ago, I joined Ad2 Orlando with one goal in mind – I wanted to learn how the industry I studied back in college really works. I wanted to know the ins and outs of Advertising, but most importantly, I wanted to get to know the individuals who make it happen in Orlando. Who are these young professionals? What do they do every day? How did they get to where they are today? And how can I be more like them?

Thank heavens for the Membership Committee! Through them, I was able to connect with two wonderful individuals at MMGY Global. Karlee Kunkle shared with me her experiences in Public Relations. The passion that she had for what she did was, for lack of a better word, inspiring! I could tell that she loves what she does. I wanted that feeling ever so badly. No, PR is nothing like Samantha’s world on Sex and the City. It’s not glamorous; you’re not rubbing elbows with celebrities. But you are helping clients put their best foot forward at all times. I thought to myself, “I could do that and really enjoy it!” Then I met with Pam Fernandez in Account Management. I’m not going to lie; I had no idea what this department did. But as Pam explained her role in the agency and the relationships she forges between the client and all parts of the agency, I began to see how it all works, and how I could fit into the Ad world. I am ever so grateful to both these ladies for taking time out of their busy day to help guide me in my journey to my dream career.

Join professional networks! They’re amazing. You meet so many people who have been in your shoes and who are willing to expose you to a whole new world if you take the time to ask. Attend networking events and seminars. Learn as much as you can about the industry you’re considering from the professionals’ perspective. Conduct informational interviews with people you find interesting. Never stop learning. Eventually, you’ll find that one career that speaks to you. I have, and I have Ad2 and MMGY to thank for that.

Your Local Aspiring Ad Kid,

Didi Henry

New Members Do Breakfast

Hi, my name is Jon and I’m an alcoholic. Oh, wrong meeting? Sorry. Hi, my name is Jon and I’m a new member of Ad 2 Orlando.

The Ad 2 Orlando new member breakfast at Panera Bread on Lake Eola took place a few weeks ago and was a great introduction to the club. I showed up right on time (ok, about 40 minutes late) and there was still coffee and bagels left. I’m thinking: I like these people already. The other new members that I met came from agencies, printing companies, advertising vendors as well as a few freelancers and everyone seemed excited to be involved, including the Ad 2 board members who were there.

I received my Ad 2 member certificate and membership card and got to talking with a few of the board members who told me about the committees that I could get involved with. They also told me about the annual “Ugly Sweater Social” event coming up on December 11th at Vintage Lounge. I’m looking forward to attending my first Ad 2 social as a member and, naturally, it’s for a good cause.  The club will be collecting toy donations for a local charity that provides holiday gifts to underprivileged children.

Jon Miller | Associate Marketing Director
ECHO Interaction Group | |