18 Years of Direct Agents, as told by the Executive Team.
Josh Boaz, Co-Founder & Managing Director
18 Years at DA
As we approach 18 years in business, it’s amazing to reflect and see how far we’ve come. From a startup with just 3 of us in a small room to a dynamic team of 85 professionals with global clients. While we’ve gone through many evolutions over the years, from the complexity of our business solutions to the depth, diversity, and sophistication of our team, what remains the same is the culture of entrepreneurial hustle that sparked our origins. Our team continues to be united all these years later, by a shared passion to build and create, continuously learn and evolve, and have fun along the way. Our culture combined with our identity as diverse, fiercely independent, and an underdog mentality, ensures that we stay hungry and continuously innovate all these years later.
Dinesh Boaz, Co-Founder & Managing Director
18 Years at DA
What inspires me after 18 years of Direct Agents is the constant transformation and reinvention of the way we work and the relationships that we have built. Starting the business in 2003 as young minority business leaders, we took on a challenge to venture into the unknown of a new and emerging industry. We had to hustle, build, learn and adapt to change. Looking at the agency today, I am most proud of the passion and diversity of our team and the idea that the ‘unknown’ of what’s ahead still exists today. The foundation of Direct Agents in 2021 is one of constant innovation, our incredible team and our client partnerships. I’m also very excited about the work that we’re doing with the community, by impacting and bringing awareness to social justice causes.
Lyle Srebnick, Partner & President – Performance Group
18 Years at DA
As the industry has evolved, the core of who we are and what deliver hasn’t changed.
I attribute our success over the last 18 years to our integrity and work ethic fueled the passion for what we do and simply having fun doing it.
Megan Conahan, EVP
15 Years at DA
I started at Direct Agents in 2005 when the company was only three years old. What I remember most is being in a room full of people working together and determined to succeed. Everyone wore many hats, and because of that, we all knew the business inside and out. I did business development, invoicing, ad ops, media buying, and everything in between. With a great deal of confidence, we can say that we just outworked other agencies – we were determined to succeed. We were a small group of people, but we all had the same goal. I also remember having so much fun with this group of people – we had birthday celebrations, dinners, and trips to trade shows. We all knew each other so well, and I knew I could trust everyone here to work just as hard as I was working.
Fast forward 15 years, on our 18th anniversary, we are a much larger organization, and thankfully I am no longer involved in ad ops, to the relief of everyone else on my team. We have more structure, more processes, and we have grown up. We focus on innovation and working smarter, not always just harder. We have built proprietary technology and focus more time on thought leadership to help our clients see around the corner. What hasn’t changed is the hustle and the never-ending drive to be the best and succeed. We still have fun too, although with MANY more people. Thankfully, we now have such a great People & Culture team to organize them because organizing a bi-coastal group of our size is more challenging than grabbing a drink with our previously small NYC office. What else hasn’t changed – the fact that we are independent, we have always loved the flexibility being independent afforded us – to do what we wanted to do – to do what was best for our clients.
While a lot has changed from the outside -bigger office, new locations, more people, etc. – really, we are the same agency at heart. We always want what’s best for our people and our clients. We are always looking to innovate and be better. I’m so thankful I got to grow up at Direct Agents and witness these changes, and I’m looking forward to 18 more years of growth and continuing to up-level every day.
Mark Glauberson, EVP
14 Years at DA
It has been great to see the evolution of our services, talent, and culture in my 14 years with DA. A lot has changed but the energy of innovation and entrepreneurship remains. We’re constantly questioning assumptions, reinventing solutions, and just trying to find a better way. The challenges continue to evolve, but our services, talent, and technology are outpacing those of our peers. I’m truly inspired every day by the people I work with and their ability to think beyond the box.
Daniel Owen, EVP
13 Years at DA
Well, offices for sure and headcount. We used to have set lunch hours because the small size of the office meant anyone eating would have their food in front of everyone working. The search team and practically any managed services team were non-existent (headcount = 1) and the company focused heavily on affiliate marketing. We once started a completely separate subsidiary called LocalConnex and tried to service small local businesses, and the search team actually had their own office for salespeople, analysts, etc. But we quickly learned the difficulties of servicing dozens and dozens of small businesses versus mid-large sized clients.
Today, even as we’ve grown to be bi-coastal and approaching 100 headcount, what hasn’t changed is the hustle, the entrepreneurial spirit and the emphasis on innovation. DA has never become an unmoving, static company and remains a place where each person in the organization can truly make an impact and be recognized, grow their career, and a place where the entrepreneurial spirit will always have the freedom to run.
Eddy Gil, SVP of Finance
10 Years at DA
It has been rewarding to experience our evolution and growth for the last 11 years. We have successfully expanded operations and grown the team. The continued cultivation of our core values, leadership, and startup mentality has propelled our success despite the unprecedented economic challenges the country has faced and the competitive landscape of our industry. Our secret sauce is our leadership, people, and culture. It is truly inspirational that our values and culture have withstood the test of time.
Sara Martinez-Noriega, Director of Human Resources
6 Years at DA
Direct Agents has found growth and success by constantly evolving and applying a learner mindset to all that we do. We’re always asking ourselves, what’s next? What more could we and should we be doing? This goes, not only for our employees and our clients but also for our community at large.
In what feels like a very short six years, I have been able to see Direct Agents evolve in so many ways, from office shopping for our expansion to LA to becoming a 3-time winner of the Crain’s Best Places to Work awards– we always have a new adventure or challenge waiting to be tackled.
What’s most important to me, and what attracted me to Direct Agents in the first place, hasn’t changed though. It’s our commitment to a diverse culture, where every employee is empowered to take an active role in their own growth and professional development, and where managers genuinely care about their team members as individuals. Our people-first culture is what sets Direct Agents apart as a top workplace.
Jonny Waite, VP of Search
5 Years at DA
In my five years at DA, I’ve seen quite a few changes. In that time we’ve started and grown the Advanced Analytics, Amazon/marketplaces, and Strategy departments while the SEO and Creative departments have evolved into enterprise solutions (woo!). While a lot of things have changed in the industry and at the agency, the common threads of excitement, enthusiasm, and an entrepreneurial spirit have remained the same. Our agency has been able to stay at the forefront of innovation, powered by some amazing marketers who refuse to ever settle for mediocrity. While our Holiday parties have gotten bigger, and our ping pong tournaments more competitive, our effort to be the best marketing partners out there has not. If I’ve learned anything while working for Direct Agents, it is that the opportunity to grow professionally is always there and that our ability to innovate as a group is unparalleled.