Direct Agents is coming up on its 19th anniversary. In celebration, we’ve taken time to reflect on how we’ve grown as a company, navigating an ever-changing industry with our team of dedicated innovators. Here’s what our execs have to say on the matter.
Joseph Belafonte, VP of Data & Analytics – 6 years at DA
“During my time at Direct Agents, a lot has changed. New services have evolved and departments have been created to provide our clients with a cutting-edge marketing experience.
As a result, we experienced significant growth over the years. Not only with the number of team members that are now part of the DA family, but also our offices. We are now a bi-coastal agency on the verge of moving into an amazing new penthouse office in New York City while also experiencing rapid growth within our Los Angeles office.
However, even with the evolution that has occurred, one thing still remains the same: the DA culture. We have remained an agency composed of highly motivated and diverse individuals who respect, learn, and grow together. This is the fabric of DA and I honestly cannot wait to see what the future holds and where Direct Agents will be in 5 years.”
Brittany Lange, VP of Client Services – 7 Years at DA
“What makes Direct Agents a special place to work is our ability to evolve without losing sight of our core mission and values. In my 7 years at DA we’ve grown exponentially, not only in size and office space but in the level of service and expertise we bring to the brands we partner with. We’re still constantly thinking of new and better ways of working; when I started back in 2015 it was programmatic, now in 2022 it’s the future of data, and whatever it is by 2025 I have no doubt we will remain at the forefront.”
Jackson Richards, VP of Strategy – 7 years at DA
“One thing that has remained true throughout my 7 years at Direct Agents is that we are constantly looking forward. While we are proud of our work and our accomplishments, what is most fun about Direct Agents is the energy and excitement surrounding what we will do next, and our shared journey to get there. Our commitment to innovation has empowered each of us to dream beyond our day-to-day job responsibilities and create new paths forward for ourselves and for our client partners. Direct Agents has evolved in so many ways over the last 7 years – our portfolio of services has expanded and our unique culture has developed considerably. I know that our drive to build and grow will continue as we inch closer to our 20th anniversary and beyond.”
Sara Martinez Noriega, VP of Human Resources – 7 years at DA
“19 years feels wild, but even wilder is that I’ve experienced 7 of them! What first attracted me to Direct Agents was its vibrant culture and a visibly genuine desire to create a space for people to work, grow and play together. What inspires me today is how that culture has evolved to encompass the fostering of innovation in all forms, diversity of thought and background, a strong sense of leadership and ownership at all levels, and the desire for holistic wellness across our team members.
From 30ish folks bootstrapping our first field day to our now 95+ team celebrating as a four-time winner of Crain’s Best Places to Work, amongst other awards like Digiday’s Best Employer for Young Careers, I am incredibly proud to be one of many actively contributing to Direct Agents continued growth. Cheers to 19, excited for many, many more!”
Brendan Strauss, VP of Performance Marketing – 7 years at DA
“Being in this constantly innovative and ever-changing industry for 19 years now is a testament in itself. Having started my career here in 2014 as an intern, I’ve seen DA evolve tremendously which helped spark my drive to evolve and grow. My story is not unlike others at DA – our agency has fostered many folks through major steps in their career. Through our years and our growth, we’ve stayed true to our core values and have built something truly special in quite a commoditized space. The opportunity for all of us as individuals, teams and an agency remains abounding, and it’s been extremely rewarding to be a part of it. Here’s to continuing to build something we should be proud of and hitting the next milestone at 20 years; looking forward to celebrating this year and next alongside one another.”
Nicholas Galante, VP of Growth – 8 years at DA
“After 8 years at Direct Agents, I’ve learned it isn’t just the passion, diversity, and hustle that’s propelled our agency forward, it’s the resilience of our people. In times of great change, adaptability has continued to set us apart, and I couldn’t be more excited to see what new heights our team reaches in 2022.”
Rachel Nugent, VP of Compliance – 10 years at DA
“When I first started at Direct Agents 15 years ago, I immediately felt like I had found a company that appreciated my strengths. Over the years, that has never changed. The teamwork between everyone makes it fun and co-workers start to feel like an extended family. It’s obvious that everyone who thrives at DA is talented. The company really fosters creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and diversity.
Thankfully, a big thing that has changed is our automated technology, which comes from our never-ending drive to innovate. There is also a growing list of opportunities for advancement in addition to the best wellness perks such as Summer Fridays and Bring Your Dog to Work Day. Even though our client lists have changed, we’ve had ones that have been with us for a very long time. We’ve expanded in more ways than one, but the culture makes it so that employees will stay for years and that’s a testament to our greatness.”
Eddy Gil, SVP of Finance, Corporate Controller – 11 years at DA
“I have been part of the DA family for eleven years, and it has been a memorable experience. Thanks to our collaborative, entrepreneurial, inclusive culture, and leadership, we have withstood the test of time and have exponentially grown as an organization. It is incredible to see how the company and individuals have evolved, including me. I love that DA offers a great career path opportunity. Most of the management team began their career as entry-level managers or lower, and they have evolved to be part of the leadership team. I began my career as a staff accountant and am now part of the management team as a Senior Vice President of Finance, Controller.”
Jennifer Graeffe, VP of Client Services – 11 years at DA
“Direct Agents has been a constant in my life for the past 12 years. While my personal life has gone through the gamut of milestones; moving states, getting married, having children – the core of what fuels Direct Agents has remained the same. The same hustle and entrepreneurial spirit that Direct Agents was founded on is still very prevalent today and continues to be the driving force of our success. We’ve outgrown a few offices, seen many new faces walk through our doors, and have significantly expanded our client roster but the more we change, the more we stay the same.”
Mark Glauberson, EVP – 15 years at DA
“I started working at Direct Agents 15 years ago. Back then the company was made up of a few entrepreneurial people who were trying to figure out how to out-perform the largest agencies in the world. We all wore many hats by necessity and were driven by innovation and results. We were all close friends and enjoyed our time together in and out of the office.
Today, our team is much bigger and we’re not wearing as many hats. Our solutions have become more complex and we’re able to tackle bigger challenges. But the early spirit of DA has remained intact. Innovation is built into the culture, we relentlessly pursue improved outcomes, and strive to be the best at what we do. We have a highly collaborative internal environment that fosters human connections and meaningful relationships. I feel fortunate to say that my job is to build cool stuff with my friends.”
Daniel Owen, EVP Emerging Media + Technology – 15 years at DA
“It’s amazing to see the growth of people from when they started at DA to where they are today. We’ve had interns turn into VPs and this is a testament of the culture to help each other grow and succeed as well as the entrepreneurial mindset to pave your own path and be acknowledged.
One thing that has been consistent is our appreciation of new ideas, opposing ideas, of those that want to lead and aren’t afraid to fail, because this has always been how we’ve grown as a company.”
Megan Conahan, EVP – 16 years at DA
“If I look back over the last 19 years, the theme that would define Direct Agents is consistent transformation. In an ever-evolving industry, Direct Agents has never stayed complacent and has continuously innovated based on what is on the horizon. We grew up as a hungry independent agency, and that hunger is part of what drives our innovation and growth. It’s been a pleasure to work alongside people who want the best for our agency and each other.”
Lyle Srebnick, Partner & President – Performance Group – 19 years at DA
“I attribute our success over the last 19 years to our integrity, work ethic, and passion fueled by a team that truly cares about one another and the service we provide. When this is the core of a team and an organization, there is no limit to what can be achieved.”
Dinesh Boaz, Co-founder & Creative Director – 19 years at DA
“We value our people, first and foremost. For 19 years, Direct Agents has been built on a commitment to grit and staying ahead of the competition. Our team is defining the future of the digital world, with industry-leading technology and a dedication to learning and growth.
Our constant need to change, grow, and push the boundaries has kept us ahead of the industry. Not only is it important to have a visionary mindset when considering our business growth, but also our personal and professional growth as individuals. Our people are constantly challenging themselves to create, build, and grow more.”
Josh Boaz, Co-founder & Managing Director – 19 years at DA
“To be a visionary is to have a path that is not clearly defined, and be okay with that as long as you are constantly learning and growing. Professionally, being a visionary is being able to pursue the undefined path and be curious enough to pursue all the directions that it’ll take you in.
As entrepreneurs, we didn’t have a set path to travel on or a playbook to follow in the very beginning. However, we’ve always had certain values that are non-negotiable. We put our employees first, we prioritize a work-life balance, and we always embrace a growth and learner mindset. These values have allowed us to have that visionary mindset and continue to pursue those undefined paths.
For our individuals, our client relationships, our goals, and our business outlook, we’re in it for the long run. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. When you have that visionary mindset, you make decisions that are more well thought out in good times and in bad. It permeates everything we do as a company.
As a company built on this visionary mindset, we’re naturally attracted to other companies that share similar philosophies. We work with long-term thinkers who want to push the boundaries of what they do and take those paths that are not as certain. We think about the bigger picture for our clients with that long-term approach. In our 19 years of business, we’ve built that expertise and brought this to our clients.”