Every year during Pride, I like to take a moment to reflect on myself, my life, and more importantly, the moments in the past year when I hid the fact that I am gay or otherwise shrunk myself for the sake of others. Once I’ve reflected, I then commit to ensuring those moments become more and more infrequent over the next year. 

It isn’t easy, but it’s necessary. Pride isn’t a one-day thing. We’re not queer for just one day or month; instead, we live our truth 365 days a year. This means that every day we decide how authentic and open we’re going to be in any given situation. It can be difficult, but the more authentic we are, the more our community can flourish. 

By showing up as our true selves, we become teachers in life. We teach others that it’s okay for them to be themselves, and we educate them about our community. 

Now, the idea that as queer people, we also must educate our peers can be exhausting. It can be, but “being the teacher” can be as simple as living authentically and leading by example. (A quick example of one thing I do is add my pronouns to my email signature or Zoom name, regardless of the situation I’m in. For me, it’s an easy and quick way to normalize the use of pronouns in my workplace.) 

And by showing up as your authentic self, you not only encourage, but create a space for, others to let their light shine bright, even if just to you. In the workplace, especially a new workplace, where people aren’t sure how they can show up, it makes a world of difference. 

It’s crucial, though, for everyone to define what it means to “be the teacher” for themselves. This allows us to set boundaries on what we can or cannot take on, while, as a community, recognizing that it’s our responsibility to come together and support each other in carrying the charge of education when possible. 

However, teaching requires engagement with a willing audience, and the first step to learning is an openness to acquire new information. 

In the beginning, you might feel like you’re failing, but that’s okay. It’s okay to fail because every person has experienced failure at some point. (And as a queer community, we must give those learning the grace to fail, because they won’t grow without it.)  

And as Brené Brown once said, we must “lean into the discomfort of the work” when addressing difficult situations. And it holds true here because opening yourself up to learning can be hard and uncomfortable. But it’s necessary.

We all have the opportunity to learn something new every day, and it could be challenging to confront preconceived notions you may not even know you have. But, in the end, it can go a long way toward creating a world where everyone feels welcomed, safe, and able to be their most authentic selves.  

Matterkind’s IMPACT group hosted an event last week to hear the testimony of a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor, Ms. Toby Levy. I had the honor and privilege to introduce Ms. Levy before she spoke.

Ms. Levy described her childhood during the Holocaust. After the Nazis invaded Poland, she went into hiding with her family from 1942 to 1944. She knew that if they were discovered, they would most likely be sent to death camps and murdered, simply for being born Jewish. Ms. Levy also told her story a few years ago at a virtual forum, and one thing she said really struck me: After they emerged from hiding at the end of the war, her father hoped there were other survivors, but there was the possibility they were the only Jews left alive in Poland.  “Someone has to survive because the world needs to know what happened,” he said, “Maybe it’s us.” 

The world still needs to know what happened. Because the hatred and ignorance that fueled this genocide against the Jews still exists.  And, so, we—all of us–have work to do. We must not be indifferent–indifferent to Ms. Levy’s story, indifferent to the history of the Holocaust, or indifferent to the antisemitism that currently occurs in society. Auschwitz survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel said, “[T]he opposite of love is not hate but indifference.”

The sheer scale of the Holocaust is so great, it is easy to be indifferent. 6 million Jews were murdered by the time it ended in 1945: an unfathomable number. Complete villages and communities were systematically wiped out across Eastern Europe. Nearly 2 out of every 3 European Jews were killed, including 1 million children. Think about this: if you held a moment of silence for every victim of the Holocaust, you would be silent for 11.5 years. Elie Wiesel also once tried to explain how indescribable it was to witness a horrific scene where children were burned alive. “Words,” he said, “they die on my lips.” 

We read about the Holocaust as history, but, as Ms. Levy’s presence at the event reminds us, it wasn’t so long ago. It occurred within my own parents’ lifetime. Antisemitism has been called the world’s oldest hatred, and it is remarkably persistent. The Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, where 11 Jews were gunned down and 6 were wounded as they attended weekly Sabbath services on a Saturday morning, was the deadliest attack on Jews in US history. And it occurred in October 2018, less than five years ago. And just over the past year, the number of antisemitic incidents in the US increased by more than 35%, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Even the gunman of the Allen, Texas shooting on May 6th of this year was an avowed Neo-Nazi.

The refrain I heard regarding the Holocaust, while growing up within my Jewish community, was to “Never Forget.” It sometimes felt so passive, so inadequate to me. How can simply remembering the stories of what happened possibly be enough? There must be a way to be more active, to help keep the memory of those who were lost, alive. And yet: there is. 

One simply cannot just “remember”, one must “bear witness.” To quote Barack Obama after he visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Israel: “May we remember those who perished, not only as victims, but also as individuals who hoped and loved and dreamed like us, and who have become symbols of the human spirit.” Absolutely, we should. Yet we must also hear the stories of the ones who, through sheer will and determination, not only survived the unimaginable, but thrived. Their lives counteract the hatred that tried to destroy them, and their strength manifests the power of the human spirit – that essential thing we all share, regardless of who we are, what we believe, and how we were born.

I have tried to bear witness in my own life. Growing up, our neighbor across the street was a man who survived Auschwitz with a tattooed number on his arm, and who was able to go on to live a beautiful life with a successful business, surrounded by loving friends and family. I remember sitting with him outside on a beautiful sunny spring day, where he turned to my family and said, matter-of-factly, that that day marked the anniversary of his liberation from the camp. He survived, he thrived. He did all the things that make life worth living. He’s still with us at 95 years old, he still bears witness. So must I.  So must you. The world still needs to know what happened. We still have work to do. 

So I ask you: Listen to Toby’s story, read the books, watch the films, and educate yourselves about what occurred. Remember: we are the last generation to hear these first-hand accounts from the people who lived through the Holocaust, survived, and transcended it. We are the ones who can ensure a future where this truly cannot, and will not, happen again. 

As Ms. Levy once said: “I need all of you to remember me and be my witness.”

What can be more powerful and meaningful than bearing witness to her testimony and sharing her story? The world still needs to know what happened, so that the world may, in reality, never ever forget.  

Watch Ms. Levy share her story here:


When it comes to celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the globe, we know our focus should extend far beyond Women’s History Month in March. We, as a society, have made great strides, but we still have important steps to take and more to learn and change.

As important as it is to honor and learn from women who made history and enabled little girls to imagine new possibilities for their lives, we also need to make space for recognizing those who are doing big things right now in their areas of influence. Here are the stories from women within our organization who are changing the status quo.

Melanie Nelson
Account Director, Media Relations at Weber Shandwick
Maj. (retired) Army National Guard

Inspired by watching reporter Wolf Blitzer share stories from the field during Operation Desert Storm, I’ve been genuinely interested in communications since high school. From forensics to the student newspaper, I connected with the idea that communication was an art I wanted to explore. I fell in love with broadcast journalism studying it in college while simultaneously serving as a broadcaster in the Army National Guard.

I was fortunate to start a career in broadcasting immediately after college, and fortunate again to get an opportunity to advance in positions in marketing and advertising, and public relations. It has been remarkable to be involved in an industry that has transformed like it has, and I believe to stay in it, so must we.

I was 42 when I applied for graduate school, seeking a strategic communication degree from Concordia University in St. Paul. While most of my cohort was in their mid-20’s, I wasn’t the only late comer to grad school, Dave was also a communications director and a couple years older than me. The two of us were warmly referred to as mom and dad.

Just this year I was invited to join the Board of Governors for the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Upper Midwest Chapter. I sit in meetings alongside Twin Cities journalists that I grew up watching, and others that I still pitch stories to today, discussing ways to keep broadcast journalism healthy and inspirational to talented young adults selecting their first career. The world of communications is a place to be inspired, to inspire and to never, ever stop learning.

Valentina Patino
Senior Associate of Addressable Action at Matterkind

As a woman in adtech, I believe there are no limits to what we can accomplish. Even though adtech is still considered a male-dominated industry and not all companies offer equal opportunities or are as diverse as others, by being part of this industry, I want to show and encourage other women that are afraid to be part of it, that they just need to believe in themselves! It is important that they are confident about their skills and what they can bring to the table.

I feel lucky to say that since I joined the team at Matterkind, I have never felt that my contributions to the team are less than my male coworkers. I work with amazing women on a day-to-day basis, mostly in leadership roles, which encourage me to keep working hard to rise to those positions one day. Additionally, I give credit to my male coworkers who make me feel comfortable learning and working together in an ever-evolving industry.

Eima Pandher
VP International Business Operations of Ad Operations at Kinesso

There’s always an opportunity to do more than what you are tasked to do. It’s up to you how far you want to take it. My experience has taught me that if you go above and beyond, you will find areas of improvement. You’ll think of how to work smarter and faster without changing the quality of your work. You’ll learn to prioritize your tasks to be more efficient, delegate, and take care of your physical and mental health.

I’m extremely excited to continue my passion in adtech as a leader within my organization. I hope this inspires all women and young women that they don’t have to settle for what’s given to them. Kick the closed doors, pave your paths, drive your own ideas forward. The opportunities are there.

The adtech industry has been a very unique space for women from various backgrounds. Women in tech have been driving companies forward with new and innovative mindsets, supercharging their careers, and taking on executive-level and leaderships positions at tech and Fortune 500 companies.

When I began my career in the adtech industry fifteen years ago, women had already started positioning themselves into manager and executive-level positions. However, there was a visible gap. The “employment gap.” A 2020 report from McKinsey found that of the 25% women in the tech industry, Asian women make up just 5%, while Black and Hispanic women accounted for 3% and 1%. Diversity and inclusion should be part of a company’s DNA if we want to see performance increase, better talent, employee engagement, and retention.

I am part of that statistic. When I landed my first tech job in San Francisco, I was hired as the second and only female in the company. When she left the company shortly after I joined, I was the only female in all male company. I learned the meaning of “locker-room environment” hands on. Speaking only on behalf of myself as an Indian-Asian woman, the challenges working in a tech industry didn’t end there. You had to prove yourself to your family as well. Taking on the stereotypes of being an Indian, and a woman, you have to jump over a lot of hurdles. My parents didn’t know anything about the tech world. They didn’t know how to explain my job to their circle. It was always washed down and simplified so by the time it was explained, it made my job seem under appreciated.

We were still a minority in the heavily male-dominated industry, but we were part of the female tech pioneers driving ourselves forward. You had to stay relevant and educate yourself to keep up with the industry. We faced many challenges in an already difficult space to own. You had to be far smarter, far faster, and bring far more quality to your work than the expectations going in.

There’s always an opportunity to do more than what you are tasked to do. It’s up to you how far you want to take it. My experience has taught me that if you go above and beyond, you will find areas of improvement. You’ll think of how to work smarter and faster without changing the quality of your work. You’ll learn to prioritize your tasks to be more efficient, delegate, and take care of your physical and mental health.

My team has been working on how we can be smarter and more efficient through AI, specifically through RPA (robotic process automation), a software technology that makes it easy to build, deploy, and manage software robots (bots) that emulate human actions interacting with digital systems and software. To take this forward, we’ve tasked ourselves with documenting the entire journey. We’ve also deployed a dashboard so we can capture data for efficiency and time saved. Automation is paving the way in the adtech industry and we’re just scratching the surface with AI.

I’m extremely excited to continue my passion in adtech as a leader within my organization. I hope this inspires all women and young women that they don’t have to settle for what’s given to them. Kick the closed doors, pave your paths, drive your own ideas forward. The opportunities are there.


Black History Month means looking at Black contributions throughout American history while also acknowledging and uplifting the Black Excellence of the future. Black leaders in media, communications, and advertising have jumped incredible hurdles throughout history. While the video above shares many more examples of Black excellence, the Black creatives below are shaping the industry in meaningful ways. These trailblazers of both past and present deserve amplification for their contributions, and we’ve compiled the stories of some powerful leaders below.

Dr. Jesse J. Lewis, Sr.
Dr. Jesse J. Lewis, Sr. has made history more than once, and continues to still at 97 years old. While perhaps most well-known for opening one of the first black-owned advertising agencies in the United States in 1954, he is also a World War II Veteran, College President, Author, Advertising Executive, and Newspaper Publisher. The agency Dr. Lewis founded, Jesse J. Lewis and Associates, was quickly followed by the founding of The Birmingham Times in 1963, a weekly, black-oriented newspaper that still exists to this day. Dr. Jesse J. Lewis’ entrepreneurial spirit has continued to serve him through many successful ventures throughout his life and continues to amplify Black voices nationwide.

Della Reese
With a career spanning more than seven decades, there are few who haven’t heard of this entertainment icon. Della Reese was an American jazz and gospel singer, actress, and ordained minister, who was not only one of the first Black talk show hosts, but also the first Black woman to host a national television variety-talk show in history when starring on The Tonight Show. Della Reese passed away in 2017, but her legacy as a top Billboard artist, TV star, and entertainer lives on.

Robert L. Johnson & Sheila Johnson
In the last 40 years, Black Entertainment Television (BET) has gained national recognition as the first TV station “that allowed Black people to see themselves, their stories, and their culture on television,” according to BET President Scott Mills. Since its foundation, BET has honored the rich contributions made by Black people throughout the generations by elevating and uplifting Black voices, talent, and excellence. As of 2015, more than 75% of American households receive the channel.

Oprah Winfrey
As potentially the most well-loved talk show host of all time, Oprah Winfrey needs no introduction. Despite an incredibly challenging upbringing, Oprah Winfrey has been named the most influential woman in the world, the richest Black woman of the 20th century, and a beloved household figure to millions. She has won many accolades throughout her decades-long career, and continues to inspire Black voices across the world.

Rashida Jones
Rashida Jones is not only the first Black woman to run a cable news network in history, but also well known for her award winning journalism, being an Emmy-award winner, and having been named one of the “Most Powerful People in New York Media”, in addition to a multitude of other awards. Rashida Jones is definitely a woman to watch in coming years as she excels in her media career.

Matterkind is committed to uplifting Black voices and amplifying under-represented groups. IMPACT, our employee led organization, works to promote and represent inclusion and diversity in our community. By addressing the challenges and opportunities for under-represented groups, through the lens of the adtech industry, we are determined to change today’s statistics and realize a truly diverse and inclusive world. Learn more about IMPACT here.

Black History Month has been celebrated in the United States every February since 1967, and was created to honor the accomplishments and achievements of Black Americans throughout U.S. history. Today, Black History Month focuses on the discussion of Black individuals and their contributions to our society each and every day, as well as encouraging the discussion of Black Americans achievements year-round. In recognition of Black History Month, we asked individuals to share their heritage, and discuss what the month of observation means to them. May their words inspire you to continue the conversation, through this month and beyond.

What does Black history mean to you?

This month is a time to pay homage to our history and ancestors. To reflect and honor those who paved the way for the evolution of people of color. Their advocacy and perseverance have created opportunities for our generations to excel in industries we would not have otherwise had access to. Their progress leads the way for our present progression.
Salaama Milligan, Director, PMO & Operations at Kinesso

Black History month is a time to share and celebrate the impact, accomplishments, and achievements that Black people have contributed to the world. Black History Month also serves to encourage future generations to stand resolute in their heritage and commitment to improving the lives of everyone, regardless of color, race, sex, sexual orientation, and beyond.
Rodney Newby, VP, Marketplace Solutions at Kinesso

Black History Month is the education and celebration of the diverse impact that Black Americans have contributed to America and the world. Through Science, Economics, Technology, Art, and Culture, Black History should be celebrated because of how integral it is to our everyday lives.
Joseph Quashie, Director, Addressable Strategy at Matterkind

When you hear Black History Month, what comes to your mind?

When I think about Black History Month, I think about ways to highlight progress that is yet to be made. I hope that in the future, Black History Month becomes less focused on popularizing the most palatable pieces of our culture, and instead focuses on content and media that catalyzes a desire for non-black folks to acknowledge the current biases still being faced today and actively position themselves against it.
Brianna Rascoe, Associate Director, Design at Kinesso

When I hear Black History Month, what comes to mind is a month long of various events dedicated to celebrating our Black History—learning, embracing, and celebrating our black ancestors and the role they played in creating the world we live in today.
Patrick Pierre-Louis, Manager, Client Finance at Matterkind

Black history month is a chance to reflect on the both the challenges and perseverance of Black Americans who came before us and built the society we live in today, as well as a reminder to keep that spirit and energy pushing forward. Black history is American history, and the Black Americans who have overcome great obstacles despite systemic challenges that have been put in front of them are a prime example of what it means to be American.
Aaron Nahas, Director Addressable Media at Matterkind

Can you talk a little bit about a Black individual who’s made an impact in your life?

There have been many Black individuals who’ve made an impact in my life, however, one that stands out is my mentor, Janet King. Janet hired me as her Production Assistant at my first job in corporate America. She helped me navigate through understanding corporate America and then understanding corporate America as a Black man. As my career progressed, she challenged me to be comfortable in situations where I would be the only person of color present. She encouraged me to never stop seeking out opportunities, inside and outside of my community, because nothing would be given to me. She reminded me that our people don’t give up when faced with severe adversity, because we overcame in the past. She always stresses the importance of giving back to the community. Janet has/is undoubtedly a force in my life.
Rodney Newby, VP, Marketplace Solutions at Kinesso

Katherine Johnson, when I became aware of her immense contributions to NASA as a whole and how imperative her Mathematical calculations for trajectories for NASA missions were. Her knowledge and expertise enabled the American people to see astronauts make the first steps to exploring space. In addition, she has inspired many people, young women, men, and children, to pursue their dreams.
Joseph Quashie, Director, Addressable Strategy at Matterkind

My grandmother. She passed away eight years ago and is still the light of my life. She encouraged my excellence. The certification or degree didn’t matter as long as I persevered in advancing my education. She taught me compassion, to be fair, and to always do the right thing. Her teachings and love are part of the core values I carry with me today.
Salaama Milligan, Director, PMO & Operations at Kinesso

That individual is Femi Olu-Lafe, SVP of Global Culture and Inclusion here at Kinesso & Matterkind. In 2022, Femi reached out to me on multiple occasions. Two of those occasions really stood out to me.
On the first occasion, she reached out to me to ask me about my experience at Matterkind. I was able to share my experience openly & and candidly. I left the meeting feeling appreciated, heard, supported and a valuable part of the Matterkind family.

On the second occasion, she reached out to get my input on a program Matterkind was working on launching at the time. This occasion really meant a lot to me because it was for a program that is near and dear to my heart. Even though my role at Matterkind wasn’t directly aligned with the program, she still valued the input I brought to the table.

I can’t thank Femi enough for the impact she’s made on my experience at Matterkind & my life!
Patrick Pierre-Louis, Manager, Client Finance at Matterkind

I’ve always been fond of the story of Frederick Douglass. I think his life story embodies the idea of overcoming adversity and becoming the best you can be despite the odds being against you. Frederick Douglass started life enslaved in a world where he was barely thought of as more than someone else’s property and wasn’t allowed to learn simple things, like how to read. Despite that, Douglass went on to become a writer, speaker, and diplomat. If that doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what will!
Aaron Nahas, Director Addressable Media at Matterkind

Since 2020, TheEngine+ competition has offered ambitious entrepreneurs within the IPG ecosystem the chance to impact the future of our business. By developing product ideas and business solutions across a variety of areas through this entrepreneurship competition, TheEngine+ aims to foster innovation and creativity, enabling talent from all levels to make a difference. At the root of TheEngine+, we strive to create and foster a culture of innovation—and that same innovative spirit has led to the TheEngine+ evolving over time as well.

I started out as a developer and designer myself, and after several years in my career, eventually worked my way into project management, and I knew quickly that was the right move for me. I ended up staying in project management for over 10 years because I loved the ability to work cross functionally with different teams. With ever-changing needs and multiple hats to wear, you needed to know a little bit about what everyone was doing. From there, I moved to a director position, then VP, and eventually my current position, as SVP of Product Innovation at Kinesso. I love the planning aspects to my role, getting to work with diverse groups of people, and getting to touch on all areas of the business. It’s a unique opportunity to get everyone together across the company while also having fun and building something. That’s what TheEngine+ offers and what it means to me—the opportunity to create something new, together.

As TheEngine+ enters its third year, it’s safe to say we learn new things every time. While innovation itself never changes, every year we discover new ways to activate it and harness that strength. The first year, TheEngine+ offered a massive learning curve for everyone involved but was also a huge success because of the volume of interest. It provided proof that our concept had lasting power. By our second year, TheEngine+ was both better funded, and yielded even greater organizational support, and by 2022, we saw a huge rise in engagement and awareness. In fact, we observed a 200%+ increase in people voting for the submissions when compared to year two!

With a competition like TheEngine+, we know we need to continue to build and improve every year in order to see real growth. This year, we held “office hour” sessions, where Graham Wilkinson, Chief Innovation Officer of Kinesso, and Christine Ayuso, Director Project Management at Kinesso, answered questions from the community around TheEngine+. These office hours received prominent internal support, resulting in a 50%+ attendance increase over years prior. Another step we took in improving TheEngine+ program was introducing a “challenge entry”, where a community member has the option to introduce a problem that anyone is able to view and potentially build out a solution for it, leading to additional submission opportunities. Even for the applicants that are not selected as the winner, we still want to focus on supporting those great ideas. We’ve received a lot of high-quality entries, and we want to focus on fleshing those out more to really blossom into something special.

TheEngine+ initiative enables employees from all seniority levels to participate in something truly special—the opportunity to make a difference. Excited to see what TheEngine+ 2022 and 2021 winning teams have in store for us? Stay tuned for more announcements coming soon, and in the meantime, learn more about TheEngine+ competition here.

That’s a wrap on 2022! As we head into the new year, we wanted to take a moment to highlight all that we have done here at Matterkind these past 12 months. We gave back many times over for IMPACT Day in September, all across the globe, and hundreds of employees stepped up to help give back to our communities. We showed the world that conscious marketing IS performance marketing with the launch of Outcome Navigator—and our clients who made the move saw 30% growth! The campaigns we ran for clients received millions of impressions, from millions of people—that’s a lot of reasons to celebrate.

Check out our 2022 video below to see our full recap, and Happy New Year!

Recognizing the value that employees bring to Matterkind extends beyond saying “thank you.” The talent our employees bring every day is what allows Matterkind to be a thriving, diverse global community. Every month, Matterkind spotlights individuals from across the globe who have gone above and beyond. These employees are known as our Ascenders of the Month, and you can learn a little more about them below.

Kate Cockbain
As the Senior Associate of Addressable Strategy at Matterkind, Kate spends her days working to find the best possible solution to a problem or a desired outcome. It’s rare that there is just one right answer, so she focuses on working with various teams to validate which is the better solution and why. Her favorite thing about her experience here at Matterkind is the growth she’s experienced professionally, along with the ability to manage ambiguity, maintain focus on a strategic purpose, and collaborate when it matters most. Her favorite season is fall because it’s still warm enough to want to go outside, but cold enough to not have bugs, and if she could travel anywhere, she would go to Japan—in fact, it’s next on her travel list!

Ria Gasacao
Ria is the Manager for Addressable Media and focuses on ensuring that client’s goals are strategically met, coordinators and associates are properly well-trained and mentored, collaterals and local templates are updated quarterly, and that the proper technology is used across all accounts. Aside from that, Ria is also responsible for conducting trainings internally for new hires within the team, as well as agency wide trainings to strengthen the value proposition of Matterkind. Ria prides herself on being a go-to person when it comes to decoding technical jargon within digital and addressable media concerns to better explain some complex technologies that clients want to explore. She says her favorite thing about Matterkind is that she is always able to improve her knowledge in the industry. “Matterkind cares about my ambitions and aspirations with a proper and stress-free culture. This company has also made me feel welcomed in all ways that matter: the people have become my family and confidantes, management also listens to what you need, and lastly, I never feel limited in my capabilities. Matterkind pushes me to become better, and at the same time exposes me to an environment that helps me to hone my skills.” In the Philippines, where Ria is from, her favorite season is the dry season—even though the heat can be irritating, it’s far less damaging than the rainy season! The most interesting thing she has on her desk is her go to reading book “Ego is The Enemy” by Ryan Holiday. She rereads her favorite chapters whenever she feels down and needs some encouragement!

Joseph Quashie
As the Director of Addressable Strategy, Joseph’s typical day is filled with meetings about strategy, activation, investment, and budgeting. After grabbing a coffee in the morning before starting work on the 4th floor, he begins his day by checking in on his team’s progress across daily tasks, projects, and campaign tactics. Joseph loves working at Matterkind because he understands and appreciates the culture and staff—his days are filled with working with so many intelligent and driven people! Joseph’s favorite boardgame is Monopoly—he has many fond memories of playing in his grandparents’ kitchen with his siblings, aunts, and uncles! Autumn is his favorite season because he gets to wear leather, and his next travel destination is the Maldives. “It looks fantastic, the water looks so clear and blue!” he shares.

Brandon Wood
Brandon is the Vice President of search and social at Matterkind, and his days are always pretty different! He meets regularly with the search and social account teams to talk through account improvements, connects with key client partners to discuss how we can improve their business through the search and social channels, and helps to solve client problems when it comes to measurement, reporting, and optimizations. However, a lot of his time is what he considers the fun stuff—when he gets to train, teach, coach, and mentor team members on all things search and social. His favorite thing about working at Matterkind is the people—”this company truly puts people first, caring about our health, well-being, and career goals,” Brandon shares. His favorite board game is Euchre, and while he doesn’t get to play as often as he used to, many nights were spent with his family laughing and arguing over cards. As a Michigan resident, his favorite season is autumn, because he loves being able to wear a sweatshirt without a jacket, watch the leaves change, and visit a cider mill. The name of his autobiography would be: “Every Shade of Awesome – The Life and Times of Brandon Wood”.

Here at Matterkind, we believe in the strength of every employee, and the initiative of every team. We are much more than the sum of our parts, and our culture is built on lifting each other up, caring for our communities, and making a positive impact. Interested in joining our collaborative environment? Check out our open careers now.

Each year on November 11 in the United States, we take a day to honor our military veterans of the United States Armed Forces, and our IPG community is no exception. We are truly grateful for our veterans, and recognize their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and make sacrifices for the common good. We believe our veterans, service members, and military spouses make our companies better, and communities stronger.

We’d like to highlight some of our IPG service members this Veterans Day and acknowledge their service and sacrifice. Read on to learn more about our veteran communities at IPG as a whole.

How has your service benefitted your life as a civilian/employee?

Melanie Nelson, Account Director of Media Relations at Weber Shandwick
Very early in my military career, I was deployed as a broadcast journalist for the Armed Forces Network (AFN) during the first election in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After deployment, I finished my degree in journalism and found it easy to get a job as a TV reporter. While most people in the National Guard serve part-time, I found my way into the Army Active Duty Guard and Reserve Program. There, I served over 20 years assigned to the Minnesota National Guard in various marketing and public relations positions, working my way up the ladder to Deputy State Public Affairs Officer. There I assisted in telling the stories of some real American heroes through multiple activations of Army and Air troops in support of communities during state emergencies, COVID-19, civil unrest and dozens upon dozens of campaigns, exercises, and deployments. Escorting media on the ‘frontlines’ gave me a great appreciation for the work that service members do and taught me to be very tuned into the news of the day, a perk for my current role at Weber Shandwick.

Dan Carucci, MD, PhD, Global Chief Medical Officer at McCann Health/IPG Health
The Navy gave me opportunities that would not have been possible otherwise. I learned to fly airplanes and learned about aerospace medicine as a U.S. Navy Flight Surgeon with an F/A-18 fighter squadron. I studied tropical medicine in Panama and completed a jungle survival course, traveled extensively living in harsh conditions, and was assigned to classified operations in Honduras. I was accepted to a master’s degree and PhD program in molecular biology in London, working to complete the malaria genome, and finally leading the U.S. Navy’s malaria vaccine program. None of these experiences, many that required a huge leap of faith, would have been remotely possible outside the Navy. Those experiences shaped how I approach new challenges and opportunities. Nothing seems impossible.

Shane Springs, Senior Privacy Attorney at Kinesso
Joining the Army has made a profound impact on my life. I joined a JAG unit of lawyers, and initially served as a legal assistant while in college. After college, I served on active duty, and attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA for 63 weeks of Arabic training. I left active duty in order to attend law school, which was paid for through the G.I. Bill. I was then commissioned into the JAG Corps and served in the Army Reserve and then the Army National Guard until I was mobilized for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 for 18 months of service. That year in Iraq proved to be challenging but also, ironically, professional rewarding, as I was able to work with the Iraqi court system on the Rule of Law program. Upon my return to the states in 2005, I then went to work at the National Security Agency on military orders. From there, I transitioned back to reserve status, and was accepted for a civilian attorney position at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. I remained in federal civilian service and in 2010 moved to Tampa, FL as an attorney for US Central Command. 
All of my professional opportunities in life stem from that decision to enlist as an 18-year-old college student. I am forever grateful for the friends and opportunities that decision afforded me. The Army, and service to my country, has given me more than I’ll ever be able to give back.

Do you have advice for others transitioning out of the military? What advice would you give fellow veterans transitioning to the civilian workforce?

Logan Booth, Vice President at Weber Shandwick
Take stock of all the skills that you developed while in the military and then consider roles and responsibilities that are a natural fit for those experiences. For example, if you worked in logistics or supply in the military, procurement may be a comparable civilian role to transition into.

Josh Henderson, Campaign Insights Analyst at Mediahub
Use all of your education benefits and apply yourself in school. Make the most of that experience. Those 48 months of benefits run out quickly, and you can wind up a semester short of graduation. Work with other veterans on campus to change your college’s rules around registration and excused absences to accommodate veterans and reservists on campus. Make the landing easier for the next veteran who follows you—everywhere you go, if they know you’re a veteran, someone is likely to put you in touch with your fellow veterans there, and you will be viewed through that organization’s lens of veterans who’ve been there before. Veterans may not be a monolith, but civilians don’t always realize that, so be cognizant of that and seek out your fellow veterans wherever you go.

Rodney Newby, Vice President of Storefronts and Trading at Kinesso
My advice for those transitioning out of the military is to connect with other veterans. The military is a very specialized unit, and it can feel isolating when you are no longer connected to it. Having other veteran connections will make it a lot easier to transition.

What are some of the lessons you feel as though the military taught you that have helped you succeed in your career and transition from the military to the civilian workforce?

Valentina Patino, Senior Associate of Addressable Strategy at Matterkind
The army taught me to be resilient. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, so you just have to learn from the experience and keep going. Just like in any job, there are busier days than others, multiple meetings, and deadlines… so it’s all about remaining positive while going through everything you must do during the day, and most importantly, asking for help if needed.

Louis Sussan, Senior Vice President of Global Platform Practice at Kinesso
Patience and how to work with people. Military leadership can be harsh, but it’s really about delivery and attention to detail. These things very much can be adapted in a corporate environment, and I strongly believe that it’s a huge resume asset when talked about in interviews. Don’t hide the experience, embrace it, and market it.

See more from those who have served in our Veteran’s Day Video below.