Social Media Machine

The Professional Jacien Bass

Jacien joined our team early in 2016 and is already heading up one of our major program areas—Team Social™, where we offer live streaming and social media reporting at client events. “I love the immediacy of Team Social and having the privilege of representing our clients not only online but also face-to-face,” she explains.

While Jacien had general marketing experience earlier in her career, she chose to join our team because she wanted to make a deeper dive into social media. “Social media is not just about posting and tweeting,” she says. “It touches nearly every area of marketing and public relations. That’s why I took my career in this direction—to be in the thick of things.”

Jacien got her wish and now she’s deeply engaged in strategic planning and target marketing for SME clients.

 

The Essential Jacien Bass

Outside of a brief period when she lived with her aunt in Springfield, Ohio (“That didn’t last long…I’m not a fan of small towns.”), Jacien was raised and has lived in the Denver area. She’s worked hard from an early age, even while going to school and raising her son.

“Consideration for my son drives all my decisions,’ she says. “I want the best for him now to give him the best possible preparation for future success and happiness.” The two are Ninja Turtle fans (well he probably is more than she!) and they enjoy exploring Colorado together.

Jacien is a movie buff, favoring classic horror, comedies, and chick flicks. She’s also a prolific write—poetry especially—with themes ranging from pain, to love, to inspiration. That’s not surprising, since she’s lived these experiences. “Life challenges made me who I am today—a person who I love and who has unlimited potential.”

Project Manager

The Professional Justin Dougherty

Justin contributes the cool and calm that balance all the forces swirling within the SME office. No doubt he developed this flair dealing with irate U.S. Airways passengers while working the counter and the ramp at the Binghamton, NY airport as he attended nearby Elmira College.

That unique part-time job, plus some VIP/security jobs in the nightclub industry certainly helped Justin develop strong customer service skills and sensitivities. Those qualities have been very apparent from the day he joined SME in 2015 to manage a handful of key clients for our team.

What does it mean to be a project manager at SME? “It’s a steady cycle of collaborating with clients through scheduled and impromptu meetings, crafting multi-phased plans, scheduling content releases, overseeing content development, and monitoring and reporting on the performance metrics,” Justin explains. “I like maintaining the conceptual view, being able to craft the overall picture, and then reinforcing that vision for my clients through all the products and services we deliver.”

 

The Essential Justin Dougherty

Justin planned to move from Binghamton to Denver from an early age, and he finally made the break in 2012 when he came here to continue his college education in Marketing at Metropolitan State University. “I have family here and we made quite a few trips to Colorado when I was young. I always loved the weather, the culture, and the feel of Denver so it was really exciting to become a part of it.”

Most of Justine’s family is still back east, but SME has fast become his extended family. “When I go into the office, it’s like a family reunion each time…and Luke is like the big brother I never had!

We’ve come to deeply appreciate Justin’s perspective on life. “People are all about progress, which can either be a positive or negative. Positive progress comes from the best of human nature; progress in the wrong direction comes from things like greed and jealousy. It’s amazing how distinctly people line up on one of those two paths.”

Account Manager

The Professional Molly Ebert

Soon after graduating from Elon University with a degree in Business Administration, Molly was drawn to Mississippi’s Gulf Coast to help with rebuilding efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. She discovered her skills as an electrician and quickly earned her license and the status of The Electrician in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

After two years, two college friends convinced her to join their adventure and come to Colorado. Molly found work with an electrical contracting company in the Denver area, and when times were slow, she dropped by the office to work on the company’s social media presence.

Molly had always wanted to run her own company, but she was pretty sure it wouldn’t be in the electrical contracting industry. “Facebook started when I was in college, and I was an early adopter,” Molly points out. “I remember saying to my friends back then, ‘I wish I could get paid for Facebooking.’” She got her wish and formed her company, Social Roadmap in 2012!

Molly oversees a growing number of key accounts at SME, maintaining close contact with clients and managing her content development team. She also makes it a point to stay on top of social media trends and platform enhancements so she can bring these new opportunities to her clients.

The Essential Molly Ebert

Molly and her husband Jesse live in Fraser, Colorado (about 90 minutes west of Denver), close to the outdoor activities they love—things like skiing, hiking, and snowshoeing.

While her immediate family is in Florida, Molly relishes the blurred lines between family and friends. “I’ve been blessed with a wonderful Family of Choice. Good friends have become like family and my family members have also become good friends.”

Collaborating and helping others is important to Molly. “Luke has pulled together an incredible team of people, many of whom on paper could be competitors. But he’s taught me an important lesson about collaboration: We can all learn from and teach each other.”

Molly embraces the Louisiana French term “Lagniappe,” which means “a little something extra. “I do my best to apply that to what I offer people—not just my Family of Choice, colleagues, and clients, but also anyone else I encounter.

Marketing Jedi

The Professional Megan Reberry

Megan tends to dive into opportunities with both feet, and her experience with SME is no exception. “I am so blessed to work for Luke and be part of the SME family,” she explains. “He hires the best talent and always pushes us to grow and succeed.”

Being a marketing Jedi involves a lot of listening, analyzing, research, and creativity. It means being able to understand and get in the mind of both the client and their online followers. Megan states, “You have to be able to decipher their needs, wants, and goals to translate them into an effective strategic marketing plan. You have to find a way to get people to engage. Sometimes this can be as simple as finding the right audience and creating unique and engaging content. Other times it can be pinpointing weaknesses and coming up with a creative solution.” Megan believes that communication is key. “One person can make something beautiful, but when you work as a team, that’s when you make the masterpiece.”

Megan began her undergraduate work in marketing at Iowa State (including a semester in Greece) and graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver with a Bachelors in Marketing. Before SME, she had been working her way through school as a pharmacy technician in Littleton and…Australia. Megan took a little longer to earn her Bachelors in Marketing because she was busy traveling in Europe, backpacking through Asia, and, of course, living and working in Australia. In other words, as she puts it, “getting life experience.”

A career in marketing seems ideal for Megan, who values the diversity of opportunities, the specialties within the field, and the fast pace that it offers. But most of all, as she says, “I love people and I love to explore why people do what they do. The psychology behind human actions and decisions is fascinating, and that’s exactly what I’ve been able to explore and experience with SME!”

The Essential Megan Reberry

Megan savors all that life has to offer—the opportunities and challenges, both good and bad. “I’ve grown whenever I’ve had to deal with a challenge. It strengthens my resolve to never give up and to always come back stronger,” she says. “It also gives me empathy for understanding people and both sides of an issue.”

In her spare time, Megan likes to get outside to bike, hike, climb, and scuba dive (she’s a PADI certified advanced open water diver). If you happen to catch her indoors, she’ll be busy with various crafts and experimenting in the kitchen.

Megan was raised in Ankeny, Iowa, but felt compelled to broaden her horizons. When her brother and his wife moved to Denver and started having children, Megan’s retired parents soon followed and Megan wasn’t far behind. “Denver is one of those places where once you come for a visit, you can really see yourself staying for the long haul.” We’re pleased, of course, that Denver won out twice—once over Ankeny and once over Australia!

I Run the Office (others know her as HR BadAss)

The Professional Jordan Thompson

The previous positions in Jordan’s career seem to track two distinct paths that will no doubt converge into her ideal position someday—and the world will be a better place for it.

First, there is her self-professed OCD-induced side where she hyper-organizes the professional settings in which she finds herself. “One of my early positions was as an Executive Assistant with a CPA firm,” Jordan explains. “I was constantly trying to catch up until I realized I needed to get ahead of the tidal wave and get myself and then the office organized. Now I love that feeling of keeping the trains running on time and heading down the right track!”

Then there’s Jordan’s caring, serving, love-for-her-fellow-man career path. For example, as a mentor for women recovering from alcoholism, she has spent 12+ hours a day with at-risk ladies, helping them on their recovery journey and reinforcing for them the fact that a sober lifestyle can be fun, happy and fulfilling.

The role Jordan has carved out at SME is quite simply stated, but oh, so complex. “My job is to make sure Luke is not caught up in busy work. I have the small conversations with our clients so Luke and Lauren can have the big conversations. I try to do everything possible behind the scenes—correspondence, marketing research, information management, scheduling, prepping—so Luke can be more present with our current and future clients.” That’s easy to say, hard to do, and absolutely vital for our company!

 

The Essential Jordan Thompson

Jordan grew up in Florida and her family moved to Colorado when she was 10. “No special reason…they wanted a change of scenery and life. I’m so glad they had that impulse!”

Not surprising, in her spare time, Jordan is an active outreach volunteer through her churches (yes that’s plural) and outside of them as well. And let’s not forget her part-time spray tanning business (Bronze Organtics—yes, the “t” belongs there).

The one word that really captures Jordan’s essence is “genuineness.” “I strive to be open and real. I don’t have hidden agendas or secret sides, so there’s nothing to hide and no games to play. Life is complicated enough without expending all that kind of energy!”

VP of Future Technologies

The Professional Jamere Bass

As the VP of Future Technologies, Jamere has been analyzing and forming complex concepts that most adults don’t understand quite yet! “I like to mostly play with my toys and then when I get tired of playing, I start reading again to keep my brain big and give it exercise” explains Jamere.  “We have needed someone like Jamere” quotes founder Luke Wyckoff.  “His office energy and excitement he brings to the team is contagious – and WOW can he fire a foam gun”

The Essential Jamere Bass

As a kindergartner, Jamere is quite the busy five-year-old! He’s got a love for life and continues to make positive strides toward reading, writing and arithmetic!

Much like his mom, he enjoys trips in the car, by plane and on foot along with pool time, tent building and ninja turtle watching! 

VP of Future Technologies

Making Things Beautiful

 Alec Tremaine is a double major out of Denver University, specializing in Pre-Law and Political Science. After coming to the realization that law was far to boring for him, he fell in love with the tech and media world. After 7 years behind a camera and 3 years behind a computer developing user experiences on the web- he specializes in making people and companies look stunning online.

To Alec, everything is about the connection to the individual both online and in person. He strives to bring seamless user experiences to the web and wrapping this experience with stunning media. Alec loves his job, drinks 3 cups of coffee a day and is a total nerd.

The Senior Word Man

The Professional Brian Leugs
Brian credits his passion for persuasive communication to his early career in public affairs working for the alcohol, soft drink, industrial chemical, and pharmaceutical industries (in that order). He points out that, “If I can make those guys look good, I can make anyone look good!”

Brian grew up in West Michigan (no, he didn’t know Luke at the time) and has an undergraduate degree from Kalamazoo College and a graduate degree from the University of Texas’ LBJ School of Public Affairs. His career path took him back and forth between Texas and Washington DC with public affairs and government relations responsibilities. He moved to the Denver area from Washington DC in 2002 when he began his pharmaceutical industry phase. When Brian’s “Big Pharma” company was bought by an even bigger pharma company a few years later, he went on his own and formed Business Communication Support.

When it comes to social media writing, “I’m very aware that it’s not always what you write but also how much you write,” says Brian. “Social media reflects society and society generally responds to the visual. I always say, don’t let the words get in the way of the message. But what you write better be persuasive, relatable, easy to read, and technically correct.”

The Essential Brian Leugs
Brian and Jen live in Broomfield, Colorado, just north of Denver. He values the quality and simplicity of life in Colorado, not to mention the beautiful scenery. “Whenever I’m driving down to Denver, I can’t help but glance off to the right and to check out the foothills and the Rockies.” He picked up skiing and hiking (and learned about healthy living!) after coming out to Colorado.

He claims to not have a philosophy of life and prefers to take it as it comes. He’s grateful for all the life experiences he’s met (both the blessings and the challenges) because “they’ve made me a better person –more humble and open to differences.” Brian values good friends, family, and being broadened by new ideas and philosophies of life.

Account Manager

The Professional Erin Cell

Let’s just put this on the table, right off the bat… Erin has Big Plans, and once you get to know her, you won’t doubt she’ll make them a reality. She’s one of our key account managers and she also runs her own company, Socially Powered.

Erin’s obligatory stint in the corporate world included responsibilities ranging from sales to customer service to account management. But in the end, that world let her down. “Over the years, the culture at my company changed 180 degrees and at the end they weren’t there for me when I had a significant family matter to attend to.” She left the company in 2013, took on some rigorous social media training, and hung out her shingle.

But Erin has been media social for a long, long time. In her corporate phase, she helped out with the company’s social media marketing program, while outside the office, she managed the Pancreatic Cancer Network’s social media presence as a volunteer. “Way back when, I was on the leading edge with sites like Myspace and Facebook. I love the process of diving into a site and mastering all the features and functionalities and then strategizing with my clients about how we can put all of it to work for them.”

Mutual friends and colleagues introduced Erin to Luke in 2015 and she was a regular in our office for many months before officially joining us in early 2016.

Why is Erin so good at what she does? “Believe it or not, I think my success in social media has as much to do with my customer service background as with my passion for and training in social media.”

 

The Essential Erin Cell

A Topeka, Kansas native, Erin came to Denver with her boyfriend immediately after college. He’s long gone now, but Erin couldn’t be happier and she loves the Colorado life.

Travel is an important part of her life. This started after she left her corporate job and escaped to Europe for nearly two months on her own. Now, if Erin’s in Denver for more than few months she feels the tug. On her magic mirror at home (you’ll have to ask her), Erin has listed “Spain, Ireland, and Prague.”

To some extent, professional networking is one of Erin’s social outlets. But, she notes, “Sometimes I wonder why I should pay someone else just to hang out with my friends!” Erin is a self-professed “concert junkie,” catching live shows around Denver and especially at Red Rocks whenever she can fit them in. Last and probably least, she plays volleyball “in a drinking league.”

So what about Erin’s Big Plans? She holds these thoughts kind of close, but they revolve around specific steps to take her company not only to the next step but several beyond that. In the meantime, we’ll always have room for her in the SME suite!

Social Media Account Manager

The Professional Rachael Afman

Rachael joined SME in 2013 after graduating from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan with a Business Degree in Marketing. She brought with her, and continues to epitomize, a core attribute that we all share at SME—honesty and transparency in the workplace and with our clients.

“That’s not only a matter of business ethics but an extension of my personal commitment to respect and honor everyone I come in contact with. There’s no place like the workplace to put that into practice!”

Rachael worked all through college in service-related jobs on and off campus. AT SME she’s one of our senior managers, implementing social media strategies across several platforms for various national and international clients. “Honesty and transparency carry through in all the messaging I do for these clients—they’re at the core of each of their brands.”

Rachael’s clients consistently compliment us on her customer service. “That’s good to hear,” she says, “because I make it a point to dive in and get things done in a professional and timely manner.”

The Essential Rachael Afman

In her free time, Rachael enjoys the outdoor recreation opportunities that come with living in Colorado. “I almost see it as a responsibility and duty that comes along with having a Colorado Driver’s License,” she jokes. Hiking, skiing, and other mountain adventures take up most of her weekends.

Rachael also looks for ways to give back, which has led to trips to Tijuana, Uganda, and Sierra Leone for mission and humanitarian service, as well as service at home leading a local middle school youth group. Her lifelong passion for athletics fits into this theme as well as she coaches middle schoolers in volleyball and basketball and competes in tournaments around the Denver area.

Chief Operating Officer

The Professional Lauren Shipman

As SME Employee #2, Lauren has been with Luke and SME from the beginning. She is the glue, the grease, and the wizard behind the curtain for the company. As Luke puts it, “There would be no SME today without Lauren. Behind every visionary stands an operator—the person who makes the trains run and who turns the vision into day-to-day reality and success. That person is Lauren and it has been since it was just the two of us and especially now when we’re close to twenty.”

Among other areas, Lauren is responsible for all client services and SME personnel. “Growing as fast as we have in the last several years, that essentially means I’m not only overseeing production but building teams ideally suited for each client and project,” Lauren explains. “We’re always looking to add industry-leading designers, content producers, and customer service managers to our team. But they have to come through me first!”

Lauren has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of San Diego, with an emphasis on marketing and entrepreneurship. That proved to be great preparation for SME. “After graduating, I wanted to help build a business the right way, to be involved in marketing, PR, sales, program administration, and research. That’s exactly what I found at SME.”

The Essential Lauren Shipman

Lauren is high energy—anyone who meets or talks with her knows that. She describes herself as an adventure seeker and she loves to travel.

Lauren and her husband live in San Francisco—she slipped our grasp in 2014 but we’re still trying to get the couple to come back to Denver. “I do love Denver and the Colorado lifestyle…and I miss it! I wouldn’t rule out our coming back at some point.”

Lauren and her family run a not-for-profit foundation in New Mexico to support ALS research in memory of a member of the family.

Chief Visionary Officer

The Professional Luke Wyckoff

One member of his team suggests that Luke’s candle burns at both ends and in the middle. That energy served him well in his early career in sales and training, including 15 years at Development Dimensions International (DDI) , an assessment and leadership development company. His drive has only increased with age as Luke serves today as founder and President of Wyckoff Consulting, an executive search firm, and the founder and CVO of Social Media Energy.

 

He chooses to lead by learning what motivates each team member and then managing him or her accordingly. This skill was taught to him by his sales and leadership mentor Kelly Crofoot. Luke is quick to point out, though, that, “…I mentor, coach and educate, but I don’t motivate—that has to come from within.”

 

Social Media Energy evolved from Wyckoff Consulting’s client service of posting job description videos on You Tube and later on LinkedIn and Facebook. This was in the early days of social media and one day, when talking to a long-time client about how the company could enhance their overall corporate reputation through these same media, the company’s executives challenged him to do exactly that. Long story short…he did, and Social Media Energy was born. Now, after 8 years, SME manages the social media presence for more than 300 clients with the support of 25 permanent and contracted team members.

 

Luke vows to keep his company on the forefront as social media evolves. In fact, he’s confident that given the talent of his team, SME will help shape social media’s next iterations. He sees the company continuing to grow, but equally important to him is the “continued development of our team members so they can enjoy a wonderful quality of life while feeling they are a part of something special.”

 

The Essential Luke Wyckoff

We’ll let Aristotle speak for Luke. ”You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” What Luke repeatedly does is build relationships, find the best people for his teams, lead by example, and treat others as he would like to be treated.

 

Growing up in West Michigan, Luke was inspired by his father and his grandfathers, all successful businessmen and pillars of the community. Because of their influence, he always knew he would run his own company.   It all came together thanks to the support and input of trusted friends and business advisors. “I have been blessed to surround myself with successful business people and mentors who have helped “sharpen the saw” over the years”.

 

You will find Luke at sporting events, concerts and the golf course. He enjoys coaching and mentoring others through his work with Celebrate Recovery at Restoration Community Church. “There are many people hurting out there – and they feel like they are alone. I wanted to give them a space where they could feel safe and grow”. He first to say #FAMILYFIRST and gets back to Sheridan, Michigan to visit family as much as possible!

Chief Nurse and Medical Liaison

The Professional Erika Townsend

It’s not that the staff of Social Media Energy needs a full time health care professional for ourselves; however, Erika has a psychology degree as well, and that one we do take full advantage of!

But in all seriousness, Erika Townsend’s career as an RN uniquely positions her, and SME, to help our growing group of healthcare clients communicate credibly through social media. Erika earned her BS in Nursing at Regis University and has worked, instructed and consulted in numerous hospitals in the greater Denver area for the past 20 years, specializing in women’s and newborn health issues.

“It’s so important for the medical community to reach out in any way it can to create dialogue about services, care options and health issues,” says Erika. “SME gives healthcare providers the means to do just that and I love being the link that facilitates it.”

The Essential Erika Townsend

Erika lives with her four children in Golden, Colorado, having recently returned to her native town.

She’s always on the move, balancing being a mom and her several careers. That’s not an exaggeration—Erika is a practicing RN, runs an essential oils business, is as an Essentrics dynamic workout instructor, and of course serves as the healthcare content writer for SME. The active mom part keeps her equally busy. “When I have free time, it’s all for my kids. They range from pre-teens to teenagers so they’re at a perfect, active age to join me in outdoor activities like hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter.”

Erika keeps life in perspective through her faith-based priorities and her exceedingly modest personal philosophy that she is but one grain of sand on a big beach. She has a great family-first work-life balance that we all could learn from: “As a working Mom, I want work to fit into my life, not the other way around.”

Fastest 2017 Intern

The Professional Jenna Kaatz

Social Media Energy may have not seen this coming, however, another Ferris State Bulldog is coming to the Mile High state to submerge herself into the world of interns.

Jenna lives all aspects of her life by one simple quote, “Do what you love, love what you do.” Due to her passion in loving what she does, Jenna switched her major three times until she found herself in love with public relations (luckily the third time was a charm).

Being the over-achiever that Jenna is, she found herself immediately involved with the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter at Ferris. Her niche for event planning arouse shortly after executing a chapter trip to Detroit to tour PR firms. PRSSA then helped guide Jenna to her current position as a News Services and Social Media Assistant for the University. Jenna’s multi-tasking abilities shined through as she manages three social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) for Ferris, with the occasional YouTube video for the campus Low-Down.

The president is in the house! I bet you didn’t see that coming, am I right? Well leadership has a way of attaching itself to determine minded people. Jenna currently holds the position of chapter president for the Alpha Sigma Tau sorority.

It’s safe to say that Ferris is preparing Jenna to be a PR professional ninja.

The Essential Jenna Kaatz

Growing up in the middle of nowhere (a town in the thumb region of Michigan by called Yale) gave Jenna a specific outlook on life. You may never know that Jenna is from a small, one-stop-light town if she didn’t tell you herself due to her outgoing personality and wanderlust.

On a normal day, you’ll find Jenna sipping on her coffee and smiling into her MacBook (mainly because she’s searching pictures of cute animals to keep her sanity).  Jenna cherishes her down time, as it’s pretty scarce to begin with. She enjoys everything from adventuring outside, reading a good book, and making a homemade meal.

The Professional Hilary Zwart

Hilary began her professional life managing a photography studio in North Carolina capturing family portraits which eventually lead to working for a leading photographer in Augusta, GA where she was able to photograph images for golf events, weddings and Seventeen magazine’s Prom issue. It was during this time that she began learning what social media can do for a business.

After moving to Colorado in 2012, she began developing marketing materials for one of the area’s golf courses. Being exposed to these two worlds, along with her interest in psychology and sociology, Hilary quickly determined that marketing is what she is meant to do and began pursuing her marketing degree. Since then her interest in the power of social media has only grown. She understands that in this age of all things digital, building connections and having conversations with consumers via social media is becoming increasingly important.

Hilary is currently studying marketing at Metropolitan State University of Denver and will be graduating in the spring of 2017. She plans on making a career in the quickly evolving world of marketing, digital marketing in particular. She is excited about joining the Social Media Energy team and further developing her skills.

The Essential Hilary Zwart

Hilary is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico but after graduating high school she did what many kids do. She moved as far away from where she grew up as she could. She headed out to explore the eastern side of the country living in North Carolina for four years and then moved to Augusta, Georgia for another two before eventually finding her place back in the southwest.

In her spare time, Hilary can be found in the mountains with her Jeep hitting the trails. She’s hoping to be able to do some camping this upcoming summer with her husband and their pup. She also has a passion for travel and loves to hop on a plane any chance she gets. Germany and Italy are her two favorites places to visit. She eventually hopes to move to Umbria, Italy and travel more throughout Europe.

She tries to live her life by the following: “Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible.”

Client Engagement Expert

Managed 3 employees and a portfolio of over 40 unique company web (online, inbound marketing, and social media) initiatives. Top clients include RE/MAX, Sports Authority, Avaya Corporation, tw telecom, Steelcase, and The History Channel.
• Organized and managed company participation in PR engagements and community events.
• Responsible for new client business, research and qualify potential clients, create reports, and develop sales strategies.
• Responsibilities for mentioned clients include team management of site content updates, social media campaigns, SEO, social media optimization (SMO), sentiment analytics, brand management, employment branding, content creation, job recruiting, webinars, and building online fan base.
• Project Management – made sure the entire project from start to finish followed budget, timelines and hit deadlines.
• Lead client launches by developing company-specific social media strategy, creating ad guidelines, analyzing ROI expectations, and determining measurement –whether it be corporate reputation, conversations, fan growth, indirect sales, or customer engagement.
• Project management: work closely with clients and employees to continuously ensure organized and timely deliverables based on launch strategy.
• Leveraged Mantis Technology, Google Analytics, and other analytical tools to actively manage online reputation and identify thought leaders/influencers.
• Developed governance model and social media policy (internal and external) with the Legal and HR teams.
• Responsible for recruiting and interviewing perspective hires and directing the internship program.
• Voice of SME on AM 560 KLZ, Thursday mornings at 10:07am, to discuss social media tips.
• Specialties: Sales, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, TweetDeck, HootSuite, Google+, Foursquare, Yelp, Blogspot, WordPress, Microsoft Office, iWork, Pinterest, Webinars (Level3 and GoToMeeting), and YouTube.

Chief of Interns

The Professional Luke Callaway

 The title “Chief of Interns” is not an easily earned at SME. It requires a fair amount of chutzpah, exceptional writing skills, and lots of ping pong prowess. Luke, a senior at Metropolitan State University of Denver, has earned it fair and square, though.

Luke will be graduating from Metro in the spring of 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in business marketing, but he’s eagerly polishing his practical marketing skills with us in the meantime. In addition to interning with SME and wrapping up school, Luke also works for his father, helping him run a process serving business.

Luke certainly excels in our fast-paced environment and he values all the opportunities, challenges, and relationship-building that come with it. He’s obviously destined for an incredible career. We think he’s starting at the right place and he seems to agree. “I’m very excited to be interning with SME. The culture here is remarkable and I wake up every day enjoying what I do.”

 

The Essential Luke Callaway

In his spare time, Luke is usually outdoors—biking, big game hunting, camping, snowboarding, and hiking. Indoors, he enjoys cooking, playing pool, and giving Luke Wyckoff a ping pong beat down.

Born and raised in Colorado, Luke is an avid sports fan. He never misses a Broncos home game and won’t pass up an opportunity to go see the Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. He has a very well-stated philosophy of life, although he can’t take credit for coining the phrase: “You’re not rich until you have something that money can’t buy.” Like the SME ping pong title.

Vice President of Global Connections

The Professional Dino Venuto

Dino chose his professional title at Social Media Energy with great care. While heading up the company’s marketing efforts in the Pacific Northwest, he sees SME and his clients as global entities. You could say he sells locally and thinks globally. Dino describes his outreach as “consultative selling” and his ideal client relationship as being a “partner, not a vendor.”

Having had the benefit of extensive experience in external sales for traditional industries (with a concentration in healthcare and thermoplastics), Dino joined SME in July, 2011 and couldn’t be more excited to join and be on the forefront of the social media revolution. “I love being with a company like SME that is on the cutting edge of the cutting edge. There are a ton of market segments that really need top-notch social media presence. This will no doubt be the most fun professional organization I’ve been involved with…the name of the company says it all.”

 

The Essential Dino Venuto

Dino and his two children live in Lake Oswego, Oregon, just southwest of Portland. His son’s travel hockey team and his daughter’s sports teams and competitions keep him busy but not too busy to work out regularly. His first job was as a golf caddy and Dino admits to a 15 handicap.

Like nearly all his colleagues at SME, he can readily and passionately describe his approach to life. “Leave a kind footprint wherever you have gone personally and professionally. That’s a legacy you can’t buy or sell.”

Digital Media Master

Web Design, Graphic Designer, Social Media, Facebook Coder.

Digital Genius

The Professional Avery Larson

It’s hard to find a young person nearing the end of his or her college career with more Public Relations training and experience than Avery. Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan is doing a fine job of preparing Avery for every aspect of PR from writing to pitching to client relations. Avery is taking full advantage of opportunities to put those skills to use in leadership positions on campus with her sorority, university event planning, and managing PR for the Office of Student Leadership & Activities. That just scratches the surface when it comes to campus activities, to be honest. It’s a common theme across the SME team—energy is not in short supply!

 

Avery began with SME early in the summer of 2012 and was such a quick study, hard worker, and talented writer that we asked her to stay on through her senior year. She skillfully handles the daily Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media presence for more than twenty clients. “I love the challenge of getting inside each client’s head to facilitate dialog that promotes their priorities and brands,” she explains.

 

Through the PR program at Ferris State, she’s had the opportunity to shadow with corporations and observe nonprofits and PR firms. She wouldn’t rule out any of those later in her career, but the professional and collegial atmosphere at SME suits her just fine for now. We hope she feels that way for a long time!

 

 

The Essential Avery Larson

Avery appreciates and tries to live by this advice from Tyra Banks, “Never dull your shine for somebody else.” She goes on, “I’m a leader and I never seem to have enough time to eat or sleep because I’m always on the go; I wouldn’t have it any other way!”

Avery, an only child, grew up in Flint, Michigan. “My Mom and Dad are very supportive of me and we’re a very tight family.” Dad is a pharmacist (a ’69 Ferris State grad) and Mom has enjoyed a long career as a hair stylist. Both still reside in Flint but Avery hints that relocation to stay close to their daughter post-graduation is not out of the question.

That’s especially true if Avery joins SME in the Denver office. “We’ve had a time share at Breckenridge [Colorado] since I was five and we love all love it there.” That means skiing right? “Yes, the skiing out there is fantastic—no comparison to the conditions in Michigan!” Oh, and the family Golden Retriever is named Summit, after the County in which Breckenridge is located. Yes, we think we can convince the whole Larson family to join us in Colorado!

Social Media Sensei

The Professional Lawrence Yee

We love having entrepreneurs on the Social Media Energy team and Lawrence is the prototype! Throughout High School he worked in Asian restaurants and he was already planning back then how he would run and manage his own establishment differently and better.

As one of the youngest franchisees in the SUBWAY system, at age 22 he ran three shops in the South Denver suburbs. Setting the pattern for his career, when he mastered this and wanted to move up to a more complex situation, he partnered with a renowned restaurateur and established Jing Restaurant in Greenwood Village where he managed front of the house operations. Three years later, he opened and still runs Japoix Restaurant & Lounge, located at 10th and Lincoln in Denver, featuring small plate, Asian fusion cuisine.

So, why add SME to the mix? Lawrence fosters a “top-down” education and training environment at Japoix. But when you’re the top guy, not much is “coming down” to you! He met Luke Wyckoff and was convinced he could learn a lot from him regarding business management and leadership so he joined the SME team to work more closely with Luke.

Lawrence is active in SME business development in Denver and the surrounding region. He sees a strong correlation between the restaurant and social media service industries. For example, in food service, “You have to create trust with the guests and dedicate yourself to bringing them back by offering consistently good service and food.” He adds, “My approach in social media is the same: make sure my clients have a continually positive and value-added experience with Social Media Energy.”

 

The Essential Lawrence Yee

Lawrence has two pre-teen sons who are both the biggest influence and the number one priority in his life. As a devoted Dad, he explains, “I want to see them succeed personally, spiritually, scholastically…all across the board.” Currently the boys are “gung-ho on lacrosse” and Lawrence is stepping in to coach while conscientiously finding the best league and instructional camp opportunities for them. Area coaches are already asking where the boys will be attending High School.

Lawrence’s optimism and work ethic are summed up in this personal philosophy: “You can’t ever have all your ducks in a row; you just have to go for it. If you play it smart, everything else just falls into place.” So far so good, and we’re glad to have this Denver-area rising star on our team!

Logistics Commander

Commander Marsh is the “Nagger in Chief” at Social Media Energy. As she puts it, “I’m a project manager—leading a team to move projects forward in a timely manner to the satisfaction of our clients and within their specifications and budget. I ensure that people do what they said they would do, when they said they would do it.

If that sounds sort of motherly, it should come as no surprise that for the past five years, Julie has been affiliated with Cool Mom Picks, arguably the most influential shopping and design blog for parents. She’s currently Vice President of Operations for the Brooklyn, NY-based company and, through Julie’s efforts, their Facebook fans have increased to 21,000 and their Twitter followers now stand at over 140,000. Julie also is a freelance writer, contributing columns and stories to numerous parenting websites and publications. What we’re trying to say is that Julie was immersed in social media long before coming to SME.

Prior to that, Julie honed her project management skills during stints with the U.S. Air Force and Universal Music Group in New York. She says that after working to please record label executives and military general officers, collaborating with the team at SME is a “dream!” Julie and her family live in Parker, CO. Like so many on the SME team, she values the diversity in her career and the twists and turns she has experienced professionally. “You can plan for a lot of things, but you have to be open to opportunities and not see it as a failure if you change directions.”

Also like many of her SME colleagues, she and her husband and three children are over-achievers, dabbling in triathlons and such!

Julie supports the Denver based Family Tree, a nonprofit that assists women and children who have escaped abusive situations and fosters their transition to a new life.

Video Production Guru

The Professional Taj Nahar

Everyone at SME is an artist in his or her own way. Taj, with his team at noir concepts, is an SME strategic partner and handles our video projects. From brainstorming to production to editing, they deliver the awesome videos that “make” the Facebook pages and other sites we design for our clients.

Taj removed himself from the corporate world after he was accepted into the Sherwin-Williams Corporate Management Training Program out of college. “It was a great opportunity, don’t get me wrong—a great company, but it wasn’t for me. I’m not one to climb the corporate ladder.”

Instead, Taj jumped into video production as part of the team that got Vista TV (“Denver Life + Style Televison,”) off the ground. At VISTA, he prepared documentaries and feature stories on topics and people ranging from the very top Denver sports figures (i.e., Mike Shanahan) to Dutch electronic dance musician Tiёsto. “Vista was a lot of fun—we covered high profile events and we did a lot of good for some very worthy non-profits. I learned a lot there,” says Taj, “But I wanted to build my own business and I jumped at the opportunity to start my company in 2011.”

Taj has a keen appreciation for the role of video in social media. “Social media is incredible and I’m thrilled to be on the cutting edge of it. I spent a lot of time overseas as a kid, and I really have high hopes that social media will connect people worldwide through ideas, words and images,” he explains.

 

The Essential Taj Nahar

Taj moved from San Diego to Denver to attend Johnson & Wales University where he got the most for his money (well, scholarship) with an Associate Degree in Entrepreneurship and a Bachelors in Business Management. His parents and brother are in California, but Taj views those kinds of close relationships on much grander scale. As he sees it, “The world is my family. Wherever my friends and family are, I have a home.”

Taj’s sports hobby mix is pretty unique: baseball and table tennis. There’s a ping pong table in his studio, which is only fitting because Taj admits that his biggest hobby is work. But it’s not really “work,” he explains, when you’re doing what you love. He’s also a major FIFA fan and avid follower of international football.

When asked to put his philosophy of life into words, Taj proposes “Dance to the beat of your own drum.” To him this means, don’t conform to the norm—be different and think differently. “I’m just Taj—a child of the world, living life the best I can, having fun and hopefully making a positive difference.”