Lunch with an Innovator is a monthly speaker series hosted by the Taylor Institute in which students from the University of Akron have a chance to meet and engage with marketing leaders from NE Ohio. Often, these speakers are graduates of the university and the various marketing majors in the College of Business Administration. October’s session featured employees from ipsoCreative, the Akron-based web design agency. Two students that attended the event shared their thoughts on the session – Alex Siminoff and Ashley Niznik, both IMC majors.

In October, the second session of the Lunch with an Innovator speaker series took place. Students from UAkron had the wonderful opportunity of learning about ipsoCreative from Josh Mitchell, founder and creative director, as well as Vince Mancari, a project manager and 2013 graduate of the University of Akron. Both of these speakers had very different backgrounds, accompanied by interesting stories on how they got to ipso. Vince and Josh then discussed what makes ipso so unique, and how it got started in the first place. Before the hour ran out, they were faced with some difficult questions in regards to the future of digital marketing and further interest in their career paths.

According to their website, ipsoCreative is a boutique web agency and custom web development firm based in Northeast Ohio and the greater Los Angeles area, serving the world. They have worked with multiple companies providing world-class service and kick-ass websites. For those in attendance, we got the privilege to hear the inside scoop of what it means to work at ipso. Their structure is flat, so there is absolutely no hierarchy. In fact, Josh, one of the founders, sits at the same desk as Vince, who tells him what to do on a day to day basis. This ties in as well as to what Vince was preaching, the importance of company culture.

Company culture is similar to dating. You have a certain set of skills and preferences, as does a company. In order to “matchup,” we must agree on the culture we want to work together in. Another word for culture might be what we call chemistry in a real relationship. No, Vince didn’t compare and contrast these types of relationships, but I think it’s extremely important to join a team that has the same values and morals, also known as culture, as you. When you join forces with like-minded people, results happen.

Another interesting facet about ipso is the goal it has for every single employee. They want to breed entrepreneurs, who go out and start an agency or other business, driving the values they learned at ipso along the way. As counterproductive as it may sound, it is the single most unselfish business principle I have heard of to this day. The mindset is to make the world a better place, little by little.

Both Josh and Vince are strong believers in the digital marketing world, so the future seems bright when you have unselfish and giving people at the forefront of it. I encourage a quick visit to their interactive website and learn more about both Josh and Vince. Vince was right here in my shoes at the University of Akron not too long ago, and Josh has a wealth of diverse experience in both web and content marketing. Overall, another great LWAI and thank you to both Josh and Vince for attending.

By: Alex Siminoff

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I will admit it, I signed up for the October session of “Lunch with an Innovator” featuring two speakers from ipsoCreative specifically for the extra credit. But I will also admit that I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the experience. Not only did I receive free lunch, but moreover I got to meet some very unique people working for a unique company. There were so many aspects of his talk that resonated with me that I think bullet points would be the best way to showcase this. So, here are some key insights that I took away from the lunch:

• If you are stuck in the sense that you do not know what you want to do after graduation ask yourself, “what kind of person do you want to be”, “does the company value those same things”, “will this company grow you not only in skills but as a person”
• Say yes to everything. When you are first working a new job, say yes even if you do not know what you are doing. This will teach you so many different things rather than being comfortable
• Become an expert at one thing. Be good at everything, but be exceptional at a particular thing. This will you give you so much value rather than being adequate at everything.
• Reinvent yourself every two years. You can take this literal or figuratively but either way do it. Try new things, move to different places, and work for different companies. You can grow so much from keeping this philosophy in mind
• Own up to your mistakes. Whether there are multiple factors and reasons that you may fail, own up to it solely. Realize the mistake and show that you can improve
• It is okay not to have a Plan B. If you have a plan B then 9/10 times you will fall back on that as a cushion. If you want to do something that’s never been done before, then go all in without any second options

The company was so unique in the sense that it didn’t focus all the efforts on profit or growth. They focused on the people that worked at ipsoCreative and growing them as a person instead. Company culture is one of the most important factors that I look at; talking to them reassured me that there are still companies that value that as well.

By: Ashley Niznik