April 24, 2020

Ad Purp Profiles: Sr. Project Manager & Office Culture Guru, Marissa ‘Mars’ Valentino

What can I say about Marissa Valentino, better known in the office simply as ‘Mars’?

She’s been with the company quite some time and has maintained a leadership presence as a Sr. Project Manager while never acting in a way that would make anyone feel anything other than 100% welcomed and appreciated.

She works hard, always has a smile on her face, cares about the growth of those she manages and collaborates with and takes on new challenges with ferocity and follow-through that I find admirable and contagious in the office.

As part of her role involves onboarding both new accounts and new employees, she’s a great person to act as the face of Ad Purp and shines in her ability to demonstrate in an individual person the great culture we have here.

I’d consider her responsible for the great office culture, not because she just hosts and initiates ideas for events and office activities (which she does), but because she delegates to others and offers up great suggestions that make this place better.

I was able to talk with her and get a better understanding of her thoughts and feelings as they relate to her time here. It was really great to see what she had to say.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in!

Q: What can you tell me about Ohio, your upbringing, background and what drew you to head west to Los Angeles?

A: Life was a bit different growing up in Cleveland, Ohio verses Southern California. From drastic climate changes, to small town vibes, it is almost polar opposite from Los Angeles. 

Some of my favorite memories I look back on from my upbringing are local concerts, backyard bonfires, home gatherings for the holidays, and poolside bbqs. As you can see most of those things I named are summertime activities which is a huge reason as to why I moved to California. As soon as I visited LA for the first time, I knew that being surrounded by palm trees, beach life, and sunshine was where I wanted to be. I also felt like it was a huge opportunity for me to grow as a person and have new life experiences. 

Q: When did you start at Advertise Purple? How’d you find out about the role?

A: I started working at Advertise Purple in November, 2016. I found out about the role through a good friend who was doing some new job hunting herself. I originally applied for the Account Manager role but was proposed an opportunity to take on the Project Manager role instead, as it seemed to be a better fit. To this day, I could not be more happy with my decision, the opportunity I was given, and the direction I went. My whole life, I have always LOVED to organize, schedule, plan, help others, etc. which makes this position so on point for me. 

Q: How would you describe your role in the company? Beyond just your duties, you’ve helped drive what has become an award-winning culture here. How did you go about doing that?

A: Over the past few years here, I have taken on a few additional roles that have been incorporated into my Project Management role such as Office Manager, Event Coordinator. This has been a blessing in disguise because all three roles I truly enjoy being in. Loving what you do makes it easy to spread positivity throughout the work space. I also have Kyle, the CEO to thank for always pushing me to keep things fun and to toss around random, ridiculously hilarious ideas with for office activities. For example: office sumo wrestling, we rented the sumo suites and all! 

Q: With the rapid growth of the company, how have things changed since the time you started and now?

A: Two of the biggest and most obvious changes since I started are the employee count and the amount of accounts we manage. Now having over 65+ employees and with rapid client growth during my experience here, it has been a challenge but in an extremely fun and positive way. 

I feel everyone in the company continues to grow within their own roles along with learning how to adapt to change easily in our fast growing journey together. I could not be more grateful for this huge work family we have all created and how successful the company has become over the last few years! 

One thing I want to highlight that has not changed, is the company culture. I truly value that we continue to believe in keeping our start up vibe instead of going the corporate route.  

Q: How have you been managing in quarantine now with shelter-in-place restrictions due to COVID-19?

A: This might sound crazy but I feel thankful I get to experience a quarantine lifestyle. Living in such a fast paced environment and even world, it’s been a breath of fresh air to not only slow down but have the world around me do the same. From trying new delicious recipes, going for walks with my morning coffee, to treating my time at home like a spa with face masks and bubble baths, I really cannot complain. 

Of course missing my work fam <3

Q: What do you hope to appreciate more when things “go back (somewhat) to normal”?

A: I hope to continue to implement some of the lifestyle changes I have made during quarantine such as a slower and more simple pace of living, taking more time for what’s important and myself, and focusing on being present in the moment. I truly appreciate having the few months at home to realize the extreme importance of all of these values and actions. 

Q: You onboarded Christina Ferrada around the summer of ‘19. How has having a direct report changed your daily routine?

A: Having Christina a part of my daily routine has been nothing but a blessing! As we began taking on way more accounts, it was only a matter of time that I needed assistance within the Project Management department. The biggest change has been having someone to tackle tasks, big projects, and just every day to-dos with. Christina started as my assistant but as time went on we became more of a team or better yet partners in crime. 

Whether it is planning our next big company wide event, handling an overflow of new client onboardings, or jumping in to assist with different department last minute projects, we always find a way to accomplish our goals and knock things out together! I have nothing but great things to say about Christina and I am so thankful to have her by my side through this work journey. 

Q: As part of the leadership team at Ad Purp, how much can you say about upper management and the way this place operates?

A: It is an honor to be a part of the leadership team and see how far we have come and what we have accomplished in the last few years. From my experience, I can say most ideas, plans, changes, new processes, etc. are collaborative. Not only does everyone have a say or a time to voice their opinion, but we make it very known to discuss and finalize those with others on the team. 

Something I love about our CEO is that he is always asking what we think and how we feel about any given situation. This place not only operates with keeping each other motivated but also works together as a true team. As most of you have heard, the team acronym “Together Everyone Achieves More”, and we really stick to that! 

Q: Please describe one or two of your best memories working with such a great group here at Ad Purp?

A: This is such a fun topic. I immediately smile thinking about all the great memories I have working here. From beach outings, to fun local happy hours, to random in office events, we always make an effort to go all out. 

My first and best memory was our company wide trip to Las Vegas for Affiliate Summit West. This was back when the company only had a handful of employees. Sending the whole team back then was as simple as one giant van ride to Nevada. Looking back at this memory, we were such an awesome tight knit family because we were such a small group. From dancing at the club till 5 am on a Monday, to being hungover and still powering through the work day, we were all in it together. To top it all off, Kyle, our CEO generously rented an insanely awesome penthouse suite for us all to hang out in! 

My second favorite and most recent fun memory was the 2019 Annual Holiday Party. This past holiday season we had the honor to host over 100 people at a beautiful restaurant in Hollywood full of amazing food, cocktails, dancing, karaoke, photo booth, ice luge, the biggest charcuterie board, and the list goes on. Nothing better than celebrating a successful year with such an amazing group of people! 

Q: Best office dog? Just kidding, we all know it’s Theo (Stephen’s dog). But really, what about something like a liberal office dog policy contributes to that great culture you mentioned earlier?

A: As we all know having pets around is a natural stress reliever. There is nothing better than taking a break, stepping away from the computer, and having some pup time. Every office dog is full of smiles and is always looking to give love! My friends constantly complement how fun our office looks and always mention the dogs. Having them around really gives the environment an extra boost of positivity and fun energy! 

Q: What advice do you have for new hires or people who may be reading this and are interested in working in affiliate marketing or here at Ad Purp?

A: Honestly, if you are a hard, dedicated worker, looking to grow within, and want to be rewarded with endless celebrations, an awesome work family, and unlimited puppy love, this is the place for you!

It is such a blessing to go to work feeling happy and grateful. Not most people can say they “like” going to work and it’s amazing for the first time in my life I can. I feel it’s extremely important and rewarding to work at a company that makes me a better person in so many positive ways. Being happy where you work is not only mentally healthy but is also super motivational. 

Q: Where did the ‘Mars’ nickname originate? It’s great.

A: The nickname “Mars” originally was created back when I first started working at Ad Purp by a previous co-worker. From there, Mars, short for Marissa kinda just stuck with everyone. Everyone meaning Tim, Trinity, and Emily, as they were the only other people working directly with us in the room at the time. As the company grew, that just became my statement name. I never had a nickname growing up or throughout my life so it feels fun and special to me! 

Thanks Mars! Stay safe, and look forward to continuing working with you!

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