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Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Schifino Lee - 2:21 pm October 15, 2018

Female Leaders at Schifino Lee Create Game-Changing Results

Tampa advertising professionals


Staying true to its long-time mantra of “Innovate or Die”, Tampa-based ad agency Schifino Lee Advertising + Branding is challenging societal norms with a majority female management team. These leading ladies are changing the game, managing a 20-person powerhouse of full-time employees to improve processes, grow business, increase revenues, improve client relations and foster a positive corporate culture.

Paola Schifino is a Principal and owner of the agency. She has won many awards for her business efforts, including Business Woman of the Year for 2017 by Tampa Bay Business Journal. She and Ben Lee built Schifino Lee from the ground up 25 years ago this year, and both strongly believe in the future of women in business.

“In achieving our goals, I truly believe women are resilient. In the past, we were like water in a creek, softly flowing around obstacles in our path. Now we’re more like a class-five rapid, crushing it,” said Schifino.

Schifino Lee is made up of six primary departments; four of which are led by women. Kerry O’Keef manages finance and administration, Amanda Koenn heads up account management, Jennifer Ruyle leads the agency in brand strategy and new business, and Bri Wagner manages social media and public relations.

Not only have these women contributed to diversity in gender, but also in age. The group includes leaders in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.

Kerry O’Keef

O’Keef was recently promoted to Vice President and Director of Finance and Administration. With a degree in business management, she brings over 25 years of corporate experience to ensure the financial and operational success of the agency. Among her responsibilities is overseeing the financial, organizational and functional operations including IT and HR. She encourages and promotes our staff to expand their skills and knowledge; assists our management team with training, mentoring and tracking productivity of their departments; and continually works with the agency principals to determine ways to make our agency more profitable.

“Since promoting more women into management roles, we’ve achieved a more nurturing environment to work and grow in. People support each other, mistakes are forgiven, voices are heard, self-expression is encouraged and learning opportunities are virtually endless,” said O’Keef. “We are empowering the young women at Schifino Lee to recognize their strength in femininity.”

Amanda Koenn

Koenn was recently promoted to Account Director where she oversees the all-female account management team. She not only assures that everything runs efficiently, but also works hard to improve culture and comradery.

“We’re focused on ensuring our employees know they are valued. Several new initiatives have been implemented since this new leadership team has been in place including a calendar of team bonding events, monthly team meetings for collaboration and idea sharing, and an employee recognition program,” said Koenn.

Jennifer Ruyle

From 2003 to 2010, Ruyle served as a copywriter and creative director at Schifino Lee, and then returned to the agency in 2018 as Director of Brand Strategy and Senior Account Manager. She serves the agency in account management, brand strategy and building new business.

“Having watched the agency change over the last 15 years, I can attest to the way it has evolved through having women in leadership. Teams are working together and collaborating more efficiently than ever before. People are listening to each other, teaching each other and growing together. It’s been amazing to see it all unfold,” said Ruyle

Bri Wagner

Wagner joined Schifino Lee at the beginning of 2018 as Social Media and Public Relations Manager. Part brand strategy and part creative direction, she oversees both internal and client-related initiatives in the public communications sphere.

“Giving women a voice at the table results in better outcomes for our clients. Advertising professionals need to consider how segments of a diverse audience will perceive the same message. By adding diversity to our team in both gender and age, we are able to incorporate different perspectives and produce campaign ideas that resonate with a broader audience. It’s our value added to our clients,” said Wagner.


Photo (left to right): Amanda Koenn, Kerry O’Keef, Paola Schifino, Jennifer Ruyle, and Bri Wagner.

Schifino Lee - 9:13 am July 25, 2018

As the temperature heats up, so does the talent level at Schifino Lee

Schifino Lee Summer Interns in Tampa, Florida

This summer, Schifino Lee welcomed six new interns to the team. Eager to contribute, our interns brought in a fresh new set of skills and talent that we were eager to have. In exchange, our interns have gained that real-world experience they were hungry for through their time with us.

Jacqueline Disla | Account Service Intern

Jackie is a rising senior at the University of Florida studying public relations and marketing. Her favorite part about interning at Schifino Lee has been all of the hands-on experience she attained by working with clients like Farrior Plastic Surgery, Gordon Chevrolet, IntelAgree, and getting the chance to work with incredibly talented individuals. After graduation, Jackie looks forward to getting another internship before moving out west.

Chris Harris | Videography Intern

Chris is a senior public relations major at the University of Florida. As an aspiring videographer and editor, he loves to capture captivating visuals and turn them into meaningful stories that can speak to the heart of a brand, which he has gotten to do with some of our clients like Alessi and Sander’s Lead. Following his internship with Schifino Lee, he will return to school for his final year – after which he hopes to begin working full-time in production for a branding and advertising firm.

Lauren Santos | Writing Intern

Entering her senior year at USF, Lauren is majoring in Mass Communications with a concentration in Advertising. During her time at Schifino Lee, Lauren attended client interviews, edited blog posts and crafted witty headlines for some of our clients, like the Tampa Museum of Art and the Pinellas Education Foundation. She is excited to take her experiences and passion for writing and apply what she has learned with us into her future career as a copywriter. Being a city girl, when Lauren graduates, she aspires to land a job at an agency in a major city like Atlanta, New Orleans or our very own Tampa.

Samantha Bernard | Account Service Intern

Having moved from Jamaica when she was 13, Sam, a recent grad from USF, majored in Marketing with a concentration in Sports and Entertainment Management. As an account intern, she loves how Schifino Lee has given her the chance to learn in-depth strategies towards clients, like Farrior Plastic Surgery and IntelAgree—which can help tailor their target audience. After her internship, Sam desires to move to Atlanta and work as an account executive.

Jacob Warhop | Design Intern

Jacob is a rising junior at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), double majoring in Illustration and Advertising & Branding. After Schifino Lee, Jacob plans on graduating and using his interests in drawing, painting and writing to become an art director or copywriter, while also being an in-house editorial illustrator. His favorite part about Shifino Lee so far has been being able to work on material that is going to real clients, like the Hillsborough County Sheriff, Dewar Nursery, the American Marketing Association— and seeing all the different things that small ad agencies get to work on.

Brooke Worthan | Design Intern

A Tampa native, Brooke attended the Art Institute of Tampa for web and graphic design. She loves experiencing the day-to-day of working in a creative environment like Schifino Lee and getting to produce work for clients, such as Salems and Alessi. She has enjoyed the opportunity to work with the team and learn from a great group of people. After her internship, Brooke looks forward to beginning a career in the creative field and continuing to grow as a designer.

[note: no LinkedIn]

Schifino Lee - 11:24 am April 10, 2018

Matt-Of-All-Trades Parades Conceptual Wit as Senior AD

Matt Kannenberg, an Art Director at Schifino Lee Advertising and Branding in Tampa, Florida

Matt Kannenberg has always had a natural knack for smart, cheeky, strategy-savvy advertising. As a St. Pete native with 15 years of experience at reputable local agencies like 22squared, Matt’s talent serves as a substantial addition to Schifino Lee’s ever-evolving creative team.

His well-rounded creative chops in digital design, art direction, and branding have allowed him to contribute colorful, award-winning concepts and hands-on artistry to projects of all shapes and sizes.

Whether this expertise is applied to local start-ups or internationally-known brands like Toyota, Marriott, and Publix, every client walks away with their very own Kannenberg creation. At Schifino Lee, his impact has already made waves with clients like CoLabs, Gordon Chevy, and Kuhn Torres.

When Matt isn’t putting pixels in their place at Schifino Lee, he’s spoiling his 2-year-old son, rehabbing vintage bikes (bicycles, not Harleys), and working on personal projects with his wife in their home studio.

Give Matt a warm welcome!

Schifino Lee - 9:50 am March 8, 2018

International Women’s Day: Q&A with Paola Schifino


Paola Schifino

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we’d like to shine a spotlight on Schifino Lee’s leading lady, Paola Schifino.

Over the past 25 years, Paola has achieved many accolades, including her most recent honor of being named Business Woman of the Year for 2017 by Tampa Bay Business Journal. She has also been named a Tampa Bay Business Journal “40 Under 40” winner, a Tampa Bay Business Journal Business Woman of the Year finalist in 2008, and Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year finalist.

However, she considers her greatest business accomplishments to be growing our firm by increasing our clients’ businesses. We began working with a $60 million company called Network Liquidators and helped rebrand them into the $100 million+ success known today as Vology. Lifestyle Family Fitness was a business that was losing members faster than it was signing new ones before our campaign helped them grow over 20 percent annually and become an attractive acquisition for LA Fitness. Vigo-Alessi’s revenues increased millions only six months after our rebranding campaign for them launched.

Every strong and successful woman had to start somewhere; each with their own unique portfolio of experiences that make up who they are today. This year marks Schifino Lee’s 25th anniversary. Get a peek into what it was like to build a business from the ground up and what it’s like to be a woman in business with this quick Q&A featuring Paola Schifino.

Q: What does it take to run a successful company for 25 years?

A: Controlled curiosity. This is what feeds my passion for advertising and marketing as it relates to clients and their business, as it relates to innovations in the industry, as it relates cultural trends.  I preface curiosity with the word controlled because some entrepreneurs might display curiosity, but it might be unfocused, and as a result, they might be jumping from one unrelated endeavor to the next – building nothing.

Q: What’s the greatest bit of advice you could give to a budding female entrepreneur?

A: Success is 80 percent driven by intelligence, business acumen, hard work and the right advisors. The other 20 percent is swagger. Sometimes swagger comes naturally, sometimes it must be learned and sometimes it is earned. Either way: get it. And back it up with the 80 percent.

Q: What do you think it means to be an effective leader?

A: If the leadership scale ranges from zero to 10 with zero being a “happiness” style leadership (e.g. Zappos’ Tony  Hsieh) and 10 being a “dictatorial” style leadership (e.g. Apple’s Steve Jobs), I would say I run somewhere around a six.  I personally prefer a more democratic style of leadership, where I draw on peoples’ knowledge and talents to build consensus behind a particular goal.  But as you can see, any style of leadership can be successful as long as you surround yourself with like-minded individuals that thrive in that particular environment.

Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge women in business face today?

A: Women need to command respect. This type of respect opens many doors including the “money door”.

Q: What about our greatest strength?

A: In achieving their goals, I truly believe women are resilient and always have been. Except before, we were like water in a creek, softly flowing around obstacles in our path. Now we’re more like a class-five rapid, crushing it.

Q: What do you think the future of business looks like for women?

A: I think more and more women will establish their own business on their own terms, and hopefully some of these organizations will spin off into global companies. Then in ten years we will be chatting about the next round of remarkable founders and CEOs, and they will be female.

Schifino Lee - 3:01 pm January 22, 2018

Schifino Lee Wins Big in 2018 Graphis Advertising Awards


Schifino Lee Advertising + Branding picked up two Platinum awards in the Graphis Advertising Annual 2018 competition. The Platinum award is the highest honor bestowed by Graphis, and Schifino Lee is one of just nine agencies worldwide to win in the “Video” category this year. The awards were presented for two digital videos, both produced by Schifino Lee for the Tampa Museum of Art.

“Our goal was to position the museum as a place for creative inspiration,” said Chad Grandey, creative director of the videos. “These ads show that art is for anyone—not just the elite. That’s why it’s such an honor to be recognized by Graphis for the spots.”



Graphis selects entries for the purpose of showcasing the best creative work of each year, resulting in a cross-sampling of superior pieces from specific categories. Both of Schifino Lee’s videos appear in the same category; the spots were shot and edited locally in Tampa Bay by Steve Widoff (director) and feature creative spins on how the everyday person can interpret art.

In addition to earning two Graphis Platinum awards, Schifino Lee’s integrated campaign has significantly increased foot traffic and general brand awareness for the Tampa Museum of Art. Since winning the account just two years ago, Schifino Lee has helped the museum achieve their largest July attendance on record and increased overall household memberships.

Schifino Lee - 11:12 am November 16, 2017

Schifino Lee revs up creative team

More creative horsepower for our clients.

Schifino Lee welcomes Lenna Curry, a powerful new engine for creativity, who’s driven by expertise in digital marketing, loyalty marketing, and brand advertising. As our newest content strategist and word wizard, she brings savvy big league experience from Subaru of America, Mercedes-Benz USA, and more.

Lenna began her journey at The University of Northern Iowa, where she earned a B.A. in Marketing/Advertising. Following graduation, she turned an internship into a full-time job crafting social media and web content for an automotive agency.

One particularly chilly Iowa day, she decided to ditch her bulky snow boots for flip-flops and flew south. Once settled in Clearwater, she began working at AutoLoop, writing and directing email and print communications for national auto brands, while simultaneously handling AutoLoop’s B2B messaging.

When not wowing clients with her word prowess, Lenna is a master curator of Spotify playlists who’s amassed hundreds of thousands of playlist subscriptions. They were so bomb that she sold her account to a sub-label of Atlantic Records. Yeah, you could say she definitely rocks.

Give Lenna a holler and welcome her to the Schifino Lee team at

Harra Little - 4:28 pm July 10, 2017

The teachings of a teenage heartthrob.


Patrick Verona is dreamy. Anyone who has ever seen 10 Things I Hate About You will attest to that fact. To the men reading this, don’t lie to yourself, you know it too. But he’s more than a pretty face. And in the hundreds of times I’ve watched that cinematic masterpiece play out on my old VHS player, there’s always been one line he says in that perfect Australian accent that has stood out to me:

“Don’t let anyone, ever, make you feel like you don’t deserve what you want.”

He says this to a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt, encouraging him to stand up for himself and complete the cycle of the romantic comedy in which we all know he will get the girl. But even out of context, this has always been a powerful quote to me.

Take a step back from the silver screen with me for a moment. Here at Schifino Lee we work in an office made up predominately of women. Strong, ambitious women who every day come in to the office with the intent of meeting their own personal goals, while bettering the agency and advancing their knowledge of the industry.

And we do not subscribe to the age-old trope toted out in so many other movies that in order to succeed in your career you have to put other women down. Because we are well aware of the fact that our accomplishments and successes are not mutually exclusive. In fact, one of my favorite things about working with these intelligent women is that we are here to encourage and uplift each other on a daily basis.

Having a bad day? Well, I thought your design concept was refreshing and original.

Looking to further your career? Come shadow me for a few hours, I’ll teach you more about what I do.

Trying to expand your industry knowledge? I have a book you would love.

It’s these kinds of daily interactions that allow us to build a community of empowerment and positivity that keeps us women on each others side. We push each other to the next level of our careers, and keep track of each other’s goals so we can help in any way we can.

To the women in the office: you’re more than a pretty face. Don’t let anyone, ever, make you feel like you don’t deserve what you want.

Ben Lee - 11:44 am June 16, 2017

Finding Inspiration at Local Art Shows

Local art shows are always a great source of inspiration for me… some better than others.

Wandering through the aisles of a show, a select few pieces will grab my attention and lure me into the artist’s booth. There I stop and focus and usually discover a greater sense of appreciation of the work. And when I meet the artists themselves, I gain a deeper level of admiration, connection and understanding. I usually grab a card from every artist that captures my attention – and the collection of cards becomes a mosaic of my mood that day. Here’s what caught my eye at the recent Gasparilla Arts Festival in Tampa.

And, by the way, money spent on a piece of art is always money well spent.

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 4.00.48 PM Turnstiles by Sean Berry

 Untitled by Randall Smith

Every Block a Brand New Game Every Block A Brand New Game by Michel Delgado

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 4.02.11 PM River Shadows by David Skinner

asanka-lady_1_orig Asanka Lady by William Kwamena-Poh

Rooster Love Rooster Love by Missionary Mary Proctor


Amanda Koenn - 2:04 pm June 9, 2017

It’s Human. It’s Nature. It’s Not Human Nature.

A tiger shark gliding gracefully past accompanied by a remora fish

Avoiding animosity in an agency setting can be tricky. Clashing ideas, looming due dates, and the never ending pile of work-I-haven’t-gotten-to-yet can lead up to a stressful environment, inhabited by coffee crazed creatives and account managers weaving through the ever-intensifying minefield of client questions. But, if we substitute out the ole’ thinking cap for our best Steve Irwin khaki cap, we find that biology can offer a pretty simple solution to the disparity that occasionally forms between the type-a account side and the sometimes barely type-b creative side. We just have to start forming symbiotic relationships.

Chlorophyll. Photosynthesis. Mitochondria. We’re not scientists here. But we can learn from the relationships formed in nature, and apply their wise teachings to our own agency settings. A symbiotic relationship is formed when two species can’t live without each other: The anemone protects the clownfish from predators, so the fish returns the favor. Bees pollinate flowers, and consequently are able to make their honey. Account managers ward off clients so art directors can continue to craft ideas, and are rewarded with quality work to impress their customers. The only difference in the advertising world is that it takes a bit more communication to achieve a relationship that benefits everyone. But evolution isn’t perfect.

So, instead of sitting at your desk stewing in solitude, make an attempt to befriend those strangers on the other side of the office. Make clear goals. Share all key insights. Explain your creative ideas and show how they match with client KPIs. Because when communication fails, so do we. Let’s be stronger together.

Schifino Lee - 10:11 am June 7, 2017

Schifino Lee adds a Coxswain and a Super Computer to its crew


Look what we did. We’ve upped our playing field, multiplied our mind power, added some sharp new strategic knives to the Schifino Lee arsenal. Our fresh, new pair of account managers is ready to take on the world, starting with some of Tampa Bay’s finest clients.

Elizabeth Ayers, Account Executive 

If you’re ever looking for some strategic skills in the advertising field, look no further than, well, down on the field. Elizabeth has gotten her hands dirty in the marketing and PR departments of several big leaguers, from the Baltimore Orioles to our very own Tampa Bay Buccaneers. She was even a Division 1 NCAA athlete herself while at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, leading her crew to victory as coxswain of the rowing team. Now she’s an advertising pro, with an uncanny ability to analyze stats and figures, and then design a game plan that gets clients to their goals. And when she’s not in the office, we hear she’s a real connoisseur of baseball cuisine.

Mackenzie Reed, Account Coordinator

Mackenzie excelled through the advertising program at University of South Florida, nailed internships at PPK and Schifino Lee, and now impresses clients like the Tampa Museum of Art and Alessi with her fresh strategic thinking. All because inside her head is a super computer, fueled by coffee, that outperforms on every project that comes her way. Equal parts humble and brilliant, Mackenzie would probably be Prime Minister of Europe, or something, if she weren’t addicted to advertising. But lucky for us, she is. So we try and keep her happy by letting her handle all the super-challenging assignments. .

Stop by our office to meet Elizabeth and Mackenzie any time. Just be sure to bring lots of crackerjacks and coffee with you.

Schifino Lee - 2:45 pm March 23, 2017

Schifino Lee Expands Social Circle


With social media’s explosive growth making it one of the most powerful weapons in the marketing arsenal, we wanted to add more firepower to our social media team. Our latest weapon is Kate Dempsey, SL’s new Social Community Coordinator.

Kate’s talent in navigating the endlessly evolving intricacies of social platforms comes from years of experience as a Social Media Manager at Savannah List For Less and as a PR professional at The Brandman Agency in New York City. Once she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Communications from Florida State University, she headed to Tampa to take on a new challenge.

Well-armed with an intuitive knack for strategic thinking (and quoting 80’s movies), Kate assists in social content creation, managing client social media calendars, and spreading the word about our clients’ offerings to every corner of the Internet. Her expertise compliments our talented team of digital sharpshooters in the Social Media department by taking perfect aim in targeting our client’s audiences and building relevant connections through influencer marketing. Kate’s unique skillset in digital branding makes her a perfect fit for Schifino Lee: smart, crafty, and here to put the world at your fingertips.

Feel free to send her a welcoming email at

Mary Rach - 5:35 pm December 12, 2016

Creating the Invitation

Diversity Office Worker Working Cheerful Concept


Recently, I had a coworker ask me an interesting question.  It was posed in a way that implied that he had never really thought about it before. As if he was even surprised he was about to ask it, and a bit concerned about how I would answer.

“What is it like to be the only one of your gender in our creative department… all the time?”

My reply, “Well…it can be a little weird.”

As an art director, being the only female in my group is my reality a lot of the time. Sometimes it’s easy to feel secluded. Many great female art directors and creative directors have also experienced this and shared this “Boys Club” phenomenon. There is even an entire professional conference based on the platform of supporting female creatives in the advertising industry (3 Percent Conference, founded by Kat Gordon).

So I thought I would share my experience…

Many female creatives have experienced incidents of sexual harassment or have been given only female-facing products or clients. Thankfully I find myself in a much better situation at Schifino Lee. My coworkers see me as an equal, most of the time. While there absolutely is a Boys Club here, that doesn’t mean I can’t change the definition of who can be a member.

So how do I combat the Boys Club mentality? By including myself.

There was a time, before SL, that I can remember distinctly when I was not included in meetings, concept sessions, group lunches and general shenanigans around the office. I mentioned this to a friend of mine once, telling him that it had “hurt my feelings.” He stopped me right there and said, “Well, there’s your problem. You’re taking it personally. And by getting emotional about it, you’re not allowing yourself to find the rational solution.”

He went on to say, “If you want to be in that meeting, you need to stop waiting to be invited.” He was so right.

That changed the way I looked at my coworkers. They weren’t NOT including me because I was a girl. They just didn’t think that I cared to be involved because I was quietly sitting at my desk observing from a far.

You want to go to that meeting, sit in on that concept session and shoot nerf guns at your coworkers to liven up the day a little?

Invite yourself. Insist upon it if you have to. Show an interest instead of meekly standing in the corner waiting to be brought to the round table.

That goes for everyone. Not just females.



Schifino Lee - 4:04 pm October 28, 2016

Greg Davis brings valuable experience to new role at Schifino Lee


Schifino Lee’s latest addition to our talented crew is Greg Davis, our new Vice President and Director of Client Services. With an impressive roster of former clients such as Alabama Tourism, Food Network, and DIY Television, plus over 25 years of experience in the industry, Greg will be a key player in both building current client-agency relationships and establishing new ones.

Before arriving at Schifino Lee, Greg served as the President of d groupe, a division of Lewis Communications in Birmingham, which he founded in 2003. During his career, Greg has gained comprehensive experience in account planning, strategic media planning and creative strategy for regional and national accounts.

Greg came to be an ad guru after following in his father’s footsteps, both literally and figuratively. He went into the business after his dad’s work in the industry led them around the globe to London, Brussels, Tokyo, New York City and Los Angeles. Prior to attending and graduating from the University of Alabama, Greg received education at the American School of London and International School of Brussels.

Greg’s combination of razor sharp industry expertise and a laid-back, southern personality make him a welcome addition to the Schifino Lee family. Other big name clients he’s applied his branding skills to include Home & Garden Television, DCH Spine Care Center, First National Bank, U.S Department of Justice, St. Joe Company and Bridgestone USA.

Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Greg as he settles into the team. He can be reached at

Schifino Lee - 12:58 pm March 10, 2016

New Creative Director is a Natural Fit for Schifino Lee Team



After big wins at the recent 2016 Tampa Bay ADDY Awards, how does Schifino Lee raise its creative bar evenhigher? We found the answer in Rob McCormick, our new VP/Creative Director at Schifino Lee.

Rob was most recently Creative Director of Fry Hammond Barr (now &Barr), and before that Art Director at PUSH in Orlando. He began his career at the Miami Ad School, where building things that last was the main highlight of every course. It was there that epiphanies became a daily habit.

Where others see obstacles, Rob sees opportunities and ways to create things both new and emotional. He brings with him new perspectives that are guaranteed to change the way people think about advertising. Over the past 20 years, Rob’s creativity has set the bar high on some of the nation’s biggest brands and his uniquely artistic angles have touched multiple industries including: casinos, cruise lines, hotels, healthcare, restaurants, retail, television stations, tourism, spirits, sports, adventure parks and many more.

His co-workers say as a mentor, and friend, and a thinker — Rob’s different. When you need to clear your head, you may go for a walk. Rob goes for a 35-mile run. Or if you’re looking for adventure, you take a ski trip to Aspen. He takes a dip in the Amazon River. Maybe for vacation, you head to the beach. Rob spends 10 days meditating in the remote hills of Georgia. He’s always at peace, always thinking, and always ready for the unexpected.

Please join us in welcoming Rob to the team. You can reach him direct at

Schifino Lee - 2:27 pm December 30, 2015


Written by our Fall Creative Intern Thomas Mariani.

This fall has provided Schifino Lee with a set of interns with diverse skills, interests, and future goals. As the fall session ends, it seems like the perfect time to highlight the extremely talented, energetic interns that helped make the agency’s recent success possible.


Will Vargas | Media Intern

Will, a UF graduate with a BS in advertising, was raised here in Tampa. He has been working on SEM campaigns for our clients and utilizing his skills to master both traditional and digital mediums in terms of planning and buying. Ideally, he would like to use his multi-faceted talents to land a gig as a “hybrid worker” for one of the local agencies.


Pareesa Al-Ansari Khwaja | Creative Intern

Pareesa is about as diligent a designer as you can imagine. A native of the east coast of Florida, she’s a senior at USF who’s dedicated to the world of advertising. A major part of what makes Schifino Lee so great for her is “… whenever the opportunity arises to teach us something new, they don’t hesitate to bring us along and guide us though it while still utilizing our talents to our full extent.” This spring, Pareesa will be graduating from USF and hopes her intern experience has helped prepare her for a role as a graphic designer at a major firm in Tampa Bay.


Courtney Holliday | Account Service Intern

Courtney is a junior at USF, double majoring in Advertising and Sociology. Courtney originally hales from Philadelphia and has a passion for snowboarding, rollerblading and any type of water sports – all with a GoPro strapped to her head. Yet, one of her most enjoyable activities has been tackling the various challenges of an account service intern. Once she wraps up at USF, Courtney hopes to pursue a career as an account exec for a large ad firm in LA.


Kelsea Fowler | Creative Intern

A senior at Florida Southern College, Kelsey was first indoctrinated into the ad business by her father, who runs local audio production company, Sound Asylum. Kelsea has contributed her writing skills to various Schifino Lee clients, including Alessi and Lowry Park Zoo. Her goal after graduating? Getting paid to do the thing she truly loves. We have a sneaking suspicion that will soon come true.


Lexi Dannemiller | Account Service Intern

Lexi’s journey is a bit more circuitous than our other interns. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in psychology, but found herself drawn to Tampa Bay to focus on a career in advertising instead. Always willing to contribute, Lexi loves the thrill of working at a competitive place like Schifino Lee. Fortunately, one of Schifino Lee’s clients recognized Lexi’s enthusiasm and skills, and has hired her on as part of the marketing team for Franchise Edge. Congrats, Lexi!


Thomas Mariani | Creative Intern

Thomas is yet another Tampa native on our team, having graduated from Florida State University earlier this year. Though he’s interned at multiple advertising agencies and for media-centered websites, none of them have the type of camaraderie on display at Schifino Lee. “People love to say they have that kind of kinship, but this is one of the rare places where everyone feels genuinely helpful, courteous and fun.” Following his internship, Thomas plans to get a job in entertainment exhibition or marketing, specifically for films and television.


Lissette Deza | Account Service Intern

A senior at USF, Lissette has actually been interning for Schifino Lee since July. One of her proudest moments involved client Ashley Nation’s big Twister Event. After going all over USF to promote it, she took great pride in seeing so many happy attendees make it a huge success. After graduating this semester, Lissette is aiming for an account service job at an ad firm in New York or LA. We like that big league ambition.

Schifino Lee - 11:40 am December 11, 2015

Think Outside the Gift Wrap


Each year, Schifino Lee celebrates the holiday season through Random Acts of Merry, as a way to give back to the community or various charitable causes. This year, we invite you and your friends, family and coworkers alike to participate in a social media campaign that will bring the community together in the most random ways – and we’ll match you! To get involved, all you need to do is take a photo of a random act of kindness and share it on Instagram with #randomactsofmerry. Examples of these acts include dropping off food/clothes at a homeless shelter, paying for a stranger’s lunch order, or helping and elderly neighbor hang their holiday lights.

All photos shared with this hashtag will be aggregated onto our campaign landing page, through a live social feed. The campaign will launch on December 12th and run until December 25th.

This year we are thrilled to be supporting three main charities as a part of our outreach — The Humane Society of Tampa Bay, onbikes and The Salvation Army of Tampa.

You can specifically support one of our featured charities by tagging the charity of your choice within your social media post. As an incentive, Schifino Lee will match each tag with a donation to that specific charity. Donations from Schifino Lee will come in the form of food, blankets, toys, etc for the Humane Society, canned food and toiletries for the Salvation Army and employee participation in onbikes’ “Bike Build.”


The Humane Society of Tampa Bay is dedicated to ending animal homelessness and providing care and comfort for companion animals in need. On December 12th, the society is pairing with Mastro Subaru for their annual “Subaru Share the Love ” event to help collect donations of pet food and supplies.


onbikes is a non-profit organization that delivers new bicycles to at-risk and foster children in our local community. On December 12th onbikes will host their annual Winter Wonder Ride – a community bike ride through the heart of Tampa. All proceeds from the ride go towards the purchase of bicycles and helmets for at-risk and foster kids throughout the Tampa Bay area this holiday season.


The Salvation Army in Hillsborough County exists to save souls, grow saints and serve suffering humanity. Volunteers are needed throughout the month of December to organize gift distribution to needy families and help with food prep and services in emergency and transitional shelters.

Visit for more information.

Schifino Lee - 12:24 pm September 11, 2015


chad and marySchifino Lee would like to welcome two, true citizens of the advertising world to its creative team. Chad Grandey and Mary Rach, perhaps two of the biggest graphic design enthusiasts you might meet, are hopping aboard the S.S. Schifino Lee to continue their specialized journey in Art Direction.

Chad hails from the top creative shops of the Lone Star State (Texas). Powered by coffee and more coffee, it’s no surprise that Chad puts so much energy and let’s say, orderliness, into our company culture. Chad + caffeine + anal retentiveness (or excessive organization) = National ADDY’s and a potpourri of awards, which is fine by us!

Chad joins our team with twenty years of experience. After receiving his graphic design degree from Pittsburgh Technical Institute, Chad’s metaphorical Chalice of Experience is filled to the brim with national work for Best Buy, Delta Airlines, Samsung, and National Geographic. His trophy shelf is packed with National ADDY’s, Healthcare Ad Awards and Flagler Awards: Best in Show. Even Adweek, Creativity, Graphis, and Archive magazines feature Chad’s unmatched knowledge of all things artsy.

Mary exudes the aura of a Zen, quirky creative and has the client fan-base to prove it. After hours, Mary gets her adrenaline fix by searching Zillow and Trulia for quality real estate listings. Don’t we all! She is also a proud dog-mom.

Before joining our team, Mary earned her graphic design degree from Kendall College of Art and Design. She also worked with Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, Experience Kissimmee, First Watch, and Moffitt Cancer Center. Her work has also been honored with three Gold and four Silver regional ADDY’s and multiple district level trophies.

Swing by Schifino Lee to meet our new team members! If you happen to pass a coffee shop, Chad could probably use another cup of joe. It’s been about an hour since his last coffee. Then take a second to meet Mary- she’s awesomely artistic!

Schifino Lee - 5:18 pm August 28, 2015

The Creative Process by Pat Floyd

I was recently in a client meeting presenting logos and the client asked about a favorite logo. “How did you come up with that?” they asked. My answer was, “Beating my head into the concrete for days on end.”

This particular logo was defeating me. I was losing a battle because I just couldn’t seem to come up with something beyond the ordinary. Although ordinary is easy, easy is boring. For me, I stare at great logos for hours. Then, I create okay logos for hours. Then I create more. Then I delete most of them. Then I create more. I then end up with a few logos I’m happy enough with to show to the team. In this client’s case, there were definitely a few good options there, but I really needed one more solid concept; so, back to beating my head into the concrete.

What’s funny about the creative process is after thinking you’re never going to come up with a logo that will please yourself, the answer is easy. It just pops into your head like a random thought fairy. Most of the time, like this one, I wasn’t even exactly thinking about the problem. But when I did, it was a rush to get it out of my head and onto the screen (I’m a digital doodler- many designers will sketch every idea first, but I find I can do it faster and better going straight to Illustrator).

Creating the logo in this case took maybe 30 minutes after deciding on a direction. The road to get there, however, took hours and dozens of failed attempts. You just can’t stop at the easiest solution. Keep thinking. Keep doodling. Keep daydreaming. I can’t stress this one enough.

Schifino Lee - 9:31 am July 23, 2015

Schifino Lee infected with laughter and ethics.

Mitch and HarraIf our walls could wear ear plugs, they would. Though we have a lot of fun here at Schifino Lee throwing darts at doors, concepting across the hall, and testing our latest guerilla marketing stunts, we also have a serious job to do. So we felt lucky when our most recent team additions were a great deal of fun and also pretty incredible at their jobs.

Mitch has done everything. Both sides of the industry, both sides of production, and probably both sides of the law. Mitch is crazy. The kind of crazy you want to hang out with. He’s a crazy talented daredevil. He’ll eat anything hot. Like really hot.  Like “don’t try that, it’s too hot” hot. But he’s also a crazy talented production artist.

He joins our team, with seven years of invaluable experience in print and pre-press campaigns with clients the likes of which people say “wow” to —Kraft Foods, Coca Cola, Proctor & Gamble, Target, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, Busch Gardens, Time-Life, and National Geographic. Wow. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Graphic Design from IADT.

If laughter is the best medicine, she’s a world’ renoun surgeon. Harra just might be the happiest, person we’ve ever met. But it’s her diverse background that makes her such a valuable asset to Schifino Lee’s media team.

Harra graduated with two Bachelor degrees; one in Interior Design and one in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. Before joining our team, she worked on many projects including The Dali Museum, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Reeves Import Motor Cars, Visit Florida, and the University of South Florida.

Swing by Schifino Lee for a visit and please bring Mitch some milk. He just burnt the inside of his body with terrible peppers. Then just take half a minute to meet Harra — you’ll find yourself engaged with the most delightful connection in all of Tampa. Man, what a laugh.

Schifino Lee - 12:07 pm July 16, 2015

Katie McGirney

11167671_10203959884052651_5774319700370801960_nOur third intern spotlight is on account service intern, Katie McGirney. Katie is a self-proclaimed goofball from Tampa, Florida, but has felt a yearning for the Northeast her entire life. There she will begin her sophomore year studying Communication and French at Boston College this fall. Beyond the goofball, Katie is a great energy around the office and is a hard worker willing to help with any project. Look for her laughing at her own hilarious jokes, or writing about all things sports for The Gavel, a student publication at BC.

1.) What made you want to get into Advertising?

I actually began college as a math major (thinking I wanted to be an engineer before I got to school) and soon realized that was not what made me happy. I want to be able to let my personality show in the work that I do, and interact with others and build relationships on a day-to-day basis, and advertising gives me that opportunity to work a job that is anything but ordinary.

2.) What’s your favorite ad/campaign?

The Dove True Beauty, Real Strength and Care campaigns are a few of my favorite, along with the always “like a girl” campaign. (No, I’m not crying, there’s just something in my eye.)

3.) If you had one super power what would it be?

Only one? Contrary to popular belief, being asked this question since I was in Kindergarten does not make giving an answer any easier. After long deliberation, and switching my answer at least 12 times, I am going to be selfish and indecisive and go with time travel or teleportation. But if were talking about standard genetic abilities that can be mistaken as superpowers, I would go with the ability to eat anything without gaining any weight; dessert foods for every meal!

4.) What do you hope to accomplish during this internship?

I hope to not only gain valuable experience in the advertising world, but I am also using this to test the waters and see if I can see myself doing this for the rest of my life and making a career out of it.

5.) What are you like outside the office?

Outside of the office, I am probably the same as I am inside of it: speaking with an “inside voice” that is ten times too loud, cracking jokes so bad that they’re good, making the best of every situation that life throws my way, and trying to keep a positive outlook on just about everything.
I also like to eat good food and watch sports, a lot.

Schifino Lee - 2:33 pm July 8, 2015

Schifino Lee Hires First International Employee

Zoe Hagley

Schifino Lee is excited and proud to welcome our first international employee: Zoë Hagley. Zoë is working as the Media and Communications Coordinator based on the island of Grenada. She is charged with the responsibility of implementing advertising, public relations and social media campaigns through various marketing channels for our clients in Grenada. “I’ve worked on the client side for quite some time, so I’m very excited (and intrigued) to finally be on the agency side of the advertising process. I’ve already learned so much and I’m sure this is just the beginning,” said Zoë.

Working abroad for Schifino Lee has been a bit of an adjustment for Zoë. “Sometimes it’s a challenge to merge the American and Grenadian cultures, but we make it work. Grenadians are very laid back. On the other hand, the American culture is very fast paced. So far I’m enjoying working remotely – I get to be on my beautiful island while working for an amazing company in another country,” she said.

Over the past two years, Zoë gained invaluable experience across various aspects of media and public relations. Following a brief stint as a journalist with Grenada’s largest media house, she built a prosperous career managing all internal and external communications for LIME Grenada – a major telecommunications company on the island.

Apart from her passion for Media and Communications, Zoë has an unwavering love for the performing arts and as an actress has performed for several theatre productions in Jamaica, Grenada and Toronto. She also loves to scuba dive and recently received her PADI certification. She advised, “If you think the Caribbean is beautiful on land, you should definitely see it underwater!”


Schifino Lee - 10:58 am July 7, 2015

Haley Greene

schifino lee haley

Our second intern spotlight is on account service intern, Haley Greene. Haley is a Tampa, Florida native and will enter her third year at the University of Virginia in August where she is studying Leadership and Public Policy. She’s looking forward to getting outside of the classroom and learning through industry experience. At the end of her internship, she will be traveling across the pond to study abroad at Oxford University in England.

Q. What inspired you to go into advertising?

A. Don’t know if I’ve been inspired yet. I’m using my time at Schifino Lee to see if I’m inspired. I am enjoying it so far, though.

Q. What’s your favorite commercial or campaign?

A. I took a class titled Mass Media and American Politics last semester and I honestly find any ridiculous campaign ad amazing, all partisan preferences aside. Personal favorites include Gary Peters – The Loan SharknadoChristine O’Donnell denying her involvement with witchcraft, Joni Ernst’s revealing her hands-on experience with hogs,  and Christopher Knight’s iMovie rendition of Star Wars and how it relates to Rockingham County schools. The more ridiculous, the better.

Q. If you had a super power, what would it be?

A. This is a cop-out but I would definitely rather go to Hogwarts than have a super power.

Q. What do you hope to accomplish during this internship?

A. Gain some real experience in a real company instead of being shamelessly used by family members and friends to create logos and collateral for school organizations/family businesses/community events.

Q. Who is your favorite ad icon/character?

A. Does Don Draper count? If not, then anyone/anything that is not Flo from Progressive. Or both.

Q. What’s your guilty pleasure?

A. Ice cream. People might think this is a lame answer, but I eat a lot of ice cream. I would drop anyone/anything to be a Flavor Guru for Ben and Jerry’s. The job description can be found here.

Schifino Lee - 9:20 am June 24, 2015

Dina Ghioto

Our summer interns have been hard at work at Schifino Lee. They’ve brought excitement, wit, youth, and vision to our office. We’ve grown quite comfortable to them being around to lend a hand or take a look at something with a fresh set of eyes, and now we want to show them off. Our first spotlight is on the organized, smiley, and vivacious Dina Ghioto. She’s an account services intern majoring in Advertising at the University of Georgia.

Q. What inspired you to get involved in advertising?

A. Ironically, bad advertising inspired me to get involved in the advertising world. I am a fixer, so I loved looking at billboards, listening to the radio, and watching television commercials as a kid and dreaming up ways to improve the ads and make them better.

Q. If you had a super power, what would it be?

A. If I had a super power, it  would be the ability to speak every language fluently. I love to travel and I think that superpower would be beneficial and fun to surprise people with.

Q. What’s your favorite commercial/campaign?

A. My favorite campaign has always been and will always be Chickfila’s “Eat Mor Chikin” Campaign. It was one of the first times I understood and appreciated the genius behind innovative, creative, and unique advertising. It doesn’t get much better than an illiterate cow, aka future hamburger, urging you to eat more chicken while hanging from a billboard or water tower to get your attention.

Q. What do you hope to accomplish during the internship?

A. During this internship, I hope to get a better understanding of the advertising world by working with real clients, creating real work, and being a part of a real advertising team. I know I will gain valuable experience and a deep knowledge that I could’ve never acquired  in the classroom. I want to walk out the doors knowing I really applied myself, learned, and grew both personally and professionally.

Q. What are you like outside of the office?

A. Outside the advertising world, I am an adrenaline junkie, world traveler, and lifelong dancer. See photo above (that’s me, bungy jumping in South Africa with my dance partner, Patrick Swayze).


Schifino Lee - 10:00 am June 23, 2015

“Little Free Library” Discovered on Schifino Lee’s Adopted Mile

As part of the Schifino Lee adopted mile of Bayshore Boulevard, we discovered a “Little Free Library” located between S. Dakota Ave and S. Oregon Ave. The library is the size of a bird house and is part of a lending program with the notion of “take a book, return a book”. Anyone may stop by the library and take a book — as long as one is left in its place. This initiative began in Wisconsin in 2009 and has since grown throughout the country; the mission of these libraries is to promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide.

Each library is unique but they all share a common theme of exchanging books and bringing people together. These libraries help build a sense of community by sharing creativity, wisdom, and a little part of ourselves with our neighbors, strengthening the community and spreading knowledge through the exchange of books.

Any books may be left in the library, from your favorite Fodor’s travel guide, to your favorite childhood storybook, to even your old chemistry textbook. If it’s a book, you can leave it.  

There is something so special about getting lost in a book, you can immerse yourself in whichever world you so choose and be whoever you want to be. Celebrate summer and let yourself enjoy a good book, and if a book has changed your life, what is better than sharing that with others? That is what the little free library allows you to do.

Schifino Lee is excited to be a part of this community building program.

Schifino Lee - 9:51 am June 11, 2015

Schifino Lee Keeps Tampa Bay Beautiful

You might’ve noticed that a new sign has gone up on Bayshore just before the Bank of Tampa, near the Schifino Lee office. The sign is a reminder to our agency and Bayshore drivers to keep our watershed litter free. As part of the “Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful” program, we have adopted 1 mile of Bayshore Boulevard and pledged to keep it clean. From West Bay Street to South Dakota Avenue, we are responsible for picking up debris and trash from the roadside, Bayshore’s sidewalk, and the grassy area between to keep one of Tampa’s most beautiful areas pristine.

“Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful” strives to provide environmental education and volunteer opportunities to the citizens of Tampa Bay. The program creates environmental awareness, encourages and develops environmental responsibility and stewardship throughout the community, provides community service opportunities, and empowers individuals, corporations, and groups to take a proactive approach to environmental concerns.

Schifino Lee completed three clean-ups in 2014 and is excited to continue service in 2015. Last April, our friends at Westshore Pizza even joined us in the clean-up. Getting outside to give back to the community and spend some time in the sunshine is one of our favorite breaks from the everyday routine at the office.

We are so proud of the work we do at the agency, both in the office and out in the community. Schifino Lee looks forward to many more years of service in our beautiful Tampa Bay!


Schifino Lee - 3:01 pm June 10, 2015

Art Truly Imitates Life

As the aunt of a teenager with Asperger syndrome, I was astonished how closely “Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”, a beautiful Broadway play, depicted life through the perspective of a young boy named Christopher afflicted with Asperger syndrome, an autistic disorder.

The play was made all the more poignant to me with Taylor Trensch (in photo above) playing the part of Christopher. Taylor is my significant other of six year’s son, and shares the lead role of the play with Alex Sharp (winner of the 2015 Tony Award for Best Actor). His portrayal of this syndrome was deeply moving for me as I recognized in it the effect of the syndrome on my nephew, my brother, sister-in-law, and their family.Those who suffer from this disorder experience great discrepancy between their intellectual and social abilities. It is rare to find artwork that truly imitates the realities of life, and further even rarer to find artwork centered on such a particularly unique and specific perspective.

The purpose of art is to express. In the case of “Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”, the objective is to allow viewers to experience the story line of the play through Christopher’s perspective. Marianne Elliot’s leadership and direction of the play allow all who experience this performance to fully immerse themselves in Christopher’s world-view and understand his actions, thoughts, and words in a way that would be impossible to replicate in reality.  For that, she deservedly received the 2015 Tony for Best Director for the play.

“Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” won five of the six 2015 Tony Awards for which it was nominated, including Best Play, Best Director, Best Actor in a Leading Role of a Play, Best Scenic Design of a Play, and Best Lighting Design of a Play.

I am immensely proud of my nephew for his bravery and continued success in facing Asperger syndrome, my brother and sister-in-law for their continued support and strength, and Taylor for his ability to accurately and sensitively share with the world the struggle experienced by those with this disorder and their families.

Amanda Koenn - 3:44 pm May 20, 2015

Schifino Lee Is Seeking to Help Entrepreneurs With Branding Their Startups

Since the advent of crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Crowdfunder, showcasing your entrepreneurial ideas with persuasive clarity has become of paramount importance.

With 20+ years of experience, Schifino Lee has seen many startup companies with exactly half of what they need to succeed. When it comes to developing their firm and creating their product or service, they possess a phenomenal talent. But, they lack many of the fundamental skills to strategically market their idea.

Hey entrepreneurs, it’s okay — you can’t be great at everything.

That’s precisely where we come into the picture. We know a polished, well-thought-out capital-seeking effort can make all the difference between the almighty Go and a No-Go on a fund-seeking project. So, we’re offering up our agency’s professional, creative, and marketing services. We’d like to help bring your great idea to life, right from the beginning of its branded life.

Though agency services like naming, brand identity development, video production, writing, and designing are often beyond most entrepreneurs’ initial capital or resources, we’re looking to foster the pioneer spirit here in Tampa Bay as well as beyond. That’s who we are. That’s what we believe in. That’s why Schifino Lee is willing to create a unique kind of client-agency relationship with stakeholders who’re building the right kind of ideas.

We’ll help you stand out in the sea of countless others.

Schifino Lee - 4:53 pm May 4, 2015

Schifino Lee Wins Big at the 2015 ADDY District Competition

This past weekend, the Schifino Lee team took home a Gold + Charlie Award  for Best Overall Newspaper Ad for our Sweetwater Organic Newspaper campaign as well as several Silver awards at the American Advertising Federation’s 2015 District ADDY competition in Orlando, Florida. Next up, Nationals in Las Vegas!

Schifino Lee - 12:34 pm May 1, 2015

A Memorable Taste of Reality For Spring Interns

As we bid a fond farewell to April, so too do we say goodbye to our spring class of Account and Creative interns. And how better to capture the value they got from their real world experience then to hear directly from a few of them.

Alexis Kressu, Account Services Intern

“Interning with Schifino Lee has taught me how to think outside the box using an original, strategic mindset. As an Account Service intern, I had the opportunity to work closely with the Account, Media, and Creative departments as well as several clients in the Tampa Bay area. I enjoyed assisting with photo shoots, creating competitive analyses for new accounts, and gaining experience as to how an ad agency truly operates. Being a Marketing major had restricted my ability to see the artistic side of things. At Schifino Lee, I developed an appreciation for graphic design and branding. As I pursue future endeavors, I hope to find an agency where I can apply my extended knowledge in the advertising field.”

Carlos Agatep, Account Services Intern

“Schifino Lee gave me my first real-world taste of what their website calls “the secret strategic sauce”. Over the last three to four months, I’ve had the chance to try the “sauce” with just about everything: aiding the Account team in developing competitive analyses for clients of various industries; performing market and media research for media buying purposes; and seeing first-hand what creative minds can develop to help keep businesses relevant in their respective industries. The team at Schifino Lee has a perfect blend of incredible work ethic and the ability to have fun. It reminded me why I wanted to get into Advertising in the first place – it doesn’t feel like just a job, it’s something I love. As I leave Schifino Lee, I hope to find a team of my own to improve upon the recipes for success I’ve had while tasting their secret sauce. I’ll be looking for my shot to use my strategic mindset with creative expression in the Tampa Bay area. I leave with a greater understanding of what advertising is truly like in application, the myriad opportunities I can have within an agency, and a desire to be part of the industry more than ever before.”

Tom VanderVelde, Creative Intern

“When someone asks me what I learned, I always have trouble answering. In fourth grade Science, I could just say something like “the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell,” and that would be good enough. But this is a little more abstract. I definitely learned things during my time at Schifino Lee, I’m sure of it. Just this morning, I learned that popping your knuckles isn’t bad for you, or so Dan claims. Beyond that, I got the quintessential “experience in an agency setting” that all advertising job postings ask for. Prior to interning, I attended portfolio school, which was supposed to emulate an agency setting. I have to say, nothing compares with the real thing. Schifino Lee is an excellent place to get the real thing: small enough that I know everyone by name, but big enough that there are some really cool projects to work on. As I move on to the next big thing in my career, I’ll fondly remember my time in the creative department, and I’m really grateful for the opportunity to work with some great people.”

The Schifino Lee team wishes all of our Spring 2015 interns the best of luck in their future adventures as we now turn to plans for giving our upcoming summer interns a true taste of the real ad biz.

Schifino Lee - 10:42 am April 7, 2015

National Beer Day

National Beer Day

In honor of National Beer Day, let us toast the benefits of liquid inspiration!

Schifino Lee - 10:40 am April 3, 2015

Tom’s Thoughts: Grape-nuts

Tom's Thoughts: Grape-nuts

Always Deep.

Schifino Lee - 10:34 am March 19, 2015

Tampa Bay Beer Week: New Keg

The Patmeister

In celebration of Tampa Bay Beer Week, a new keg was tapped last week at Schifino Lee. The Patmeister presents our latest ‪#‎beer‬ offering: “Wheat Stroke”, from Ybor City brewers, Coppertail Brewing Co. “Wheat Stroke” is a smooth and refreshing American ale with a hint of citrus that quenches the thirst during this 86 degree ‪‎Florida‬ spring day. Come stop in and share a pint with us.

Schifino Lee - 10:07 am March 12, 2015

Schifino Lee Hires Train Robber and YouTube Star for Creative Team

There are a couple of talented new art and copy slingers at Schifino Lee with an arsenal of creative experience behind them. Beyond their award-winning work and experience with national advertising campaigns, they’re also pretty cool guys.

Mike Looper, Copywriter

Mike “Loop” Looper claims to be a former train robber and a one-time almost-extra in a George Clooney movie, though it’s his skills as a writer that make him an excellent addition to our creative team. He’s worked on projects for HondaJet, Lowes Foods, BASF, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, Moffitt Cancer Center, Ekornes, Lennar Homes, S&N Communications, Polivka International, and Texas Children’s Hospital. Before getting into advertising, Loop studied Writing and Media Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Using the majority of what he acknowledges as an “empty head”, Loop brings an exciting new point of view, voice, and personality to a wide variety of Schifino Lee clients.

Jon Rodriguez, Senior Art Director

Jon “No Nickname” Rodriguez is an Art Director/Carl Sagan superfan with considerable talents as an illustrator and designer. He also writes and produces his own music and, just to round out the triple-threat, he hosts a show broadcast on YouTube called Zen with Ben. He’s worked on projects for Toyota, Baskin Robbins, Dunkin Donuts, Buffalo Wild Wings, Shoe Carnival, Publix, Sweetbay Supermarket, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Tampa Bay Rowdies, Florida’s Natural, and Costa Rica Tourism. Prior to working in advertising, Jon exhibited his illustrations in galleries across the country with some of his work being featured in various books and art blogs. He earned his degree in Graphic and Interactive Communication at Ringling College of Art and Design.

If you see them, welcome them to the Schifino Lee family, and be sure to call them by the wrong name.

Schifino Lee - 2:32 pm March 3, 2015

Our Biggest Night Ever at the Tampa Bay American Advertising Awards

Last Thursday night the Schifino Lee team attended the American Advertising Awards Gala (they’ll always be the ADDYs to us) at Port Tampa Bay. We won big, coming home with 13 awards including 7 Golds and 2 “Best of the Bay” trophies. Here’s a list of everything we won:

  • Best of the Bay, Gold, and two Silver awards in Newspaper, Color category for Sweetwater Organic Farm, “Ourganic is Better Organic”
  • Best of the Bay and Gold award in Advertising Industry Self-Promo category for “Be the Santa Toy Drive”
  • Gold award for Gerdau Ameristeel “New NY Bridge” print ad
  • Gold awards in Digital Advertising and Elements of Advertising categories for Ameriflight website and photography
  • Gold award in Integrated Campaigns category for The Powers Company’s “The Power of Un” campaign
  • Gold award in Elements of Advertising category for P&S Transportation photography
  • Silver award in Radio, Campaign category for Lizard Juice
  • Silver award in Television category for Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo’s “London Frightmare” TV commercial

The American Advertising Awards, formerly the ADDYs, is the advertising industry’s largest and most representative competition for creative excellence. It attracts over 40,000 entries every year in local ADDY competitions. Thursday night’s local show was sponsored by AAF Tampa Bay. The winning work now moves on to the district level competition in Orlando on May 2 for a chance to compete at the national level in Las Vegas in June.

Thank you to all of our wonderful clients and production partners! We’re grateful for the opportunities we’ve had to produce excellent work this past year and we’re committed to raising the bar even higher next year.

Schifino Lee - 11:44 am February 26, 2015

Schifino Lee Named Agency of Record for Gasparilla Interactive Festival

Schifino Lee has partnered with the first-ever Gasparilla Interactive Festival (GIF) as Agency of Record and a festival Founder. The GIF festival, to be held on March 6, 2015, is anticipated as the Southeast region’s showcase event for cutting-edge technologies, digital innovation, and entrepreneurial inspiration as well as a long-awaited addition to Tampa Bay’s multi-faceted Gasparilla Arts Month.

Schifino Lee agreed to the pro bono agency partnership with GIF including the creation of branding, logo, print ad campaign, posters, a website, visual designs, broadcast radio, and festival banners. The concept for GIF’s branding evolved out of the festival’s focus on interactivity and connectivity: each part of the logo is autonomous yet, when banded together, creates something greater than each individual part.

“Our commitment to the Gasparilla Interactive Festival aligns with Schifino Lee’s goal to seek out new and innovative creative solutions in the digital world; the fact that it also supports Tampa’s business and creative communities makes our support even more important,” said Paola Schifino, Principal and Co-founder of Schifino Lee. “We are honored and excited to be involved with this inaugural festival and look forward to this event being an integral part of the Gasparilla season.”

In addition to becoming integrated into the Tampa Bay Area’s festival-packed Gasparilla season, March 6, 2015 has been named “Gasparilla Interactive Festival Day” in Hillsborough County by the Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners and District 2 County Commissioner Victor Crist.

The festival features compelling presentations and forums from the brightest minds in emerging technology, interactive media, and disruptive entrepreneurialism. It includes exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders, a keynote speaking series including Faris Yakob, Joanna Lord, and Peter Shankman, two speaker panels, and an expo open to the public.

The Gasparilla Interactive Festival is a community event organized by Gasparilla Interactive Festival Inc., a Florida non-profit organization which was founded by leadership members of the American Advertising Federation and Ad 2 Tampa Bay chapters. It is made possible through the collaboration of Tampa Bay’s public, private, non-profit, and academic institutions including Schifino Lee.

Schifino Lee - 12:18 pm January 29, 2015

Strategy, Planning, & Bumper Cars

How freeing it is to slam the pedal all the way down, pushing so hard you almost crack through the floor. Smile. And navigate like a drunk baby. Not without a care- not like Louise letting it all go over the edge- just the opposite. In a bumper car, your cares are lifted and you are free to cruise in any direction.

I’ve been in four wrecks over the past 32 years. The first three turned me into a timid driver; the last one-  a terrifying head-on collision-  gave me confidence. I realized there’s no point living a life filled with fear. It’s too heavy a burden and we can accomplish so much more without it.

When we create, we have to be the same way, confident and free. Our best solutions hit when nothing is holding us back. So, we open our eyes to new possibilities. We say powerful things like “What if” and we take chances. A lot of chances. The greatest minds are not the greatest minds because they drove a 2007 Toyota Corolla like it was a 2007 Toyota Corolla; they drove it like it was a rocket-fueled Bumper Ferrari.

This year, plan for success. Build a strategy around research and big ideas. Define your goals and aspirations. And take every opportunity available to say “What if” and see where it leads.

Schifino Lee - 3:04 pm October 7, 2014

Schifino Lee’s Triple-Load of New Talent

To ensure our clients get the freshest thinking and highest quality work, we’ve added three outstanding young members to our account and creative teams: Junior Art Directors Heather Fitzpatrick and Heather Fako, along with Account Executive Kendra Mahon.

Kendra Mahon, Account Executive

Kendra brings extensive agency experience to Schifino Lee in tourism and hospitality having worked with brands such as VISIT FLORIDA, Visit Tampa Bay, The Epicurean Hotel, and The Dali Museum. Before Kendra began her agency tenure, she worked on global branding and original content development for the IRONMAN brand and the World Triathlon Corporation.

A Boston native, Kendra moved south to earn a double major in Creative Writing and Communications from the University of Tampa before gravitating to the account side of the business. She’s fond of Tina Fey’s approach to life and business challenges, “Say yes and you’ll figure it out afterwards.”

Heather Fitzpatrick, Junior Art Director

Originally an intern for our agency, we liked “Fitz” so much, we recently made her a full-time part of the creative team. Before joining Schifino Lee, Heather had valuable internships at Atlanta’s Finished Art Inc, and Philly shops Lunchbox Communications and the Foster & Redmond Creative Agency. Her diverse client experience includes Coca-Cola, Odwalla, PBS Sports, Zoo Miami, and Constitution Center.

Heather is a University of Tampa alum with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. She likes Andy Warhol’s belief that, “Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.”

Heather Fako, Junior Art Director

Our other new Heather (Heather Fako), also a junior art director, comes to Schifino Lee from Chicago by way of Tempe, Arizona. She has impressively diverse agency experience with clients such as Heineken, Jim Beam, Xcel Energy, Boston Scientific, Fairmont Hotels, and Invetech. Heather’s not only a talented graphic designer and art director, she knows her stuff when it comes to animation and motion graphics too.

Born and raised in Chicago, she headed to Arizona State University for her BS in Visual Communication Design before venturing to Europe to study abroad for nine months.

Please join us in welcoming Kendra and the Heathers to the Schifino Lee team.