Each spring, summer and fall, our internship program gives aspiring marketing and communication professionals the opportunity to gain experience with the latest innovations and best practices we provide to clients. Likewise, it gives us at Schifino Lee an opportunity to learn from the next generation and stay on top of the latest innovations with the Gen Z crowd, from the newest fads on TikTok, to the hippest series on Apple TV+, to the next breakout artists on iTunes. It’s innovation sharing that’s a win-win for interns and for us.
This summer, we continued our program with three marketing and journalism majors about to start their senior years. In this post, one of them, Henry Politz, a journalism major at the University of Missouri, reflects on his impression of our agency from his summer spent here.
Give it a read to discover more about the spirit of innovation that guides our agency. And if you or someone you know would be interested in an internship with us, we invite you to apply on our Work With Us page under Internship Opportunities.
By Henry Politz
Over the course of 30 years, Schifino-Lee has thrived in the ever-evolving advertising and branding industry. This industry is not an easy one to navigate, because of its constant evolution and high unpredictability. Many companies come and go in the world of marketing, but Schifino Lee is still thriving after three decades because of two major factors: Its team and the way its team engages with clients.
The team starts with the co-founders, Ben Lee and Paola Schifino, who founded the company in 1993 and are experts in advertising and branding.
One critical component of Ben and Paola’s successful business is creating and maintaining quality relationships with clients. These client relationships are built upon our core values, the first of which is doing the right thing.
“Trust is a huge component of a long-term client relationship,” Ben said. “You have to do the right thing in terms of making the right suggestions, having the right stewardship of their budget, and making recommendations that you truly believe are the correct thing to do, not just the easy thing to do.”
Paola added, “If you always do the right thing, your relationships will remain strong and respected.”
Ben also talked about the importance of the agency’s second core value, “Maintaining a winning spirit, and being competitive to help clients to accomplish great things.”
“Our third core value is being humble and helpful – meaning no job is too small, every job is important, and there is a commitment to do whatever it takes to help every client.”
These core values are important for Schifino Lee and its clients, and they have remained constant over the course of 30 years.
While these core values have remained the same, though, other aspects of the agency have evolved. The advertising and branding industry is constantly innovating and changing, which means Schifino Lee must do the same.
“We change with the times,” Paola said. “Most of the time, we’re ahead of the change, and as soon as we see a major change in technology and trends, we embrace it and implement it with clients.”
This goes together with Schifino-Lee’s motto: innovate or die.
“Embrace change,” Ben emphasized. “The past is in the rearview mirror, and you can’t just always say, ‘Here’s how we’ve done things in past, and we’re going to keep doing it this way.’ Constantly be learning.”
A team of hard-working, innovative individuals is important for a successful agency. One of the most creative and passionate minds at Schifino-Lee is Jeff Philbin, who joined two years ago and was recently named a partner.
“I’m passionate about my team, my clients, the work we put out, and this agency overall,” Jeff said. “I’m never not going to give 110%. I’m always all in for everything.”
He also talked about what sets Schifino Lee apart from competing agencies.
“What makes us stand out is the fact that we’ve got a 30-year pedigree, which allows us to give three decades’ worth of our insight, expertise, and perspective to all of our clients,” Jeff continued. “We’re not just part of a fad. We’re not just some new technology. We’ve been innovating or dying since ’93.”
Another aspect of the agency’s business that sets it apart is its culture. Vice President Kerry Kaminski, who has been with Schifino Lee for 11 years, is someone who best represents this culture and what Schifino Lee is all about. She’s hard-working and the biggest proponent of the agency’s culture.
“The culture of collaboration and support is the biggest thing that’s never been lost,” Kerry said. “It’s a family. People are happy to be here and truly like each other because Ben and Paola allow us to get to know each other. It’s not just all work. We’ve had social activities like Friday happy hours for a long time.”
Ultimately, the key ingredients to the agency’s success are the team chemistry and the strong team leaders to bring that chemistry together. In this way, Ben, Paola, Jeff, and Kerry do an excellent job leading the agency in the right direction. With a talented team, strong client relationships, respected core values, and a family culture, the future continues to be bright for Schifino Lee.