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By Maria Ortiz Company

Meet the Team: Samantha Russell

13 minute read

To continue with our “Meet the Team” series, this week I had the chance to learn a little bit more about our Director of Marketing and Sales, Samantha Russell. Samantha is the mastermind in everything marketing and working under her has been nothing but a pleasure and a great opportunity to learn more than I ever expected (Psst…More “Meet the Team” Posts: Meet Nick and Meet Ryan).

1) Where are you originally from?

I was raised in Cleveland and attended Miami University in Southern Ohio. I will always be an Ohio girl at heart. My parents and five siblings all still live in the area, as well as my many cousins, aunts and uncles – so needless to say I make the drive from PA to OH quite often for visits.

2) Have you always worked within Marketing? What are some of the previous roles you have held through your career?

My degree is in Organizational Communication (PR) and my first job out of College was as a Special Events Planner for Penn State University’s College of Education. I have also worked as a Major Gifts Officer raising funds for Penn State, and as the Executive Director of a small private Foundation. In each role, I’ve always had assignments or responsibilities that pertain to both Sales/Outreach or Marketing in some capacity.

3) What about Marketing do you enjoy the most?

I love working with our Clients (at Twenty Over Ten) to help them understand how to best market themselves online. So many of our clients are small business owners, and many of them simply don’t have the time or resources to devote to marketing. Teaching them some simple strategies and seeing them first execute those strategies and then reap the rewards is extremely fulfilling to me personally.

Marketing for Financial Advisors - Twenty Over Ten
6 Months pregnant and representing Twenty Over Ten at the NAPFA Conference in San Diego. May 2015
4) What is your favorite part about your job?

That no two days are the same. As my job title is so broad (Director of Sales and Marketing) and we have a small team, I am constantly overseeing many areas of the company. Sales, Conferences, Digital Marketing, Content Strategy, Email Marketing, Social Media, SEO Strategies – every day is a bit different and I am constantly being challenged to learn a new skillset or tackle a new opportunity. The field of Digital Marketing itself is constantly changing and you have to stay on top of the latest trends – which makes each week fly by. I truly believe in the quote “Variety is the spice of life.”

Director of Sales and Marketing, Twenty Over Ten
A celebratory photo after completing the Cleveland Half Marathon
5) What are some of your hobbies?

Cooking. Running. Traveling. Hosting dinner parties, BBQs or other informal get-togethers with friends. I love to read and will devour books and every article in the New Yorker, Time, The Atlantic, and New York Times. My latest obsession is podcasts – This American Life and Radiolab always make you think (I particularly loved Darkcode and The Living Room), and my husband jokes that Terry Gross from Fresh Air is in bed with us every night. And of course, I cannot get enough of Serial (little known fact: Sarah Koenig also lives in State College, PA – the home of PSU and where Twenty Over Ten has an office).

6) What is the most amazing place you have traveled to?

Hands down it has to be Positano – a small little hillside town on the Almafi coast of Italy.  I was there for a week during my honeymoon in Europe, and it was literally heaven on earth. I first heard of the town in the 90s – the movie “Only You” was one of my favorite movies and in it they visit Le Sirenuse. From the first time I saw that movie, I knew I had to go there and dreamed of making it my honeymoon destination. My husband is so sweet and since he had basically already traveled all over the world by the time we met, he said he’d leave it up to me to choose where we should go for our two week honeymoon.

Sam_Positano
In Positano, Italy on my Honeymoon

We went in early May – well before tourist season and it was absolutely perfect and even better than I could have imagined. There are lemons the size of your head everywhere you look – and the entire place has the fresh smell of citrus. To get to our hotel, you had to climb over 1,000 stairs (we indulged in eating whatever treats we felt like that trip!). Our room had a little balcony that overlooked the Mediterranean sea and the opposing hillside, and we would sit out there each night and watch the sunset and drink champagne. It was heaven on earth. My husband and I talk about going back once our son is a bit older and we can leave him for longer than just a night or two.

 7.) If you were to tell one person “Thank You” for helping me become the person I am today, who would it be and what did they do?
IMG_0052
Candace, her son Henry, and husband, Johnny with Hudson and me at a Costume Party

My cousin, Candace Corner- Miller. I am the oldest of six children, and so I never had any older siblings, but Candace was like a big sister to me. She is 4 years older and was always leading me in the right direction.She helped me choose the private high school I attended (which set me up for a great college experience), she encouraged me to join cross country when I was younger (and I still love to run to this day), and she was my inspiration for entering the field of PR and Marketing. I still call her multiple times every week and we give each other advice and talk all about our careers, hobbies, and strategic moves. Except now she has a baby boy, Henry, who is four months older than my son, Hudson, so I am always asking her for baby advice too!

8) What is your favorite holiday and why?

I love Fourth of July. It’s summer, it’s low- stress (there are no presents to buy, or stressful situations to navigate), and usually it involves low-key activities like a great BBQ with friends. Watching the fireworks always takes me back to my childhood, when my entire family (aunts, uncles and all my cousins) would go to a carnival near my grandmother’s house. Me and all of my cousins would go on the rides, and run around eating all the junk we wanted like Elephant Ears and Popcorn. Afterwards we’d walk the mile back to my grandparents house for ham sandwiches, pickles, chips, and cold pop. We got to stay up super late (11 PM!), and of course my grandparents would always have sparklers that we’d write our names with against the black sky before leaving.

9) Favorite food?

French Fries. But I don’t eat them as often as I’d like (for obvious reasons) so if I had to choose a “healthy” food it’d be argula. I could eat a simple argula salad with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper three times a day (and sometimes do!)

hudson10) When are you the happiest?

Whenever I’m with my son, Hudson – he makes me giggle just looking at him. He’s so smiley and happy. My husband Ryan is also the funniest person I know – he makes me laugh all day long, and I can truly say that he is my best friend and makes me so happy. Also, always after a good workout. When my family is healthy and happy, and everyone is laughing or sharing a meal together. It doesn’t hurt to have a glass of champagne in my hand either. Or to be on the beach :)

11) What would you do if you won the lottery?

Take our entire extended family on a 2 week trip to Italy. Just don’t tell me I only won $100 bucks.

 

IMG_018012.) What would a perfect day look like?

Spend the day at the beach down at Siesta Key with my Husband Ryan and 4.5 month-old son, Hudson. Ryan and I met at the Siesta Key Oyster Bar and went back and were married in the same area years later. The area will always have a special place in my heart and every year we go back and I’m instantly relaxed and happy.  The beach is actually always ranked one of the top beaches in the United States – the sand is the finest, most pure white powder and so beautiful. We’d get there early and walk the beach, then play in the sand with Hudson, stopping for lunch in Siesta Key Village. This is making me want to book this trip today!

13.) Can you give me a quote that you can relate your view of life to?
“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”
― Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God