Kudos to our Committee of Millennials and FUEL teams for their incredible thought leadership! Check out the recap from our latest FUEL event.
Innovator, author and Yankees fan are just a few words to describe this week’s guest. Chief Innovation Officer Bob Pearson sits down with host Aaron Strout on What2Know.
W2O Group is a network of complementary communications, marketing and digital firms. it's network includes: WCG, Twist Mktg Pure, Sentient, and Marketeching with a growing footprint of offices in the United States and Europe.
We build unfair advantages for brands. How? By following the right data to get to the point. That’s where your brand becomes more relevant and valuable to your audience.
Very few companies our size feel this entrepreneurial. There’s little hierarchy and incredible access to the CEO and exec team. It’s a place you have a voice in shaping the company. And on top of that our Culture Clubs make sure we create an environment where you feel connected and well taken care of.
W2O Group is a powerhouse of multi-talented individuals who are hardworking and fun. Openness and honesty at all levels of the organization keep us nimble, allowing us to take risks and innovate together. Leadership promotes an atmosphere in which respectful dissent is encouraged in order to create the best solutions and the best work environment. The matrixed structure of the organization allows us to work on clients across a wide range of industries and practices, offering up countless opportunities to work on projects that align with personal interests and career aspirations.
In order to maintain our focus on innovation, W2O emphasizes the importance of never being satisfied with our own status quo.
W2O leadership provide an environment open to ideas from team members at all levels and specialties.
View leadership bios here or below.
Jim Weiss, Founder and CEO
Jim has nearly 30 years of experience in strategic media and marketing communications focused primarily in the healthcare and technology sectors. He has been involved in nearly every aspect of corporate, product and organizational communications.
Under Jim’s leadership, W2O Group has grown from a one-person consultancy in 2001 to an integrated international operation comprising four separate companies, 12 offices and about 500 people. Today, the company generates nearly $100 million in revenue annually and serves some of the world’s leading companies and brands.
Jim also is founder and sponsor of the W2O Center for Social Commerce at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, his alma mater. The Center has become a leading academic program aimed at providing students with modern media analytics and digital insight and skills to set them apart from their peers. He was inducted into the Newhouse School’s Hall of Fame and honored as one of its 50Forward most accomplished graduates of the last 50 years.
Bob Pearson, President and Chief Innovation Officer
Bob Pearson is globally recognized as a marketing visionary who is driving “pragmatic disruption” in what is now called “Social Commerce.”
An author, frequent speaker and blogger on digital marketing, as well as an instructor for the Syracuse Center for Social Commerce and the U.S. State Department’s Marketing College, his thoughts can be found on W2O’s blog at www.blog.wcgworld.com, including a series titled “Millennials Unplugged” that he writes with his 19 year old daughter and millennials at W2O. After the success of his book Pre-Commerce, Bob will be introducing his next book on the future of media titled Storytizing.
Bob has served as an advisor and investor in many capacities. Highlights include: serving as an original member of the P&G digital advisory board, being appointed by the Governor of Texas to serve as chair and vice chair of the emerging technology fund for the State of Texas (more than $400MM invested), serving on the board of The Advertising Research Foundation, acting as an advisor to Get Smart Content and participating as a Mentor at The Capital Factory, as well as finding time to serve as a board member for The Association for Multiple Impaired and Blind, which builds homes for its constituents.
Bob resides in Austin, Texas.
Jennifer Gottlieb, Chief Client Service Officer
Jennifer has been with W2O Group for a decade and has partnered with global companies big and small in the areas of pharmaceuticals, technology and consumer. She has supported brands from the early stages through to lifecycle management, and has managed launches, integrated campaigns and issues. Jennifer has spent the better part of her career working with top global healthcare companies, including Sanofi, Pfizer, GSK, Roche/Genentech, EMD Serono, Bausch & Lomb, as well as other global companies including Sony Electronics, Galderma, Hershey’s.
Jennifer is on the board of the AMIB, an organization dedicated to developing assisted living facilities to the multiple-impaired and blind, is a member of HBA, PRSA, and volunteers with the American Diabetes Association and with the North Shore Autism Circle. Before joining W2O Group in 2006, Jennifer was the Director of the Healthcare Practice at Cohn & Wolfe, a WPP agency.
Anita Bose, Head of Client & Business Development
A seasoned marketing and communications leader with 20 years of experience, Anita has a proven track record of excellent client service and success in growth of corporate, product, and financial marketing communications for clients around the world, in industries including biopharmaceutical, consumer health, financial services, and technology. At W2O Group, she is responsible for building and leading entrepreneurial, client-focused teams charged with propelling the development and execution of innovative solutions on top of W2O Group’s communications, analytics, and integrated offerings.
Anita holds both an MBA and a Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University. She is also on the board of advisors for Samhati, a nonprofit group focused on improving the social and economic conditions of women and children in Bangladesh.
Aaron Strout, Chief Marketing Officer
Aaron has 20 plus years of social media, mobile, online marketing and advertising experience, with a strong background in integrated marketing. Prior to joining W2O, Aaron spent time as the CMO of Powered Inc. (now part of Dachis Group), VP of Social Media at online community provider, Mzinga, and as Director of Digital Marketing at Fidelity Investments.
Aaron is the coauthor of Location Based Marketing for Dummies (Wiley) and writes a monthly mobile/location-based marketing column on Marketingland.com. He also recently launched the What 2 Know podcast (iTunes) which features industry leaders talking about innovation and best practices.
Aaron sits on the advisory boards of PRNews and PRSA Sillicon Valley. He lives with his wife and three children in Lafayette, CA.
Gary Grates, Principal
Gary Grates leads Corporate and Strategy practices as he is informed by over 25 years of corporate, marketing/brand, labor, and strategic communications experience. He is considered a thought leader in organizational change, and management/employee internal communications, frequently holding lectures that coincide with more than 200 of his published articles and white papers on these topics.
He is an Adjunct Professor at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications; a Teaching Professor at ABERJE, the Brazilian Public Relations Association; and a Trustee of Utica College of Syracuse University.
Gary and his wife Laurene reside in Carmel, New York. The couple has three children.
Richard Neave, Chief Finanical Officer
Richard Neave joined W2O Group in September 2016 to become its Chief Financial Officer. At W2O Group, he oversees all financial aspects – planning, reporting, risk assessment, M&A, and budget management – as the firm scales to grow globally.
A Chartered Accountant from Australia, Richard holds his Bachelor of Business in Accounting and Finance from Griffith University in Australia. Departing from the land down under to London in the ’90s, then to the east coast of the United States, Richard and his family now reside in San Francisco, close to W2O’s headquarters. Having grown up in the Adelaide region with some of the best wine growing areas in the world, his love of reds is well known.
Adam Cossman, Chief Digital Officer
W2O Group acquired Sentient in December 2016, adding to its digital and analytics prowess and thus appointing Adam as Chief Digital Officer. Adam successfully led Sentient as Partner and President from its inception in 2008 by balancing rapid growth with consistent delivery of results. Adam brings to the table a broad set of interactive expertise as well as the ability to translate measurable business objectives into revenue-generating solutions.
Adam received his degree in business administration and computer applications from Sierra Nevada College. He currently resides in Chester, New Jersey, with his wife and two young boys.
Paulo Simas, Chief Creative Officer
Paulo is a creative and business strategy professional with over 25 years of agency experience. He is a Managing Partner for W2O Group. As a lifelong creative and entrepreneur, Paulo is equally skilled at riffing about campaigns with his team as he is at sitting down with the C-Suite to map out a business model fueled by his deep understanding of analytics.
Paulo previously founded the branding agency ODA, which was acquired by W2O Group in 2009. At ODA, Paulo served as the President and Chief Creative Officer for the agency while also leading business development. He has won dozens of international and industry awards by creating eye-catching work for luminary clients such as Covidien, Cardinal Health, Gallo, Medtronic, Oracle, Qualcomm Life, Disney, Proteus, FoxHollow, and Coravin.
Eric Bacolas, Chief People Officer
Eric Bacolas is the Chief People Officer at W2O Group. For the past 20 years, Eric has been helping disruptive businesses rethink their People Strategies to achieve incredible results. Currently, he focuses on building the company’s talent, better clarifying roles, improving internal communication, and maintaining order and organization to accelerate healthy scaling.
Marrying the tenets of brand-building and CRM with organizational behavior and design, Eric’s approach to People/Talent Practices reflects influences from his earlier career in marketing. Eric establishes goals such as molding corporate culture, structure, and policy; improving talent engagement and productivity; and optimizing business outcomes.
Eric earned a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing communications from FIT. He is also a certified SPHR and SHRM-SCP and is an avid urban gardener.
Seth Duncan, Leader, Analytics & Insights
Seth Duncan has led research and analytics teams for over 10 years in both academic and business settings. Since 2007, Seth has focused on using digital and social media data to provide marketing, communications, and strategy insights to a range of clients, including Warner Bros., General Mills, Procter & Gamble, IBM, HP, Medtronic, Genentech, Amgen, and Abbott Laboratories.
He has extensive experience applying these analytics approaches to a broad set of use cases, including product development and design, branding, creative content and execution, messaging, social and Web optimization, and influencer and media relations. He was named one of Holmes Report’s “In2 Innovators of the Year” in 2015 &201.
Seth earned a BA in psychology from Reed College and an MS in Psychophysiology at San Francisco State University.
See additional detail and job positions here.
We have experienced continuous growth every year since 2001.
We offer an internal training tool called W2O University. It is a continuous learning experience designed for all staff, at every level and point in their career growth. Built on a foundation that constantly probes the “why” in all we do, W2O University is the construct through which our firm provides the necessary training and development to improve skills, learn new skills, hone one’s thinking and approach, and explore new areas.
Our internship program allows individuals to work closely with various teams on research, applications and a wide variety of projects from inception to completion. Our interns get the rare opportunity for ownership. Read what some of our interns are saying about thier experience here.
W2O is happy to give employees a lot of sweet perks – and we expect a lot, in return. We know that when employees are happy to come to work every single day, we’re a lot more productive. As our CEO Jim Weiss says, “If you’re not enjoying it, why are you doing it?”
Health & Wellness – What You Expect, Plus Reimbursement For Massage Therapy or Gym Membership
W2O has built a business on being the healthcare partner to some of the world’s most notable brands so we go out of our way to create a healthy environment for you. So in addition to a robust benefits plan (medical, dental, life insurance, disability, flex spending, commuter reimbursement, and everything you would expect from a world-class company) we have a Wellness Programs that includes Benefit Fairs, Free Massages and an Annual Wellness Reimbursement of up to $200 toward fitness, gym memberships, health, and wellness (including massage therapy).
Unlimited Vacation + The Week Between Christmas and New Years
We have a generous holiday schedule that includes office closure between December 25-January 1st. Plus an unlimited vacation policy so you can integrate your work and personal lives in a way that makes sense for you.
Sabbaticals – 5 Weeks Of Fully Paid Time Off
After your 5th Anniversary and every 5 years thereafter, you can take an additional 5 weeks of paid time off to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience of your choice.
Parent-Friendly Policies – Up To 16 Weeks of Time Off Plus An Industry-First Programs for First-Time Moms and Dads
We recognize that you need extra support during those special times in life that’s why we have a parental leave policy that allowsy you to take up to 16 weeks of paid time off for the birth and care of a new born… and we just put in place an-industry first program where all new parents get a personal coach to help them navigate right after welcoming a new addition to their family. Read more about it in our blog post.
Bonuses For Everyone
As a private company, everyone is eligible for bonuses if we achieve our annual goals.
401k and Retirement Savings That Is Matched
Pre-tax and post-tax options for retirement savings, plus a match to your 401(k).
Access To The CEO, Flexible Work Environment And Other Perks
Very few companies our size feel this entrepreneurial. There’s little hierarchy and incredible access to the CEO and exec team. It’s a place you have a voice in shaping the company. And on top of that our Culture Clubs make sure we create an environment where you feel connected and well taken care of (W2O-provided fruit, snacks, beer, wine, coffee, events and our specialty seltzers among other things).
We’re building a different kind of agency. One with an entrepreneurial spirit that leverages data, insights and diversity to drive innovative thinking that helps brands outperform against their competition. We look for people who think differently. People who care less about politics or personal glory, and more about ideas, learning and collective results. Those who thrive on ambiguity, architecting something new, and breaking through old ways to forge new paths. It’s a place you can have a voice regardless of your level. We invite you to join us and “Build Yours.”
The "culture clubs" in each of our offices ensures for recreational time that not only enhances team building but also allows for collaborative activities.
Commitment to Diversity
We are stronger with a wider range of opinions, strengths, and backgrounds to achieve our goals. We foster an environment that embraces diversity by designing initiatives and strategies that attract and develop the most talented individuals.
A case in point: We partnered with The LAGRANT Foundation to form the “Future Leaders in Healthcare Fellowship,” which targets ethnic minorities pursuing careers in healthcare communications. This first-of-its-kind program gives fellows a paid opportunity in one of our offices to receive first-hand experience in the industry. See more below.
W2O/Syracuse Center for Social Commerce
To honor W2O’s roots in Syracuse University and ensure tomorrow’s PR and communications talent is just as impressive as today’s, we put skin in the game.
In 2012, W2O Group's CEO and Founder, Jim Weiss, created the W2O Group Center for Social Commerce which is a collaborative program between W2O Group and Syracuse University's Newhouse school. This was made possible through a generouse gift directly from Jim and is meant to expose Syracuse University students with the resources and training needed to successed in today's marketplace.
The Center for Social Commerce offers exclusive opportunities to it's students by:
Testimonials from previous interns:
“My internship with W2O Group was an unforgettable experience. With their intensive training and cutting-edge strategies and tactics, I had the opportunity to work at the forefront of the industry. They gave me work that not only complemented my Newhouse training, but allowed me to be an even better PR practitioner,” said Carley Weinstein
I have been working at W2O Group full-time (More than 5 years)
W2O is extremely supportive to working parents. I came from a bigger agency, which offered nothing like what we have here. Three months of paid maternity leave (and more depending on tenure) is great and allows you to recover from birth and bond with your new baby while not worrying about having a gap in salary.
One of our main differentiators is our 4th Trimester Program-which is a 3 month coaching program to help moms and dads adjust back to the workplace after having a baby. It’s such a major transition to have a baby (even for the 2nd or 3rd time!). Mostly when you come back to work, everyone asks on day 1 “How’s the baby?!” and then no one. mentions. it. again. No one asks how you’re feeling or if you’re okay, if you’re adjusting, if you’re sleeping, is traveling reasonable right now, etc. It can feel extremely lonely and isolating. Our coach provides all of that AND gives you really practical tips on how to juggle life + work (and still enjoy it and not kill your husband/partner). It’s honestly a game changer.
The other amazing benefit we offer is a program for shipping breastmilk through MilkStork. It’s incredibly difficult to travel as a new mother but in our business it’s sometimes required. One of my biggest stressors as a breastfeeding mother is how do I travel and make sure I can still feed my kid. I’ve pumped in pretty much every airport on the East Coast and last week added a taxi cab to my pumping repertoire BUT W2O makes it so, so much easier by paying to ship milk home when you’re traveling. They have partnered with an amazing service, Milkstork, which will send a kit right to your hotel, you provide the milk and it’s shipped home the next morning via FedEx Priority Overnight. This service is expensive and the fact that W2O offers this is a clear sign of their commitment and a huge reason why I feel so proud to work here.
Pace is very fast and if you're not up for that, may not be the best fit.
Advice to Management
Keep doing what you're doing, we're in a really good place.
I applied through an employee referral. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at W2O Group (San Francisco, CA) in December 2016.
My hiring and interview process was great! The recruiters were consistently responsive, helpful and timely throughout the whole process. I had a first phone interview and then was invited back for a follow-up in-person interview in the office, where I met with 5 members of the team. I found the interview very enjoyable - the members of the team were welcoming and genuinely interested in my background and what I had to say. They were also interested in what questions I had and were more than happy to share their positive reviews of the company.