Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I embarked on my career with the determination, grit, and perseverance that led me to seeking a college degree that I’m proud to say I’m still utilizing decades later. After graduating from West Virginia University, “Let’s Go Mountaineers”, with a degree in Journalism/Advertising and English Literature, I immediately began my professional journey at a 30,000+ newspaper, The Dominion Post, in the marketing and sales department, where I held positions as a part-time advertising sales account executive and part-time graphic designer. By way of post-graduate fine arts courses and self-taught graphic design, I assumed the full time graphic design manager position within six months.
A few years in, opportunity knocked. I was swooned by the family-owned and operated motocross production company that produced the Loretta Lynn Motocross Series. My role was to grow the company’s tabloid racing newspaper by creating a new look and format to include fresh content and the expected race editorial and results, but also introducing cutting edge industry fodder that gave a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes antics of racers, writers and fans alike. Fast forward a few years and a few thousand more followers and readers, and the national glossy publication RacerX Magazine was born.
The West Virginia “small town” gig pumped gasoline into my veins, so I nabbed the holeshot and headed West for what was fast ride through many facets of marketing, print production, public relations and advertising endeavors. By way of Denver, Colorado and a broken down Volkswagen Golf, I found myself switching gears when I accepted a job as the production manager of a resort newspaper, The Ten Mile Times, in Frisco, Colorado. The paper was written for tourists visiting the Rocky Mountain destination, and therefore was full of stories about local businesses, restaurants, recreational facilities, ski and snowboard resorts and the folks who owned and operated them. This was when and where I began my lifelong penchant for the love of community and all things local.
This is when I realized I was onto something. I loved my physical surroundings, the residents who added flavor and a neighborly vibe to the resort driven area, and I loved talking about it all. I loved that my storytelling never felt like a sales pitch, because it came from a place of sincerity and passion. With an entrepreneurial spirit and an unbridled sense of adventure, I decided to invest in myself and take my career into my own hands. Between that moment until today, I embarked on a few poignant career choices that all were bound by a common thread; my zest for marketing and public relations.
• I spent a few years in Breckenridge, Colorado where I opened and operated the only independent art film house, The Speakeasy Movie Theatre. Baby number one came along, and we sold the theatre and headed East to Warwick, NY to be near family. The theatre is still open and thriving!
• Timing is everything. Although it was September 12, 2001 when we began our journey East — an unnerving time to be moving to New York — within two weeks of arriving, I accepted a position as the Public Relations Manager at Mountain Creek Resort, for a two year stint.
• Baby number two and I found that heading out of the house everyday and into the office was not where I was at in my head and heart at that time. Freelance was the life for me. There was logo design, and content writing, and PR outreach, and trade show management, and handling marketing, PR and social media initiatives for a family business. The writing was on the wall, and the post. There was something to social media, I just knew it.
My passions, both professional and personal, lie in cultivating authentic relationships and storytelling. My work is strongest when engaged in my community. I’m most fulfilled and most productive when I’m elevating brands and the passion and hard work of others through meaningful public relations and marketing initiatives.
Branded845 Marketing and Public Relations agency is built on a strong foundation of experience, opportunity that I see to know no bounds, and my love for engaging with the community. With an oft unseen mix of local and tourist driven framework, the towns, townsfolk, businesses and organizations who make up the 845, make this valley fertile beyond most other geographical areas. I’m firmly rooted here in the Hudson Valley, growing daily with great success, happiness and fulfillment. Isn’t it time the 845ers sow your seeds?
How do I spend my “free time?” [As if!] If my story wasn’t telling, you can find me eating up the local scene here, quite literally. I love the local eateries and the craft beverage movement, especially those businesses thriving off of local ingredients, and owned and operated by our neighbors. The local art scene is another feast for the eyes…and food for the soul. Boutiques? I never met one I didn’t like. Outdoor recreation? You can catch a glimpse of me escaping my digital connection to get lost in the great outdoors. There’s a real community club here in the 845, and I’m proud to be a member. Won’t you join me?
A Warwickian nearly all my life, I chose to stay relatively local for college, attending SUNY New Paltz. I’m a 2020 graduate with a BA in Public Relations, and a minor in Law. My interest in PR stemmed from a high school project that told the story of my community through photojournalism. Having always been interested in English and writing, this school project led me to discover that a career in public relations would expand opportunities to apply my academic skills professionally.
When my college classes became solely virtual, I chose to move back home to Warwick, NY. While completing my senior year classes, I accepted an internship with a local public relations, social media, and marketing firm that would put my four years of learning to the test, becoming one of the #845ers at Branded845.
As Branded845 continues to grow, so has my position with the agency. Upon completion of my internship, I was offered a part-time position with Branded845 as a Social Media, Digital Marketing, and Public Relations Coordinator. Taking the skills I acquired through my studies and the internship, I serve my clients through public outreach by executing social media messages, press releases, and any and all creative content to help spread their word. Being an 845er affords me opportunities to speak for some of my favorite retail shops, restaurants, and services through a variety of our agency’s marketing, social media, and public relations services.
I’ve always been keen on exploring and adventuring and I’m always up for a good road trip. These days, you’ll find me staying closer to home honing my skills as an amateur photographer. My favorite subject to shoot? That’s likely animals, specifically Sparky, my seven-year-old Italian Greyhound. My love for alternative and Indie bands led me to be an avid concert-goer when concerts were still happening. Our vibrant local art scene has captured my heart too. I look forward to art openings returning soon. To keep my love for the arts alive, I’ve taken to singing in my car while out shooting photos, and writing creative content for B845 clients. When I’m not on the move, I still find comfort in curling up with a good book at our local library.
Born in the winter of 2017/2018, I joined The 845 as part of the team in August of 2018. I found my way to Warwick, NY from Michigan via a devoted chain of fosters who relayed me cross-country to meet my new family, the Emmerichs. My beginnings are not fully known, as I was found as a stray puppy and taken to a shelter that quickly recognized me to be a Chesapeake Bay Retriever and promptly notified the national rescue association, CBRR.
I’m responsible for morale building and security in the office. I’m a Chessie so being a bit overprotective comes with the territory. I’ll bark at the cat, squirrels, chipmunks, groundhogs, deer, fox, knocks at the door, slight movements of the chair. I come fully equipped with an inherent break whistle, often reminding the team that it’s time to get up from their desk for a stretch…or better yet a walk around the property. Or even better, a game of catch or tug of war. The best break, though, is the one where my fur mama gets all of her daily steps in as she chases me when I’m in fast pursuit of deer, ducks, geese, Cinder the cat or the resident blue heron, through the fields and across the stream.
Tensions may run high during the frantic pursuit of me, while I’m playfully pursuing anything, but the pet therapy I offer, dog-cuddles and kisses, seems to make my office mates quickly forget the chase. My favorite pastimes at work are sleeping on my cushy bed and floor-scoring anything that lands at my paws. Sometimes snacks come in disguise, like a stray shoe, plant or office supply.. When my boss can’t find her pencils, I usually know what happened to them. Despite my shenanigans, I always think I’m employee-of-the-month because I’m the only one who noshes on treats when anyone visits the office and the only one who gets to lie down on my bed and sleep at work.
Vin Van Zile
Stay with The 845 to learn all about Vinnie.
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