Our social department had the opportunity to sit with James Itkoff, Sr. Director of Strategy and AVX Digital’s head of operations and client strategy. We got to know more about James, how he started with then-Advantix Digital, and how he has progressed to his current executive role. AVX: Hi James, Thank you so much for the time to speak with me today. Before we dive into your career at AVX, can you tell us a little about yourself? What do you do outside of work? James: Where do I start? I would like to think I’m a fairly normal guy. I love fishing, baseball (go Yankees), football, and I’m a big family guy. I am engaged to the most amazing architect and have the 2 best dogs in the world. People say I’m an old man at heart. They are right. Oh – I also drink too much coffee. I measure in pots, not cups. AVX: Do any of your interests or skills help you in your current role? James: As a kid from the northeast, I moved around a lot. It really forced me to be comfortable in any circumstances. Whether in internal meetings, client touch bases, sales meetings, client board meetings, or new situations altogether, I’d like to think I don’t get phased. Growing up, I was always pushed into new situations with new people. Many let me know that they think moving around would be so hard. Admittedly… I love it. AVX: Can you tell us more about your current role as the Sr. Director of Strategy at AVX and your favorite part of the job? James: I’m so fortunate that I get to touch a bit of each department. Really, my role is to be a support system for our team. Help facilitate tough decisions, coordinate client needs, make final judgments, and so on. Much like the conductor of the orchestra. I get to oversee our team and make sure they are on pace, working together, and are harmonious throughout the concert. Having the team we have – I am so thankful. Being in my role, you are only as good as your weakest link. Thankfully, our chain has no weak links. We have loyal, hardworking, and studious employees. I truly believe that our team is the best in the world. AVX: When you joined the company, what was your role? James: Interestingly, I was just an intern when I joined! I was lucky enough to meet our current C suite team in a fairly transitional period. We were emerging from the “dark ages” of marketing with little complexity and had recently rebuilt the team to really push ourselves into the modern era of online advertising. With that came lots of needs. I was fortunate enough to help several areas – paid search, sales, copywriting, and more! Admittedly, at that time I was just that… help! AVX: Coming from being an intern and progressing fairly far, what did you learn? James: From a young age, I was told that you have to work harder than everyone else. Pay your dues, and show you can keep up. While that is absolutely true, the one part I learned on the job took that a step forward – not only how much you work, but also how you work. My advice to any entry-level employee would be to try and identify areas of need. Businesses are always looking for support in one area or another – make yourself available! On the job, what have I learned? Lead with compassion. The hardest thing to do is get people to buy into a greater cause. I realized that leading by example and truly caring about other team members is truly what makes a company successful. AVX: If you could explain the world of Digital Marketing in one word, what would it be and why? James: Ever-changing. That’s what makes this industry so exciting is that there is always more to learn and ways to grow. As mentioned before, our team is proactive in anticipating, learning, and evolving with every update or change thrown their way. This is extremely valuable to our clients who look to us for knowledgeable guidance and recommendations on the most advantageous digital strategies for their business. AVX: We just celebrated one year since AVX rebranded, as a leader during that transition, what was the most difficult or unexpected challenge you faced? James: I joined the company when digital was evolving. Online Reputation is a perfect example. Past ORM was just sending out some reviews, replying, and moving on. Now ORM is about copywriting, review appeals, strategic content marketing, and more. It’s all about strategy and execution working in tandem. The same evolution has happened with Google Ads, Facebook (shout-out ios14), and more. Just when you think you understand it… it changes. AVX: In your opinion, how do you think AVX stands out from the competition? James: For one, there is not an agency out there that will outwork our team. I’m constantly amazed with our team. They don’t do what they do because they have to, but they genuinely care about our clients and each other. They also do so at such a high level. Few agencies can say they are as smart and hardworking as our team. AVX: Do you have any advice or a quote that motivates you? James: Be the hardest worker or just go home. Don’t waste your time being mediocre. AVX: Before we wrap up, is there anything else you would like to share? James: Who’s next? Do I get to nominate a team member? We ended our conversation with laughs and a few project updates, of course. We’re grateful for James taking time out of his busy schedule to chat with us. At AVX Digital, our leadership strikes a great balance of business and getting to know the team on a personal level, which helps us all communicate better and have a great camaraderie across the board. It is always inspiring to speak with those in the industry who have worked their way up and the lessons they learned along the way. We look forward to speaking with the next member of our team and shining a light on who they are in and out of the office.