- North Star \nôrTH stär\
- 1. a brand's unique position and trajectory
- 2. an organization's ultimate definition of success
- 3. a guiding light
Teams should do more than work well together. They should work stronger together. Here, we build off of each other’s expertise to conduct research, discover North Stars, craft strategies, manage reputations, develop Value Stories, and create work that inspires action.
Our method comes from more than thirty years of expertise in launching new products, services and organizational change initiatives. We are executives in marketing, research, sales, and advertising; both traditional and digital and human resources and workforce development. Over that time, we’ve built successful brands and launched countless products and services. We’ve come to understand how clients can make their market and their mark—stand out, rise up or create their distinctive niche.
It’s what we do and who we are. It’s our North Star.
Strategy & Management
Janet Mitchell is the founder of M Group Agency. Janet is an expert in developing and launching new ideas whether they are products or services, advertising or promotional campaigns, grassroots advocacy programs or organizational change initiatives.
Janet’s career began launching new products in consumer packaged goods with CBS Video Games - Foxfire® and John Madden Football®, Playtex International - WOW® (WithOutWire), Dannon Yogurt and Duracell, Inc. - Duracell Ultra®.
As Chief Marketing Officer, Janet has launched three venture capital backed start-ups in Austin, Texas with one breakout success that grew from $300,000 to over $90 million in revenue and was recognized as #6 in the Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies by PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Start-ups include; living.com, SmartPrice.com and Newgistics Inc.
Janet is an active community leader serving many organizations as a volunteer and board member. Janet is a member of the Austin Area Research Organization and a graduate of the 2005 – 2006 Leadership Austin class. She holds a BS in Business Administration from Babson College and an MBA, graduating with honors, from the University of Connecticut.
Tommy Darwin has 20 years as a consultant designer, specializing in helping organizations effectively engage communities and markets through communication and organizational design. He helps organizations tell their stories, develop the capabilities and strategies to make good on those stories and deliver their value, and adapt when circumstances change.
Tommy has a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Communication from the University of Texas at Austin, and his expertise encompasses the areas of Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Strategic Learning, and Community Change. Along with being an entrepreneur, Tommy has held various Faculty and Director positions at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Memphis. He has developed curriculum and training, and delivered workshops and keynotes in these areas, both in the United States and Great Britain. Tommy is also the creator of the entrepreneurship application GoGuide.
Dazzie McKelvy has been a public sector manager and a nonprofit executive for over twenty years and currently leads, Workforce Matters, a consulting firm with a team of expert consultants in the areas of workforce development, education, and human resources. Workforce Matters specializes in workforce development strategies, from program design and implementation to crisis management.
Workforce Matters' clients are organizations that are in startup, transition, experiencing high-growth, embarking on new initiatives, needing to meet compliance objectives, managing executives and staff turnover, restructuring, or transforming to reach operational or strategic benchmarks.
With decades of experience, a deep understanding of business issues and workforce development best practices, a team of expert consultants, and a network of trusted advisors, Workforce Matters can take organizations to the next level by being a catalyst for change.
Rick Troberman is a strategist, business development executive, entrepreneur and investor.
Over a distinguished career in strategic sales and marketing management, Rick's leadership guided numerous businesses to commercial success.
Rick’s career started at IBM Corporation in sales and sales management. He spent the next twenty years as a senior sales executive and general manager successfully building and leading high performance organizations at Nynex, Software Publishing, Ashton Tate, Sirius, Novell and Sterling Commerce.
His passion for being a top-performing executive shifted in 1999 with the sale of Sterling Commerce to AT&T. His focus shifted to the evaluation and search for top executive talent. With Senior Partner positions at both Heidrick & Struggles and Korn/Ferry International, he built a successful search practice by helping client companies evaluate and attract top talent.
Rick's focus at M Group is helping clients accelerate their go-to-market success through strategic business development, sales, marketing and leadership alignment.
Rick is a graduate of the University of Texas with a BA in Psychology and a graduate of the School of Management in Organizational Behavior and Executive Coaching.
Andy Pyle is President & CEO of Pyle Research Group. Andy is a 24-year market research professional, spending 18 years on the supplier side focusing on the design and development of valid, robust research instruments. Andy also spend 6 years on the client side (three years at Compaq and three years at Dell) to understand how research is applied and best utilized to make business decisions.
Prior to founding Pyle Research Group, Andy was a partner at Mindwave Research where he served as President until 2003. His focus at Mindwave was business development, staff development, and client management. Mindwave was a 20 person full service market research firm focused primarily on serving technology companies.
Before joining Mindwave, Andy spent more than 6 years on the client side – three and a half years at Dell and three years at Compaq. Andy managed the global customer satisfaction research program at Compaq from 1994 to 1997 before coming back to Austin and joining Dell, where he worked closely with the Office of the Chairmen to support Dell strategy decisions with market research.
Andy has a BS in Business Administration from the University of Arizona and an MBA from the University of Texas. Andy has lived in Austin for 23 years and enjoys volunteering at his kids’ schools and coaching their sports teams.
Activation & Creative
Laura Bond Williams, Public Relations
Laura Bond Williams is an award-winning public relations counselor and co-founder of Momentum Public Relations, creating communications programs that build relationships with media, stakeholders and peers to drive reputation and awareness. She leads publicity campaigns and produces content across all mediums: print, broadcast and online.
Laura’s experience includes serving clients and brands across industries from Fortune 50 companies to local (Austin) and national nonprofit organizations. Before founding Momentum Public Relations with Anne Lasseigne Tiedt, she held senior account management roles at Fleishman-Hillard serving clients including SBC Communications (now AT&T), Prodigy Internet, Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and the Department of Homeland Security. She brings 20 years of experience counseling leaders and experts across industries including arts & entertainment (KLRU/Austin City Limits), law, healthcare, real estate, nonprofit and technology/telecommunications.
Laura holds a bachelor’s degree in English composition from DePauw University (Greencastle, Ind.) and an M.A. in journalism from The University of Texas at Austin. As a journalist and essayist, Laura has published works in national and regional media including Reuters.com, the Austin American-Statesman, Austin Woman magazine, Austin Business Journal and Texas Music magazine.
Anne Lasseigne Tiedt, Public Relations
Anne Lasseigne Tiedt, APR, is an award-winning public relations counselor and co-founder of Momentum Public Relations, creating communications programs that build relationships among clients’ stakeholders, media and peers to drive reputation and awareness. She leads clients’ development of industry and community relationships and publicity campaigns and produces content across all mediums: print, broadcast and online.
Anne excels at creating strategic partnerships and alliances, creating and executing media relations campaigns, finding unique ways for clients to share stories with those most important to their business or mission. Her career includes communications positions managing public relations, marketing, advertising, media sponsorships, and community relations at The Austin Symphony Orchestra and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. While at TateAustin, Anne served senior management teams of venture-funded technology companies including Grande Communications and QuickArrow.
Anne is a two-time Austin Under 40 Finalist (2012 and 2013), past president of the Association for Women in Communications (2007-2008), founder of Get Smart Austin, and a 2010 Graduate of Leadership Texas. She holds a bachelor’s degree of journalism in public relations from The University of Texas at Austin. In 2002, she earned an Accreditation in Public Relations from the Universal Accreditation Board.
Mary Alice Kaspar, Public Relations
Award-winning journalist Mary Alice Kaspar enjoys helping businesses and people tell their stories. Her first press release not only resulted in coverage for her client, but also a call from the reporter covering the news. He was so impressed by Mary Alice’s writing, he asked her to start freelance writing for his publication, the Austin Business Journal.
During her time as a freelance writer, reporter and ultimately senior staff writer with the ABJ, Mary Alice received many accolades including first place awards for news and feature writing from the Texas Press Association, in 2002 and 2003. She was also named “Best Print Reporter” in Austin by the local chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.
Her time as a reporter helped expose her to Austin’s complex growth and development process, as well as a wide variety of key industries such as transportation, health care and government. She founded Columbus Communications in April of 2006 and has built a steady and loyal client base primarily comprised of Austin-based businesses.
Mary Alice received her Bachelor in Journalism and Certification in the Business Foundations Program from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a member of the Real Estate Council of Austin and The Headliners Club, as well as founding board member of PHACE Syndrome Community, a non-profit organization.
Kate Miller Morton, Public Relations
Kate Miller Morton spent eight years as a newspaper reporter before transitioning to public relations. She brings a valuable inside perspective into media relations and media strategy, along with strong messaging, writing, editing and research skills. Kate enjoys helping businesses tell their stories, advocating their positions and raising their profiles. She has worked with clients in a variety of industries including real estate, education, hospitality and energy.
An Arkansas native, Kate began her journalism career at the Memphis Business Journal before moving on to cover real estate and economic development at the Memphis daily, The Commercial Appeal. In 2005, Kate jumped at the chance to move to Austin, where she soon began covering real estate for the Austin American-Statesman during one of the most dynamic growth periods in the region’s history. As a business reporter and later the growth and development reporter on the Metro desk, she was responsible for breaking news about developing real estate and economic development projects as well as in-depth reports on complex public-private partnerships and efforts by local governments and utilities to keep up with and plan for growth.
Kate graduated from SMU with a BA in Public Affairs and Corporate Communications, and went on to earn a MA in Journalism from the University of Missouri at Columbia.
Greg Hughs, Director, Producer
Since the age of 14, Greg Hughs has been fascinated by movies and their ability to transport audiences out of their everyday lives. For more than 25 years, he has been living out a childhood dream to affect people in that way.
His career began in the 1990s music video industry, where Greg learned how to produce striking imagery on incredibly tight budgets. Working with major labels like Warner Bros., Sony Music, and Universal Music Group, he built a reputation as a solid producer whom labels could count on to deliver projects on-time and on-budget. Greg produced videos for Kenny Chesney, Lyle Lovett, Don Henley, 311, Air Supply, Pat Benatar, Clint Black, Deep Blue Something, and many more.
In the early 2000s, Greg shifted his focus to directing commercials in an effort to take on more creative responsibility for the projects in his care. Drawing on his music video experience, Greg was an innovator in his production approach. He often used new technologies to help tell his stories and show his clients how they could achieve higher production values than they were currently getting. His work in the advertising world has been honored with top awards from the ADDYs to the EMMYs. Known for his easy-going nature, Greg is sought out by ad agencies and clients directly to put his stamp on their advertising and marketing projects. Through strong visual storytelling, he strives to have people embrace brands in more personal and powerful ways.
Digital & Creative
Larry Lane, Web Technologist & Digital Media Strategist
Larry Lane is a multi-disciplined Web technologist and digital media strategist with over 15 years development experience in Web, mobile and digital technologies. With his agency background he knows how to concept digital media products from the consumer perspective to maximize marketing results. As a technologist he knows how to connect the ones and zeros to ensure efficient production and broad usability. As a strategist Larry sees beyond the project to understand how the digital piece fits in the context of the consumer conversion funnel to directly affect the brands' presence, relevance, experience and influence.
Larry is founder and CEO of Continion, a digital brand development firm that helps emerging and mid-size companies with cost-effective solutions for digital media creation and integrated digital campaign management, spanning Web, search, social and mobile. As User Experience Director at Kolar Advertising & Marketing he helped craft digital brand campaigns for Fortune 100 to regional clients, including Dell, 3M, Subway, U.S. Army, Cargill, Baylor and Austin CVB.
Larry is a recognized Austin Ad Fed Big Wig as Best Website Development Person of 2008. His project accolades include National Gold ADDY winner, W3 Gold winner and Webby Nominee Runner-up.
Larry has as a BA in Government from The University of Texas at Austin.
Jason Lara, Creative Director
Jason Lara is an interactive creative director and digital strategist with 15 years of experience working for clients of all sizes. His passion for the digital world is evident in successful campaigns completed for Dell, Disney, 3M, Subway and Logitech as well as in his tireless work on behalf of small medium sized businesses and startups.
Whether in a leadership role or while rolling up his sleeves and getting pixels under his nails, Jason revels in the creative process, especially the peculiarities and opportunities unique to the digital world.
Jason is the founder and Creative Director of Continion, a digital brand development firm that focuses on bringing Fortune 500 level designs and applications to small and medium sized businesses.
Jason has won multiple ADDY awards and Webby Nominations and his words and work are featured in Stephan Mumaw's book, Simple Web Sites: Organizing Content-rich Web Sites into Simple Structures.
Jason has a BFA in Design from the University of Texas at Austin.
Roger Glenn, Web Developer
Roger brings over 20 years of web development experience to M Group projects. During that time he's architected and engineered all sorts of websites and web applications, from simple brochure sites to mobile-optimized portfolios and even enterprise level SaaS "cloud" products. He's worked with digital agencies, small startups, non-profits, and large organizations.
As a web generalist he's got a breadth of competencies including HTML prototyping, responsive design, front-end engineering, server-side programming, and CMS integration.
By day you'll find Roger behind his 27" iMac coding beautiful designs into digital experiences, and by night you might catch him behind a drum kit playing with local Austin bands.
Roger holds a BS in Advertising from The University of Texas at Austin, with a minor in hacking.
Michael Neveu, Search Engine Optimization
Michael Nevue brings a high level of SEO expertise centered around a goal-focused approach. With experience including large scale, national websites as well as local businesses, Michael offers clients the ability to benefit from a variety of SEO strategies.
His broad approach to SEO is designed to promote long-term growth while ensuring that the client’s mission and business goals remain the focus of any campaign.
As the SEO Internet Marketing Expert for Pipeline Success, he has helped to build campaigns for enterprise level sites, meeting the optimization goals for nationally recognized clients.