Employee Spotlight: Maggie Morley

 

A company cannot be an ethical or successful one without a strong set of core values, and the individuals who embody those characteristics. Every quarter, we are highlighting a member of our team that helps make 25th Hour communications great. This quarter, we’re shining a spotlight on our lovely graphic designer, Maggie Morley. This creative rockstar had led rebranding efforts and website redesigns for a number of our clients, and our team just wouldn’t be the same without her. Read more about her in our quarterly newsletter here.

Celebrating Community College Month

 

A community college education is valid, rigorous and produces some of the most well-rounded and diverse talent

Since April is #CommunityCollegeMonth, let’s talk about the elephant in the room.

There is a perception that somehow community colleges aren’t “real college” and that unless you’re going to a university, you’re not a real “college student.”

At 25th Hour Communications, we believe that point of view is 100 percent flat-out and unequivocally wrong. Community colleges across the country are producing future entrepreneurs, lawyers, dental hygienists, artists, white-collar and blue-collar folks alike. We’ve worked with more than 150 community colleges in our more than 10 years as a company, and we’ve seen countless stories of students reaching their fullest potential thanks to the incredible faculty, staff and administration at their community college.

Don’t believe us yet? Just check out the following list of former community college students:

 

You can become an astronaut and Air Force Colonel:

Eileen Collins, Corning Community College

 

You can start and lead the most valuable company in the world:

Steve Jobs, De Anza College

 

You can become a civil rights activist, speaker and labor organizer:

Dolores Huerta, San Joaquin Delta College

 

You can become a critically-acclaimed actress, feminist icon and pioneer female rapper:

Queen Latifah, CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College

 

You can become an NFL Hall of Fame Coach and broadcaster,

John Madden, College of San Mateo

 

You can become a leading television news journalist and anchor, covering twelve presidential debates and the Watergate scandal that took down Richard Nixon:

Jim Lehrer, Victoria College

 

You can be a writer, director and creator of one of the most iconic and highest-grossing film franchises of all-time:

George Lucas, Modesto Junior College

 

You can become an athlete, civil rights icon and hero to millions:

Jackie Robinson, Pasadena City College

 

You can become the first Hispanic woman elected to Congress, and LGBTQ+ champion:

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Miami-Dade College

 

You can become Mr. Universe, an action-hero star and Governor of California:

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Santa Monica College

 

You can become an internationally-acclaimed novelist and memoirist:

Amy Tan, San José City College

 

You can become one of the most well-known science fiction writers of all time:

Octavia Butler, Pasadena City College

 

You can become a beloved Hollywood actor, screenwriter, director and philanthropist:

Tom Hanks, Chabot College

 

Hanks said it was his time in community college that was fundamental to his success. Hanks’ wrote, directed and starred in the 2011 film Larry Crowne, inspired by his time at Chabot College: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/14/opinion/tom-hanks-on-his-two-years-at-chabot-college.html

The fact is, community college students and alums have myriad different reasons why they chose to go to a two-year college and to immediately dismiss someone for that is near-sighted, judgmental and potentially barring your organization from incredible and diverse talent (see the short-list above). Community colleges are nimble, innovative and full of students brimming with potential — the colleges just need to be given the chance.

*Mic drop*

Women’s History Month – Crystal Berry

 

“Plan the work and work the plan.”

That’s the advice Crystal Berry’s grandfather used to give her when she was a little girl and it’s served her well. Berry, 25th Hour Communications’ vice president of marketing and communications, still lives by this mantra and this approach has guided her through nearly 20 years as a successful community college marketer and digital media whiz.

Her whole life, Berry said she has believed in working hard, being kind, having integrity and not placing judgement. But there are a few things she has learned on the job, especially in her last five years as vice president of 25th Hour Communications.

“Kindness goes a long way,” Berry said. “But rolling up your sleeves and working alongside your team goes even farther.”

On any given day, Berry could be responding to dozens of emails, participating in back-to-back meetings and leading webinars at national marketing conferences. At home, she and her husband have four children, from 3-years-old up to 16-years-old, yet Berry never seems to run out of energy or enthusiasm.

Maggie Morley, graphic designer with 25th Hour Communications, has worked with Berry for two years. She said she feels like there’s nothing Berry can’t do.

“She always has her hands in something, and just when you think she’s done it all, she finds a way to surprise you. Not only that, but she does it all flawlessly,” Morley said. “She is one of the most honest, supportive, and lively people I’ve had the pleasure of working with, and defines what it means to be a team player.”

Berry said she is truly passionate about her work helping community colleges grow their enrollment and market their programs. Like many of her colleagues, Berry is a community college alum and received her Associate of Applied Science in Accounting from Minnesota Southeast Technical College. Following completion of her degree, she immediately entered the workforce and hasn’t looked back since.

“What makes Crystal truly special is her kind and generous heart and the passion for her family and the work that she does with us at 25th Hour Communications,” said Jennifer Aries, president of 25th Hour. “She truly cares about our team and about our clients. Plus, she is the best digital marketer in the biz. She is unflappable, yet down-to-earth and we wouldn’t be where we are without her. ”

Morley agreed.

“When you work with Crystal, you can rest assured things will get done efficiently, and you’ll more than likely share a few laughs along the way,” she said.

Still, Berry has goals and is not ready to slow down. She hopes to see the continued growth of 25th Hour Communications and to expand the company’s client base beyond community college marketing. She looks to her heroes and mentors for continued inspiration, particularly Dr. Eunice Bellinger, president of BridgeValley Community and Technical College (BVCTC), where Berry serves as the marketing director as part of the college’s contract with 25th Hour Communications. She also draws inspiration from her fellow teammates and is hooked on #christiantiktok sermons.

In spite of her busy schedule, Berry said she is motivated to move to serve as many community colleges as possible.

“I’m driven by my passion for changing the world. I want to be the change,” Berry said. “I want to change people’s lives, and by communicating and creating access and equity within higher education spaces, I can do that.”

Meet the Equity Avengers!

 

“Equity,” “Diversity” and “Inclusion” are words that get thrown around a lot lately, but what do these words really mean? More importantly, what do these words mean when employed on the college campus and in the workplace?

25th Hour Communications had the pleasure of hosting two of California’s community college diversity and inclusion thought leaders, Dr. Keith Curry, president of Compton College, and Dr. Pamela Luster, president of San Diego Mesa College. The pair call themselves “The Equity Avengers” and host weekly conversations on social media about what diversity, equity and inclusion look like on college campuses.

“Looking at any situation and seeing who has access, who can be successful with that access, and have we built supports and inclusive practices to make sure that everyone who has access can reach success,” said Dr. Luster, on her definition of equity.

Her friendship with Dr. Curry was an unlikely one. During their conversation with 25th Hour Communications, Dr. Luster told their friendship origin story. While at a panel discussion with other college administrators discussing accreditation, she failed to give Dr. Curry a chance to speak. She had not, she realized, been totally equitable. That, she said, was a learning experience and when she realized what had happened, she immediately went to Dr. Curry to apologize.

That particular story illustrates the lack of equity, she said.

“‘Equity is asking yourself ‘who is missing from the room?’ and ‘who is in the room but isn’t getting their voice heard?’” said Dr. Luster.

Dr. Curry said his definition of equity is constantly evolving, but when considering how to ensure Compton College is equitable, he said he strives to include equity in all of his decision-making.

“I’m always looking at fairness. I’m looking at access. I’m looking at our student success,” he said. “And I’m really looking at how we are making sure our policies and procedures are equitable so that everyone has access, everyone is being successful, and it’s fair across the board.”

What makes their institutions effectively implement diversity, equity and inclusion into their policies and procedures? Dr. Curry said it’s Compton College and San Diego Mesa College’s commitment to these values at all levels of their schools, and more importantly, the ability of all members to be critical of their superiors.

Follow Dr. Curry (@Iamkeithcurry) and Dr. Luster (@SDMesaPrez) on Twitter and catch their weekly #EquityChat live on Twitter on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. PST.

Click here to stream our exclusive webinar with The Equity Avengers and learn more practical ways to improve equity, diversity and inclusion in your organization.

Women’s History Month – Trish Lamantia

 

25th Hour Communications is a proud women-led company. In honor of Women’s History Month, 25th Hour is celebrating its women leaders and profiling them throughout the month.

“Possibilities are endless when you are pushing technological limits.”

This is the motto that Trish Lamantia lives by. It’s an approach that has driven her to live in ten different cities across five states; to work in a number of different industries from live television to augmented reality and working among some of the best and brightest tech and finance scions in Silicon Valley, Calif.

Trish loves the people where she grew up in Southeastern Minnesota, however, she was determined from a very young age that she wanted to expand beyond that area to see and experience the world. 

Her personal and business philosophies have grown and intertwined over her lifetime. Lamantia considers herself to be “a bit of a risk-taker,” an approach that has punctuated her life with several career changes, the decision to become an entrepreneur, and a healthy dose of adventure sports when she has the time. When the time comes to make a change, she takes a deep breath and dives in.

“There was this desire from a very young age, that I really wanted more. I wanted to explore the world and that has led me to where I am today. I want to be able to instill that desire in my children and provide that opportunity for them,” said Lamantia, who is a mother of two.

I’ve learned that anything is possible. When you set a vision and you set a plan –anything is possible,” she said. A case in point: “I learned way more about business finances than I ever thought I wanted to.”

But Lamantia had always been independent. On her 21st birthday, she packed her bags and moved to New York City. “The conservative side of me at least made sure I had a job lined up when I got there, but other than that, I packed up what I could fit into my suitcase and I left,” she said. “And that has really been my path since that day.”

These momentous and decisive actions are characteristic of her business approach as well. After working under a few entrepreneurs throughout her career, Lamantia knew it was something she wanted for herself someday. It was this spirit, combined with her intrepid personality (and the support of her husband, Joe Lamantia) that motivated her to take the plunge and join her former colleague, Jennifer Aries, at 25th Hour Communications, then still in its infancy as a company.

“One day she said ‘yeah, I want to come work for you. But I want to be your partner. I remember exactly, I was sitting in the backroom, my husband was sitting in the kitchen, and all of a sudden, I felt my shoulders just relax,” said Aries, founder of 25th Hour Communications. “I said ‘yeah, let’s talk about this.’ And the company has just taken off like a rocket ever since.”

Lamantia signed on as a partner and Chief Executive Officer in 2016. Working as partners, 25th Hour Communications has expanded to include more service offerings and its client base has grown to more than 150 clients. It is the partnership and respect between herself and Aries that has delivered such winning results. She feels fortunate to have had a lot of role models in her day, including Aries. Since college, she has surrounded herself with many influential people, particularly other entrepreneurs she admires.

“I have so much admiration for Jennifer and what she was able to start with the company,” Lamantia said. “Being able to join forces with her and really grow this company — taking it from a team of two people and growing it to the team we have today, there’s a lot of reward in that. I love that we have been able to grow a company, employ people and empower a team to make a huge difference in the lives of college students across the country.”

In 2019, Lamantia and Aries also founded Digital Dynamics 360, an advertising technology firm that works hand-in-hand with 25th Hour Communications and offers services including DD360’s revolutionary SMART Mailer, Over The Top Advertising (OTT), geofencing, white-label options and other leading-edge digital marketing solutions.

In spite of her adventurous streak, Lamantia is deliberate and intentional about how she makes her decisions. She isn’t quick to jump onto a bandwagon or the latest new trend. She takes her time to consider her options — that way, when she does take the plunge, there is absolutely no hesitation. Not every risk she has taken has panned out, but every one of them, she said, has taught her something about herself and what she is capable of.

Crystal Berry, vice president of marketing and communications at 25th Hour Communications, said Lamantia is an imaginative and ambitious CEO, who cares deeply about her team.

Our co-leader is brave, passionate and holds the 25th Hour bar of excellence very high! Trish is a powerhouse entrepreneur who pushes us to think outside our comfort zone and extend our capabilities to make #team25th unstoppable,” Berry said. “Her vision keeps our industry fresh and our products relevant to our partners. We are lucky to have such a foundational woman in our corner.”

In her role, Lamantia naturally is always looking to the future — she hopes to continue the upward trajectory of 25th Hour Communications and DD360. Her goal? 

“We want to build the team to 25 people and expand our services with new, unique niches and product lines that fulfill the needs of our clients,” said Lamantia. “Each and every member of our team is valued beyond measure which is why I have no doubts regarding our future. Jennifer Aries’ dedication to our vision combined with Vice President Crystal Berry’s exceptional leadership in advertising creates a dynamic team that is able to make things happen. It’s truly an exciting time to be in this industry.”

Lamantia said having a little bit of that risk-taking spirit is good for an aspiring entrepreneur. Women who want to start their own businesses should “just plan to the best of (their) ability and take the leap,” she said.

“If you don’t take that first step, it’s just never going to happen,” she said.