Two women working on a computer

Women’s History Month: Meet the Women of GPO

The entire month of March marks Women’s History Month, a time to reflect on the contributions women have made in our country. It takes all backgrounds, talents, and skills to make GPO an incredible place to work. And in a nod to the female pioneers who have come before us in the digital space, we want to recognize the talented women who work at our organization. Meet the women of GPO!

Haley Collins, Director of Operations

Haley, here! I was raised in Boulder, CO, but now call Nashville, TN, my home sweet southern home. My career path has always been grounded in writing and communication, but with little scenic rest stops along the way.

After graduating from Vanderbilt University, I pursued teaching. I taught K-12 creative writing, along with adult novel writing classes. However, a couple of months in the classroom showed me that I wanted to be the one in the seat — not the one at the board.

So, I went back to school with one goal in mind: tune my craft in such a way that I could make a real living writing, and not a poetic existence of angst and stomach grumbles. I completed my Masters in Professional Writing at Chatham University, and after writing a couple of humorous press releases about Nashville-based companies, I landed my first full-time writing position as a Web Content Producer for a national insurance company. This is where I got to know GPO and began learning about organic search. Brian Rutledge (GPO’s founder) and his SEO team were instrumental in opening my eyes to everything I needed to know about organic search and digital marketing. From a client perspective, working alongside GPO felt like drinking from a firehose of knowledge!

After writing for the insurance, home decor, and financial industries, I made my way back to the GPO family as the Director of Content and Operations. I never imagined working with such a brain-busting, boundary-pushing group of people. We have one of the most dynamic, supportive, and hardworking teams in the industry, and I’m proud to call GPO my home.

Outside of work, you’ll find me traveling, working out, and trying new vegetarian recipes with my husband and friends. As for some random facts, here you go:

  • April Ludgate is my spirit animal, and yes, she is an animal. A beast.
  • I love reading Stephen King, John Grisham, and food packaging.
  • If I could eat bean burritos with extra red sauce for the rest of my life, I would.

How has the digital landscape changed since you’ve started your career?

Today, we know that content and SEO are inseparable. That wasn’t always the case. The words “search engine optimization” weren’t even used in my graduate program. We now live in a time where most digital marketers understand the who, what, and why of SEO, but I still think we have a long way to go. Everyone on the internet should understand why they’re presented with certain things when they type in a query.

The best writers in the digital world understand how to research keywords and use them appropriately, link sculpt (NOT link build), structure their writing for the web, and report on the search visibility of their content.

Why do you work in this industry?

Organic search is a game, but you can only play when you understand all of the pieces and how they fit together. But here’s the rub: the game is always evolving. The rules change. There’s no such thing as stagnation in SEO as long as you pursue–not passively absorb–knowledge. The organic search game might be the only time my competitive side shines!

What’s your favorite thing about working at GPO?

First, the people! I get to work alongside a team that’s not only smart and supportive but also constantly pushing themselves to be better at work and outside of work. That’s the grit and hustle I want to surround myself with. I’ve also never experienced such autonomy and trust in the workplace. GPO has spoiled me worse than a grandparent on Christmas morning!

Then, there’s the nature of what we do at GPO. We get our clients’ information, products, and services to the right people at the right time. Sounds fluffy, I know, but we have the opportunity to improve everyday lives. Let’s say you need help troubleshooting a leak under your car. Do you need to stop driving and head to an auto shop now? Or, maybe you’re going through a rough patch and need to find an insurance company that will let you pay cash on a month-by-month basis. These are real, in-the-moment needs. What we do at GPO is to help identify the needs that our clients meet, then create and position their information to be served at the right time to the right people.

Words of wisdom or a quote that gets you up in the morning?

“You have exactly one life in which to do everything you’ll ever do. Act accordingly.”

 

Rachael Parrott, VP of Client Partnership

Passionate, persistent, patient, and playful. Throughout the course of any hour of any day, I strive to communicate that I am all of these, all at once. I am passionate about what GPO does, it is deeper than a belief system because I have been witness to and patient enough to see the incredible and consistent results our team delivers to our clients.

My career spans three decades and began on the Bay Pier in Newport, Oregon where I jigged for herring. Each drop of the line, I hoped to max out the jig with six small baitfish. I’d unhook them, put them in my bucket, which sloshed in my wagon that was tied to the seat post of my bicycle, as I would hurriedly deliver them for $1.25 a dozen to an under-water dive show for the tourists to feed the sea lions/shark/octopus. While selling the fish was my gateway, I showed kids how to fish and began to build my collection of rods, for the purpose of renting them. It was ideal: tourists love catching fish! I’d rent my rods and let others catch the fish. I relate when people say I rode my bike all summer… I simply say, I did that too — with a wagon attached! After tiring of fishing and completing my studies at the University of Oregon, communication was a persistent theme that translated to being a PIO (Public Information Officer), marketing director, and eventually allowed me to discover my true passion for sales. The root of all sales is communication.

How has the digital landscape changed since you’ve started your career?

It has changed tenfold! From the days of email SPAM, I have seen the maturation of the importance of digital privacy, and now the true best-of-class SEO practices. Everything we do is above board and rooted in strong strategy, ethics, and client longevity paramount to each engagement.

My interests outside of work are varied, and always begin with my husband and kids, ages 19, 16, and 13. Together we are avid Alpine skiers, boaters, and travelers.

Why do you work in this industry?

In the spirit of a constantly shifting landscape, I love change. I am always interested to learn what fuels the change, how the industry improves for the consumer and for businesses. I love that GPO values strong communication, relationships and gets to be on the frontlines advocating for and with our clients’ SEO benefit in mind.

What’s your favorite thing about working at GPO?

I love love LOVE meeting new people and addressing unique challenges their business and personal objectives present.

Words of wisdom or a quote that gets you up in the morning?

Helping others is our lifeblood. That is what we as humans do. If ever given the opportunity to help someone’s business, heart, mind or health, seize it! When my kids were little, I convinced them we were superheroes and with that comes the responsibility of helping others. Here’s a picture of me and my then 4-year-old daughter where we ran a 1K. She was on the lookout for someone who needed help. Perhaps you can see her intensity — even desperation! — to help. At the finish line, there was an even younger child who struggled with his post-race banana peel… she jumped in and was so excited to offer her assistance!

“We can all be superheroes, sometimes we have to look hard for the opportunity.”

For me, sales at GPO is an opportunity to help people and businesses succeed!

 

Stephanie Sproull - GPOStephanie Sproull, Account Director

I am a Michigan girl who moved to Southern California right after college without knowing anyone and never visiting California. My internship in Michigan relocated me when I graduated and I thought – what’s not to like about Southern California? So, I got on that plane and as my cousins say…. Flames were coming out of that jet as I was leaving Michigan. I then enjoyed the beauty and entertainment of Southern California in my free time with weekend coastal mountain hikes, beach cruisers as the main form of transportation and exploring wine country, Santa Barbara, Palm Springs, San Diego, and San Francisco. My 15+ years in Southern California were professionally spent in the QSR industry as I worked for Domino’s, Del Taco and Panera Bread. I worked on brand campaigns, managed the field marketing team, implemented new market strategies, executed media planning and budget management, executed digital marketing strategy, PR efforts and local non-profit efforts focused around fighting food insecurity. I then decided to move out of Southern California and I cherry-picked Nashville. No state taxes, the emerging real estate market, Jack White and Alison Mosshart and the evolving food scene were all motivating factors to moving to Nashville. And then here I was again in life…. Moving alone to a new city without knowing a single person. I have since grown some Southern Roots in Tennessee but one thing I know about myself is that risk and change are something I embrace for a more fulfilled and enhanced quality of life.

How has the digital landscape changed since you’ve started your career?

When I was in college, none of the current digital marketing channels and SEO didn’t even exist! It was definitely a hands on learning experience and I honestly disrupted my career from 16 years in QSR marketing to switching to the agency side to increase my digital knowledge. GPO has intelligent leaders and provides a huge challenge which massively put me out of my comfort zone. Prior to this though, I was feeling left behind in the digital space. And that was a horrible feeling to be left behind in your career. I intentionally sought out a technology company to work for because the digital landscape has changed so dramatically over the past 10 years plus.

Why do you work in this industry? 

To challenge myself. It is a very technical and complicated industry and I wanted to better understand it from the inside out. Every internal conversation I have with the GPO team opens a new level of understanding and it becomes a contagious and addictive knowledge chase. It’s similar to the journey being the reward. I’m not actually looking for the answer…. I’m looking for the next question to ask.

What’s your favorite thing about working at GPO?

Again – the intelligence that I am surrounded by from our founder to the SEO experts and the content team. The entire GPO Leadership Team is truly filled with digital expertise and we continually grow and learn together as a team. The clients are also great to work with as we help them accomplish their KPI’s while learning and growing together.

Words of wisdom or a quote that gets you up in the morning?

When my dad passed away, I was 19 years old in college and dramatically impacted by the loss. It was sudden and we were very close. My dad was working at Little Caesar’s Pizza Corporate Office at the Fox Building in Detroit. I had to go down to his office to address some matters and I cleaned out his desk. I remember how hard that day was and I remember opening his planner…there was this clipping from the Detroit Free Press that was taped to the inside of his planner. It was the famous Winston Churchill quote:

“Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

I kept that newspaper clipping and I still have it today. But more importantly, I carried it with me internally as I preserved through my career over the decades. I have experienced countless failures. And I have a full plate of failures ahead of me. However, I find inner strength from within after each failure to pick myself back up again to face the next challenge. Sometimes I need a little more time to recharge and recover….but regardless of the failure I experience, I always end up just another inch taller as I carry on throughout my career.

 

Jill McClain Poston - GPOJill Poston, Account Director

Born in North Carolina, I’ve lived/moved all over the states (primarily the East Coast) and landed in middle Tennessee right before I started college. I’ve lived in Nashville for over a decade now and consider it my home. I love the city that I live in!

I started my career in email marketing — honestly by accident — and then grew fond of the digital marketing world and haven’t looked back since! My background includes strategy and account/project management in support of digital marketing efforts of enterprise clients in auto, health, financial services, and retail industries.

Outside of work, I teach and practice hot power vinyasa yoga at my local neighborhood studio. I enjoy sharing my passion for yoga with my students and friends. I also love to travel (especially to a beach!) and usually on the weekends you can find me catching a concert. I do live in “Music City” after all.

How has the digital landscape changed since you’ve started your career?

The digital landscape has changed drastically over the course of the ten years that I have been in the industry and is continuing to change all of the time: from new rules and regulations (data privacy) to the innovation of products/services and changes in consumer behavior. As a marketer you must stay informed and understand how all of these changes affect your marketing strategies. Being up-to-date with ever-evolving Google trends and algorithms plays a big role in your overall digital success.

Why do you work in this industry?

I enjoy serving my clients to the best of my ability — sharing my 10 years of digital/client services experience and helping to expand digital marketing capabilities. When it comes to SEO, I always tell my clients that SEO is a marathon; not a sprint. I love seeing results of uptick and growth slowly but surely if recommendations are implemented accordingly. I also love to use creative problem solving and data-driven thinking to develop and execute digital marketing strategies for and with my clients while keeping search and unique, relevant content top of mind.

What’s your favorite thing about working at GPO?

My favorite thing about working at GPO are my coworkers! Seriously, GPO has some of the best and most knowledgeable folks in the industry. They challenge me to think smarter and outside of the box, as well as push me to learn more and be my best self.

Words of wisdom or a quote that gets you up in the morning?

Now more than ever a simple reminder to us all:

“Be mindful of your breath; remember to breathe.”

In times of tension, anxiety or stress, always remember to breathe. It will help calm and anchor your mind in the present moment.

 

Allyson Chapa, Account Director

I’m a born and raised Austinite who has a serious passion for great food and a good book. I love trying new things and exploring – whether it be exploring new friendships, new locations, and always challenging myself. I’m a proud Longhorn (hook em, horns!) where my studies focused on marketing and public relations. My experience in digital marketing started in B2B tech companies where I developed social media strategies, website optimization, SEO, and email campaigns. I quickly found my sweet spot in client services/project management and don’t ever want to look back! I find that working in my strengths (organization / problem solving) enables me to love coming to work every single day! Outside of work you can find me walking the greenbelt with my family and enjoying a good workout at StarCycle. If you ever want to connect and talk about all things digital marketing, I can also show you some fantastic eats. I also love volunteering with Make-A-Wish (shameless plug if you’re looking to get involved in Austin!)

How has the digital landscape changed since you’ve started your career?

Within the last ten years I’ve seen a lot change starting with the tools that we use every single day. There are always new updates to Google’s algorithms that have marketers and tech gurus alike geeking out. I find that the more sophisticated we become in our marketing, the more Google delivers on trying to shape the Internet to be the best resource possible. It’s a beautiful relationship.

Why do you work in this industry?

Companies are solving consumers’ biggest issues every day. I work in an industry that enables organizations to solve our most pressing problems and do it in a way that is strategic and innovative. I enjoy learning and in this industry I am always given the opportunity to learn more and try to become a better person, not just for me, but also the clients I serve!

What’s your favorite thing about working at GPO?

Truthfully I was a skeptic about SEO and how organizations can actually help their partners show up on the first page of search results. That being said, being a member of GPO has shown me that our solutions provide real, tangible results to our clients with regards to helping consumers at the zero moment of truth. It turns my job into a passion and allows me to fully believe in the services we provide. Not everyone can say that about their job, so I feel incredibly lucky. Aside from truly believing in the work we do, the people I get to connect with on a daily basis are fantastic! Coming to work with bright, kind, and genuine people is truly a gift.

Words of wisdom or a quote that gets you up in the morning?

“The perspective we create for our lives ultimately dictates our outcomes.”

 

Laura Hoot - GPOLaura Hoot, Senior Search Analyst

Hi, I’m Laura Hoot. I welcome all your “owl” puns, though I’ve definitely heard them all. I was born and raised in Austin, Texas, and I remember what Austin was like when people didn’t call it “the ATX.” Many of my childhood memories are musical ones. I sang constantly. It drove my brother and sister crazy.

After two years of studying music at Baylor University in Waco, I transferred to the University of Texas at Austin, where I graduated with a degree in Journalism. By this point in time, I’d well-abandoned dreams of becoming a Broadway singer and had instead written a hodgepodge of things, from film reviews, which I wrote for free movie tickets and film festival passes, to “SEO articles,” which I wrote for actual money. After college, I took on my first full-time SEO job, and I’ve been doing SEO ever since! I also have lots of experience with social media, paid search, and various online content creation.

Outside of work, I’m pretty busy with being a mom and wife. I spend a lot of time hanging out with my 8-year-old, who is usually down for a game of Hang Man, UNO, or Pac Man (not Pac Man the video game, but an outdoor game that requires me to run, and so it’s my least favorite game of all).

We also have three dogs and one cat, which is insane and I don’t recommend it. But we love it and are thinking about getting chickens.

How has the digital landscape changed since you’ve started your career?

What’s really amazing about SEO is that it is always changing, but is never changing. Google’s goal of delivering the best answer to every query has been the same from day one, but the way Google does that has changed from day one. In 2020, we are having serious conversations about “artificial intelligence” and its impact on SERP. In 2007, I was writing fairly keyword-stuffed articles for businesses that were trying to rank for top keywords because Google needed every hint it could get!

Why do you work in this industry?

I was lucky enough to “fall into” this industry as a young graduate looking for a job, but I’ve never wanted to leave it. I love trying to guess what Google will do in a few months, or a few years from now. SEO impacts so many things and so I enjoy trying everything I learn at work to the bigger world picture, and vice versa.

What’s your favorite thing about working at GPO?

I like SEO. It has always been fun, as there are so many aspects to it, from analytical to creative to technical. I LOVE working at GPO! The team is so hard-working, compassionate, reliable, and intelligent, and so it makes my day to day so much easier and more enjoyable. I have peace of mind that our clients are getting the best product and services and that we at GPO are all working together to “make the internet a better place” every day.

Words of wisdom or a quote that gets you up in the morning?

“Before you check your phone, just take a few deep breaths and drink some water.”

 

Daniella LopezDani Lopez, Content Writer

At GPO, I am an SEO-focused content writer, helping manage clients’ content strategy from keyword research to final publication. Outside of work, I am an avid podcast listener and indoor cycling enthusiast.

My career in writing stems from a passion for stories, which I attribute to my grandmother’s habit of telling me Guatemalan legends instead of nursery rhymes. Being exposed to myths like La Llorona and El Sombreron while my peers were reading the Hungry Hungry Caterpillar gave me a deep appreciation for mystery, an element that I still choose to leverage in my storytelling.

I went to UT Austin for my bachelor’s degree, where I specialized in advertising copywriting while participating in the university’s Texas Creative program. Today, I combine the creative process I developed at school with the SEO expertise I’ve gained on the job to create content that ranks, sells, and satisfies.

How has the digital landscape changed since you’ve started your career?

As a consumer and creator of content, I am struck by how much more intricate the buyer’s journey has become, including my own. On any given day, I may “discover” a product on social media, conduct research about it on Google, and then make a buying decision based on pricing, convenience, and shipping availability.

Even though awareness, consideration, and decision-making still happen in the same order they did before, the touchpoints between a consumer and a product are more numerous than ever. Accordingly, brands who want to secure and keep business need to have a pristine omnichannel presence, and be readily available when consumers seek them or their products out. Hence the necessity for proactive SEO that’s ready to fill prospects’ needs at each stage of their purchasing journey.

Why do you work in this industry?

SEO is a fascinating thing. Conducting regular keyword research and keeping up with global search trends give you a unique look into the societal hivemind.

For example, in his book, Everybody Lies, former Google data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz reveals several insights he gleaned from years of studying anonymous Google data. One of these insights was that parents ask Google, “Is my son gifted?” two-and-a-half times more often than, “Is my daughter gifted?” — revealing a degree of gender bias that they may refuse to acknowledge (or notice!).

Like Stephens-Davidowitz’s deep dive into search data, my day-to-day keyword research allows me to dig for small nuggets of human bias, curiosity, and hope.

What’s your favorite thing about working at GPO?

Working at GPO allows me to learn about everything. Management makes a deliberate effort in challenging us to understand the areas of the business we wouldn’t usually “touch.”

For me, this translates into opportunities to dabble in everything from content to analytics to account management. Additionally, the nature of working at an agency allows me to interact and learn about clients in a diverse range of industries, including automotive, wellness, and retail. Overall, I’d say working at GPO has given me the transferable skills to work elsewhere and the work/life balance to make me want to stay!

Words of wisdom or a quote that gets you up in the morning?

“Stay sexy and don’t get murdered.”

 

Maddison Tailor - GPOMaddison Tailor, Sales Executive

Hi, I am Maddison. I am a driven, passionate, and fearless woman working in the world of Marketing Technology. I thrive in fast-paced environments where I am continually challenged and pushed to be a better version of myself. Having the privilege to work alongside some of the most intelligent marketing minds I continually try to absorb and learn from my teammates. My background has been spread across the marketing landscape, from traditional print marketing, strategy, content planning to marketing technology and data/analytics. Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my kids, rock climbing, kayaking, running, traveling, and exploring new places.

How has the digital landscape changed since you’ve started your career?

The perspective of the digital landscape has shifted since I have started my career from something that would be nice to have to something that you need to have to succeed. Specifically around SEO. I have witnessed clients/brands go from having little understanding of SEO to full-on initiatives around improving SEO. With companies now expecting data results to drive their marketing strategy, things are only going to continue to shift and change for the better: better data captured, more accurate results pulled, a better understanding of the customer, and the customer’s journey.

What’s your favorite thing about working at GPO?

GPO has a very family-centered culture. Teammates have each other’s backs, encourage self-growth, and provide support when needed. Constantly sharing new insights and work being done keeps everyone interacting even though we have people working remotely and are spilt between two offices. The team trusts each other, starting at the leadership level, and that makes a huge difference.

Why do you work in this industry? 

I work in this industry simply because search is always evolving. It amazes me how much showing up in appropriate search results can contribute to your overall success. When you see a success story from beginning to end, it transforms how you think about SEO going forward.

Words of wisdom or a quote that gets you up in the morning?

“Don’t be a lady, be a legend.”

 

Nikol Moen - GPONikol Moen, Director of Marketing

I’m originally from the California desert, but after studying journalism in college, I made my migration — along with thousands of other Californians — to the great state of Texas. Over the last nine years, I’ve planted roots in Austin with my husband, little boy, and a baby girl on the way!

While I studied editorial journalism, my career started in public relations. After a couple of years of PR boot camp at a small, but mighty Austin communications firm, I honed in on content marketing in-house for a global retail company, and later grew my marketing discipline at a fintech startup. I’ve landed at GPO as the director of marketing with a passion for storytelling, serving clients, and growing our business.

How has the digital landscape changed since you’ve started your career?

I started my career before Twitter began paid advertising, when “mommy blogging” was just “blogging” (because most of today’s popular mom bloggers didn’t have kids yet), and when Instagram was only available on iPhones. While so much has changed online, the one thing that truly hasn’t is content. The way we create, deliver, and consume content most certainly takes a different form today than it did ten years ago, but at the end of the day, people want content that’s well written, engaging and informative. Humans seek knowledge. It’s just what we do. So to be in an industry that delivers knowledge to people when and where they need it feels pretty empowering.

Why do you work in this industry? 

The changing role of digital marketing requires marketers to make data-driven decisions. Understanding organic search not only requires digging into the details to understand consumer behavior, but it also delivers insights that give way to creative ideas. I love the intersection of analytical detective work and creative problem-solving.

What’s your favorite thing about working at GPO?

As GPO’s content master Haley Collins always preaches at our office: we have the privilege of making the internet a better place through the work we deliver. GPO’s dedication to creating and distributing client information that’s relevant, important, interesting and easily accessible makes it feel like I’m contributing to something larger than myself. Plus, we have an amazing team. Each team member brings extensive knowledge — and is willing to share that knowledge with others! And because GPO allows us to show up as we are, each team member brings their own unique personality, humor, interests, and favorite gifs to work every day.

Words of wisdom or a quote that gets you up in the morning?

“Go deep, not wide.”

This nugget of wisdom comes from a former client who was a startup cofounder and mom to a preemie baby who needed some extra care early in life. As a working mama, she didn’t do “all the things,” but the things she did, she did really well. I truly believe that being extremely intentional and selective in how you spend your time allows you to fully show up and serve others — your family, your friends, your team, your clients — well.

San Francisco Skyline at dusk

Connect with GPO at RampUp in San Francisco

Come meet GPO’s VP of Business Development, Rachael Parrott, at RampUp in San Francisco, March 2-3, 2020. It’s the premier conference for leaders in marketing technology. We’ll learn from industry glitterati and connect with speakers from leading companies like EA, Google Cloud, Burger King, Recode, and Bonin Ventures.

What are we looking forward to at RampUp? Grab a seat with us and hear Bonin Bough address the role of identity in the future of marketing. Then grab a Whopper (yes, it can be an Impossible Whopper) and chow down while Burger King’s Fernando Machado speaks to the relationship between brands and people, and what great creative can achieve. Then don’t miss Belinda Smith, EA’s Global Head of Marketing Intelligence as she, and companies like Forrester and Culture Amp, discuss the diversity strategies that benefit both their bottom lines and their communities.

We’ll talk about data crumbs and cookies, the new age of retail, and so much more. Connect with Rachael before the conference and let’s meet up in San Francisco!

 

Office with podcast equipment

Listen to GPO Founder Brian Rutledge Exclusive Interview on Life Lessons

Listen to GPO Founder Brian Rutledge Exclusive Interview on Life Lessons

Founder and President of GPO Brian Rutledge was recently interviewed by Rick Tocquigny on “Life Lessons: CEO in 10,” a blog radio show with the aim of creating a nation of mentors. Brian’s interview now joins the show’s library of inspiring true stories that help listeners discover their professional passions and unlock their full potential.

From the entrepreneurial foundation he received at Texas A&M to his stint as a Los Angeles filmmaker, Brian recaps his journey into search engine optimization in just under 10 minutes. He goes on to speak about his intense passion for search engine optimization and how national, multi-location brands can increase their search presence where it matters most—in local search. He tackles tough questions like:

  • Why is it taking national brands so long to catch up online?
  • How can a multi-location national brand scale their organic search presence?
  • Where do online experiences begin?
  • Who can help my multi-location business be found more often, by the right people, in the right places?

Whether you’re a young entrepreneur interested in starting your own digital agency, a Marketing Director for a national brand, or just want to get a feel for who we are at GPO, you’ll find that there’s a bit of wisdom in Brian’s interview for everyone. In Rick Tocquigny’s words, he’s one of the “true savants of the industry.” Listen today and connect with Brian on LinkedIn!