Tag Archives: Vanguard Direct

National EMS Week 2014

Once again, Vanguard Direct will be a part of your daily routine. The next time you are passing by a phone kiosk a new promotion for National EMS Week will be sure to catch your eye.

Assembling the Pieces

Created by Vittoria Semproni, the project was a fairly quick turnaround.

Semproni said there were two original directions discussed with the Fire Department of New York City for the phone kiosk and smaller poster. Both included the elements of EMTs demonstrating how they bring a person back to life, an electrocardiogram and the FDNY’s new ambulance.  The difference resided in whether or not to place a Manhattan location in the background.

Originally, various images for the posters were taken by the FDNY and sent to VGD. These images were integrated into a number of mock-up posters before being presented to the client. After a modified concept was agreed upon, the FDNY conducted a final photo-shoot and sent the results to VGD. The final poster is pictured below.

EMS Poster 2014

Pictured above are EMTs David Weissman and Elvis Velez as well as Paramedic Jessica DeResto. The poster was unveiled on May 1, 2014. Terranova said the pictured EMS veterans have a combined 54 years of experience.

FDNY EMS Division Chief Rosario Terranova worked with Vanguard on the project. He said, through a series of brainstorming sessions, through “a lot of handholding and really a lot of assistance,” Vanguard Direct and the FDNY were able to create a campaign that celebrates the work of current employees as well as helps recruit prospective applicants.

Off to the Printer 

After Semproni finished the design, it was sent to Cari Frederico. Frederico said she then sent the design off-site to two separate plants. The products were sent back to Vanguard for a last look. Soon after, it was sent to the posting company to be shipped throughout the five boroughs.

The entire process took about ten days, Frederico said.

10 Years in the Making

But this poster was not Vanguard Direct’s first encounter with the FDNY.

Director of Creative Services, Kevin Green, said Vanguard Direct had worked with the FDNY to design and print various projects. However, the FDNY had designed their campaigns internally prior to the 2013 EMS Week Poster.

Due to the relationship going back almost a decade, Terranova said VGD was their first call.

While the FDNY had concepts and general ideas for the poster, they were not fully equipped at the time to turn it into reality, said Terranova.  He then explained how the FDNY came to Vanguard at the “11th hour” last year and were so happy with the results that they immediately chose VGD again for this campaign. The 2013 poster is pictured to the below.

2013 EMS Poster

The EMTs pictured above were 2013 EMS Academy graduates Jennifer Banegas, Kahmil Garcia, Stacie Miller and Jose Vargas.

Green said an estimated 2 to 2.5 million people in New York City saw the poster during its 3-month shelf life. One can expect this year’s poster to have similar public approval.

Past and Present

“This one I think is better in telling their story – last year was more exciting,” said Green.

He also said the 2014 poster demonstrated that EMS has people who are expertly trained to take care of your life, while the 2013 poster showed that there is an army of people ready taking care of your health.

Terranova said he could not be happier with this year’s campaign and Vanguard Direct overall.

Keep your eyes open for the poster! It will be displayed in more than 300 locations throughout Manhattan.

Author: Jaclyn Saumell



Vanguard Creative Services Retrospective 2014

Perhaps you are an expert doodler, executing masterful abstract patterns in the margins of the Meeting Minutes. Or a frustrated poet, illustrating mournful truisms for a Tumblr blog. Maybe you sing in the shower for an audience of one — each unrecorded performance lost to the ages. But surely, one way or another, everyone is a secret artist.

This year, Vanguard Direct gave its employees a special opportunity to showcase their diverse artistic talents, at the 2014 Creative Retrospective of arts, crafts and multimedia. Many of our professional designers opened up their personal portfolios to reveal a rarely-seen side of their creativity ­ but some of the most intriguing works were exhibited by Secret Artists who work for Vanguard in a purely non-artistic capacity.

Following is a sampling of our employees’ observations:

Will Lovell, Designer         

At Vanguard Direct’s first art retrospective, people were treated to a look at the creative departments skills outside of the digital world. Page layout and digital design are seen every day in the workplace, but rarely is anyone exposed to traditional mediums such as watercolor, oil painting and photography — the sort of work that hangs privately in homes or kept locked away in closets or basements. Imagine the amazement of a client walking in and seeing all this creative output adorning the walls of the 22nd floor. After all, it’s not something you see every day at Vanguard Direct. It was even said that one client asked if any of the work was for sale. Quite a testament to this department’s efforts.

Samanta Ramroop, Accounts Receivable Specialist

Vanguard’s art show was absolutely amazing and well presented. I love not only your yummy crackers, but Will’s creation really blew me away, together with Miguel’s and Wally’s photos. I felt that everyone that participated did a great job. Thanks for doing such an eventful art exhibit.

Vivian Rosado, Accounts Payable Supervisor

I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the Vanguard Art Gallery. It’s inspiring to know that we are surrounded by such talented people. It also explains why our customers are so happy with Vanguard. I’m thinking of taking up photography! I love taking pictures as I am the “designated” photographer at home.

Rita Orphanos, Account Representative

I expected something good, interesting, unusual; never did I imagine this extraordinary gallery of unbelievable art by unbelievably talented people. Thank you.

Velda Gardiner, Senior Production Coordinator

Who knew some Vanguardians possessed such unique talent for expressing and portraying an array of artistic vision.

The exhibition displayed a real diversity of skills, media and perspectives inviting us to embrace the artists individually and collectively. While we may not be seeing through the artist’s eyes, each artist shared a vehicle engaging us to capture a special moment or convey an emotion propelling us to feel something and to react in some way. After all, isn’t that what it’s ultimately all about?

Congratulations to what was a successful and appreciated unveiling of inspiring vision. I’ll look forward to the next viewing.

Check out this video of opening day, and check out some of the submitted work. Stay tuned to our next blog to have some insight into the pieces with the artists themselves!

Author: Jay Zilber

The Production Department’s 2nd Annual Operation Santa

Production Department

The Production Department and the Operation Santa gifts!

Every year, the Production Department at Vanguard Direct does more than its share of charity work. From donating to troops to providing care during natural disasters, these Vanguardians never miss an opportunity to help out. A recent favorite has been Operation Santa, a donation drive the department has participated in for the past two years.

Operation Santa was started by the USPS to respond to needy children’s letters to Santa. Each year, “postal elves” sort through the letters looking for those from children who might otherwise not get Christmas presents. Then everyday folks go to the post office, pick up letters, and do their best to make these holiday wishes come true. Each “Secret Santa” then wraps his or her gifts and brings them back to the post office to mail to the letter writer.

Vanguard Production Coordinator Chantelle Santiago picked out the letters this year. “You can see when a kid is writing as opposed to parents. We pick letters based off of need versus want.” This year, the Production Department took letters and distributed them to teams. Each team handled the letter as it saw fit.

For example, the “Barbie” team loves it when a child explicitly says what he or she wants. Senior Production Coordinator Amy Bhagwandin said, “Each member bought something related to send. For us, it’s an easy thing. When kids list what they want, it makes it much easier and we get to get stuff they didn’t expect. It really feels good.” Senior Production Coordinator Theresa Thomas chimed in, “We do set a budget for ourselves. We never stick to it, but we do have one.”

The Production Department hopes to continue this for years to come. Senior Client Services Manager Doreen Doyle said, “It’s nice to have a philanthropic vein––we always want to help others without hesitation,” while Production Coordinator Natacha Arora “hopes it spreads to the other departments––everyone wants to help.” Senior Production Coordinator Cari Frederico sums it up: “This allows us to be grateful for what we have and help the less fortunate.”

Senior Customer Service Representative Sue Pabst recalled meeting a woman “who was doing this for 30 years. They used to deliver it themselves.” Although security measures prevent that today, many, like Senior Production Coordinator Chuck MacGill, “would like to see their faces.” Sue added, “I think you have to do it––it’s easier to write a check, but this is hands-on and establishes a connection. Vanguard Direct is happy to have people who care so much for those in need.” Senior Production Coordinator Velda Gardiner explained, “Need has tripled––we’ve had natural disasters and an increase in unemployment and homelessness.”

And as Sue said, “It brings the warm and fuzzies.”

True Life: Andrea Moglia

Inside the Office:

Andrea Moglia is Vanguard Direct’s controller. For nearly four years, Andrea has overseen all finance and accounting operations. With around ten people in her department alone, Andrea manages everything from billing and receiving to accounts payable and inventory.

As a self-proclaimed math nerd, Andrea revels in the opportunity to work as a controller. “Every day is different. One day I’ll be working with sales, the next I’m setting up a new customer, and the day after that I’m reviewing invoices for payment.” More than anything else, however, Andrea is responsible for the month-to-date and year-to-date finance statements. These valuable pieces of paper give an insider’s view of Vanguard’s revenue, cost of goods and operating expenses, and gross profit.

Outside the Office:

If numbers are boring to you, Andrea’s personal life is far more intriguing. When it comes to nightlife, and in particular the restaurant scene, there isn’t a Vanguardian who knows more places than Ms. Moglia. As a daughter of Italian immigrants, food is in her blood. She makes it a point to check out every Michelin star–rated restaurant and is consistently “in the know” when a celebrity chef opens the newest hot spot. Be sure to ask for a recommendation—she’ll probably come back to you with a whole list.

And it doesn’t stop there. Andrea’s other culinary love is pastries. She once saw a cake on the cover of Martha Stewart’s magazine and decided right then and there to make it. She hasn’t stopped baking since. “It’s therapeutic! I love the challenge. And the fact that baking is a science of appropriate numbers—it lines up with my skill set.” And skills are exactly what she has. She’s taken a thirteen-week program at the Institute of Culinary Education and has catered well over twenty parties. She’s also traveled to every continent except Asia and attributes a lot of her culinary passion to the influences of those countries. Cookies are her specialty; I encourage you to make friends.

Favorite Vanguard Moment:

When you come from a family as large as Andrea’s (she has 20 first cousins), it’s pretty easy to get a little competitive. Just this summer her family hosted an adult “Field Day” in which six teams competed in eight activities that included tug-of-war, a three-legged race, and beer pong. It’s no surprise then that one of Andrea’s favorite moments was this summer’s victory at the Vanguard Scavenger Hunt.

“I’d call it a redemption story,” she said. “After a frustrating loss two years ago (in which, well, some of the clues weren’t 100% accurate), I—I mean, we—needed to dominate.” And dominate she—I mean, they—did. They came in ahead of the second place team by an hour! She may like her sweets, but the sweet taste of victory is what really really drives her.

Long story short, whether it’s playing at her best, baking at her best, eating at the best, or working at her best, Andrea will not be stopped.

Author: Eric Swenson

Do What You Do Best and Outsource the Rest

On September 14, 2013, I ran a “Savage Race” in Pennsylvania. The distance was only five miles, but the course was loaded with 25 difficult-to-surmount obstacles. I was one of the older participants. I am proud to say that I finished the course, but I was not on my own. I was fortunate to run the race with a group of people who all relied on and trained with one another. As the race neared its conclusion, I came face to face with an eight-foot wall that I––tired, muddy, wet, and cold––could not scale. It took my teammates working together to pull me over that daunting obstacle so that we all could cross the finish line.

The principles of teamwork––working together, pooling resources, recognizing strengths and weaknesses––apply to running both races and businesses. There is a correlative lesson to be gleaned from the words of the late Peter Drucker, a business consultant who famously said, “Do what you do best and outsource the rest.”

As a communication professional, a portion of my career was spent on the agency side, and for the past ten years I’ve worked with a company that specializes in marketing communication solutions. Outsourcing is all about creating the right relationships, ones that involve partnering with others who can use their talents to support your business model and philosophy.

At Vanguard Direct, we’re about creating ideas, solving communication challenges, and meeting our clients’ goals as effectively and efficiently as possible. To do this, we study and specialize in successful communication strategies. The more closely we understand our clients’ customers and master our ability to communicate effectively with them, the greater our success.

Today’s rapidly changing communication landscape forces us at times to become media agnostic. At the same time, to deploy and execute our strategies and to achieve stellar results, we must remain agile. Working with carefully selected and vetted outside teams––ones who have the same buy-in to our approach––is essential.

What’s more, outsourced partners can provide an objective opinion and often add insight to the development of a particular campaign. The core benefit of this symbiotic relationship is gaining access to a talent pool that can develop creative ideas and provide the added energy that’s often needed to execute a specific project.

Creating mutually advantageous, respectful relationships with outsourced partners will always net positive results. The bottom line: In today’s business environment, it’s difficult to imagine how a company can win the race with just its own resources.

Author: Paul Wry

True Life: Sue Pabst

Sue Pabst, Senior Customer Service Representative

Inside the Office:

Sue is Vanguard Direct’s Senior Customer Service Representative, but she has many areas of expertise. Over thirty-three years at Vanguard Direct, she has worked in every department and therefore has an understanding of how every part of the company contributes to the whole. She has been involved with order entry, billing, data processing, customer service, and promotion. Currently, she creates promotional product solutions and acts as a liaison between vendors and Vanguard Direct.

Outside the Office:

Long Island, the summer escape for many New Yorkers, is Sue’s permanent home. When Vanguard Direct had a Long Island office, her commute was a mere five minutes, which is miniscule compared to the hour (-plus) trek to get to work now. In her free time, Sue enjoys traveling, going to Broadway shows, and quilting, and she has recently joined a book club. She is a regular at Fire Island and lives only three miles away from North Shore Beach. Growing up by the Atlantic has made Sue try most water sports and activities––she is a fan of kayaking but could do without snorkeling. So where does a woman who lives in most people’s ideal vacation spot go to relax?

Sue’s favorite retreat is Hawaii, where she has a timeshare with her sister, and she tries to go for a week or two every other year. A bonus perk of her Hawaiian vacation is seeing the multiple weddings that take place at night on the beach. (That sounds much more enjoyable than just people-watching on the slick summer streets of Manhattan!) Another fun part of being in Hawaii is attending local pig roasts, which serve as a way to celebrate a healthy life and good friends. One of the native staples to eat on the island is poi, a ground-up root that serves as a Hawaiian comfort food. But travelling twelve hours to Hawaii is not enough for this avid explorer. Sue has literally gone halfway around the world for new experiences. She has journeyed all the way to China and Tibet. Sue believes traveling broadens your horizons and that there is a monumental difference in learning about something and actually seeing and experiencing it.

Vanguard Direct Experience:

Sue began her career at Vanguard Direct when there were only four other employees, and out of the five she was the only one who was not a salesperson. It was a time before computers (BC, as Sue calls it), when she had to type up invoices on a typewriter and all five employees did the all the work for the company in one little room. In the beginning, she would have to call up vendors and suppliers, coordinate shipments, and do all of the “behind the scenes” work herself to get one job done. Even though there was a lot to do, Sue was happy to be working with good people. She started working with Jack O’Connell and now continues to work with his sons, Bob and Don. Throughout the years, she has done a little bit of everything and seen almost everything. Sue’s favorite part of the business is seeing ideas transform into reality––more important, she loves seeing the stamps “DELIVERED” and “PAID.” Both of them give her a sense of closure and accomplishment. It is an unparalleled experience to be able to watch a business grow from five people in a room to 157 employees in three branches. Senior Managers Bob and Don O’Connell like to joke that Sue knows more secrets about Vanguard than they do, but they both recognize that she has invaluable insight into the printing business. Although Sue admits that the prevalence of print is lessening, she maintains that there will always be those people who prefer paper to digital––print will never die.

Authors: Lindsey Clark, Liz Baron, MinJi Kim

True Life: Daniel Nehrbass

Inside the Office:

Daniel Nehrbass started working at Vanguard in a temporary position three years ago and was offered a full-time position. He works in the accounting department as a biller, handling all the invoices, statements, and bills. It’s one of the most important jobs in a company.

Outside the Office:

At his second job as a manager at the catering hall Cipriani, he commands a staff of 160–200 waiters and others. Daniel started working at Cipriani as a waiter during college. He liked working there because it was flexible, and over the years he kept getting promoted. Cipriani, which serves Italian food, holds weddings, bar mitzvahs, and other large functions. The biggest event he catered was 1,200-person dinner. Sometimes, Daniel goes home at 4 in the morning after working an event and reports to Vanguard a few hours later at 7:30 am. In addition to this, Daniel has owned a number of businesses and websites. He also sells waiter and doorman uniforms with one of his friends. He likes the financial benefits of a busy schedule.

Although Daniel didn’t want to live in New York City, he came here for school. He graduated from The College of Westchester with a degree in marketing/management, and then went back to school to get a BBA in Accountancy from Baruch. Since his life is centered on the city––his business is here, his business partners are here, and his home is in Brooklyn––he has made it his home.

Daniel’s sister has her own busy life as a manager in Philadelphia, and his brother works for an air-conditioning company. Reflecting on family life, Daniel said, “I found it strange that all of us are in management positions. I guess that’s how we were raised up.”

Vanguard Advice:

Daniel tries to stay busy. As an explanation for his fast-paced lifestyle, he told us “the world we are growing up in is not the world our parents were growing up in.” Daniel pointed out that today’s workers usually don’t get pensions, so we have to secure our own financial futures. He admitted that saving money for retirement is really hard but said it is necessary to think of the bigger picture. He told us to “set a future plan for yourself now.” When Daniel was in school his parents didn’t tell him this, although the current generation of college students hears this all the time.

Authors: MinJi Kim, Lindsey Clark, and Liz Baron