We are Guru, a collaborative crew of experienced big ad agency expats, impact, purpose and brand strategists, design and systems thinkers, connection-creators, artists, writers and designers with an insatiable appetite for constant learning, growth and innovation.
Our work is oriented around your purpose, serving your evolution from darkness toward light in order to achieve a legacy that outlives your time on ‘spaceship earth.’
Our ecosystem is intentionally inclusive of our clients, their stakeholders and customers, their suppliers and vendors, and the world, because we’re all in this together.What We Do
Calling | Storytelling that speaks to people and helps solve problems.
Extracurriculars | Fresh air with family. Hiking, biking, running and reading. Planting far too many tomatoes. Swedish summers. US Women’s National Team and Tottenham Hotspurs soccer fan.
Path | Born and raised the middle child of five in the woods of Western Massachusetts. Volunteered assisting disabled college students in the UK and worked at an international preschool in Sweden before finishing up her BA in English at University of Massachusetts Boston with a Professional Writing Concentration. Edited the book Newborn 101 and has a decade’s experience working on agency content and campaigns for dozens of national brands including Horizon Organic, Shark Ninja, Cedar’s, Disney, Dunkin’ and Staples.
AKA | Ab, Mama
A nurturer of authentic connections.
Calling | Encourage collaboration and inspire creativity as often as possible.
Extracurriculars | Family and friends first. Traveling, cooking & eating delicious food, drinking natural wines, reading, rewatching Parks & Rec, podcasts and NYT Magazine word scramble.
Path | Raised in New Jersey but no accent to prove it. Embraced the liberal arts at Skidmore College, majoring in Dance and English. Dipped my toes into the agency world in Colorado before moving to Vermont for the Sustainable Innovation MBA (SI-MBA) program. Rejoined agency life at Select Design, experienced the rollercoaster of startup life, and built the Communications Team at VtSBDC before joining Guru.
AKA | Deets
A believer in business as a force for good
Calling | To bring joy to everyday life. To inspire and create new ideas for passionate people and businesses looking to make this world a better place.
Extracurriculars | All things family. Running, yoga, hiking, crystal therapy with a dash of essential oils, a good Netflix binge, long walks on the beach and short drives to the city.
Path | Born and raised Boston girl, so naturally, a sports fan (especially Patriots and Red Sox). Went to college to play soccer and broadcast baseball games. Tucked away in the woods of New Hampshire, earned a BA in Communications and an MBA in Leadership at Franklin Pierce University. After graduating, Amanda worked at her alma mater, most recently serving as their Director of Marketing. She now lives in Providence, Rhode Island with her husband Cody and beautiful baby girl Makenna.
AKA | AK, Mand, Mama
working to create a world filled with happy, healthy people
Associate Creative Director
Calling | “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come” V. Hugo
Extracurriculars | Movies, Live Jazz, Surfing, Skateboarding, Mediterranean Meze and Tapas cooking.
Path | Born and raised in Istanbul. Educated in Anatolian University Graphic Design & Photography. After 15 years of agency experience, started “Mumkunati Independent Creative” a secret society of creatives in Istanbul and operated for 7 years. Awarded nationally and internationally including Epica, Eurobest, Golden Drum. Designed and organized photoshoots in Europe, South Africa, UK, USA for fashion brands. Repaired a sailboat in Malaysia, crossed Atlantic Ocean on a sailboat as onboard chef and deckhand.
AKA | Paco Palermo
Calling | To solve challenges and create visual stories through meaningful designs and solutions.
Extracurriculars | Playing on the beach with family. Traveling, hiking + eating good food. Dancing hula + making lei. Occasional dragon actor.
Path |From the Philippines and raised internationally in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, South Korea, and Mexico. Attended boarding school in Connecticut. Followed by college at the University of Colorado in Boulder where she earned a B.A. in Business Management. Moved to Kaua’i after graduation and made it home with her husband and their daughters, Emmalani and Coco. Originally pursued a career in hospitality then pivoted into web design, marketing, and branding.
AKA | Mama Beary, Kaye, Jelly Bean,Thay
Designing to inspire purpose and connections
Director of connections
Calling | To drive media thinking and results for brands who desire to make our world a better place, fueled by a deep-seated belief that what we do with the unique potential inside of every brand and every human is what matters.
Extracurriculars | Learning Vermont’s Lake Champlain by boat and NYC’s streets by bike. Photography at every turn. Basketball. Softball. Baseball. Not much for running, but if there is a ball, I will run after it!
Path | Did it backwards, starting with bigger agency experience in the mountains of Vermont, and now loving being part of a smart, small, kind team from within the vibrancy of life in New York City. All along the way tracking the ever-changing media ecosystem and finding fulfillment in helping clients make it work for their business objectives.
AKA | Cav. Dad! (Well, he is only 6 months old, but we are working on it!)
Kindness and results
Calling | To help make the world a better place by stirring up the passion and purpose of people and organizations.
Extracurriculars | Moving and being in nature, hiking, paddling, riding motorcycles and old trucks, wrangling two boys and an aussie, writing, photography, and the occasional adventure race.
Path | Deep pondering and vagabonding; accidental side trip into the ﬁlm industry; escape into brand strategy and marketing; existential angst leading to an MBA in Sustainable Business and the commitment to use the powerful tools of business for all those who are trying to make the world a better place; teaching the next generation of inspired and ethical graduate students; raising two boys in the hills of Vermont outside the mecca of Burlington.
AKA | Red, CK, CK the Red
Supporting others to thrive
Calling | To combine visionary creativity with practical solutions that empower movements for the greater good.
Extracurriculars | Gagan sits on the board of directors for the prestigious Social Venture Circle, a premier socially responsible business community, as well as the board of the Love Serve Remember (Ram Dass’) Foundation. He is also an adjunct professor for the University of Colorado advertising program, and frequent speaker/contributor for many universities, conferences and corporate events.
Path | Born in DC; raised near Baltimore; schooled at University of Colorado; lived in Australia, Costa Rica, Venice Beach and other assorted beachy destinations; now located in Marin county with wife Jocelyn, baby girl Jaya Grace and ever present dog Beans.
AKA | Gagan Baba (Infinite Sky); Baba Duder; Dude Who Nurtures
commited to empowering social movements & organizations to contribute to a thriving people and planet!
Digital Media Associate
Calling | To be bold, or italic, but never regular.
Extracurriculars | Books, books, & more books. Advocating for the revival of snail mail, performing lengthy skin care regimens, catching flights & subsequently posting about it, having an existential crisis about whether I’m a Millennial or Gen Z – and doing it all with a cat on my lap.
Path | Raised in Annapolis, but studied in Savannah & Chicago. Spent time in 7 different creative majors before landing in social media (for right now). Started a stationery company. Currently piloting several social presences. Dreaming of writing a book, making the world a better place through kindness, and moving to a remote island. My path is only just beginning and in the wise words of Natasha Bedingfield, “the rest is still unwritten…”
AKA | Jac(e) or J, but never Jackie.
a creator of connections and community
Director of Business Development
Calling | To make every connection meaningful, in life and business.
Extracurriculars | Music obsessive, snowboarder, runner, superdad, George Plimpton fan, relationship builder & unapologetic repeater of stories (a few of which are actually pretty good).
Path | Rhode Island to Vermont with stops in London, Seattle and NYC working for record labels, luxury real estate developers and marketing agencies. Tireless networker, collaborator, and unrepentant road warrior focused on working with people and brands respectful of the creative process.
AKA | Apparently not cool enough for an AKA but open to suggestions
A believer in the power of the liberal arts.
Calling | To tell stories that connect people and create a kinder, more compassionate world.
Extracurriculars | Photography, hiking, camping, meditation, and live music. When she’s not working she can usually be found hanging out with her fur-child, Luna.
Path | Born and raised in the midwest, just north of Chicago, IL. After 18 years of rough winters, she ventured to Tucson, AZ, and attended the University of Arizona where she earned her BFA in Visual Communications. After graduating, she moved to Phoenix, AZ to be closer to her family. She has more than 10 years of experience in marketing and advertising, working as an art director, designer, copywriter, and social media guru in a variety of industries including nonprofit, healthcare, CPG, real estate, athletics, and entertainment. Outside of her day job, Lauren currently sits on the board of directors for a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to ending the stigma associated with mental health and mental illness.
AKA | Lo, LL
Passionate about creating work that matters.
Calling | Translating brand beliefs into authentic engagement experiences. Happiest when working with companies that have meaningful and positive impact. Energized by business environments built on collaboration, innovative thinking, and missions to make the world a better place.
Extracurriculars | Family, personal creative projects, searching for antiques or “junk,” as the hubs would say, house plants!!!, gardening, and reading as many books as possible.
Path | Raised as an Air Force brat and lived across the United States, currently calling North Carolina home with her husband, two sons, and miscellaneous youngsters who need a place to stay. More than 13 years of experience in marketing with a focus on brand awareness, from the nonprofit world to a decade in healthcare to a more recent spell in higher education as the Marketing and Creative Director for Franklin Pierce University.
AKA | Nik, MOM!!! (always with exclamation marks), never Nikki
Energized by collaborations, innovative thinking and missions to make the world a better place.
Calling | To continue to learn how to implement design for the greater good.
Extracurriculars | Travel, sketching, and hiking.
Path | Born in Mexico and grew up in Tennessee; Graduated from East Tennessee State University with a degree in graphic design and Spanish literature. Dabbled in bilingual education by working as an assistant teacher and Spanish translator. Continued to pursuit a career in design by working as a graphic designer specializing in print. Decided to get better acquainted with UI design and obtained a Masters in New Media. Most recently, returned to the States after working in Japan for two years as an ESL teacher and freelance graphic designer.
AKA | Peter Flowers
Using my creativity to make the world a better place
Calling | Be an advocate for good causes, good people, and good ideas.
Extracurriculars | Parenting, lagree method pilates, any beach-related activities, any water sports, volunteering at non-profits, reading, and binging Netflix and/or HBO.
Path | Growing up in Honolulu, it never crossed Renee’s mind that she would build a career in advertising – her first job was selling boards at a surf shop. After moving to the “mainland” to major in Political Science at the University of California, Irvine, going to law school seemed like the logical next step. After an internship at CP+B in Venice, CA, the rest was history. Renee went on to work at TBWA\Chiat\Day LA on accounts such as Nissan and Gatorade, and Team One on Lexus. She most recently embarked on a journey in the nonprofit world, as the Marketing + Social Media Director at Miry’s List. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two boys.
AKA | RB, Rae, R-Dub
A champion for good causes, good people and good ideas.
Calling | Believe family comes first and constantly inspired by the kindness and honesty in others.
Extracurriculars | Rosa loves to travel, enjoy the tropical ocean and the outdoors. Self-Employed for many years, gives her time to spend it with the family as Grand Mama Rosa. She is trustworthy and a caretaker for family, friends and team workers.
Path | Born and raised in Ponce, Puerto Rico; schooled in California, getting several certifications; Medical Assistant, Notary Public and Signing Agent and finally a degree in Business Administration with emphasis in accounting. She was able to stay home and raise four talented children and is now a very proud grandma of four, especially with a new addition and a blessing Jaya Grace Levy. She has been working for Guru for four years, learning and experiencing the growth of the company.
AKA | Mama Rosa, Cuchy, Rosita
A believer in family coming first and want to inspire kindness and honesty in others.
Calling | To entertain, excite, and inform.
Extracurriculars | Writing and performing with my sketch/improv comedy group, Pizza Party Comedy, going on walks with my two dogs (Barkley and Diego) and my wife, cooking new recipes, holding my cats (Dusty and Panda) like little babies, working on my garden, DJing, and cheering on the Phoenix Suns.
Path | A Phoenician to the core, I’ve spent the majority of my life living in The Valley of the Sun (with a brief stint living in South Kona, HI). I studied English Literature at Arizona State University where I was the director of Barren Mind improv. My career in advertising began when I worked as a Content & Social Media writer at a small shop in Downtown Phoenix. From there, I transitioned into a Production Manager role at one of the fastest-growing agencies in the southwest. Though, it wasn’t long before I got back into writing. With more than 10 years of industry experience, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working with brands small and large, local and national, ranging in industries from consumer goods to automotive, from gaming to food & beverage, gaining plenty of notable nominations and winning a few awards along the way.
AKA | Sammy J Killa, Slammin’ Salmon, Steve the Banker
zealous/dynamic go-getter that's always looking to push the envelope.
Calling | To learn continuously and bring strategic, valuable learnings and media strategies to clients who aim to make a positive impact on the world.
Extracurriculars | Swimming, drawing, listening to music (everything from disco to metal), watching movies, and spending time with family, friends, and my crazy (but lovable!) flatcoat retriever. I’m also a huge hockey fan- go Penguins!
Path | Born and raised in Vermont and attended Saint Joseph’s College of Maine where I earned a BA in Communications. I helped manage movie theaters in Plattsburgh, NY and Essex Junction, VT before moving into the marketing realm of media planning & buying.
AKA | SG, Birdie
Implementing thoughtful media strategies and learnings for companies who are making a positive impact on the world.