AJ Gerritson, Founding Partner
AJ is obsessed with making clients happy. When he co-founded the agency in 2004 with partner Nick Lowe, their purpose was simple: Create an agency that helps people fall “crazy-in-love” with brands. Although the agency has grown significantly since then, he has never lost sight of what they stand for as an agency.
Today at 451 Marketing, AJ oversees the agency’s strategic direction as well as the sales and marketing efforts for the different offices. He brings over 14 years of experience in brand strategy, public relations, advertising, search engine optimization, and interactive marketing.
Prior to co-founding 451, AJ was a Vice President at Zeeo Interactive, Inc., an award-winning interactive agency based in Boston. At Zeeo, AJ provided brand strategy, interactive marketing and digital advertising strategy for internationally recognized companies such as Time Warner, CookingLight.com and Disney. Prior to that, AJ was the Vice President of Public Relations for AsiaFoods.com, an online Asian food company that specialized in the importation and distribution of Asian foods into the mainstream marketplace. He helped to build the company from the ground up and eventually positioned it for a successful acquisition.
In 2010, the Boston Business Journal named AJ to the 40 Under 40 Class – a prestigious list of business and civic leaders who collectively represent the next wave of talent and commitment in the Boston economy. AJ is an active member of the Greater Boston business community and serves as president of the Boston Irish Business Association (BIBA) – a non-profit business organization dedicated to promoting the business interests of its members and member organizations located in Massachusetts and abroad. AJ sits on the Board of Directors for the March of Dimes Boston. He received a BA in Journalism from University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he captained the UMass Men’s Rugby Team and was named a two-time All-American. AJ later helped to lead the Boston Irish Wolfhounds Rugby Football Club to two USA Rugby Division I National Titles in 2003 and 2004 and played professionally in Limerick, Ireland for the Young Munster Rugby Football Club. AJ resides in Hull, MA with his wife Meaghan and their children Jack and Elle.
Nicholas Lowe, Founding Partner
As partner at 451 Marketing, Nick handles the agency’s internal operations. He has over 16 years of digital marketing, SEO and Social Media Marketing experience, working with local and national companies across market sectors, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, energy services, healthcare, high technology, and hospitality companies. Nick founded 451 Marketing in 2004 with friend and colleague AJ Gerritson. Their idea was to create a communications agency that, by harnessing emerging technologies, could offer its clients a better way to connect, engage, and acquire new customers through innovative and integrated communications strategies
Prior to co-founding 451, Nick served for over five years as senior vice president of client services at Zeeo Interactive, Inc., an award-winning interactive agency based in Boston. At Zeeo, Nick worked with a host of internationally and nationally recognized companies like IBM, PAREXEL, Student Advantage, Cooking Light magazine, Fleet Boston Financial, and The May Institute.
Nick began his career as a Congressional Aide for Congressman Edward J. Markey (D), U.S. Representative for Massachusetts’s 7th congressional district. Nick spent two years with Congressman Markey, where he focused on telecommunications, environmental and foreign relations issues. He worked closely with Congressman Markey’s legislative team as they helped implement the new regulatory framework created by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the first significant overhaul of United States telecommunications law in more than sixty years. This historical Act represented the deregulation of the broadcasting market and marked the first time the Internet was included in broadcasting and spectrum allotment.
Nick is involved with several charitable organizations including Jane Doe Inc, National Network to End Domestic Violence and The ROSE Fund. He is a graduate of University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he received degrees in both Political Science and German Literature. Nick also studied at the University of Freiburg in Germany and Oxford University in England. He speaks both German and French and is an avid mountaineer. He resides in Melrose, MA with his wife Julia and their two sons.
Thomas Lee, Senior Partner
As partner at 451 Marketing, Tom oversees 451 Marketing’s public relations teams and assists in developing and driving the agency’s strategic direction. Tom has worked in the public relations and journalism fields for over 17 years, having handled strategic communications for national consumer brands, professional sports teams, professional service companies, and public agencies. Tom joined founding partners AJ Gerritson and Nick Lowe at 451 in 2007 to strengthen and grow the burgeoning agency’s public relations and social media teams. In 2013, Tom was named to the Boston Business Journal’s 16th annual “40 Under 40″ list.
Tom came to 451 from Regan Communications in Boston where, for over five years, he represented national consumer brands like Dunkin’ Donuts, New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc., and RE/MAX; and regional media outlets like Boston Herald, Boston magazine, The Weekly Dig, Mix 98.5, and WBIX-AM1060.
Prior to that, Tom served public relations manager at The Massachusetts Hospital Association (MHA), representing over 100 hospitals and health system members in the Commonwealth. Before that, Tom served for over three years as spokesman for The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA), a public authority responsible for providing water and sewer services to 2.5 million people and more than 5,500 large industrial users in 61 metropolitan Boston communities. During his time at MWRA, Tom worked on highly scrutinized public works projects like the Deer Island Treatment Plant and Integrated Water Supply Improvement Program. He served as lead spokesman for two nationally publicized events – the “Deer Island Outfall Tunnel Tragedy” and the MWRA’s lawsuit with the US Environmental Protection Agency over the MWRA’s adherence to the Clean Water Act.
Tom began his career as a newspaper reporter, writing for several community newspapers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire including The MetroWest Daily News, The Weston Town Crier, The Wayland Town Crier, The Sudbury Town Crier, Carroll County Independent, and Granite State News.
Tom is involved with several charitable organizations including Good Sports, Jane Doe Inc., and SHADE Foundation. He is a graduate of Xavier High School in New York City and received a BA in English from Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, where he served as News Editor for The Clock student newspaper and played defensive back for the university’s nationally ranked Division III football team. Tom is also a former member of the United States Under-19 National Rugby Team and three-time USA Rugby Division I National Champion Boston Irish Wolfhounds Rugby Football Club. Tom resides in North Andover, MA with his wife Krista and their daughters Faith, Madeline and Ava.
Francis Skipper, Executive Vice President
With more than 11 years of experience in global digital marketing including search engine marketing, advertising, and sales, Francis Skipper serves as Executive Vice President at 451 Marketing. At 451, Francis oversees all global digital marketing campaigns, including search marketing (SEO, PPC, Display) and social media marketing/ advertising. Selected B2B and consumer clients include: Kettle Cuisine, Hood, The College of Healthcare Professions, The Annie Selke Companies, and Gentle Giant Moving Company. As an experienced senior manager and business development driver, Francis has led successful online marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 level companies in the pharmaceutical, consumer packaged goods, healthcare, consumer electronics, B2B, and retail spaces.
Trained as a formulations chemist, Francis began his digital career building web applications in the pharmaceutical, biotech, and chemical regulatory fields. Prior to joining 451 Marketing, he worked in new business development and sales at iProspect where his clients included TiVo, Harry and David, Cost Plus World Market, OakWood Homes, PennySaver USA, Shop.com, and Equinix. Prior to his experience with iProspect, Francis served as Director of Technology at Catalyst Online where he worked with biotech, pharmaceutical, and consumer clients including Pfizer, Novartis, Boehringer Ingleheim, and Procter and Gamble.
Francis holds a Masters of Business Management from Cambridge College. A South Carolina native, Francis earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of South Carolina Upstate in Chemistry.
Karyn Martin, Executive Vice President
Karyn has more than 12 years of public relations experience in a variety of areas including consumer packaged goods, travel, luxury, hospitality and technology. She specializes in developing and managing integrated public relations campaigns at 451 Marketing as well as utilizing PR 2.0 and SEO/PR techniques for the agency’s growing list of consumer PR clients including The Yankee Candle Company, BAILEYS Coffee Creamers, Cool Gear International, the Annie Selke Companies, Hood, Destination Cellars, and Entertainment Cruises.
Prior to joining 451 Marketing, Karyn spent five years at Emerge PR, representing a wide range of local and national clients including DestinationWeddings.com, CardScan, Cartesis, CSG Systems, Experian QAS, Harte-Hanks, InnoCentive, Information Builders, Precyse Technologies, Quaero, Tizor and Trillium Software. Karyn is an award-winning PR practitioner and has been published multiple times in PR trade publications.
Prior to Emerge PR, Karyn drove the publicity for and provided event management support to the nation’s largest public consumer electronics exhibition show. Previously, Karyn was an account executive at Portland, Maine-based Fendler Communications, a boutique firm specializing in the consumer outdoor industry. In her role, she was responsible for all aspects of executing a successful long-term publicity plan for international companies formally launching their products in the U.S. market. These clients included Ralph Lauren RLX, Thule, VAUDE, Swany America, and PrimaLoft. Karyn has also serviced several local and national accounts in the fields of healthcare, education and technology.
Karyn has led award-winning PR and event campaigns for clients including Hood and Yankee Candle. In 2012, Karyn was honored with the Ringer Award by the Publicity Club of New England, an annual award recognizing excellence in public relations. Karyn is a summa cum laude graduate with a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is currently a board member at large for the Publicity Club of New England.
Michael O’Neill, Executive Vice President
A life-long Bostonian, Michael has spent more than 25 years as a leader in Boston’s leading financial service firms including SBLI, U.S. Trust and Citizens Financial Group.
At 451, Michael leads a sector focus on Financial Services, matching 451’s strengths in B2C and B2B content, digital and public relations marketing with the unique needs of the technologically advanced, heavily regulated financial service industry. This sector focus include banks, mutual funds, asset management, equity, wealth management and both P&C and L&H insurance providers.
Michael began his career in finance at U.S. Trust where he served as a Commercial Lender, Team Leader and Regional President. In his last role, Michael drove the acquisition by U.S. Trust of Brewer & Lord, one of the region’s oldest and largest independent insurance agencies.
In 2000, upon the completion of Citizens Bank’s acquisition of U.S. Trust, Michael became President of Citizens Financial Group’s Insurance Services, overseeing efforts to grow the acquired property & casualty insurance agency through acquisition, cross-sell and organic growth. Michael also oversaw all commercial sales management for the New England region of Citizens, spearheading the Bank’s commercial cross-sell, incentive and marketing efforts.
Upon the successful divestiture of Citizens’ Insurance Services division, Michael then joined U.S. Trust Bank of America Private Wealth Management as a Private Client Advisor, where as a Registered Investment Advisor he oversaw a team of wealth professionals serving the financial and investment needs of high net worth individuals.
While at both Citizens and Bank of America, Michael served on the Board of Directors of SBLI of MA, representing their shareholder interest in the life insurance company. In 2010, he joined the company full-time as SVP of Marketing & Distribution, with direct responsibility for all marketing and revenue generation. While leading the sales and marketing efforts at SBLI of MA, they expanded their sales footprint from 15 to 49 states, revamped their distribution networks and dramatically changed their digital marketing efforts, with direct bottom line improvement.
Extremely involved in Boston’s non-profit community, Michael is Chair of the Boston School Committee where he has served since 2008, when he was first appointed by then Mayor Menino. The Boston School Committee oversees the Boston Public Schools for 56,000 students. Michael also serves as Chair of the Private Industry Council’s Youth Council, overseeing all federal Workforce Investment Act funding for youth efforts.
Michael is a graduate of Boston Latin School, Boston College, Babson College, the Stonier Graduate School of Banking, and Royal Bank of Scotland/Harvard Business School Executive Leadership Programme. He currently resides in Charlestown, MA.
Byron Elton, Executive Vice President
With more than three decades of advertising, sales, marketing and business development management experience, Byron Elton is dedicated to results. He has spent his career building media selling organizations that are disciplined in a system of serving marketer demands to drive revenue and has transformed media sales teams in broadcast television and online into focused, solutions-oriented professionals.
Prior to 451 Marketing, Elton served as SVP of National Sales for Univision Online headquartered in New York and Los Angeles. Prior to Univision, Elton led the selling efforts for America Online in Canada, the Midwest and Southwest, where he worked with major national advertisers and agencies to generate more than $250 million in annual billing.
An expert in new revenue generation, Elton has assisted both Fortune 500 companies and boutique brands locally, nationally and worldwide in increasing revenue in innovative ways beyond obvious transactional routes.
Before entering the interactive media space, Elton was a Partner and General Manager in Smith Broadcasting, an ownership of broadcast television stations in Santa Barbara, California and Alaska. He additionally served in sales management positions with Gannett Broadcasting, Belo Broadcasting and Scripps-Howard Television.
Elton has also served as President and CEO of Carbon Sciences Inc., a Santa Barbara company that has developed technology that transforms carbon dioxide into gasoline and other fuels. His primary responsibilities include public relations, media, investor relations and capital markets. He also held the position of President of Media for Carnegie Hudson Resources, a private equity firm in New York.
Elton lives in Santa Barbara and works globally to represent 451 Marketing.
Katie Gerber, Vice President
With more than 13 years of public relations experience in the technology, video gaming and entertainment industries, Katie manages public relations campaigns in 451 Marketing’s Los Angeles office. At 451, Katie leads the Los Angeles public relations team and focuses on developing and managing integrated public relations campaigns for the agency’s growing roster of West Coast-based clients.
Prior to joining 451 Marketing, Katie founded 318 Agency, representing clients in the lifestyle, technology and digital entertainment spaces. Before that she worked with emerging global kids’ entertainment company, Mind Candy, and also served as Vice President for Wonacott Communications, where she provided senior-level counsel for Wonacott’s interactive entertainment and consumer electronics clients while helping to expand new business for the company.
Katie also spent several years at Disney’s Interactive Media Group, where she focused her efforts on evolving the growing family friendly online gaming business and worked on major franchises including Cars, Club Penguin, Disney Fairies and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Katie began her career at A&R Partners/Edelman, handling media and analyst relations on large consumer and enterprise technology clients, such as Adobe, Inc., and palmOne. She later moved on to represent a variety of consumer tech and entertainment accounts including Hotwire, Pioneer Electronics, Sony Electronics, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, THQ, Newegg.com and several independent online and mobile game publishers, among others. Katie holds a bachelor’s degree in communications, with a focus on TV and video production, from Santa Clara University.
Nicole Russo, Executive Vice President
With more than fifteen years of experience in hospitality public relations, Nicole Maffeo Russo is known in Boston as the top restaurant and hospitality publicist in the city. At 451 Marketing, Nicole and her team work with more than fifty hospitality clients, promoting celebrity chefs and getting top billing for established and up-and-coming restaurants.
Before joining 451 Marketing, Nicole worked at O’Neill and Associates, where she served as vice president and helped launch the company’s hospitality and entertainment division. Prior to O’Neill, Russo worked for eight years at Regan Communications, where her client roster included companies like Legal Sea Foods, Mohegan Sun and Boston Harbor Hotel. During this time, Nicole also served as publicist to restaurateur Todd English, helping to elevate his brand to a national level. Russo helped English launch several new restaurants, promoted his various television shows, and worked to align him with several nationally recognizable events such as the Daytime Emmy Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, and Jeffrey Katzenberg’s “The Evening Before” Dinner.
Before joining Regan, Russo worked as a publicist for Kirvin Communications in Las Vegas, Nevada building her hospitality and luxury brand experience working with notable companies including MGM Mirage, Studio 54, and Wolfgang Puck.
Russo began her career as a White House intern in the Social Office under President Clinton and as a Legislative Correspondent for U.S. Representative John F. Tierney on Capitol Hill. Nicole is involved with several charitable organizations including the Shonda Schilling SHADE Foundation and ReadBoston. She is a graduate of Lynchburg College in Virginia. She currently resides in West Roxbury, MA with her husband Jay and their daughters Sophia and Issie.
Tyrone Pardue, Director of Branding
As Director of Branding at 451 Marketing, Tyrone helps companies develop winning strategies to strengthen brand presence, increase sales and forge strong customer relationships. Tyrone works directly with brands to create integrated marketing strategies that include, research, design and social media. Tyrone’s specialities include brand and corporate identity development, corporate communications, information design, product packaging, corporate and marketing collateral, and social media marketing.
Selected clients experience includes Yoplait, The Irish Dairy Board, NorthStar Bank, Flagship Bank, Yell U.K., Directel China/Portugal, Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company, and BICSI.