10 Years a PMGer: David Gong, Marketing and Communications Principal
Even though I knew PMG was a startup at the time, I probably should’ve been prepared for what I saw when I walked through the door. There were no windows in the office, and the room was made even darker by most of the overhead lights being turned off (likely because the stereotype of developers disliking illumination was true back then).
My first role at PMG was in account services, now known as client strategy. Back then, we all wore multiple hats because that’s just what you end up doing at a small startup. Generally, though, I led client teams during my first five years at the company, then over time, I transitioned into a brand marketing role. I like to think I’ve remained the funniest PMGer throughout my ten years here.
It’s hard to claim achievements, since so much of the success at PMG—from when we were only a few people in windowless office space to where we are now as a global company of 500—took the effort of countless people. That said, I'm quite proud of the ‘DIG In’ speaker series we launched last year.
As part of a larger commitment to building a culture of belonging, diversity, and inclusion (CBID), PMG committed to elevating the voices of diverse people who reflect our team, as well as the communities we live in. The speaker series invites speakers of different backgrounds and perspectives, representing communities that have traditionally been marginalized, to share their stories and challenge us to think about how each of us could better contribute to a more inclusive culture—not just at PMG, but in our industry, and importantly, in our communities as well. By working closely with other passionate employees at PMG, we’ve been able to grow and evolve the monthly speaker series into one of the most widely attended, voluntary company-wide events. And most importantly, the speaker series has led to action, both at the individual and corporate levels, to foster conversations, openness, and inclusivity.
As I answer this question, I feel like I’m writing company award submissions, but the great thing is that I truly believe it: What sets PMG apart from the many other companies I’ve worked at is the culture. And more specifically, it’s the people. And even more specifically, it’s people like Jacob Herman, Pam Buyers, Devon Eubanks, Chris Alvares, and Ashley Hartwig (in addition to the dozens of others who deserve to be named, too). There’s an unnatural (for our industry), but amazing sense of having people’s backs at PMG, where people roll up their sleeves to get things done, forgoing any pretentiousness, and are accountable to themselves and others. It’s been great to see how fast we’ve grown by adding people from so many different backgrounds and interests, yet we all share the same humility and accountability to and for each other.
I won’t name names (Chris Alvares), but in my second year at PMG, someone (Chris Alvares) hired an actor to be me for the day. I walked up to my desk, and there was someone exceedingly less handsome than me in my seat. It took a bit for me to realize what was going on and for me to get over being offended that they (Chris Alvares) thought someone of such subpar quality could substitute for me, but it was pretty funny. And it turned out okay—the actor’s bid optimizations drove profitability to levels not seen since that day!
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I’m excited to see the PMG story evolve. We are a very different company today than when I joined ten years ago, and I expect we will be a different company in 2032. I’ve learned in my time here to assume grand ambition—from how the company is structured and the type of work we do, to the ways the company takes care of its people. The past ten years have been quite an adventure, and I’m looking forward to being part of PMG’s future in the years to come.
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