Gina DeLisser's journey from design to entrepreneurship

GINA DeLisser forms part of the dynamic duo that brought to life digital-first marketing agency One Great Studio (1GS). The creative, who has played an integral role in the company marking its 10th anniversary, never imagined she would serve in a leadership capacity within the digital marketing industry, currently serving as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of 1GS.

DeLisser shared that, for as long as she could remember, design and its multifaceted applications have always been her passion. With this enthusiasm, the entrepreneur ventured further into design, where she completed her bachelor's at York University in Toronto, Canada.

"When asked about why I wanted to enrol in the programme at York for my admissions essay, that is what my response was, 'I see design as a tool for business'. I saw the great potential that it had to add value. Adding value is about serving. Serving lends itself to solving problems," expressed DeLisser.

DeLisser in her capacity as COO remains committed and tirelessly dedicated to ensuring that rhythms and systems of accountability are set up across the team.

It was from her passion in design that she segued into the digital marketing space, unexpectedly growing to become a leader within the industry. Describing herself as a deep thinker and curious learner with a steely determination to live life on purpose, DeLisser was able to build 1GS from the ground up with co-founder and CEO Djuvane Browne.

Though the duo faced challenges, such as a fast-paced dynamic industry, finding a balance between building capacity and revenue growth, professional growing pains, as well as navigating a start-up in a rapidly changing industry, 1GS today stands "10 years great". This is owing to values such as thinking long term, doing good, and a "don't be greedy, everybody must win" mindset practised by DeLisser and her team.

"Building anything from the ground up takes a certain level of grit and determination. It's the stick-to-itiveness, serving with care and humility, curiosity, and commitment to learning and growing, being patient with yourself, and being open to change, facing difficulty head-on and not cowering away from it. Leading a people business in a service industry has its very particular set of challenges. I am grateful to have a supportive co-founder and friend to face those challenges with, and a great leadership team to do life with, as we serve our team and our customers," she explained.

A full-service digital-first marketing agency, 1GS works closely with clients to develop digital strategies and provide solutions that help increase brand awareness, improve customer engagement, and drive revenue growth. 1GS offers a broad spectrum of services, providing a comprehensive range of digital marketing solutions, with a primary focus on digital channels, such as websites, digital ad strategy and management, social media strategy, mobile and web apps, and search engine optimisation.

DELISSER...building anything from the ground up takes a certain level of grit and determination.

Embracing the verse, "Write the vision and make it plain…" (Habakkuk 2:2), DeLisser shares that her main contribution to the company has been providing a practical approach to building and executing the vision of the company, which she dubs her "operationalising vision". Working to complement co-founder Browne, DeLisser has consistently provided a measured and thoughtful approach to making key business decisions. Exploring new markets, strategies, and lines of business in a high-growth industry demands targeted vision and execution. By asking the right questions, DeLisser ensures there are clear steps to achieve success while simultaneously taking measured risks when needed.

"1GS is excited about the opportunities we have in front of us now. The company has had 10 years of real growth. We are making strides in our efforts to bring underutilised digital marketing services to the region. We've been developing capacity and are very optimistic about the results that we will be able to generate for our clients through these services. As for me, I think there is still a lot to be discovered and cultivated in my leadership role. There is great room for growth for me to develop as a leader industry-wide. Any success as a leader that I have gained over the years is from consistency in striving for excellence in the little things and the big things, staying true to my principles and keeping a sharp focus on the bigger picture," DeLisser said.

DeLisser, in her capacity as COO, remains committed and tirelessly dedicated to ensuring that rhythms and systems of accountability are set up across the team. Collaborating with her entire team, the creative assesses the performance and growth of the organisation, which, in turn, has improved operational efficiencies and strategic initiatives for revenue growth and profitability. DeLisser has also played a crucial role in carving a culture to propel the delivery of remarkable results. Subsequently, 1GS today is leading the way in providing tech-enabled, revenue-generating digital-first marketing services. With digital here to stay, rapidly evolving markets have an increased need for corporate agility and a customer base that demands responsiveness and better service, and 1GS is and will be key to earning and learning, now and in the future.

With the nature of business being a fast-paced one, DeLisser encourages girls and women looking to join the digital marketing space to be open to consistent learning, shaping, and sharing as well as being able to constantly adapt to the industry's ever-changing needs. She notes the importance of understanding the space and shares that while one does not need to be an expert in all areas, it is important to understand how each area works together, as knowing this can result in a more aligned and targeted focus.

Noting the importance of remaining authentic and guarding one's principles and values, DeLisser also underscores the need for girls and women to "give themselves to generous service, resilient leadership, excellence through consistency, authentic engagement, and trustworthy partnerships — don't settle for anything less than great."

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