La Familia

Jimmy Learned

President/Managing Director

I believe in perfect fits, I believe in destiny, I believe in team, I believe in todos un pueblo, I believe in passionate pursuits, I believe in leadership, I believe in living with a smile and I believe in believing! In truth, I believe that my career direction may have actually begun in a small theatre in Lima, Peru. It was there in ’65 that I saw “A Hard Days Night” by The Beatles.

I didn’t even speak English. Since then, I have been an active participant and fan of the world of creativity, art and expression. It followed me to the states in ’70 and on to Southeast Asia and even Africa through the years… just a young child taking the world all in. Today, it seems quite fitting that advertising follows – choir, theatre, fútbol, rock & roll, family and life – as my passions.

I love the business we are in. It is a garden filled with opportunities to face challenges, to grow, to fail, to win, to think, to learn, to collaborate, to manage, to inspire and to evolve. I have worked with and for some amazing people. I have served members of Fortune 100 companies and also the local dreamers (God love ‘em). I always think… I am one of the lucky ones.

To my teammates: I will always work my hardest FOR you! To my clients: I will always work and think harder than I ever thought possible. And to my contemporaries: let’s keep changing the rules. And, don’t forget, smile. Gracias!

Pablo Izquierdo

Vice President

I take to heart what Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” You see, I am either totally crazy or a hopelessly romantic. From an early age, I was always interested in communications, always seeking new experiences. After graduating from college in my native Spain, I got the opportunity to come to the States… without knowing a word of English… without knowing a soul… well maybe one. I said, what’s there to fear? And the rest is history.

Today, it is advertising that holds most sway with me. I love the combination of creative and analytical thinking, the fast pace and the people I work with. I’m privileged to have worked with great brands, particularly Excel Communications, Procter & Gamble, Wendy’s International, The Washington Post, NIH and the Ad Council among many. And I have been incredibly blessed to have been involved with some of “Hispanic America’s” most important political races of our time.

Well, that’s my life in 200 words or less. If there is a challenge out there, just give me a call.

Kim Murphy

Master of the Written Word

I have always been a writer. Some of my earliest memories are of writing poems alone in my bedroom. When I was 17, I was hanging out with a high school friend who was home on vacation from college. I asked what he was studying and he replied “Mass Communications.” My long running infatuation with him led me to coo, “Me too,” even as I wondered what Mass Communications meant.

Eventually I landed on my college campus and decided to look up Communications in the course catalogue. That’s when I discovered that it really did encompass everything I loved: writing, art, creativity, persuasion, expression, media and more! So I stuck with it. . . and with that lifelong friend, Jimmy Learned, who ended up founding Elevation. I credit him not only with putting me on the exact right professional path, but also with playing cupid for my husband and me.

I am honored to have been part of the Elevation family since the beginning and to have opportunities every single day to crunch words and craft sentences.

Catherine MacNeal

Senior Account Executive

Working in account service, I have learned that some of the most successful account executives are those who are able to anticipate. Those who can anticipate a client’s request, a question or problem before it arises are able to build their client’s trust and create a strong relationship with them. While it is impossible to predict the future (although who wouldn’t want to be able to do that), I have always made it a goal of mine to be able to try and anticipate my client’s needs. I have worked on accounts across a wide variety of industries without having a background in them but have always prided myself on providing outstanding client service because of my personality, my organization skills and my ability to anticipate. I am excited to work at Elevation with some of the most talented individuals and be able to grow and learn with them on this adventure.

Rachel Cecil

Account Project Coordinator

One of my high school English teachers use to quote Jeanette Winterson, “Do it from the heart or not at all”. I try to incorporate these famous words into everything I do, whether it’s in my work or attempting a 6:00am Pilates class. It also gave me enough courage to start a new adventure in D.C. with my Elevation

As a Junior Account Executive, I serve as a liaison between Elevation and clients to help understand their goals, cultivate ideas and drive impact. While success can be achieved with a lot of hard work, it is passion that makes people stop in their tracks when they see your work and say “WOW!”. At Elevation, I
have the opportunity every day to work with a group that share in my passion to make people do exactly that.

Like most D.C. residents in their 20’s, outside of work I enjoy any and all live music, discovering new museums and hunting for the best brunch.

Laurent Baiettini

Art Director

I come from an artistically-inclined Swiss family: my father painted and sculpted throughout his life, my mother is a writer, my uncle has designed retail display windows and dabbled in interior decoration.

After I moved to the U.S. in my early 20s I felt the same creative drive, so I fueled my passion at the Corcoran Institute and fell in love with the newly burgeoning field of digital design. After several years of freelancing and working in the photography industry I found my second home with the Elevation family.

Working with this international cast of creative pros is an inspiration every day, one that pushes me to strive for precision and passion in everything we deliver to our clients. In my spare time, I plot to completely turn my two-car garage into a fully functioning wood shop to feed my woodworking habit.

Cecilia Hernandez

Human Resource Manager

With an academic and career background in administration, Cecilia celebrates +18 years of experience in Office Management, Human Resources, and Accounting. She has worked both with the private sector and government agencies. At Elevation, Cecilia contributes to the development and implementation of the agency’s policies and procedures, manages and oversees the administration of HR policies, programs, and practices within the Washington-DC-based advertising agency.  Ceci shares with every good listener how much she enjoys hiking, making jewelry, traveling to her motherland, El Salvador, and spending time with her dogs – Valentino & Snow -. She is the one with the greatest smile and the most contagious laugh at the office. And, as Eleanor Roosevelt would say, she is the person using her head to handle herself and her heart to handle others.

Shawn Borja

Accounting/Contract Administrator

My parents originate from Bolivia and Ireland but I was born in Maryland. I graduated from Towson University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting. I have always had a strong history of budgeting finances for friends and family which I used as my inspiration for my current career path. Helping those around me to get to their financial goals is something I take tremendous pride in.

Elevation has helped me grow as an individual ever since I started back in 2014. The experience I have gained in government contracting, budgeting, forecasting and many other aspects of accounting have only strengthened my passion for my field.

Einstein said “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” which is something I try to implement in my day to day life. Always innovate, grow and learn from every success as well as any failures.

Andrea Valdez

Office Administrator/Exec. Assistant

I grew up in Northern Virginia, Second-generation Bolivian. I joined Elevation in 2013 as Administrative Assistant and then became Office Administrator/Executive Assistant. I am responsible for overall
coordination of a broad range of services and resources that allow the agency to operate efficiently. Working in an environment that embraces the value of social and cultural diversity has been of high importance to my professional and personal growth. I am very fortunate and honored to work with people from all over the world that share the same philosophy.

Philip Chase

Elevation Family Member

In business it is important to be honest with yourself and with others, including fellow workers, vendors, customers, etc.  I enjoy looking at the business cycle from a predictive nature, always attempting to identify an ideal response depending on what life will throw at you.  Understanding what drives a process and what levers can be moved in order to yield an optimal result, is the key to success. My experience in strategic planning, predictive analysis, finance and accounting, mergers and acquisitions, senior management mentoring and growth driven process evolution have been a pleasure to employ at and share with the Elevation family.

I truly believe that life is too short so it’s essential to welcome each day with desire and optimism. Enjoy life, be kind to others, and always be aware that there are others less fortunate than you. As an immigrant from Chile, I am cognizant of this, and I strive to give back, especially with an involvement with non-profits in the Dominican Republic and Honduras.

Traveling and enjoying different cultures is where it’s at in my mind.  Good health is what you need to make it happen. So, don’t hold back – eat well, take care of yourself and don’t hold back.

Harrison Settle

Elevation Family Member

“Do or do not, there is no try.” Though that was said by a little green puppet in Star Wars, I live my life by this quote and challenge the Elevation team to hold me to it daily, even those unfamiliar with the wise words of Yoda.

Throughout my life I have always preferred to watch and listen before speaking or acting, which has given me an understanding of how people operate, what motivates them, and what connects with them. As someone who always had trouble staying awake and paying attention in math class, I enjoy being around creative people and feel lucky to be in a position that provides new challenges everyday while being surrounded by people who inspire me.

In my free time I enjoy cheering on the South Carolina Gamecocks in sports, listening to Dua Lipa to get my day started instead of drinking coffee, and giving Jimmy lessons in golf whenever the weather allows it.

Juan Largos

Creative Director

When I was a little kid I wanted to be a soccer player. Then a pilot. Then a priest. Then a fireman. Then an actor. Then a drummer. Suddenly, I was 19 years old and had a blank page in front of me. I’ve been in advertising since then. And I must say, I enjoyed (and enjoy) every minute of it. I’m from Argentina, so it’s expected that I will talk about the things that I’m most proud of. As a creative director, I’m proud of the people I work with.

I’m proud of the collaborative spirit, the laughs, the long nights, the brainstormings in which we replace the words “I” and “no” with “we” and “what if”. I’m proud of the results that we achieve together with our clients (yes, I’m a creative director and I’m actually saying that).

I’m proud of always pushing for the best ideas, of mentoring junior talent, of generating a positive atmosphere where teamwork is more than a methodology, it’s a way of life. I’m also proud of being, hands down, the absolute best grill master of the western hemisphere. Hey, I told you I’m Argentinian. So it’s normal for me to grill beef like a boss. And to be, humm, overtly confident.

I’m a family man, and therefore it goes without saying that I’m extremely proud of mine. They are the most important people in my life, and that includes Coco, our dog. Finally, I’m proud of slowly but steadily learning how to carry a couple of tunes on my guitar. But since this is just a picture, you’re gonna have to trust me on that one.

Gaby Pais

Elevation Family Member

Happy and Proud Cuban. In love with cheese and in love with life, but who isn’t?

As a curiosity-driven person who is certain that work should be mostly about enjoyment, I find amusement in the lines between copywriting and digital marketing. With both a passion for witty writing and an interest in all-things-tech, I usually find myself fighting for environmental and social causes, encouraging brands to transform their go-to-market approaches to deliver benefits for the company, the environment, and for society.

Fluent in Google Ads, Social Media, Content SEO, English, and Spanish.

Having worked on communications across business and non-profit organizations, I’m always up for actions that challenge perspectives and change behaviors. Need teamwork for one of those? Reach out!

And please, call me Gaby.