A short history of Jeff Young, Founder of Y DIRECT

A short history of Jeff Young, Founder of Y DIRECT
After graduating from a 3-year Marketing program at Humber College of Applied Arts in
Rexdale, I started on a career journey that would equip me with a diverse skill set and desire to
not live the status quo. Having been one of the last in my peer circle to begin a career I eagerly
began to scan through Marketing Magazine for job postings. At this time there were no online
job boards so finding a job came down to networking and faxing out your resume. Several of my
friends had taken a media course and were landing jobs at media companies, their stories of
parties, socializing and low pay had me sold, well not the low pay. I had a friend set me up with
an interview at BBDO in Toronto. It was to be an entry level media clerk and it was a great start.
It was pretty much everything I dreamed of and more. This was the job that got me hooked on
agency life and servicing clients.
From there I jumped around a little, some longer stays then others and worked my way
up the “title ladder”. My client list and experience was getting long and well rounded. Once I
began running my own accounts and managing a team I got a taste for something more. At this
time I was given an opportunity to work for one of the top universities in North America. A
contract I was not going to pass on. This contract would allow me to work from home and start
my own consulting firm. The plan was to do this for 2 years…which has now turned into 10.
During these ten years I had an opportunity to teach in the advertising program at Mohawk
College in Hamilton. This was a great gig and a lot of fun. During this time however my company
was thriving. Juggling both jobs was taking a toll. A good problem to have, but not one that had
a future. We had just landed several large projects in the automotive sector and I had to make
the decision to focus solely on Y Direct and its growth. Teaching wasn’t a priority and had to be
put on hold. I had some amazing years, both financially and personally during this time. I had
gotten married which turned into a beautiful baby girl. I had become quite the DIYer and we
were flipping houses living in a constant state of organized chaos. Life couldn’t be better. Then
the recession hit.
Within a month, we had lost some big pieces of business and our projected annual
billings were cut in half. The recession had a large impact on how companies spend their
money. I began to see more dollars shifting to internal resources and spending come to a
standstill while companies reorganized. This was not good news for someone that made their
living off of outsourced marketing dollars. Things did bounce back and opportunities once again
began to present themselves. Growth inevitably returned. We adjusted our marketing skill set
and the company’s focus. We are in the business of measureable marketing; this is the back
bone of direct marketing. So the move into the digital space almost seemed organic. With this
new focus we began picking up projects and developing new strategies for our clients. With the
support of my network we were back on track. Clients come and go, balance sheets can change
colour overnight. Change can be a beautiful thing if embraced. My love for growing small
companies into big ones, making unknown brands into household names continues. I am
always searching for that next challenge or seizing that new opportunity.
The road ahead will never be straight, but I seem to like it that way. Thank you.
I can be reached at 905 580 3113 or [email protected]