Jessica Hawthorne-CastroChief Executive Officer
Multi-Talented. Multi-Faceted. Multi-Disciplined.
For over thirty years, HAWTHORNE has been delivering impressive KPIs for major brands. Our team has vast experience and is driven and dedicated to growing your business. Trust your brand to our experts.
Chief Executive Officer
Jessica Hawthorne-Castro is the CEO of Hawthorne Direct, a leading technology-based advertising agency specializing in analytics and accountable brand campaigns for over 30-years. Jessica has strategically positioned the agency to be at the forefront of the new marketing revolution of advertising where art meets science. Throughout her tenure with Hawthorne Direct, she has fostered long-standing relationships with the company's expansive base of diversified clients resulting from an unwavering commitment to unparalleled service. Her strategy is renowned for its hands-on and highly responsive approach, leveraging the agency’s profound leadership in attribution and ROI. Clients include: 3M (Command, Filtrete, Post-it, Scotch-Brite); Audible; Armor All; Carbonite; Black & Decker; Dyson, Gerber; L’Oreal; Hamilton Beach; HomeAdvisor.com; Hoover; Remington; SanDisk; Pella; Transamerica; PETA; United Healthcare and zulily.com. In 2015, Jessica led Hawthorne Direct to their certification with the Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise Council- West (WBENC).
Jessica has been recognized from the broader professional community with the following accolades for her career accomplishments:
“Women's Summit Awards Nomination” by Los Angeles Business Journal (2016)
“Woman of Influence” by L.A. Biz and Biz Women (2016)
“Female CEO of the Year in Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations”, presented by the CEO World Awards organization. (2015)
Honored with Marketing EDGE’s “Rising Star Award”, recognizing young professionals who have maintained a strong record of giving back through education and mentoring while achieving a high level of corporate success. (2015)
Honored as a “Top 40 Under 40” by Direct Marketing News (2015)
Semifinalist in the Ernst and Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” in the Greater Los Angeles area. (2015)
Nominated for “DRMA Member of the Year” (2015)
“Women Making a Difference in Business Award Nominee” by Los Angeles Business Journal (2014 & 2015)
As a leader in the marketing space, Jessica is a contributor to various industry publications offering insights on key industry trends. Representative publications include: AdAge; AdWeek; The Wall Street Journal; The Huffington Post; American Marketing Association; Women in Business and Industry; 60 Second Marketer; Biz Report; Data Informed; GEOMarketing; Marketing ID; Response Magazine; The Mad Marketer; Adotas.com; Mobile Marketing Watch; CRM Magazine; Electronic Retailer Magazine; Adrants; iMediaConnection; Inside Big Data; DMA; 60 Second Marketer; GenHERation; Biz Journal; Marketing Tech Blog; Target Marketing; Mobile Advertising Watch; Chief Marketer; Biz Women; Women in Business and Industry; WE Magazine for Women and more. As a notable contributor in the advertising & marketing space, she routinely participates on industry discussion panels with past events including the OMMA LA, Marketing EDGE, Digital Hollywood, DRMA Response Expo, and Electronic Retailing’s D2C Event.
Prior to joining Hawthorne Direct, Hawthorne-Castro was a successful TV literary agent with William Morris Endeavor (formerly Endeavor), one of Hollywood's top, full-service talent agencies representing writers, directors and producers for television. As the agent for an impressive list of WME's top TV talent, she identified and negotiated opportunities for shows airing on all major broadcast and cable television networks. She also packaged key elements necessary to develop shows, working regularly with executives from ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, HBO, USA, Bravo and others. In this capacity, Hawthorne-Castro assisted the creators of numerous top-rated programs, including "Entourage," "The Office," "Heroes," "24" and "Law and Order.”
Hawthorne-Castro holds a Magna Cum Laude MBA degree from Loyola Marymount University and a Cum Laude Bachelors degree from UCLA. Jessica is a member of Young Presidents’ Organization, Los Angeles Chapter. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband and son.
With headquarters in Los Angeles, the agency has grown since its 1986 founding to have offices in 6 cities nationwide. Tim has won more than 450 creative awards for numerous brand campaigns over the past 3 decades and managed over 800 TV and digital advertising campaigns for clients such as 3M, Apple, Braun, Discover Card, Clorox, Dyson, Hamilton Beach, HomeAdvisor, Nissan, Procter & Gamble, Time-Life, Transamerica, zulily and more.
Tim is co-founder of the Electronic Retailing Association and has delivered over 100 speeches worldwide. He has published over 300 articles and been a featured columnist for various industry publications including Response Magazine and Electronic Retailer Magazine. He is a member of the Response Magazine Advisory Board. Tim is the author of the definitive DRTV book "The Complete Guide to Infomercial Marketing."
Tim was recognized as the 1996 Entrepreneur of the year USA Today/Ernst & Young. He was named one of the "25 Most Influential People in DRTV" by Response Magazine and received the prestigious "Lifetime Achievement Award" from the Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) in 2006. Tim was inducted into the Direct Response Hall of Fame in 2014.
Tim currently serves on Hawthorne's board of directors and acts as a Strategic Advisor for the company.
George LeonChief Strategy Officer
Chief Strategy Officer
He oversees Hawthorne's expanding integrated Brand Response TV (BRTV) media strategy, execution and analytics and spearheads Hawthorne's Data Science and "Big Data" initiatives on behalf of a broad range of major brand clients including 3M, Brother International, Equifax, Hamilton Beach, HomeAdvisor.com, Transamerica and zulily.
Over the past 20 years, George has been involved in every aspect of the direct response television (DRTV) industry from media to operations to marketing and new media. He brings his years of experience in agency account management, media analysis, effective team management and creating strong media relationships across all platforms.
Utilizing his background in financial analysis and forecasting, George launched his media career at Williams Television Time in Los Angeles. He worked on account analysis for clients such as DirecTV, Mars, Mattel and Phillips Electronics. Later, George became media director of National Media. Within two years, George was responsible for all of the company's media and operation functions.
In 2000, George co-founded Gold Mountain Media, Inc., a successful media agency focusing on Long Form media. As integrated marketing and media campaigns expanded their dominance in the DRTV media marketplace, George launched CIELO Media Management, Inc. in 2008, focusing on a hybrid of English and Spanish Long and Short Form media campaigns. When industry focus shifted to strong analytics and technology to best serve Brand Response campaigns, George joined Hawthorne, the leader in accountable brand advertising.
George grew up in Brooklyn, NY and remains loyal to all NY sports teams. Even the Knicks.
Christian JonesHead of Marketing
Head of Marketing
As head of Hawthorne’s Marketing department, Christian manages marketing and new business initiatives to drive revenue and growth for Hawthorne. Christian partners with the leadership team to formulate brand strategy, messaging and strategic planning to ensure Hawthorne is well-positioned in a constantly shifting media landscape.
Christian has over 15 years of proven success in business development/sales, creative, digital media, and technology and his work has been nominated for Webby and Grammy Awards. He has managed sales teams of 30+ people worldwide from Los Angeles to London to Lagos, and has a proven track record of developing successful campaigns for brand partners including Coca-Cola, National Geographic, Airtel Wireless, Ford Motors and Heineken. He has been deeply immersed in technology since the very early days of the web, co-founding his own Webby Award-nominated music/video streaming startup and applying a continuous improvement, growth mentality to other startups in emerging verticals such as AR, social video, m-commerce and eco-tech.
Outside of work Christian enjoys writing music, hiking, travelling without expectations, cooking without recipes, the ocean, the desert, thrift store finds, random acts of kindness and spending time with the family.
John FrancisDirector of Digital Strategy
Director of Digital Strategy
John provides innovative methods for drive-to-web advertising campaigns. His main focus is developing consumer journeys in the digital space, which include content strategies, user experience design and social media monitoring. Prior to Hawthorne, John was Assistant Dean of the Keller Graduate School of Management, Professor of Interactive Design with the Art Institute of California, teaching “User experience design” and “Social media marketing.” He was also the director of partner marketing with Verio/NTT and former webmaster of America Online where he assisted in the design and launch of AOL’s chat application “AOL Instant Messenger."
Sarah HamiltonDirector of Human Resources and Administration
Director of Human Resources and Administration
As head of Hawthorne’s human resources and administration department, Sarah manages employee relations, talent acquisition, organizational planning, and strategic growth. Sarah partners with the leadership team and managers to oversee onboarding and training, performance management, compliance and employee communication.
With over 10 years of experience in Human Resources, Sarah specializes in taking a creative approach to HR and applies efficient solutions focusing on what matters most, people.
Prior to Hawthorne, Sarah was the director of human resources at The Glover Park Group—a strategic communications, lobbying and PR firm. Sarah also served as HR business manager at POLITICO and was the HR manager for Sirens Media, an ITV America company.
Sarah holds a Bachelor of Science in Cultural Anthropology from East Carolina University and is PHR-certified. Outside of work, Sarah enjoys scuba diving, snowboarding, mountaineering, sea kayaking and pretty much anything that takes her outdoors!
Mary PappVice President
Vice President Media Account
Management & Account Director
Mary joined the team just over 20 years ago and has since taken on the role of oversight for the development and execution of all Hawthorne client media strategies to maximize their profitability.
Mary's specialty is developing and executing advertising integrated strategies with lead to acquisition funnels. Her portfolio of experience features work for 3M, Bose, Clorox, It's Just Lunch, JB Weld, JD Mellberg, Sono Bello and WellCare. She has impeccable attention to detail, communication, optimization across all media channels and works closely to refine campaign attribution models with Hawthorne's team of Media Strategists/Analysts.
She loves spending time with her dogs, horses and family. Mary is a champion Quarter Horse aficionado and has placed in the top 15 at the All American Quarter Horse Congress. Her daughter Amber was recently named All American Quarter Horse Congress Queen runner-up.
Dr. Stephen KellyPrincipal Scientist
Dr. Stephen Kelly
Stephen is responsible for overall technology strategy, tactics and implementation of the company, leveraging technology to create new products/services and leading the information services department. His training as a theoretical physicist and work on Unified Quantum Field Theories has given him a unique set of problem solving skills used daily in his role at Hawthorne.
Stephen created and developed Hawthorne's proprietary PureStat web attribution technology which has enabled Hawthorne’s clients to rigorously measure and optimize TV impact on web response, sales and leads. He has been the driving force behind Hawthorne’s inaugural Data Science Seminar Series beginning in 2015 through 2016. The series focus is on introductory and advanced concepts in data science in efforts to provide an overview of advances in software tools for effectively producing data insights. Stephen has also participated as a featured speaker with the Direct Marketing Association and has been a contributor to DRTV Connected.
Stephen has over 35 years of experience in the information technology industry. After many years as CTO building Hawthorne's IS infrastructure and capabilities, he is now building Hawthorne’s Data Science infrastructure and capabilities. Before joining the Hawthorne team, he was previously President of VirtuState Inc., a software consulting company. Prior to that, he was the VP of Programming at Vinayak 4D Games, where he developed a complete video game. Before these roles he acted as a Senior Systems Architect at Coolcall.
Stephen holds a Ph.D. in high-energy physics from M.I.U. Stephen is known as Dr. Steve to his data science friends and sports an extensive collection of quirky t-shirts. His interests include Cross Fit, Meditation, and other self-development techniques.
Karla Crawford KerrVice President of Marketing
Karla Crawford Kerr
Vice President of Marketing
Since taking on this role in 2011, Karla has worked tirelessly with prospective and existing clients to optimize brand response television success. She is a leader in the company's marketing and business development arenas, specializing in public relations, event/trade show planning and account management. Her portfolio of clients has included Applica, Black & Decker, Braun, Clorox, Honeywell, Kreg Tool, Nikon, Oreck, Procter & Gamble, U.S. Navy and more.
Karla has been recognized for a variety of industry and local achievements since joining Hawthorne in 1997. Those awards include but are not limited to, Hawthorne's 5, 10 & 15 Year Service Awards, Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) Volunteer of the Year Honoree 2004, Top Ten DRMA (Direct Response Marketing Association)/Response Magazine Member of the Year 2013 and Hawthorne's recipient for the 2014 Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. Impact Award.
Aside from these honors, Karla has served five terms as Chairman for the ERA Content/Programming Committee and been an active committee member since 1997. She was a Moxie Awards Presenter in 2012 and 2005, the Key Note Moderator for the 2012 Great Ideas Summit, Moderator at the ERA D2C Convention 2013 and 2012, ERA InventHelp – INPEX Pitch to Pros Panel Judge 2015 and 2014 and Fairfield Chamber of Commerce Awards Presenter in 2015. She has served annually as Moxie Awards judge since 2003. Karla was accepted to the Direct Marketing Association Broadcast Council Operating Board, and has also served on the DMA (Direct Marketing Association) Broadcast Council Operating Committee and she was co-chair of programming for that organization for two years.
Karla is a graduate of Grand View University, with degrees in both Mass Communication and Radio/Television. Karla is a five time National History Day winner and today volunteers as a judge and coach/consultant with students.
Gina Lombardo-NegronMedia Director
As Media Director Gina is responsible for managing and mentoring the buying team at Hawthorne. Her key responsibilities include strategizing, brainstorming and executing buying initiatives; cultivating relationships with vendors; and negotiating and overseeing media expenditures that optimize the effectiveness of Hawthorne’s campaigns. She understands the intricacies and challenges of the media marketplace and their impact on clients’ goals.
Gina is a seasoned professional with over 20 years of experience in the media industry. Prior to joining Hawthorne, she served as VP, Associate Media Director at Wunderman/Media Edge, where she gained extensive experience in both buying and planning for local broadcast, national cable, network television, radio and syndication. Her skill set includes both DRTV and general market negotiations.
Gina’s client experience spans all industries, with successful media campaign executions for an extensive list of companies: AT&T, Ford, Progressive, Netflix, L.L. Bean, Weight Watchers, Discover Card, Club Med, 1-800-Flowers.com, Sylvan Learning Centers, USPS, United States Army, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKlein, Amgen, Brink’s Home Security, QuickBooks, Dell, Genworth, Pella Windows, DuPont and Sony Music.
Gina earned a Bachelor of Science in communication from St John’s University. She lives in Long Island, NY and enjoys her proximity to Manhattan’s Broadway shows.
Steve JurgensenChief Financial Officer
Chief Financial Officer
Steve oversees Hawthorne's Accounting, Finance, Information Systems and Data Science departments. He has extensive financial leadership and agency experience, with both independent and conglomerate agencies.
As a former Corporate Controller within Omnicom's TBWA Network, Steve led the accounting, financial reporting, financial analysis, and financial planning for The Integer Group which was comprised of nine previously independent agencies, acting as the liaison between the agencies and the network. In this role, he implemented enhancements and efficiencies including systematic implementations, shared services centers, and process improvements which resulted in reduced overhead costs and improve agency effectiveness. He also mentored and developed financial personnel who now are agency financial leaders.
Steve has a bachelor of arts in Accounting from the University of Northern Iowa, a project management certificate from Colorado State University and a financial planning certificate from Metro State University of Denver. He is often found at aquatic centers supporting his children in their competitive swimming.
Steve D'AmicoVice President
Group Account Director
Steve began his career in marketing back when a fax machine was considered a technological breakthrough. But he has kept up with the times, and now runs integrated offline/online campaigns for some of Hawthorne's pure digital clients who have benefited from Steve's ability to scale campaigns while maintaining or exceeding ROI requirements.
His varied marketing career has included many years in the agency world [ever since the first dot-com bubble], where his analytic mindset made him gravitate toward data-driven, brand response campaigns. He writes insightful creative briefs (never more than one page long, for as Mark Twain once said, "I would have written less but I ran out of time."), but can also run statistical analysis alongside the agency’s more mathematically-inclined team members.
Steve lives in Northeast Los Angeles, an area that Forbes recently labeled America's hippest neighborhood, and can occasionally be found playing guitar at local events and bars (in fact, his marketing career start was somewhat delayed due to his being an aspiring rock star... we're serious); walking his beloved shelter mutt, Lucky; refereeing youth soccer, and hanging out with his family. He is also known for his encyclopedic knowledge of Northeast LA food trucks.