Jody Berg is the founder and CEO of Media Works, one of the mid-Atlantic region’s largest strategic marketing agencies. Jody started her career almost 30 years ago at the kitchen table in her townhouse. Her husband, David, 60, is CEO of the Berg Corporation.
Media Works has more than 30 employees and over $80 million in annual billings, with an extensive and diverse client list.
Jody, 58, was named one of Maryland’s “Most Admired CEOs” by the Maryland Daily Record and is a recipient of the American Advertising Federation of Baltimore’s Silver Medal Award.
Where did you get your start?
I graduated from Boston University with a degree in mass communications. I wasn’t exactly sure what area in the communications field I wanted to pursue. My first job was at a PR firm and I realized soon after, it wasn’t for me. A friend of mine said you should try media. I sent out my resume and got my first job at VanSant Dugdale, an advertising agency in Baltimore.
How was Media Works born?
I was working for a mid-sized PR/advertising agency when I had my first child and I was trying to figure out how to balance the two. The agency really only had a few advertising clients so I approached the owner with an idea that would benefit us both. I told her I would handle her media clients on a freelance basis and I would go out and start drumming up business for myself.
Were you scared?
I was definitely scared, but I knew if I didn’t work out I could always find a job. I enjoyed working and I always felt it was important to be independent. I didn’t want to rely 100 percent on my husband.
How did you and David meet?
We met at the Mount Washington Tavern. It was the “Cheers” of the time. Everyone knew someone there. We will be married 35 years this October.
What brought you together?
I guess it was a combination of same goals in life, same values, and we enjoyed each other’s company. Family and friends were very important to both of us, and we love being with both.
How did your company grow?
My company grew slowly, but over a few years I started making a name for myself and picking up some larger clients. The industry at that time was still made up of mostly full service agencies, so I was one of the first boutiques to open up. In 1993 I picked up Koons Automotive and hired my first employee right before my son was born. We had just built a new home and we designed the basement to be an office, with cubicles and a conference room.
Then we outgrew that. … I think there were probably 10 of us when we left that space and moved into a carriage house and then left there with about 20 employees, and now we are 33 in Bare Hills Business Park with two small offices in Charlotte, N.C., and Phoenix.
How did you balance a growing family and a new business?
I always had help. I needed to. Often times, I would stop working and have dinner with my kids, put them to bed and then go back to work. I did my best, and I worked very hard.
Has David been supportive?
Absolutely. He was my biggest advocate.
So, partners on every level?
At the end of the day, we love each other’s company. We love spending time with our family and friends. We have a great balance.
For information, visit medialtd.com.
Liz McMahon is a Baltimore-based freelance writer.
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