The Perks team is made up of passionate, insightful and always-curious individuals who are committed to sharing experiences and incorporate the knowledge gained by being wedged between that sweet spot of startup culture and consumer branding into all of our clients’ work and our teachings. It is in this spirit that we constantly connect the digital to the larger cultural contexts of life today. Our team experience matches the multiple lens approach we bring to our clients.


Lauren Perkins

   

Founder and CEO

Experience: After transitioning from journalism to experiential marketing, she built an expertise in leading digital adoption at lifestyle and tech companies alike. She founded Perks five years ago to help business take advantage of the full brand marketing mix that today’s world of social and digital affords us.
With a genuine love for helping and teaching people, Lauren was attracted to New York’s early tech startup scene in 2008. She is an active mentor and teacher in the emerging New York City tech and entrepreneurial education community.
Guilty pleasure: Tiramisu for breakfast
My Game Changing Moment: Swimming the 100 meter butterfly as an age group swimmer, I had less training experience than the other swimmers in my age group. I learned to swim half of my laps underwater to save energy and leverage speed underwater. This method required greater pre-race training and preparation but it got me to trials of the junior olympics was my first lesson in the art of the third way. I learned there’s always a smarter, alternative way to win if you’re willing to try new things. This served me well in the pool and now in the world of business.

Christina Vuleta

   

managing director

Experience: Christina has worked on positioning big brands for a big future and creating brands from scratch. With a unique background combining consumer insights and brand futures, she specializes in providing creative, high level strategic solutions that inspire new thinking and create actionable ideas. She spends her spare time running 40:20 Vision including mentoring salons between older and younger entrepreneurs.
Guilty pleasure: Dairy Queen and Alexander McQueen.
My Game Changing Moment: The day I realized I never was going to master Pilates – but rather it was a series of achievements and aha moments that always lead to a new challenge. This became a metaphor for life and drive to find the next aha moment.

Chris Agnos

   

COO

Experience: Chris spent the first decade of his career managed consulting teams installing major software implementations for large corporations at Accenture. With this pedigree, he developed an expertise in large-scale project management, which he brought to Perks and paired with agile technology thinking to develop custom project estimating, planning, and management tools specific to Perks business processes.
After earning is Masters in Sustainable Management from Columbia University, Chris spends his free time engaging in social causes that lead to a more sustainable world.
Guilty pleasure: Electricity and warm showers
My Game Changing Moment: The day I finished reading “Confessions of an Economic Hitman”

Laura Haykel

   

Strategic Relations

Experience: Laura’s 12-year career in new business development, and marketing taps into her natural strength in developing and nurturing relationships. A passionate connector & community builder, Laura brings countless mutually beneficial collaborations with Fortune 1000 companies to her role at Perks Consulting.
Laura also created a group to support female entrepreneurs claim their worth by taking steps to actualize their projects and businesses.
Guilty pleasure: World travel, Senegalese Sabar dance classes and grande iced soy lattes on hot summer days
My Game Changing Moment: While rebuilding my life as a single mom, I realized that getting ‘there’ is an illusion, life is what you make it right here, right now. And everything I need to create the life of my dreams is within me. This ‘Aha’ moment empowered my work as a business development specialist and gave me the inspiration and courage to start my first business.

Whitney Meers

   

Account Strategist

WMHSExperience: After completing law school, Whitney left the legal world in pursuit of more creative passions. She turned to marketing, leading to her involvement with projects for a variety of clients including Samsung, Comedy Central, NBC, Turner Broadcasting, The Nerdist & more. Today, she works on client strategy & strategic product development for startups & burgeoning companies. In 2012, Whitney enrolled in the brand strategy marketing certificate program at General Assembly. She was later invited back to the program as a Digital Marketer-in-Residence & continues to be involved with GA.
Guilty pleasure: Cheese. In another life, she would be a professional cheesemonger.
My Game Changing Moment: While experiencing the frustrations law school, I thought often about working in a career that didn’t involve the practice of law. One day, while speaking to a career specialist about my background, she asked me what I would do if I didn’t have to practice law. I told her I’d work on creative projects, and she suggested there might be career opportunities that would recognize the importance of a legal background while also allowing me to impress my creativity. Since then, I haven’t looked back.

JoniSue Cleavenger

   

Account Manager

Experience: JoniSue brings resourcefulness, creativity and a competitive drive for business performance to her operations role at Perks Consulting. With a career that began in the burgeoning spa industry she quickly developed an aptitude for improving profitability through staff and customer management, product development, and infrastructure implementation. She then refined her business and finance management experience as a Credit Manager at Panavision. Throughout the course of her career she has built an expertise in business management while cultivating a specialty in lifestyle marketing and  beauty and wellness.
Jonisue also runs Gone Green Fundraisers, a organization to provide schools and nonprofits with the opportunity to raise much needed funds while improving socioeconomic and environmental conditions.
Guilty pleasure: A glass of red wine with bone marrow (humanely raised of course)
My Game Changing Moment: The day I discovered hoop dancing. My first impression was- “ those tricks are really difficult, I’ll never be able to do that.” But I learned that through consistent practice, I was able master trick by trick and string them into an intricate dance that now serves as my exercise, meditation and creative expression. Hoop dancing taught me that I’m able to get past any preconceived notions of my capabilities and this translates into every aspect of life- have patience, keep trying and never give up!

 

Shirley Chan

   

Brand and Content Strategist

Experience: Pivoting from a career in traditional publishing, Shirley leapt into the fast-paced tech startup world at Quirky: formalizing process, leading community engagement, and heading content creation across online channels and printed materials. Evolving to specialize in content and brand identity, she transitioned to Fab: defining voice and creating style guides for multiple verticals.
Shirley is a member of the advisory boards for Holstee and Skillfer, and crafts brand identity and content strategy for organizations like New York Tech Women as an independent consultant.
Guilty pleasure: Fried chicken in all its forms: traditional Southern, oven-fried, Korean style, and an especially addictive curry spiced Indian fried chicken.
My Game Changing Moment: When I realized that I held 3 executive roles at Quirky (head of customer service, community management, and content management) while the company had grown from 10 to 80 employees. Suddenly, I saw that I could do all 3 well but not at the same time, and (much better) that I had a choice about what to do. That was when I shifted all my focus to content in all its glory, and I’ve never looked back.