By: Desiree Cortez
My largest obstacle was finding a career that inspired me.
From the very first time I can remember thinking about what my career would be, I always knew I would be an attorney. As a child and teen, I prided myself on being able to argue with the best of them – and win. I entered college knowing that I was four years away from entering law school and finally being close to fulfilling my destiny. The first dent in this dream was being waitlisted by my law school of choice. I was devastated to learn that the rest of the world didn’t see my destiny as clearly as I did. The second dent occurred when I “settled” on a different law school and spent the first semester painfully bored in every single one of my classes and finding nothing in common with any of my fellow students. I wasn’t nearly as in love with being a year 1 law student as they were. I was stunned to realize that my own heart and mind weren’t in line with this dream I’d had since childhood. The third, and final, dent occurred when I took the second semester of law school off and spent a few months temping at a law firm. I thought that maybe living and breathing inside my ultimate goal would reignite my passion, help me find my way. It didn’t. It only solidified what I had slowly come to realize. I didn’t want to be a lawyer. But what does a twenty-something do when the one and only dream she’s ever had is no longer the reality she wants? I love to read and was an English major in college, so I explored going to graduate school for literature. But I was tired of listening and talking. I wanted to do. I’ve always loved tutoring and studying with other people. So I eventually ended up in the Golden Apple program, a competitive program that offered an accelerated path to my master’s in education and my teaching certification. I started my teaching career in Chicago and spent three years in education, contributing what I could to the community and my school. But I started to realize that while I absolutely loved my students, I still wasn’t in love with what I was doing. I was happy and comfortable. But that comfort didn’t feel right to me. I started to wonder if maybe my path needed to lead me outside of the comfort zone of Chicago, where I grew up and where my entire family lived.
So my husband and I packed up our car and moved to New York. From that first scary night in a new city, I knew that we had made the right move. The day I was offered an internship at DiMassimo Goldstein, I just knew that, again, I was on the right path. My entire family and all of my friends thought that I was crazy taking such a big risk. That, at my age, an internship, followed by a full-time position as the agency’s first-impression manager, was a huge step back from my years as an award-winning teacher. But I told them to have faith, because it felt right to me. Even with how strongly I believed that I had finally found my path, I never could have imagined the amazing 11 years that I’ve had with this agency. Eleven years of inspiration, challenges and amazing growth. From intern to CFO and partner. What an amazing dream.
What are the lessons that I’ve learned from this incredibly long story? Don’t settle. Use whatever opportunities you’re presented with to seek out what inspires you. What makes you feel challenged. What helps you grow. What allows you to feel alive and engaged. Look for chances to make yourself uncomfortable. Allow yourself to feel the butterflies and the nervous energy.
From Intern to Partner, Inspiring Action Agency Names CFO as Fifth Partner
April 11, 2016 (New York, NY) – To support its ongoing growth, NYC-based advertising and brand-building agency DiMassimo Goldstein has announced that Desiree Cortez has been named the agency’s fifth partner. Previously Director of Operations, Cortez will also assume the title of Chief Financial Officer, effective immediately. Cortez will take on expanded responsibilities in the ongoing development of financial and operational strategy aimed at cementing the agency’s position as the leading partner for life-changing marketers.
Beginning a decade-long career with DiMassimo Goldstein, Cortez joined the DiGo team as an operations intern, quickly securing a full time position as First Impression Manager. Focused on the agency’s finances, facilities, and HR management, Cortez played an integral role in the restructuring of DiMassimo Goldstein’s operations department and fundamental infrastructure. Cortez is credited with the development and growth of DIGO’s internship program and assisting in leadership training material construction. Making her an invaluable asset to DiMassimo Goldstein’s brand-driven growth network, Cortez is recognized in the creation of current systems, policies, and procedures accredited to the agency’s scaled profitably over the past 10 years.
“We’re trying to build something unique in the world, an integrated agency focused on life-changing organizations, and Desiree has been an important part of that for ten years,” said the agency’s chief, Mark DiMassimo. “We have long since been working as partners, and this makes it happily official.”
As Chief Financial Officer, Cortez will take on expanded responsibilities in strategic business planning and will continue to serve as a business partner for clients during key points in their relationship with the agency.
“I am both honored and excited about the opportunity and look forward to playing a leading role in the next 10 years of our agency’s growth,” said Desiree Cortez on her new promotion.
In addition to her new role as Chief Financial Officer, Cortez will join CEO Mark DiMassimo, President Lee Goldstein, Managing Director of Proove, Adam Lutz, and Chief Creative Officer, Tom Christmann in the rank of Partner. Driving the growth and direction of the agency, Cortez will be included in key decision-making about the services the network will build and foster, while maintaining its commitment to inspiring action and direct-economy innovation.
About DiMassimo Goldstein (DIGO Brands):
DiMassimo Goldstein, an Inc 5000 fastest-growing company (2014 and 2015), is a NYC-based independent brand and business-building agency that accelerates value, scale, and impact through inspiring action. The agency serves a rising class of entrepreneurial leaders of innovative companies in the US and beyond who want to chart a path of life-changing growth in an era of overwhelming change. Clients include HelloFresh, Great Minds, TradeStation, Online Trading Academy, Weight Watchers, Affinity Federal Credit Union, Mediacom, National Jewish Health, Sallie Mae and CreditCards.com among others. Proove Accountable Media is DiMassimo Goldstein’s media planning, buying, analytics and optimization arm.
About Desiree Cortez:
Beginning as an operations intern and rising to newly announced Partner and Chief Financial Officer of DiMassimo Goldstein, Desiree Cortez has spent over a decade focused on the financial and operational growth of the agency core initiatives on its charted path to become the leading agency partner for life-changing marketers. Holding previous position titles including, First Impression Manager, Operations Manager, Director of Finance and HR, and Director of Operations, Desiree has proven to be an essential member of the DiMassimo Goldstein team. After choosing to focus on finance, Desiree earned a Master degree in Accounting and Financial Management from Keller Graduate School of Management. Desiree currently splits her time between Chicago and New York City offices.