What about Mike Palma? Reminds me of the time Yogi Berra was on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Carson said, “Let’s play some word association — I’ll say a word or name and you say the first thing that comes to your mind. Okay Yogi?” Yogi nods.
Johnny: “Mickey Mantle“…….Yogi: “What about Mickey Mantle?”
So, what about Mike Palma?
I’ve had 5 careers, all largely insignificant. I started as a Parade Magazine HS All American basketball player in NY. I played at Wake Forest University for 2 years and then transferred to Iona College where I played with Jeff Ruland for Jim Valvano. My playing career ended in my third NCAA Tournament against Georgetown. As a high school player, Jim Boeheim, Dick Vitale, Bobby Cremins and Rick Pitino were some of the coaches who visited my home to recruit me.
My second career was coaching basketball. Three years at a small, Catholic HS in Winston-Salem, NC. Two state championships. Then up to The College of the Holy Cross in New England for 5 years. At Holy Cross, I learned how to recruit student-athletes, spending most of my time on the road; in gymnasiums, diners and motels. I applied these recruiting principles to my next career:
Executive recruiting. Headhunting. I began recruiting for ad agencies in 1989. That was well over 1,000 placements ago. I’ve lost count. David Lubars, Alex Bogusky, David Baldwin, Guy Bommarito, Tom Monahan, Chuck Porter and Lee Clow are some of the Creative Directors I’ve worked with to help attract talent. Strangely, my opinion made big news: ADWEEK.
Right after 9/11, I took a four year hiatus on the agency side, as a New Business Rainmaker. The stint culminated at BBDO Atlanta, as SVP, Director of Business Development. It was pretty big news: ADWEEK. It was also like 4 years at college — learning how to pitch business. There were days I felt like George Plimpton in Paper Lion. But, after quarterbacking some wins — I gained confidence in my approach to new business, which was influenced by pitchmen like Andrew Robertson, Mark Goldstein, Nancy Hill, Tim Bayless and David Lubars.
In 2006, I relaunched The Palma Group as a hybrid ad agency headhunting/rainmaking firm. And yes, this also made for big news: ADWEEK. We’ve helped deliver hundreds of accounts and talented people to our clients since.
In 2010, by sheer accident, I began managing agency reviews for CMO’s and other brand marketers. I think this happened because of my extensive and intimate knowledge of the creative agency landscape. I now lead the fastest growing Agency Search Consultancy in America. This growth is driven by the need to identify better creative resources for advertisers. To date I have managed nearly 50 agency reviews for many brands; including: Heineken USA, Arby’s Restaurant Group, The Coca-Cola Company, Church’s Chicken, Zaxby’s and Gas South.
I aspire to a sixth career on the PGA Senior Tour.