To Be Your Own Boss

Good relationships breed successful projects, according to Nick Gagliano. As President of The Gagliano Group, the experienced communication professional makes strides to preserve good standing with his diverse clientele. Whether he’s launching a campaign to promote local venues or raising awareness for exciting upcoming events, the creativity, the efficiency and the trustworthiness he utilizes make a triumphant combination.

“You have to build a personal relationship with your client,” says Gagliano. “They have to trust you. They have to like you, and I think that’s the most important characteristic you need.”

As a student at Louisiana State University in the 1980s, Gagliano pursued a concentration in advertising while studying at the Manship School of Mass Communication. He first gathered his footing in the field during his senior year when he landed an internship position at the television production company of Pat Shingleton, the Chief Forecaster at WBRZ-TV. By working alongside Shingleton, Gagliano became well-versed in the television aspects of advertising. Today, he exhibits this skillset when directing and writing scripts for television advertisements for his clients at his company.

Nick Gagliano works at his desk in his office.

“By getting with [Shingleton], I was able to get my foot in the door to have a job when I graduated, and that exposed me to all the production aspects of an agency,” Gagliano says.

After graduating from LSU in 1984, Gagliano remained in Baton Rouge for an additional two years and worked at Mabyn Kean Agency, where he gained more experience. In 1986, he moved back to his hometown of Hammond and co-founded The Gagliano and Gasaway Group, a small firm he shared with his then partner, Cindy Gasaway. The co-founders purchased a computer and equipment and set up shop on the third floor of an architectural building that Cindy’s father owned.

“The first goal was to basically just survive,” Gagliano recalls.

Three years later, Gasaway’s husband transferred out of the area, and Gagliano bought out her share of the agency and officially renamed it The Gagliano Group. His office has moved from various locations around Hammond before its current home on West Thomas Street, minutes away from Southeastern Louisiana University. Along with the company’s two graphic designers and intern on staff, Gagliano works to fulfill the wants and needs of his clients, which include local businesses within Tangipahoa Parish and beyond.

“Nick is definitely dedicated to business, hardworking, and enjoys building client relationships,” says senior graphic designer Suzanne Terranova, who has worked with Gagliano for 19 years. After eight years in the office, she moved out of state, where she continues to design for the company by telecommuting. “I know he is a well-practiced multi-tasker,” she adds.

Since he oversees several projects for his clients simultaneously, time management is crucial to Gagliano’s work ethic. Each morning before heading to the office, he takes a walk around Southeastern’s campus to help him visualize his impending tasks. After grabbing some coffee and arriving at work, he makes a list of things he needs to accomplish for the day.

His organization routine allows business at The Gagliano Group to run like a well-oiled machine. As the president, Gagliano communicates with his clients and discusses ideas about what needs to be done to suit their needs. He often attends meetings outside of the office to connect with his clients personally. His tasks include producing television and radio media, developing content for web slides and supervising creative efforts among his staff, to name a few. After speaking with his clients, Gagliano then delivers instruction and collaborates artistically with his graphic designers.

“I appreciate Nick’s confidence in my ability to create effective design solutions after discussing clients’ needs via email or phone,” Terranova says. “I have free rein over design of most projects.”

One project that Gagliano especially enjoyed was the public relations for the British Petroleum Oil Spill, a crisis that occurred in the spring of 2010. For the Deepwater Horizon Claims Center, Gagliano was a member of the senior staff that directed the communications efforts for a $10 billion settlement. He also traveled often and met different political representatives in five different states.

“It just exposed me to a whole different clientele,” he says. “It really brought our agency to the next level.”

His dedication to providing quality service has not gone unnoticed. In fact, The Gagliano Group has collected awards for its work in graphic design, and Gagliano himself has been recognized with the LSU Alumni Hall of Distinction Award. Also, in 2010, he was named the Hammond Junior Auxiliary Man of the Year, a prestigious honor that acknowledges individuals with superb standings in business and community service.

“I won’t say he’s a good boss. He’s a great boss,” declares graphic artist and designer Karen Pecoraro, who has worked for the company for a little over 10 years. “His clients come first, and he’s very personable.”

Since his college graduation, Gagliano has accumulated wealth in his knowledge and experience from working professionally in the field. For the communication students that intern at his office, Gagliano offers plenty of opportunities for them to learn about the industry. Interns work closely alongside Gagliano and the graphic designers, helping to complete projects for clients. In the process, the aspiring public relations practitioners learn the ins and outs of the field. The educational system that Gagliano has created illustrates that he not only preserves positive relationships with his clients, but with the people in his office as well.

“I really enjoyed my time working at The Gagliano Group. The internship let me get hands-on experience and sharpen my skills in so many areas,” says Kaylee Collier, who interned with the agency in 2016 while a senior communication major at Southeastern. “Mr. Nick was wonderful to work for and taught me a lot.”

Expanding experience beyond the school environment is essential to securing a job in the public relations field, according to Gagliano. Stepping through the threshold from just student to future professional gives one insight on job openings in the industry and what’s new and changing.

“Get some experience because it’s really what you’ve done, not necessarily where you’ve been to school or anything like that because what you do in the actual field will always outweigh what you’ve done in the classroom,” he says.

With multiple successful projects under his belt, Gagliano envisions continued precision in his agency’s future. He now boasts the privilege of choosing which clients he would like to work with, and he is eyeing larger clients to make The Gagliano Group even more profitable. With good financial standing and a healthy office atmosphere, there is no place to go but forward for the agency. His success, though, dates to The Golden Rule.

“It’s all based on relationships. Anybody can do a pretty brochure,” he explains. “You have to be creative, but you also have to understand their business and you have to have a good personality to work with.”

The Gagliano Group provides print, public relations, Internet and video and audio services. For more information about the agency, visit www.gaglianogroup.com.

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