More Than One Path – Vinny Tafuro

by Ad 2 Tampa Bay | February 3, 2015

Ad2-Creative_Blog-Logo2Welcome to the first installment of the Ad 2 Tampa Bay series, “More than One Path”, where we highlight the career paths of the marketing and advertising leaders and influencers of Tampa Bay. Our first profile features Vinny Tafuro, executive director of the Gasparilla Interactive Festival, and a two-time Ad 2 Tampa Bay President.

Interviewer: Catherine Charles | Communications Director

In chess, there is a theory called “first mover advantage”, which is the benefit of making the first move of the game. The term is also used in marketing not only to describe the first entrant into a market but also the first company of significance. While the player who makes the first move in chess is predetermined, the “first mover” in business and life has to create the opportunity. Vinny Tafuro’s career is marked by professional and community achievements that have yet to be accomplished by others.

Tafuro’s earliest professional jobs as an Auto CAD designer and web programmer capitalized on his childhood love of computers and programming. In late 1998, Tafuro started his own web development company and soon quit his job to Vinny Tafurofocus full-time on his business, Dynamic Creations. His company served a variety of local and national clients from offices in Ybor City.

By 2003, however, the dot-com bubble and the subsequent economic collapse combined with 911 had severely limited the business. Making the best of the situation, Tafuro returned to college to complete his Associate Degree in Communications and began selling local broadcast television advertising. After a year break, his entrepreneurial spirit pushed him back into business but with a more diverse set of offerings. His company, now rebranded as Tafuro Communications, offered not only website design services but also a wide-variety of marketing, political consulting, and advocacy services to area businesses, candidates and non-profits.

While looking for networking organizations, Tafuro discovered Ad 2 Tampa Bay and quickly became involved in the organization as vice president. In his second year, he was elected president of the organization and served for two years in this role in an effort to stabilize the club’s leadership. During Tafuro’s tenure, Ad 2 Tampa Bay created the AdCast brand webcast and transitioned the club’s annual media auction to an online format.

Following his presidency, Tafuro served as Ad 2 National Chair, providing leadership to 25 Ad 2 Clubs around the country. After serving three years as AAF Tampa Bay legislative chair, he became that organization’s president, the only Ad 2 Tampa Bay president to do so to date. He credits his involvement with Ad 2 and AAF for the development of a strong network and the opportunity to work with diverse groups of professionals.

With his commitment to Florida and experience leading non-profit organizations, Tafuro founded the Conscious Capitalism Florida Chapter in 2013. The organization promotes mindful business practices that are driven by a purpose beyond profit. These principles are echoed in his own book Corporate Empathy.

This year, Tafuro is leading the combined efforts of the past presidents of both Ad 2 and AAF Tampa Bay as the founding president and executive director of the Gasparilla Interactive Festival. The first Gasparilla Interactive Festival will be held on March 6, 2015 as part of Gasparilla Arts Month at Port Tampa Bay, Cruise Terminal 3. The Gasparilla Interactive Festival is Tampa Bay’s showcase for cutting-edge technologies, digital innovation and entrepreneurial inspiration.

As illustrated with his creation of the Gasparilla Interactive Festival, Tafuro has a penchant for creating opportunities. This exemplifies the ingenuity that Ad 2 Tampa Bay strives to encourage in our members. To that end, he shares some words of wisdom with our Ad 2 Tampa Bay community:

  • Communicate well – In an ever-evolving world, the ability to communicate well is as critical as ever. One of the most important skills is having an understanding of which methods of communication will be most effective. From tweets, status updates, and memes to phone conversations, face-to-face meetings, and published writing, the ability to maximize the impact of your message and to know which medium to utilize cannot be overstated.
  • Get experience – Supplement your education with experience as soon as you can and look for opportunities to study and work outside of your major. With variety, you will gain insight across disciplines and discover which subjects you enjoy. In addition, you will add value to your resume and distinguish yourself from others.
  • Get involved – Joining Ad 2 is the first step, but to truly benefit from the organization you must be involved in a leadership role. You will be part of a team of your peers and you will develop strong friendships that will be mutually beneficial throughout your life. Treat your volunteer responsibilities like you would a paid career and your professional career will benefit from it.

Tafuro’s career, community involvement and achievements have been fueled by his desire to help others, which may likely be his legacy. Along the way, his path has demonstrated forethought and a willingness to adapt in a constantly changing world shaped by advances in technology. Ad 2 Tampa Bay encourages you to have a similar approach in your career. We challenge you to make the first move.