MAKING A PRODUCTIVE AND MEANINGFUL DIFFERENCE THROUGH OUR WORK EACH AND EVERY DAY.
THE DRIVE OF WARRIORS. THE HEART OF PARTNERS.
We are a team of individuals, each dedicated to the work of our agency and the missions of our clients. Lean but fierce, our team members come from unusually unique backgrounds and are equipped with unique experience sets, both personal and professional. We bring those individual dynamics together that feed a collaborative and driven culture.
Founder & CEO
Founder & CEO
With 15 years of experience in directing brand and marketing strategies across a broad range of companies and industries and 10 years in the nonprofit sector, I bring a creative, outside-the-box approach that is grounded in strategy and focused on achieving client results and sustainable impact.
As CEO I aim to lead Vario with an unrelenting commitment to excellence, matched only by a deep love for our team and our clients. While guiding vision, business strategy and talent acquisition for the firm, I specialize in immersing myself in a client’s industry, market, and unique opportunity, quickly pinpointing insights that will unlock growth, impact, and sustainability. I also enjoy using the craft of public speaking to inspire, challenge, and advance industry.
I’m tremendously proud of our people and our portfolio of work that reveals an uncanny ability to meld strategy, creative, and philanthropy to build brands that strengthen companies and drive results, and to empower impactful, sustainable philanthropy.
I am a graduate of the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis. When I’m not hatching an exciting client concept, I can be found running off mountains and chasing records around the world as a paraglider pilot and scheming about my next adrenaline or entrepreneurial adventure.
SVP, Chief Creative Officer
SVP, Chief Creative Officer
I've been an art director/creative director since graduating from Art Center College of Design/Pasadena. My 25-year career has journeyed through several leading agencies: Tracy Locke, DMB&B, GSD&M, DDB/Rodgers Townsend, and FleishmanHillard (FH). I have had the honor of leading several creative departments, most recently as Senior Partner/Executive Creative Director at FH for five years.
I’ve produced work locally, nationally and internationally. And I’ve been fortunate to work with an incredible variety of clients, including: Anheuser Busch, Enterprise, AT&T, Dell, Pearle Vision, Frito Lay, Hartford Insurance, Nestle Purina, Phillips Petroleum, Microsoft, General Motors, Samsung, Scottrade, Monsanto, Pepsi, Brinker, Boy Scouts of America, Taco Bell, Outer Space Sports, BJC, and Walmart.
My work has been honored by numerous industry awards, including: One Show, Cannes, New York Art Directors Club, National Addys, Communications Arts, Graphis, and Archive. And I have judged many award shows, including the prestigious Communications Arts Advertising Annual.
I am married, have two kids, 3 dogs and 250,000 bees.
My professional work can be seen at thomashudder.com
My photography can be seen at tomstakes.com
Director of Operations
Director of Operations
I bring over 15 years of experience in building brands, simplifying strategy and communications, and optimizing results. I believe that in the ever-changing media environment, clarity in communication and a great idea will always cut through the clutter. I have a proven track record of shepherding trackable, revenue-driving tactics as part of an integrated marketing strategy.
I am a graduate of the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis. Previously, I served as an account supervisor at Rodgers Townsend in St. Louis, where I worked with clients including AT&T, The Hartford Insurance, Spectrum Brands, and Humane Society of Missouri.
When I am not planning and analyzing you’ll often find me outside adventuring with my husband, our sons Luke and James, and our two boxers who genuinely believe they are our kids.
VP, Client Engagement
VP, Client Engagement
I bring years of national brand marketing, advertising, promotions management, and market activation experience to the Vario team as the Director of Client Engagement.
I've led delivery of strategic and tactical marketing services for a broad range of well-known brands operating in a diverse range of industries such as: healthcare, gaming, travel, multi-unit retail, financial services, construction, packaged goods, telecommunication and technology while in team leadership roles at D'Arcy, Publicis, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, VML and other agencies. Not much I haven't done in the business.
My experience includes working with brands to identify opportunities to connect with customers, consumers, influencers and stakeholders for clients at Alcon, Abbott, Novartis, Alkermes, Siemens, Zimmer Biomet, Assurant Health, Arby’s, Blockbuster Video, Brookdale Senior Living, Burger King, KFC, Cingular Wireless, Coca-Cola, Discover Card, Gateway Computer, Illinois Central Railroad, Nestle-Purina, OfficeMax, PwC, Rawlings Sporting Goods, SBC Communications, Southwest Airlines, The Tennessee Lottery, United Van Lines, Whitman Corporation, Rawlings Sporting Goods, BLOCKBUSTER, Southwestern Bell/Pacific Bell products and services, and others.
I am a St. Louis native, MU Tiger and father of four who loves nothing more than firing up the grill for a family cookout.
VP, Business Development
VP, Business Development
I search for the kind of amazing clients we want to build lasting, productive relationships with.
I spent the last three years as the general manager of the Cambridge Innovation Center in St. Louis, helping develop the Cortex Innovation District. I consulted for many contractors, real estate developers, and economic development teams from across the nation trying to do the same in their cities. I also helped large corporations figure out how to increase their rate of innovation and connect them to startups around the world.
Prior to CIC I worked with the economic development team of the St. Louis Regional Chamber, recruiting bioscience and health science companies to our region, and helping them find ways to attract and retain the right workforce through strategic partnerships and focused messaging.
In my civilian life I have an awesome husband who’s put up with me for 27 years and two grown Kansas grads (Rock Chalk!), and laughing is my favorite thing. I’m also lucky to serve as an ambassador for St. Louis in places like Argentina and Israel, often helping host visiting international groups. I’m a serial entrepreneur who loves making jewelry, raising Labradors, and mentoring single moms.
I knew at an early age that I wanted to change the world for the better. Over 25-plus years, I’ve worked in a wide range of philanthropic settings including United Way, the St. Louis Blues hockey team, EDS, and Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis, each time developing holistic giving strategies centered on impact. I’ve also run a nonprofit and deeply understand what it takes to manage resources in sustainable ways.
Along the way, I’ve had the joy of consulting with countless nonprofits to help them identify and measure their impact and strengthen their operations. I’m a bit of a data geek and love helping my clients answer what success looks like for them and how they’ll know they got there.
I have a Masters in Social Work from Washington University. When I’m not developing strategies or managing a grant process, you can find me volunteering or hanging out with my husband and two kids somewhere near or on the water. One of my greatest joys is helping my amazing kiddos identify their passions so they can become the next generation of change-makers.
I’m a big picture thinker, accustomed to wearing many different hats. As account executive, I manage client projects with an eye toward strategy. I have always enjoyed the power of the written and spoken word and often assist the team with copy and creative writing. Before joining Vario, I worked as a writer and marketer at a children’s toy company, where my team supported product lines selling at national retailers.
I have also prepared data analysis, performed operational duties, and managed web presence for a professional development and communication consulting firm. In addition, I interned with a boutique publishing house and syndicated radio program to support my bachelor’s degree in English criticism from Truman State University.
When I’m not hammering away on a keyboard, I spend my time “hanging out” in the air underneath a paraglider canopy, or on the ground with my dog, Francis, who is the subject of many quickly scrawled poems.
I am energized by integrating efficiency, creativity and strategy into all of my projects.
I bring over 10 years of experience in nonprofit and association management to the team with a strong focus on project management, program development and evaluation. Before joining the Vario team, I worked for a couple of years as the director of programs at The Haven of Grace, a nonprofit organization in North St. Louis, where I developed, implemented and evaluated housing programs for homeless moms and their children.
I’ve also worked as a program manager facilitating the overall operations of several trade associations including The National Christmas Tree Association, International Fruit Free Association, and the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons. For each client, I executed communications, marketing, membership, and educational plans.
On the home front, I live with my husband, four kiddos, and a dog. And try to manage the chaos but putting my skills as a registered yoga teacher to good use.
We are honored and privileged to serve the clients we work with. Each and every one of them.
Whether small or large, local or national, we never forget our clients are the reason we exist as an agency. And the reason we work endlessly as a team.
Our Past Clients
WE ARE GRATEFUL AND PROUD, INDIVIDUALLY, TO HAVE WORKED WITH SOME AMAZING BRANDS IN THE PAST.
Naturally, we share and apply our past client experiences toward tackling opportunities and managing challenges of Vario clients.
Are you a fit?
You are here because you’re curious if we’d be a good fit together as partners or if you’d be a good fit as part of the Vario team. Whatever the case, we are thrilled you are here to see how we think, how we work and what we believe in.
WORK WITH US.
We select clients who are looking for strategic partners. Not vendors. Clients that are growth oriented and not afraid to make some big bets and take some calculated risks. And clients that aim for purpose beyond profit and a desire for greater impact. If this sounds like you, and you like what you've seen here, we would love to meet with you to discuss your specific needs and how Vario might be able to help you achieve them.
WORK BESIDE US.
We are a team that focuses on enduring relationships, both with our clients and our team members. A team that delivers meaningful differences through our work. A team that is comprised of top-tier talent with considerably varied industry experience. And quite simply, a team comprised of good people. As we grow, we're always looking for smart, passionate people to grow our team and what we can offer our clients. We'd love to meet you.