5-ish Questions: Tales of a Life-Long Intern with Joe Zizzo
5-ish Questions is an ongoing series in which we introduce you to the people and personalities that make ZG a great place to work.
There’s a lot we can say about Joe Zizzo. His life-long intern status. His role as the office little brother. His mother, the indomitable Anne Zizzo. As a junior account executive, he’s got big shoes to fill, big shadows to emerge from, and big molds to break – a task he just may be up to and more (don’t tell him I said that; don’t want him getting a big head). Between his natural affability, willingness to learn, and sense of humor, he’s proven to be a great addition to the team – boss’ son or not.
You’ve been around in some form since ZG was founded nearly 22 years ago; it’s practically your fourth brother. What’s it been like growing up alongside the agency?
My mother started this agency in the basement of our home in Franklin when I was only 6 months old, so I’ve been in and out of the offices my entire life. Coming in here, I had a huge advantage not just because of who my mom is but because I already knew everyone. Many of my now coworkers were there through my transition from a young hellion running around the office (although this hasn’t changed much) to intern to a full-time team member.
The leap from college intern to full-time employee is greater than a lot of people understand. How do you like it so far?
When I went off to college, St. Norbert College in De Pere, I knew that I wanted to study Marketing. I had my major declared before freshman year even started and was one of the few people within my friend group who didn’t switch majors. So I always knew what I wanted to do. Although I still consider myself a life-long intern, I love being an AE. I love that we’re involved in every part of the agency – creative, dev, media, production, social media and now PPC/SEO – and that no two days will ever be the same. Every day there’s going to be some kind of learning experience.
Is there any advice you can impart other, perhaps, less tenured interns?
I think that the most important thing that I have learned from being an intern is that, with experience comes confidence. As an intern, you’re there to gain experience and learn. That doesn’t change instantly when you become a full-time employee. The number and weight of decisions you make grows, but with each decision you make, so do you. It takes some time and willingness to learn, but eventually you get more confident in your abilities and instincts and that’s when you really start to feel like you’re flourishing in your role.
You know we have to talk about Anne, right? What’s it like to work with your mom?
Growing up, my brothers and I didn’t understand why our mom had to travel a lot, or would get home late, or couldn’t make it to certain events, but now we can see why. She built this company from the ground up and never stopped. As her employee, it’s amazing to see her in her element – watching her talk with clients, sell business and develop these personal and business relationships with other CEOs is incredible. I have a great role model to look up to every day, not to mention a great mentor – and a free lunch here and there (Anne, if you’re reading this, I have some free time next week). Maybe the only downside is that work never stays in the office; whenever she invites me over for dinner I know that I’m going to have to tell her about what I’m up to at work (like she doesn’t already know).
Like it or not, you’ve assumed the “office little brother” role – and all the teasing and jokes that come with it. How’s that working out for you?
I’m the oldest of three boys, so I never had to be the “little brother” – I’m starting to realize just how difficult it must have been for my younger brothers (sorry Johnny and Tones). It’s taken some getting used to, but for the most part I actually enjoy it. I play along and like making others laugh. Plus it keeps me humble. I’m just really grateful for how open and accepting my coworkers have been of me; it isn’t always easy working with the boss’ son. So I’m glad that I get to be one of them.
I feel the sudden urge to give you noogies, but I’ll refrain. Well, that about does it for this interview. Any parting words?
I love being a part of an agency with so many wonderful and talented people. It’s an exciting and busy time here at ZG, and I’m excited to be part of it! #BucksIn6