Joe Marinucci makes the impossible possible, in his community and beyond

Joe Marinucci, CEO of Digital Media Solutions in Clearwater, is known as one of Tampa Bay’s top entrepreneurs but he always remembers – and reminds those around him – that it’s everyone’s responsibility to look past the bottom line.

DMS was founded in 2012 by Marinucci, and a team of lifelong friends, including Chief Operating Officer Fernando Borghese, with an understanding that brands needed, and wanted, innovative ways to connect with their target audiences. The company experienced near-instantaneous, and sustained, year-over-year growth, achieving a ranking on the Inc. 5000 list six years in a row. Now recognized as the largest single entry point for marketers seeking scalable, and reliable, martech-enabled digital media distribution, the company’s focus on building strong relationships, driving reliable results and giving back to its communities has not wavered.

 DMS team members regularly participate in charitable activities, including contributions to the local Guardian ad Litem Foundation, in support of children in need.

Marinucci spoke with TBBW about the importance of leading from the front in an effort to drive meaningful change.

DMS was founded by a team of lifelong athletes. How does being an athlete help define you and your leadership style?

 Health and vitality are core personal values for me because I know that I must stay healthy to accomplish what I strive to achieve personally and professionally. It’s a known fact that movement stimulates your mind so I wake up very early every day to complete my daily workout – walking or running, functional weight training, cycling or Krav Maga. Every morning I set my goals for the day and throughout the day I make sure to manage my time properly to complete my tasks so I can be fully present with my family when I get home. It takes a lot of discipline but I am committed to this routine and I encourage those around me to follow a similar routine to help achieve balance in work, and their personal lives while maintaining productivity.

 Your passion, enthusiasm and philosophy about life is uplifting and contagious. Tell us why you believe it’s so important to give back to your community.

 I’ve been incredibly fortunate in my life, and in my position founding DMS, and leading this incredible team of more than 400 people across the United States and Canada. Giving back in life, and especially to my community, is how I show gratitude. I also strongly believe in leading from the front because gratitude is circular. When I show gratitude it encourages others around me to also give back. Gratitude works, gratitude scales, gratitude creates a cycle of more gratitude; when in doubt turn to gratitude.

Last year, your company hosted the inaugural DMS Heroes & Legends Ultramarathon, and your second-annual Ultramarathon is coming up. Tell me about this race and its importance.

The DMS Heroes & Legends Ultramarathon is bringing attention to the needs of American veterans. Last year we raised funds for the Gary Sinise Foundation and this year our proceeds are benefiting Headstrong, an organization that helps veterans receive timely cost-free mental health care.

We have four teams of runners – primarily comprised of DMS employees – who have pledged to endure a 220-mile ultramarathon course across the state of Florida, from New Smyrna to Clearwater Beach.

How will the 2020 DMS Heroes & Legends Ultramarathon differ from last year’s race?

This year, we’re going bigger. We have more than 50 people running this year so we’re creating four teams of runners. Each team will complete the 220-mile course, which means we’re collectively running 880 miles in less than 48 hours. Fernando [Borghese, DMS COO] and I make up one of those four teams. The two of us have committed to split the 220-mile course. Even though neither of us has ever run more than a marathon, we are prepared to endure – running through the day and night – to show to Team DMS, and the broader community, that nothing is impossible when you believe in yourself and your ability to achieve your goals.


How can the community can help raise awareness and money for this great cause?

I met Zach Iscol, the founder of Headstrong, back when we were both running triathlons in New York City over a decade ago. Zach is an incredible guy and the work he is doing to help veterans live their best lives is nothing short of amazing.

Believing every veteran, with the courage to seek help for their PTSD and related mental trauma, should be able to receive help quickly and easily, Headstrong provides confidential, cost-free and frictionless mental health care treatment. Funds we raise, as part of the DMS Heroes & Legends Ultramarathon and related events, will go to Headstrong to help facilitate their mental health care initiatives, allowing them to service more of America’s military veterans.

The DMS Heroes & Legends Ultramarathon starts Friday, April 24 and continues through Sunday, April 26. On April 26, DMS will also be hosting the inaugural Heroes & Legends Gala, a charity event with a celebrity performer (to be announced) and silent auction. Companies or individuals interested in sponsoring the DMS Heroes & Legends Ultramarathon should email [email protected] The Gala is open to the public, with tickets starting at $125.

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