Photo by Cathy Pinsky
Maxie Groebner was determined to live and work in the United States. The Leipzig, Germany, native turned Cortlandt Lake, New York, resident has lived in the US for the past four years and has grown her career to become a vested partner in The Inner Group, an advertising agency in Peekskill, at the age of 28.
The Inner Group hired Groebner four years ago when she immigrated to the US after earning a master’s degree in marketing. At the time, the firm was a design group on the brink of irrelevance, producing primarily photographic and print material for paper ad campaigns. “We needed to modernize or get left behind,” says Louis DePippo, creative director. The firm “fired” all of its clients and built a new business model from scratch. Like Angela Merkel in a currency crisis, Groebner swooped in with a plan to remake The Inner Group.
“In the recession, I saw opportunity,” says Groebner. With her help, the company added branding and advertising services, as well as film and digital capabilities to meet growing demands for Internet advertising. Meanwhile, Groebner pitched an entirely new business structure. Everyone at The Inner Group, she proposed, should be part owner of the firm, responsible for the business they bring in. Partners bill clients for only the services their accounts require, unlike most ad agencies, which charge “agency fees” that support overhead for the entire firm. This made The Inner Group competitive on price, poised to grow even in the recession.
Once reorganized, Groebner helped take the firm from zero to seven figures. “Over the last few years, I brought on more and more clients,” she says, securing about 50 to date. Groebner’s accounts include the Paramount Center for the Arts, New York Medical College, and Frames NYC bowling lounge.
“We couldn’t have built the company we built without her,” declares DePippo. DePippo credits Groebner’s accomplishments to a keen intellect, a distinctly “German stoicism,” and fresh perspectives she’s gleaned from her desire to learn the advertising industry from the ground up.
Today, the youngest partner of the firm is plotting The Inner Group’s next move. “My plan is to give this company another three years in Westchester, then move the sales department to Manhattan.”