Yvonne Tocquigny is the founder and CEO of Tocquigny, a leading digital marketing firm. Tocquigny is recognized by B-to-B Magazine as one of the top 3 digital marketing firms in the country. Clients include Jeep, Dell Computer Corporation, Regent University, Coinstar, Hitachi, AT&T, and Momentum Telecom.
Yvonne is a frequent speaker for groups of CEOs across the country, international Six Sigma organizations and banking CEOs. She also serves as a mentor for The Capital Factory, an incubator for startup companies that draws business talent from across the country. She is an inaugural member of the Advisory Council for the School of Undergraduate Studies at the University of Texas and a member of the Advisory Board of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas.
Yvonne is the proud parent of two children. She is an avid cook, painter and traveler.
WHAT'S IT LIKE WORKING WITH ENTREPRENEURS?
Some of my most favorite clients are entrepreneurs. Those are the people who have started a company. When I get to work with the entrepreneur or the guy who got the big idea, even if he has a tiny budget, it's still one of my most favorite experiences, because it's so intellectually stimulating to work with these guys and women.
I learn so much from that experience SO it's really a back and forth. It's not just like I'm working for them, but I also get to learn about what got them to start the business and what their strategies are and what inspires them. So that's really fun for me.
WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS?
I think the unique thing that I add to a team is the ability to jump in and quickly start to sort out what needs to be done. I'm a pretty good problem solver, and I think pretty quickly in terms of solving the problems. And I'm resourceful and I'm really impatient. That impatience is something that kind of drives people on.
I was once on a photo shoot for an oil company client, and while I was on the photo shoot, I was saying, "What do all these guys do?" It turns out there's one guy on this team who's called the pusher. This is an actual title on an oil field. When he told me that, I realized, you know? That's really what I do is I push people. I come up with what needs to be done and I push, push, push.
WHAT IS YOUR ROLE IN THE TECH COMMUNITY?
I own an advertising agency or a digital marketing firm or an interactive marketing agency. It's become many things over the years, and we are a problem solving, strategic partner for our clients. We help companies become successful at whatever they're doing, and usually the way we do that is through creating a strategy that leads to some form of digital marketing implementation.
HOW DID YOUR BUSINESS START?
My business got started by accident. I was 24 years old and was working for a very small, little ad agency here in Austin. I went on vacation. I went for a ski trip. When I came back from my trip, the agency had folded. It was 1980.
There was a recession going on in Austin. No one was hiring, and the biggest agency in town, GSD&M, only had 30 people at the time. So I was out of luck. I had no job, no money, and I had to figure out something really fast. I really didn't have any other skills.
Back then, there were no computers. There was no such thing as fax machines. Our craft, as we know it, was something completely different from what it is today. So I just started freelancing doing whatever I could. I had this mentor who was a professor at UT. His name was Dr. Rubin and he was a machine. He just put amazing advertising people out into the field. His litmus test for success is to graduate from UT and move to New York.
I was one of his pet students, and one day he saw me on the corner of Sixth and Congress. He said, "Yvonne, what are you doing here? What are you doing here in Austin?" I said Dr. Rubin, "I just started my own business. I'm up there on the 13th floor of the InterFirst Bank Tower." He went like this, he goes, "Yvonne Tocquigny, you could have been something. You could have done something with your life."
And hearing those words made me so stubborn. I thought I am going to make this work. I am going to show this man. Back then, it was hard to make it work here in Austin, and it was an option for me to move to New York. But I loved it. I loved being on my own. I loved making all my own mistakes and learning things the hard way.
Back then, it was really hard to be successful at an ad agency as a woman, too. It was just like "Mad Men." I could give myself a little more of a chance than I think I might have gotten in an ad agency. But that was my start. It was born out of stubbornness and desperation.
HOW HAS AUSTIN CHANGED?
It's been interesting and fun to be a part of the ride and see how Austin has become a real cosmopolitan city in that period of time that I've been here. It is so rich. It has so much to offer. It's so much fun to be here. The people now that I know are from all over the world, all over the country, and that's a whole new Austin from the Austin I knew at the beginning.
WHY WE ARE_AUSTIN TECH?
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