Our Business was Built on Relationships
Proofpoint Marketing was born out of a traumatic, life-altering event and its many aftershocks: first, the preterm birth of our daughter at 24-weeks gestation due to severe preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome in August 2015; second, Gaby’s near death pre-delivery experience and the subsequent loss of her job following her emergency c-section—which also meant the loss of our dual-income and health insurance; and third, nearly two years later, Mike’s unemployment due to corporate bankruptcy.
All of these events left us reeling and had us reevaluating the relationships in our lives—particularly our relationship with work. We came to the realization that other people’s poor and unethical business decisions left us without a job and without much recourse. It was a harsh and painful reality to come to terms with: our relationship with our jobs were transactional and dispensable.
This series of unexpected events (along with navigating our daughter’s complex medical needs) ultimately pushed us to double-down on our relationship with each other. As life-long marketing professional—and fueled by our daughter Lana’s strength and resilience—we turned adversity into opportunity and launched Proofpoint Marketing.
We wanted to build a team where each member would know how much we respected their relationships outside of work, career paths and passions. No more missed holidays, exhausting hours, lack of transparency, being treated like a number or endless burnout without any reprieve in sight. We wanted to change tired and outdated business norms with our vision to scale Proofpoint beyond the two of us.
We built Proofpoint on the belief that cultivating your career is important but not at the expense of cultivating your life, enjoying your passions, taking care of your health or spending time with loved ones.
From Life-Long Marketers
We were looking for stability and safety in our career during a time when everything in our life was unstable and so very uncertain. We faced much turbulence, and worse—indifference. So, we set out to forge our own path—one that was exceptional and radically different from what we knew, what was out there and what exists today. We knew that in order to maintain the culture we set out to create, we needed to define the pillars from which everything else stands:
🙌 Owner’s Intent: Build meaningful relationships that enrich our personal and professional lives, while driving $1.5MM in net profit annually.
🤝 Ethos: We are People-First in all areas of our business and in all our stakeholder relationships.
⛰ Vision: Create an inspired workplace by transforming tired and outdated business norms.
Mission: Drive revenue for our clients by building relationships at scale.
Lana Rose was born at 24-weeks gestation due to preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome, weighing less than 1 lb (11 oz) at birth. Lana became the second smallest micro-preemie to be born and survive at Children’s Minneapolis, at the time. Mike and Gaby became preemie parents overnight and prepared for a long NICU journey ahead.
Gaby took her forced career break and became a SAHM (Stay-at-Hospital-Mom), while Mike worked a full-time job and consulted on the side to keep finances afloat. That side-hustle would later turn out to be the beginning of Proofpoint Marketing. Lana experienced many set-backs in the NICU, but overall grew, thrived and surpassed all expectations from her medical team.
Lana was released from the hospital and Gaby became a Stay-at-Home-Mom and full-time caregiver for the next 18 months—navigating doctor’s appointments, medical equipment, early intervention therapy, feeding tubes and oxygen tanks, pulse oximeter device, and much more. Despite the early challenges in life, Lana continued to thrive and inspire the couple with her resilience and hard work.
June 5th, 2017
Proofpoint Marketing officially launched! In those early days, the company was fueled by many existing relationships that either became some of our first clients, or referral partners that believed in our mission and vision.
In the midst of all the craziness happening in the world, we decided it was a good time as ever to relaunch our brand and visual identity. We felt for a while our original logo and color palette were not in-line with the image we wanted to project with current and potential clients, as well as Proofpointers. We wanted something that evoked trust, partnership and forward-thinking momentum.
After months of planning, we launched our very first podcast, Mixing Business with Pleasure, a show focused on illuminating the triumphs and tribulations of #couplepreneurs! Since then, we’ve launched two additional podcasts that have grown our network and helped us build relationships with some of the most dynamic and talented marketers around the world!
With all the fun and the many lessons gleaned from our first show, we set out to create a podcast to represent the Proofpoint brand, while bringing
value to our network in the form of B2B marketing case study interviews. And in March 2021, we launched Show Me The Proof, Get To The Point.
We firmly believe when it comes to marketing, nothing is ever final; everything is iterative. And after months of learning and leaning into our unique POV, we decided it was time to evolve our podcast into The Master Marketer Show, inspired by and guided by The MSTR Framework: Mindsets, Skillsets, Toolsets and Results.
June 5th, 2022:
On June 5th, 2022, we celebrated our 5-Year Proofpoint-a-Versary with a team retreat in Minneapolis that brought together the family members and significant others of everyone at Proofpoint! We commemorated this special event with fun activities around the Twin Cities, including a day of volunteering, touring the Mall of America, and purifying ourselves in the waters of lake Minnetonka!
Mike is a creative problem solver at heart, who happened to fall into marketing. His original plan was to be a graphic designer, but after several marketing internships, he was hooked. Mike started his marketing career in paid media and SEO, and has agency, in-house and start-up experience. He’s worked on recognizable and noteworthy B2B and B2C clients, including Medtronic, 3M, General Mills, Lenovo, HTC, Logitech, Getac and more.
From a very early point in his career, Mike always knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur. He has dozens of notebooks filled with ideas, sketches and business plans of all kinds. Though he never thought he’d start a business with his wife, and he never imagined it would be as head of a marketing agency.
As the fearless leader of Proofpoint Marketing, Mike is responsible for the operations and long-term strategy of the business, as well as finance, business development and overseeing the Client Delivery Team.
Mike is a combat sports enthusiast and has competed at a semi-professional level after college. That experience taught him to roll with the punches, be light on his feet and operate well under-pressure.
Mike is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, and double-majored in Business Administration and Graphic Arts. Originally from Moldova, Mike moved to the U.S. after the fall of the Soviet Union, and is fluent in Russian.
When not at work, Mike enjoys exercising and weight-lifting, listening to podcasts, hiking the many beautiful trails in Arizona, traveling to exotic destinations and dining at amazing restaurants with his wife Gaby, as well as being a dad to their daughter, Lana Rose. He is a self-professed adrenaline junky and counts skydiving and scuba diving as some of his favorite experiences in life, thus far. Building a business is a close second.
Gaby Israel Grinberg:
Gaby is a multilingual communicator with a knack for creativity, and the keen ability to translate business objectives into world-class marketing experiences. Her original career plan was to work for the State Department as an attaché in foreign embassies, but decided instead to use her diplomatic and communication skills toward a career in marketing.
Gaby started out on the client services side, excelling in the fundamentals of project management and communication. She moved into a digital strategy role, but her love of writing eventually led her into content marketing. In her career, Gaby’s really done it all: project and account management, digital marketing strategy, content creation of all kinds, and PR and event management, too. She’s worked in agencies as well as in-house marketing teams, and with such recognizable and noteworthy B2B and B2C clients, including 3M, NASCAR, The American Red Cross, Sleep Number and Target.
As Chief Experience Officer at Proofpoint Marketing, Gaby is responsible for shaping and overseeing every single People Touchpoint: employees and alumni; present and former clients; as well as partners and vendors. Her everyday mantra is “Touchpoints Matter,” and she works diligently with her team to create special touches and implement unique processes and experiences that lift Proofpoint above the ordinary and continually push the company toward exceptional.
Gaby is a graduate of Boston University, with a major in Communication and a minor in International Relations. She is first-generation American, and speaks French, Spanish, Portuguese and English.
While not at work, Gaby enjoys working out, dabbling in photography, consuming anything related to design and home decor, tending to the numerous house plants she’s amassed, hiking the beautiful Arizona trails with her husband Mike, and adores being a mom to Lana Rose. In her spare time, she volunteers with the March of Dimes and is active in the prematurity community. One day, she plans to pen a children’s book inspired by the family’s journey with prematurity.
Proofpoint Gives Back
Every year, we donate a portion of our profits to one or more of these organizations that are meaningful to our journey. Through our culture and values, we hope to inspire and support our employees and stakeholders to join us in giving back to these or other organizations in ways that are meaningful to them.