Years in Business
The Corner Story
Everyone loves to hear the backstory from the corner office. It’s usually more interesting and a lot more fun than the contrived spin most companies will give you. We’ve come a long way since our humble beginnings. When I first opened the agency, I had a dream of creating great work without being constrained by politics, committees, or a board of directors—basically, without what I used to refer as “Corporate America.” I opened the doors as a one-man show in 1994 at Ruskin Place Artist Colony in Seaside, Florida, with nothing more than a dream. No money. No financial backers. No employees. What a great recipe for quickly learning how to maneuver, posture, think, and strategically figure out how to build a business with only talent and dreams as my assets. A ten-year career as a marketeer in New England had equipped me with a solid foundation: stints at television and radio stations, a world-renowned ad agency, hotel chains, shopping centers, and commercial real estate projects. This Northerner moved south in 1992 and took a position at Seaside as the retail merchants’ marketing director. The rest is history. My pioneering and restless spirit found what it was searching for in my newfound home—South Walton—and as the last two decades passed, the growth and opportunities afforded to those of us who live by the beach in one of the most beautiful places on earth took shape.
A creative, bohemian spirit and a cast-your-troubles-to-the-wind mindset are found here in the midst of gorgeous beaches, bicycle rides, canoeing, paddleboarding, running, and enjoying iced tea in porch swings on lazy, hot summer days. What would you expect? After all, we live where many visitors dream of abandoning their own lives and moving to the beach like we did. Our lifestyle is one of our most treasured assets and we fiercely protect it! To that end, we must keep our creative spirits nurtured and energized and stay ahead of the curve.
A full-service ad agency and PR firm is found at The Idea Boutique. Our creativity and desire to be on the leading edge have taken us down the publishing road these past four years. We’ve created a lifestyle magazine called VIE, published Sandestin Living, Portofino Life, the Panama City Beach Vacation Planner, a coffee-table cookbook—Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters—and a memoir, Facade.
As trend forecasters, we’re a group of nimble, creative forward thinkers that have redefined thinking outside the proverbial box. With lots of talent (and even more passion), we go the extra mile because we strive for perfection and proven results. We function like a creative think tank. We believe we can do anything we set our minds to—and we believe we do it well!
Lisa has twenty years of experience in marketing and public relations with expertise in real estate, resort, hotel and retail that she acquired in Massachusetts during her tenure with television stations, advertising agencies, and private companies in and around the Boston area. Working with Sheraton, Hilton, Peabody Hotel Group and private hoteliers allows her to understand the inner workings and needs of hoteliers. Her East Coast résumé includes working for one of the most prestigious ad agencies in the country, Hill Holliday, and at The Flatley Company, where she was the marketing and public relations director for commercial/industrial properties, fourteen hotels and fourteen shopping malls. She continuously honed her craft after accepting the position of marketing director for the holiday town of Seaside and relocating to the Emerald Coast of Florida in 1994.
Lisa founded Cornerstone Marketing & Advertising one year later and retained Seaside as her first client in her new marketing venture. She has grown the company from what was once just a vision to an exciting, creative shop that she has coined “The Idea Boutique,” which specializes in award-winning advertising and public relations campaigns. A dedicated team of writers, publicists, designers, videographers, and creative and business strategists are responsible for the success of Cornerstone Marketing & Advertising, where a team atmosphere is encouraged. She is a member of the AAF Emerald Coast, the Florida Public Relations Association and numerous local community and charitable organizations. Her company’s work has been recognized with numerous awards from the American Advertising Federation (AAF), both at the local Emerald Coast Chapter and District levels.
Lisa is a graduate of Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts, with a Bachelor of Science in Speech and Communication and a minor in Journalism. She resides in Seagrove Beach, Florida, with her husband, Gerald.
Burwell holds a Master of Architecture degree from Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina. He owns a boutique full-service architectural firm, offering custom design and consultation to clients searching for unique and high-quality architectural services. As Executive Vice President and co-owner of The Idea Boutique, he brings stability to the company, providing direction and leadership for its overall goals. Burwell manages the financial, legal, and human resources components of the company while also providing creative direction in marketing, advertising, and branding campaigns. In 2008, Burwell became editor-in-chief of Cornerstone’s original publication, VIE, and oversees all editorial content and writes for the publication.
Bob BrownVP of Creative Services
As vice president of creative services, Bob Brown manages The Idea Boutique’s design team and creative efforts. Additionally, Brown’s responsibilities include the design, development, and management of client websites and information technology support for the Cornerstone team. Having owned a design firm in Kapa‘a, Hawaii, Brown brings a unique array of skills to The Idea Boutique. Prior to joining Cornerstone, Brown worked at the Eglin Multimedia Center as team leader for design and implementation of interactive and web-based materials. Brown attended the University of Florida where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design.
Bill WeckelProject Manager
Bill Weckel is in charge of the conception and implementation of the interactive department, from search engine optimization and e-mail marketing to online advertising programs. Originally from Ohio, Weckel has a degree in computer science from Kent State University and spent ten years in the U.S. military: four in the Navy as an intelligence specialist and six in the Army as a Cavalry Scout. He is a veteran of the Gulf War, and worked as an IT field engineer for a telecommunications company in Atlanta before joining the Cornerstone team.
Tracey ThomasArt Director
Tracey Thomas is a graphic designer at The Idea Boutique who brings style and refined skill to her designs. From conception to final production, she contributes to all creative design done for our clients as well as our in-house publication, VIE magazine. Thomas holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design from the University of Tennessee, where she received numerous awards for talent in her field, including the Best Undergraduate in Graphic Design award. Before joining Cornerstone, Thomas worked for Ft. Walton–based design firm Fresh Creative as a graphic designer.
Devan WatkinsGraphic Designer
Originally from the picturesque town of Fairhope, Alabama, Devan Allegri Watkins grew up spending summers along the Gulf Coast and developed a love for its white-sand beaches. She attended Auburn University, where she honed her creativity and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design. During summer 2013, Devan joined the Idea Boutique team as an intern before completing her final year of college. She has a passion for design and photography, bringing a fresh eye and talent to design projects for clients in a wide variety of fields, as well as VIE magazine.
As a videographer, Dutrow is responsible for filming, editing, and producing long- and short-form commercials and web videos for both clients and VIE. He is also distribution coordinator for VIE, where Dutrow oversees and maintains VIE’s presence in the community through its various distribution points. Dutrow holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications with a minor in Business and Marketing from Florida State University. As a professional musician and disc jockey for WKGC in Panama City, Dutrow has a strong background in music and music editing. Dutrow also worked as a production assistant on the set of the major Hollywood production, The Truman Show, which was filmed in Seaside, Florida. He has experience in event planning, working for four years on Seaside’s wine and music festivals. Immediately before joining Cornerstone in 2009, Dutrow refined his leadership and communication skills as a manager of high-end restaurants.
Jordan StaggsPublic Relations and Social Media Manager
Jordan Staggs is the social media and public relations manager at The Idea Boutique, where she manages the social media presence of Cornerstone clients and VIE magazine and assists in daily public relations responsibilities. She graduated from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in French. As a book lover and avid advocate of the written word, Jordan brought her love of writing to Alpine Living and Flower magazines before joining the Cornerstone team. Jordan cultivates loyalty, community, and awareness for Cornerstone’s clients and VIE through social media and PR.
Sharon DuaneOffice Manager
Sharon Duane is the Branch Office Manager at The Idea Boutique Ltd., located in Clifden, Connemara, Co. Galway in Ireland. She is experienced in management and has vast knowledge of all aspects, including accounts, sales, and administration. Sharon is native to Connemara and her knowledge and love of the area and its people bring insight and expertise to the company. She is nearing completion of a higher certificate in workplace and community practice and will undertake a BA in business, enterprise, and community Development in 2015. As The Idea Boutique’s eyes and ears on the ground in Ireland, Sharon cultivates awareness and community for the company’s international branch and its clients.
Mary Jane KirbyAccount Executive
Mary Jane Kirby is an account executive working with all in-house publishing projects to handle advertising accounts. Kirby has a strong background in sales management, marketing, advertising, and public relations and is an asset in helping her clients grow their businesses. She has lived in the area for twenty years and has obtained an extensive knowledge of the Northwest Florida business community. Kirby has held previous positions with The St. Joe Company in WaterSound, Florida, as a realtor, as director of sales and marketing at Rowland Publishing, and has managed national radio accounts at Root Communications.