Meet our team.
Erika Velazquez Alpern, CEO & Founder
Erika oversees our agency and serves as the lead strategist for all of our clients (aka chief #fangirl because we're obsessed with everyone we work with.) Prior to launching Tactile, she was the VP of Marketing & Communications for the New Republic where she built the magazine's first marketing & communications department and helped the organization reach a wider, younger, more diverse audience. Prior to joining the New Republic, she led brand marketing for the Guardian and NewsCred. Before that, she led an artist program for AOL – leading partnerships and campaigns with New Museum, Northside Media, Tumblr, The Whitney – AND served as their brand manager across their media properties (yay two jobs in one!) working on brands like MAKERS, Huffpost, TechCrunch, StyleList, and more.
Jen Rudy, Director
Jen leads content and project management at Tactile, helping clients get their story into the world. She started her creative career as a photographer (pre-Instagram) and fell into the world of production, working behind the scenes of commercial shoots and campaigns for brands like Nike and Mastercard. After that, she went on to spend a large chunk of her career in media, working at Time Inc., across their magazines. When she is not working on Tactile, you can find her in a greenhouse taking photos or making DIY beauty products in her kitchen.
Amanda Rios, Director of Design
Amanda leads design projects for Tactile. She started her creative career back in high school when an obsession with vintage punk posters led to an obsession with screen printing. Her early printmaking days inspired her to study design and she has been crafting beautiful brand identities ever since. When Amanda isn't designing for clients, you can find her letter pressing, making shoes, or traveling. Recent trips include Cuba and an intensive type workshop in Paris. Amanda has been the creative mastermind behind projects and branding for companies like Pamela Love, Cora, The New Republic, The Guardian, Hearst, and more.
A NOTE FROM OUR FOUNDER
I launched Tactile with a mission to change the ratio in business. A lofty goal? Yes. A Necessary one? Definitely.
Before I dove headfirst into running an agency, I spent close to a decade in brand marketing and communications across media, tech, and the arts. I was the VP of Marketing & Communications for The New Republic, where I was able to also work with brands like Casper, SquareSpace, and Getty on content marketing. I spent time on brand marketing for the Guardian, led brand for NewsCred, ran an artist program for AOL. This list goes on.
As I grew in my career, I came up against the challenges that so many women face in the workplace. I was typically the only woman and/or only hispanic person in the room. In an effort to process this experience, I started hosting small dinners for women across industries. I tried to become an ally for women in the companies I worked for as much as possible. But after hearing the same story over and over, I decided it was time to take action.
The "women in the workplace" conversation is happening. Top CEO's are taking notice, and many (male) tech founders are searching for ways to empower female leaders. Having this conversation is great, but as they say the "proof is in the pudding" Women make up 52% of the workforce, but still only make 79 cents for every dollar a man makes for the same job. On average, women account for only 16% of the members of executive teams in the United States. 45% of boards have one or no women. Only 11% of startups in New York are founded by women (a number that is actually celebrated). These gloomy stats don't align with the progressive values many of us share.
I started Tactile to change the ratio in business. Therefore, we actively seek out companies led by women and companies with diverse founding teams. We also host events, intensives and classes, strategy workshops, and free webinars for early-stage founders.