President & Chief Strategist
Paula Milam has been helping companies grow for over 25 years. Her strategies have launched businesses from unknown start-ups to top national players. Paula has designed, tested and built reliable awareness and lead-driving marketing systems for B2B and B2C industries, including health care, insurance, financial, global, industrial, and consumer goods companies, among others.
Paula’s passion for staying on top of leading-edge marketing technology and results spawned TruStar Marketing’s design, engineering and launch of the firm’s Voice Search Optimization services for health care and insurance, leading the Mobile First trend. She knows that success comes from a team of highly talented, collaborative and humble specialists all working together, focused on one mission: improving your marketing results.
Paula’s desire to fully understand a client’s unique audience and their purchase decision behaviors drove the launch and success of two direct results-driven advertising agencies prior to the launch of TruStar Marketing. This is the key to designing a better mousetrap, after all.
Client experience spans direct to patient health care digital transformation to e-commerce for health products to household insurance brand names like AAA, Amica, Cigna Healthcare and AIG to home brands and industrial global clients.
A visionary entrepreneur and recognized industry speaker, Paula is the recipient of many industry awards in Philadelphia, and the distinguished AMA Best of Show Award in Nashville. She has been named Best in Business by the Nashville Business Journal, Top Ten Advertising Agencies, and a Future Fifty Company by the Tennessean for five years in a row, entering the Hall of Fame. She has served on the AMA Executive Board of Directors for 10 years and continues to serve her community through her Church service and non- profit Boards.
Director, Digital Strategy and Operations
Ben Hardt is a problem solver, trouble shooter and marketing tech expert who brings over 15 years of experience in digital strategy, website development, API connector builds and paid digital media management. Always strategic, he sees the big picture and understands the details. That is just part of what contributes to his success leading our digital marketing service operations.
Ben loves the challenge of making the sales funnel function measurably better through smarter digital marketing. He constantly analyzes segments, targeting and data to drive more qualified leads from first impression to brand engagement to conversion to appointment, sale or enrollment. It is what we do and why we also love Ben.
Ben is responsible for actively directing high volume vertical paid search and paid social media (AdWords, Bing, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, more) for health care,E-commerce, insurance, financial (banks/accounting firms, etc.), and even multi-language industrial accounts.
His specialty is taking over management of lagging accounts and dramatically improving marketing ROI results within a few months. A highly experienced developer, Ben oversees TruStar Marketing’s website services. From energy conservation non-profits to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle TN, Ben also enjoys sharing his talents to help others.
For fun, he enjoys sitting down in front of a blank screen and coding from scratch. An avid musician, playing 8 instruments so well as to be a “call-in” for name bands, Ben understands the importance of teamwork, working together for the best outcome – whether in music or technology.
Director, Client Strategy
Kevin’s passion is working closely with clients to help design strategies that amplify their brand to their targeted audience. Using traditional and digital channels to engage and convert customers throughout the sales funnel process, Kevin improves response and enhances customer connections with the clients we serve. At TruStar, he works with our national and large regional health care, insurance and financial clients, successfully proving how a Fusion approach to marketing strategy, Mobile First Voice Search efforts and a conversation-driven philosophy of digital marketing deliver on ROI goals.
A digitally savvy strategic thinker with years of experience in brand messaging, paid and organic search and strategic marketing development, Kevin is a seasoned professional who oversees our growing TruStar team. Previously he worked with BTY Creative in San Antonio, Texas, as Digital Brand Manager working with healthcare, fast casual, high end retail and utility accounts.
Kevin is bilingual and has lived in Spain, teaching English to high school students in the Madrid area. A true sports fan, Kevin can be found in the stands at The Nashville Sounds, Tennessee Titans & Nashville Predators. A Philadelphia native, Kevin holds a piece of his heart for the 2018 NFL Champs and a real cheese steak!
An adoptive San Antonian for 7 years, Kevin served as the Public Relations Chair of Alpha Kappa Psi at his Alma Mater, Trinity University in San Antonio, TX and is an active member of its alumni community.
Director, SEO Strategy
Nikia’s project management skills and ability to work well with a variety of internal and external teams ensure reliable, day-to-day accomplishments in meeting client goals and delivering unapparelled service.
As lead champion for our Mobile First Voice Search services, Nikia works closely with clients to identify unique opportunities for organic search and website optimization, before they become industry standards. She creates strategies for getting the work done on time and on budget and can always be counted on for digging deeper to make sure that the solutions provided to our clients are proactive and impactful.
In addition to her amazing technical skill, Nikia is an accomplished classical violinist who has taught private violin instruction for 15 years, and is also a multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter who performs throughout the country.
When complex projects with multiple moving pieces need to be on time and on budget, Shirin is the person to count on. As TruStar Marketing’s Account Manager, Shirin makes Client Happiness her number one goal.
With over a decade in marketing and advertising account management roles, Shirin manages multi-channel marketing initiatives, print and video production, website redesign and paid marketing and SEO projects to ensure that deadlines are met, and client expectations are exceeded. Shirin is a whiz at looking at a process and seeing how it can be streamlined to work better and more efficiently. Her calm and structured approach to Account Management is immensely helpful to our busy and growing creative team.
Shirin graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and worked in Direct Marketing for several years before moving to Los Angeles, where she worked as a Senior Account Executive at a national agency managing a $4M B2C account and all aspects of campaigns for 400+ creative pieces per month. After being recruited by a national health care company, she moved to Nashville TN to join their Creative Marketing team before joining TruStar Marketing.
Digital Optimization Specialist
Edwin is a storyteller. Words, design, code. A digital content strategy unicorn.
After 15 years in newspaper journalism, he fell in love (hard) with digital communications and design. He left newspapers to pursue an MA in graphic design (web & multimedia focus) and later completed a full-stack software developer boot camp. At TruStar Marketing, he works on Mobile First/Voice Search and Content Strategy services for health care, insurance, financial and global industrial clients.
Locally, Edwin serves on the board for the American Marketing Association – Nashville Chapter as Hospitality Chair. As Hospitality Chair-Elect, he was honored as “Volunteer Rock Star of the Month” in January 2019. He is also past Alumni Relations Chair for the Alumni Association at Nashville Software School, a member of the Communications team at Belmont United Methodist Church, and on the advisory team for Technologist Federation of Nashville, in addition to other volunteer roles.
He rewrote the curriculum for Principles of Copywriting at a regional college to include market research, buyer personas, brand archetyping, as well as writing for blogs, white papers, email marketing & landing pages.
Edwin received his BA in Journalism from San Jose State University, his MA in Graphic Design from SUNY Oswego and completed the full-stack software developer boot camp (Angular/Node.js) at Nashville Software School. He is an adjunct instructor of copywriting at Nossi College of Art in Madison, TN.
With more than 20 years of industry experience with various enterprises, including a national franchise brand, Michael understands what drives businesses and how to spread brand awareness creatively. Working closely with clients, he helps create memorable campaigns with maximum results.
A self-proclaimed design junkie, Michael loves to color outside the lines and is a recipient of an ADDY award for excellence in art direction.
When he’s not hunched over his computer creating his next client masterpiece, Michael can be found spending time with his family, at his favorite kickboxing gym or running the trails in the parks around Nashville. Your just never know what will inspire his next big idea.
With over 20 years of experience in health care communications and marketing management on the client side, Heather brings valuable experience and perspective to the TruStar Marketing team. Thanks to her non-profit health care background, she is always looking for ways to do more with less, without sacrificing quality or client happiness. Whether she is working on internal marketing initiatives or using her eagle eye and first-class communications expertise to proofread and execute on critical Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tasks, Heather aims to bring value to everything she works on. A pleasure in the office, Heather handles whatever is needed and is able to deliver exceptional results, always with a smile.
Originally from New Jersey, Heather enjoys living in beautiful, rural middle Tennessee, though she has been known to pine for a closer ocean, bagels, and “really good” pizza.
Heather holds an MBA from Seton Hall University in New Jersey, and received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Marketing from Bryant University in Rhode Island. She was recently named RockStar Volunteer of the month for the American Marketing Association Nashville, where she serves on the Programming Committee, and is also a member of the Communications Committee at First Presbyterian Church in Dickson.
SEO Tech Expert
Vanessa is an analytical, results-oriented online marketing specialist who supports high-level Search Engine Optimization projects at TruStar Marketing. With over a decade of experience in the industry, Vanessa delivers customized search optimization strategies to help Health care, Insurance and E-commerce clients measurably improve their results.
Vanessa loves to find the small details and changes that can have a big impact on performance and enjoys sharing the results in data dashboards and personalized reports for our clients. She understands how Mobile and Voice Search impact ROI. An expert in SEO, keyword research, metadata recommendations, and content strategy development, Vanessa ensures that our client’s sites are running at top performance using the most up-to-date search marketing strategies and optimized content to maximize results.
Vanessa graduated with honors from the University of Texas at Austin with Bachelor of Science degrees in Advertising and Radio-Television-Film. She loves learning and is always on top of the latest trends in digital marketing, search engine algorithms, and user experience. Vanessa has lived in Texas, Massachusetts and Alabama, and has worked with clients across the United States and abroad.