Meet Our Team
Joel Goldstein, a proud graduate of Kent State University, is the president of Goldstein Group Communications, the agency he founded in 1992. While the agency has evolved during the years from its initial roots as a PR agency to become a full-service lead generation and branding firm, GGC has remained consistent in its focus on serving B2B companies that have some degree of technical or engineered content.
With his degree in public relations, Joel began his career handling communications for United Way in Akron Ohio. He left there to work on the agency side, working at two B2B agencies on accounts including BFGoodrich Aerospace, Keithley Instruments, and a wide range of medium- and large-scale corporations.
As president of GGC, Joel drives the agency’s strategy with a particular emphasis on incorporating new technology tools to drive improved performance, a focus on “Measurably Better Results” that has formed the foundation of the agency since its early days. Marketing has become increasingly reliant on new tools that use technology to find and keep customers, and Joel sees martech acquisition as one of the agency’s critical missions and imperatives for its clients.
As a journalism major, Joel remains today an avid news junkie, rarely missing his daily New York Times podcast “The Daily.” He is married to GGC Vice President Kathy Goldstein, and has three grown married daughters along with three grandchildren – so far!
Kathy has been with GGC of course from its earliest days, when she and Joel shared the company’s single laptop computer to do her work. She handles GGC’s business activities, payroll and HR activities at GGC, so her double major from Kent State in business management and economics comes in handy every day.
Kathy, who has always dreamed of one day living by a beach, now spends most of her time in Phoenix living in a desert enjoying the constant sunshine and somewhat warm weather. She has three grown and married girls and three grandchildren.
She loves rescuing “senior” dogs and enjoys cooking, mahjong and beating Joel every single year in fantasy football.
Mark Johnson, CBC
Mark Johnson, CBC
Mark is Vice President of Communications and a veteran B2B marketing professional. He loves helping clients find and keep customers. His favorite programs are lead generation and PR because the successes are so tangible. He says the best thing about the marketing profession is that it is always changing as technology changes. He has a BS in Journalism and BA in English from Ohio University. He lives in Shaker Heights, Ohio with his wife. He has two grown children.
Carolyn Polanski is the senior vice president of marketing strategy & operations. That mouthful means she delights in making marketing magic for our clients—from marketing strategy and driving business results to making sure our people are having fun and “Delivering Awesome” every day. She has nearly 30 years’ experience leading B2B marketing and teams at global Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 giants and is darn thankful that she gets the opportunity to be/do this in this ever-evolving, challenging space.
She graduated from Ohio University’s Journalism school with a BS, in under three years in order to work/study abroad at Oxford for a bit. There, she met her husband and dragged him back to her hometown of Cleveland, where they’ve been (mostly) ever since, raising their daughter. While she’s not making magic for clients, Carolyn is spending time hiking, reading and exploring wellness with aromatherapy.
Erin K. Klees
Erin K. Klees
Erin Klees leads the agency’s strategic creative and user experience direction to support our client's brand and web initiatives. She’s spent much of her career growing marketing and branding programs for a variety of global companies in the lifestyle, consumer product, and b2b spaces. Erin brings our clients a unique blend of thoughtful business strategy and creative execution. She earned her BS in Graphic Design from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh and currently resides in her hometown outside of Cleveland with her husband and daughter. When not pushing pixels, Erin enjoys exploring and supporting local neighborhoods, restaurants, and small businesses while also partnering in her family's own business as a curator and purveyor of antique and vintage home goods.
Sarah Gontero is the Director of Digital Marketing Strategy at Goldstein Group Communication. She joined the agency in 2018 with agency experience and a background in marketing automation and email marketing. With 10+ years of experience in marketing, Sarah enjoys creating digital strategies that align with clients' business goals to identify qualified contacts in the marketing funnel for sales follow-up. As a results-focused marketer, Sarah enjoys partnering with clients to showcase the value of marketing through funnel conversion and ROI metrics.
When Sarah is not at work, her interests include supporting local Cleveland restaurants and shops, traveling, attending Broadway shows that come to Playhouse Square, reading, taking her French bulldog on adventures, hiking, and spending time with family and friends.
Jeff is a veteran Creative Director with more than 30 years of business to business and consumer design and art direction experience. He loves the creative process and providing GGC clients with engaging visual solutions. Outside of the office, Jeff is an active photographer focusing on lifestyle and dance portraiture. Blending his knowledge of retouching with lighting and composition, he creates portraits with an artistic feel.
Jeff lives in Brunswick Hills, Ohio with his wife, Jill, and their 2 Labrador Retrievers.
Victor is a seasoned marketer and leader with over a decade of experience building and managing marketing teams. Having both run his own ventures and helped other businesses, he has a knack for understanding business growth goals and creating the systems needed to create predictable success. With a strong track record of delivering results for B2B, Enterprise, and E-Commerce brands he brings his unique experience to the Marketing Director role in pursuit of better results for all our clients.
Since the acquisition of his marketing agency in 2020, Victor splits time between the US and Mexico constantly chasing the better weather. In his free time, he enjoys nerding out on the newest marketing trends, reading fantasy, playing pick-up sports and traveling when he can.
Chris Ilcin grew up in Cleveland before launching his Midwest circle tour – College at Kansas State (with a Fine Arts degree and time as a college radio DJ), Chicago and Minneapolis working for a record label, and finally back home. He’s been involved in marketing, on the agency and client side for more than 20 years, mainly in manufacturing and nonprofits. Chris joined GGC in 2021 as a Marketing Manager, serving as an advocate for his clients internally and a voice for our amazingly creative team externally.
Chris lives in Euclid with his wife Julie and daughter Zuzanne in an almost century home a half block from Lake Erie. As an OG Nerd, his favorite social media follow is Felicia Day, and interweb wormhole is Nerdist. Please feel free to ask him about music, pizza, craft brewing, or useless trivia.
His favorite thing about marketing? That it’s a mix of science and magic. You can (and should) get all the data you can before and after any marketing effort, but the analysis of that data, and finding the right mix of messaging, images and channel to use, is where the “fun” is.
Favorite quote - “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” – Vince Lombardi
Laura is one of GGC’s Marketing Managers and has been working in various marketing roles for more than 20 years. She is a proud Ohio State University Buckeye, and although she has lived in Florida during the past 15 years, she still hasn’t come to terms with leaving her Ohio roots behind. Her educational background includes a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University, MBA from Florida Atlantic University and an MS in Digital Marketing.
She lives in Boca Raton with her husband, two boys and a Golden Doodle, and she has five different tropical fruit trees in her yard. If you tell her you like mangos, you will probably find some deposited at your front door.
Ben Bullock is a Marketing Manager for Goldstein Group Communications. Based out of Chicago, Ben has more than ten years of B2B marketing experience, resulting in a keen interest in marketing technology and analytics.
Before marketing, Ben was a musician. While playing in jazz ensembles aboard cruise ships, he traveled to more than 70 countries. Ben and his wife met while cruising to Quebec City.
Today, they have a three-year-old who often requests a dance session before bedtime.
Tina is our Paid Search Manager, managing many of our pay-per-click ad accounts here at GGC. She most recently managed paid search/social accounts in online higher education and she got her start in digital marketing working in paid search for a small white label company. Born and raised just outside of Scranton, PA, she is now raising her family with her husband Jesse, in the house right next to where she grew up. She received a Bachelor of Science in Marketing as well as a Master of Science in Marketing from Misericordia University in Dallas, PA. Outside of work, she is likely taking one of her two kids, Veronica and Clark, to some practice or game but what she really wants to be doing is hanging out with her cat, Lydia watching procedural crime dramas (Lydia prefers SVU but she will watch Criminal Intent in a pinch).
Cyndi Friedel, who joined GGC way back in 1996, has spent most of her career with Goldstein Group Communications wearing many marketing hats along the way. As one of GGC’s Digital Marketing Specialists, she executes and reports on PPC, SEO, Email and Digital Media lead generation programs for various clients. Cyndi has several certifications with HubSpot, SEMrush and Google. Her vast knowledge of B2B marketing software and tools helps with execution of these programs and has proven measurable results.
Cyndi has lived in Cape Coral, Florida, for almost two decades now with her two adult children, though she is originally from the Cleveland, Ohio area and remains a hopeless Cleveland Browns fan.
Deanna Dionne is a self-taught Digital Designer based in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. She has been creating brands since 2008 when she worked with a fashion accessories e-commerce distributor in Michigan. Her most notable accomplishment is founding an art jewelry brand, Cleveland Street Glass, which resulted in her being named Most Interesting Person and Best of Cle by Cleveland Magazine. The ever-changing landscape of marketing and technology keeps Deanna engaged. Her interest in technology has led to her latest passion of researching and creating AI-generated art.
Jed is a Web Development Manager at GGC and specializes in making great web environments do great things for his clients. He has experience in HubSpot and Wordpress, among other platforms, as well as writing code directly in HTML, JS and PHP. Previously, Jed has worked as a Designer, Marketer, Illustrator and Sandwich Artist.
Outside of work, Jed enjoys a quiet life with his family and pets in the Cleveland suburbs. His favorite pastimes include painting, hiking, falsifying information in personal biographies, and reading.
Iris Cule is the social media marketing specialist here at GGC. She worked as a freelancer before joining the GGC team while taking several social media marketing certifications to better serve her clients. Her passions include reading, writing poems (occasionally), getting updated on new social media trends, and spending lots of time with her family. She also loves traveling and says that working remotely at a great company has been one of the best things that has happened to her. Iris was born in Bucharest, Romania, lived in her country Albania until she was 18, and now lives in New York with her husband and their Pomsky named Charlie.
Jeanne Turner has been a technical writer for longer than she likes to admit, with both agency and trade magazine editorial experience in her background. A proud Badger, she received her degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She loves B2B marketing, enjoying the 10,000-foot view of amazing innovations and technical advances that drive industry and our economy.
Jeanne is married and lives in the Cleveland area in a home that is walking distance from Lake Erie. She is looking forward to meeting grandchild number nine. Instagram draws her in with shots of gorgeous fall scenery, elaborately decorated cakes and beautifully crafted sweaters.
Robin is a Digital Marketing Specialist, working on marketing automation and pay-per-click ads at GGC. Prior to GGC, she worked at several B2B marketing agencies in the SaaS Software-as-a-Service industry. She has experience in creating lead nurture campaigns, social media, reporting, and Google Ads. She is a Houston, Texas native and received her BBA in Marketing and Management as well as an M.S. in Marketing from the University of Houston. When she’s clocked out of work, she loves to bake and read – her favorite are thriller novels.