ER Magazine: Labor of Love

Article by Rick Petry
Originally published in the July / August 2015 issue of ER Magazine
–the official publication of the Electronic Retailing Association

article… This kind of certainty isn’t always a mainstay for intergenerational family work alliances. “I went to school for business management and wanted to work in the fashion industry,” reveals Lindsay Fontaine, vice president and associate media director at Woodland Hills, Calif.-based direct response powerhouse InterMedia Group. Lindsay is the daughter of InterMedia president and CEO Robert Yallen, who had hoped his child would one day carry on a family tradition that he began with his father, Sydney Yallen. “I grew up an only child and always wanted to be in business with my dad,” he says. “We had a very tight relationship, and I would sit around the dinner table as a kid and actually listen to him as he talked about his pioneering days in the media industry.”

But like his daughter Lindsay, Robert wanted to chart his own course, and pursued a law degree before joining the agency. As Lindsay grew up, the elder Yallens conspired to entice her to join their operation, even producing a video for her bat mitzvah with the theme “What do I want to do when I grow up?” But it was only when Robert stopped pushing her to join the company that Lindsay followed in his footsteps. “I took an advertising certification class and discovered I really liked it,” Lindsay recalls. “I decided to come to work at InterMedia for a year, and I fell in love with the business.” She has now been with the agency for nearly nine years.

bob-lindsay… Yallen echoes that sense of trust in his professional relationship with his daughter. “Lindsay is my confidante, and I am hers. She’s tough. The last thing on my list is to aggravate her. I don’t know if it comes from my father or my wife. I see a lot of combinations of family members in her.”

Lindsay apparently agrees: “Sometimes he’s tough, but what he says is usually right. It’s really cool for me to see how everyone within the agency trusts him and respects him.”

“I don’t have ‘dad’ glasses,” Yallen continues. “Lindsay worked her way up through data entry, media assistant, and media buyer—wherever she was needed. She did a really good job of integrating into the company and ultimately has won the support and respect of her peers.”