It’s time once again for my annual Short List of Rising Email Stars.  Over the last few years a pattern has developed where the client side of email is represented in even years and the vendor side in odd.  As usual the line between rising stars and veterans is seven years.  This year’s list is a little short than previous ones.  Maybe it’s because I haven’t had the opportunity to work as closely with those on the vendor side; or maybe there just hasn’t been as many from the vendor side sticking their neck out enough for me to notice….

And so, without further gilding the lily,

And with no more ado,

I give to you my 2013 list of rising email stars….

Evan Diaz, VP of Creative Services at Inbox Group LLC; 2.5 years – I first became aware of Evan through Scott Hardigree at indiemark, but became familar with Evan and his work after indiemark was purchased by Inbox Group.  I had the pleasure to hang out with Evan a bit at the 2013 Email Evolution Conference in Miami and was instantly impressed by not only his work, but his outlook on email, messaging, design, and coding.  I was so impressed with his design that I cut a deal to have him design our 2013 Email Vendor Features & Functions Guide.  Keep your eyes on Evan; with his mad design and coding skills you’re bound to see a lot of his work – even if you don’t know it’s his work….

Erika Winter, Account Development Manager at BlueHornet; 1 year – When we’re out sailing it’s not uncommon for my buddy Ryan and I to talk about some of the talented new email people we meet.  He starts telling me about impressed he was with her work for some of BlueHornet’s clients.  I had a chance to meet Erika in Miami at the Email Evolution Conference – hey, it ain’t Vegas, so so don’t expect what happns there to stay there – and can say that she has this natural ability for strategic and tactical thought that you just don’t see every day.  With her understanding great strategy and tactics all start with the client  and identification of opportunity, watch for some really cool things to come from Erika….

Eric Yamamoto, Senior Solutions Consultant at Responsys; 7 years – Okay, maybe a shade over seven years, but hey, this is my list….  I first met Eric a few years ago when he was a Sales Engineer with Silverpop.  He was always my go-to guy when I needed straight answers on Silverpop functionality in a hurry.  Even though Silverpop has a stellar team of Sales Engineers and Tech Support, Eric was always my first-choice contact and I hated to see him leave; but he wanted to move a little north, so Marketo scored.  We don’t work with Marketo as much as other vendors, so we kind of lost touch – until he ended up at Responsys!  Anyone that has ever worked with Eric knows what I’m talking about; and anyone that hasn’t, well, you’re missing out….

Lori Vaughn, Client Success Expert at Return Path; 6 years – I first met Lori in the Fall of 2008, and I’m sure one of the first things that went through her mind was, “Who the F is this guy!?” – she wouldn’t be the first; or last, but I digress….  Not only would Lori patiently put up with any challenge I threw her way, she’d hit them out of the park without breaking a sweat.  And if I did make her sweat, she never let it show.  She gained a lot of respect from me in those early days of our business relationship that over the years has become more of a friendship.  She’s smart, talented, knows her stuff, and is poetry in motion when working with clients.  I’m always look forward to work with Lori; she always makes my job easier when we work together and I can only hope to do the same….

Eddie Ha, Digital Messaging Specialist at Message Systems; 3 years – I’ve only recently met Eddie and can honestly say that I have never had anyone explain the features of Message Systems any better or with any more enthusiam than Eddie.  He shares his product and industry knowledge with such ease that before you know it you’re right there with him – you don’t even know how you knew; you know?  Having just met earlier this year I don’t have much more to add about Eddie, but by this time next year I’m sure that’s going to change….

Kristen Gregory, Director of Marketing Services at Bronto Software; 5 years – Kristen is not the first from Bronto to make my list of Rising Stars, and previous Rising Stars have included a couple of Bronto users as well.  Just because Kristen is super-sweet don’t let that distract you – squirell! – she’s super-smart and knows what it takes to build long-term relationships with and *for* Bronto clients.  She has a natural affinity for email and is an unwavering champion of email marketing Best Practices that always bring consistent results.  Keep your eyes on Kristen, she’s destined to be an email industry leader….

Lance Simmons, Director of Client Relations at MailChimp; 3.5 years – I’ve probably know Lance since he started with MailChimp or shortly thereafter.  Whenever I had a question about MailChimp or a problem with an account that I needed to solve in a hurry I knew I could always call Lance.  Yes, that’s right, I’m one of the lucky few that can actually call MailChimp, but that doesn’t mean that I often do.  Up until this year Lance was always my contact point on data for our Email Vendor Features & Functions Guide.  Now he’s moved on to Client Relations and left poor Ashley Wilson to have to deal with me and run down the answers to those 500-some-odd questions for the 2013 edition of the Guide.  Don’t worry, Lance, Ashley stepped up and met the challenge head-on!

Elisabeth Erwin, Sales Director at PulsePoint; 5 years – Rounding out this year’s Rising Email Stars is Elisabeth Erwin.  I met Elisabeth a couple of years ago in Miami – I know, I met a lot of people on this list in Miami – and was instantly struck by her natural ability to develop relationships within the industry and client-side as well; oh, and her traditonal Southern Charm.  You can’t help but notice her tenacity in reaching out to end users to understand their challenges and to come up with solutions meet them.   Elisabeth is going places in email; remember, you heard it here first….