Meet Donnie Ungaro, our Brand and Promotions Specialist and resident Jack of All Trades. Want to talk tech and marketing? Donnie is your guy. Food? Donnie- He’s a red seal chef! Tattoos? Donnie-He’s full of them. Need a new bike? Donnie- You’ll always find him in the bike lane or on the trails.
We asked Donnie a few questions about life, local love and working at Interior Savings. Here’s what he had to say.
How long have you worked at Interior Savings?
I’ve been with Interior Savings for just over 6 months now.
What did you do before joining Interior Savings?
I have really enjoyed a career lead by passion and interest.
I started out working at our family business, Ungaro & Sons insurance for 5 years before becoming a marketing rep at ICBC. At the same time, I was a paid on call firefighter and was a part of the 2003 Okanagan Mountain Park Fire.
I went on to follow my heart to culinary school, then spent time at a fine dining restaurant before launching my own private dining and catering business, Culinary Ink, in Vancouver. I was actually Kate Beckinsale’s private chef while she was filming one of the Underworld movies.
When we moved back to the Okanagan, I got a contract with the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission to be the leader of the Okanagan Young Professionals, with the goal of keeping and attracting young professionals to the Okanagan. During this time, we brought TEDxKelowna, Growing Chefs, Motionball and TimeDrive events to Kelowna. We won the provincial and national Economic Development program of the year award in 2014.
Then, once again following my heart, I launched Culinary Ink Food Bikes. These bicycle towed food carts were franchised to charities with the goal of creating sustainable income for charities, while giving their members on food and income assistance a job and culinary training. While the venture ultimately didn’t succeed, it was an amazing experience.
I spent the last 3 years of my career at Strawhouse. A performance marketing agency that was named the fastest growing company in Canada a couple of years ago. This is where I really honed my digital marketing skills. I headed up the product incubation arm of the company and launched 7 e-commerce pilot companies. I later moved to the Director of Creative Optimization, where I lead the team of copywriters, video editors and web developers. During the 3 years I worked at Strawhouse we ran over 2 billion ad impressions on Facebook/Instagram. Working at Strawhouse was an awesome time, we had all of the coolest toys, a ping pong & pool table, a kitchen stocked with snacks and a even a few office dogs. It’s a really fun place to work and they take great care of the staff.
Now, I am thrilled to be a part of Interior Savings. I love how community focused we are. So many times we do things that put the member needs first, before ours as an organization, which is inspiring. I work with a great team and have found a great work life balance. I like that there are many opportunities to move around with the organization as well.
What has your career journey been like at Interior Savings?
So far it has been great! The team I joined is very collaborative and supportive. I have already had the opportunity to attend some external training, a conference and participate in some special projects.
Where can you be found when you’re not working? (hobbies/interests/etc)
Hanging with my wife and 2 daughters, road and mountain biking, spending time with family and friends, camping and fishing.
What do you like about working at Interior Savings?
The people! There are some really great people here at Interior Savings. We work together to make things better for our members. I really like the variety and getting to work on special projects. Also coming from a start up and being an entrepreneur, I really like the work life balance and stability working at Interior Savings has brought me. One of the biggest reasons I came to Interior Savings was our community impact. We do so many great things and support so many diverse causes.
What does supporting local mean to you? Why is it important?
It means going to events and activities put on by local groups, it means buying local, it also means being a vocal supporter of your community and its values.
What’s the best piece of financial advice you’ve ever received?
Start early. Start budgeting early, start saving early. The effects of time on your investment decisions are exponential.
What is your favourite Interior Savings Sponsored local event?
Unplug and play! Spending more quality, non-digital time with our children is really important to us as a family. I love seeing how imaginative and creative our girls are.
Interested in joining our team? Check out our current open positions here.