As the president of Mrs. Judd’s Games, Gradman is taking his branding expertise and bringing it to his cutting-edge programming and marketing teams to design and build custom social media games that create an immersive and fun educational experience. Gradman leads a fantastic team of developers and marketers based in Chicago, China and Brazil. A leader and innovator from the get-go, Gradman served as student body president of his alma mater, the University of Illinois, before gaining valuable marketing experience in the automotive industry with Nissan and General Motors. While pursuing his MBA at Washington University in St. Louis as a Dean’s Scholarship recipient, Gradman was always setting out to try new things; from working on a music industry start-up to projects for the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce and Purina Pet Foods. Upon completion of his MBA, Gradman accepted a marketing role with Energizer Battery in St. Louis, most notably blending entertainment and branding with an in-pack promotion and partnership for the ActiVision Spider-Man video game.
At Kraft Foods in Chicago, Gradman sparked Jell-O’s first ever Hispanic initiative and launched a line of pita chips under the Athenos brand. In 2006, when social media branding was still germinating, Gradman, as a global marketing director for Newell Rubbermaid Office Products, tested non-traditional advertising tactics including Facebook promotions, DRTV and TV drive to digital on brands like Uni-Ball, and Rolodex that traditionally had done little large-scale advertising. He turned around a double-digit share decline and put new-school strategy into back-to-school with a highly successful branding campaign for the highly commoditized Expo marker business. Gradman has a keen eye on international trends as well, helping launch the Sharpie brand in one of the world’s fastest-growing and most profitable markets, Brazil.
Gradman lives in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago with his wife, Laura, and kids, Stella (6), and Dylan (3).