Vala Marketing man overlooking a project

Our Story

Vala Marketing was born in April 2016 in a Goshen, Indiana basement with $200 tucked away in an old copy of Don Quixote. Starting as a small team of hyper-motivated Millenials, we hustled through the end of the great recession, picking up clients looking to gain a foothold into the quickly growing social media sphere.

Through the years, we have expanded our team to create the largest and fastest-growing agency in the area and have won several awards & accolades along the way including the South Bend Reader’s Choice Award for Best Marketing Agency, the Havilah Beardsley Young Entrepreneur Award, NWIBQ’s Greater Michiana Best Marketing Agency and Best Website Designers, and two ACCE Excellence in Communication awards. We’re not done yet, and we believe the best is yet to come.

Explorers. Lifelong Learners. Tinkerers. Builders. We're the kind of people you want on your team.

After a decade in Network Engineering & freelancing on the side, Grant founded Vala Marketing w/ his wife, Heidi, in 2016. Together they have served over 200 clients throughout the Midwest. Grant enjoys podcasting, world-building, & video gaming in his free time.

Grant Mielke

Heidi founded Vala Marketing w/ her husband, Grant, in 2016. Together they have served over 200 clients throughout the Midwest. They also share two awesome kids together – Desmond & Cambria. Beyond her duties at Vala, she enjoys hiking, traveling, reading, & gardening.

Heidi Mielke

Jake has over 10 years of design experience in multiple disciplines. From print, to illustration, to digital, to motion – there is almost nothing one could throw at Jake that would leave him stumped. When he’s not designing, he’s honing his skills in other artistic ways and spends time with his wife, Katie, and his hounds, Penelope and Gracie.

Jake Neece
Partner / Creative Director

Ashley joined Vala shortly after its founding & quickly proved herself invaluable. With a Master’s Degree in English & over a decade of experience in creative writing, she has the ability to tell a story & build brand awareness through digital campaigning that has solidified Vala Marketing as the top social media agency in the area. In her free time, she runs an artisan cookie side hustle & is an avid craft beer enthusiast.

Ashley Siery
Partner / Director of Marketing

Shelby comes to Vala Marketing with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and Anthropology from Saint Mary’s College and a strong background in project management, administrative support, and nonprofit experience. When she’s not juggling all of the projects, Shelby loves cooking, reading, hiking, and spending time outdoors with her fiancé.

Shelby Herms
Assistant Director of Marketing

Vito is a small business owner and musician, garnering a network of artists and creatives across all innovative spaces that business in Michiana takes place in. His success  comes from his personal skills; he’s eager learn and a great listener. Vito also deeply appreciates statistics and a good numbers crunch, which keeps him driven and focused on his goals and the goals of his clients.

Vito Spano
Account Executive

Cori’s passion lies in creating fun, creative, & engaging content to keep her clients’ online following tuned in & excited. She has managed hundreds of social media accounts across various platforms, increasing brand awareness & loyalty for Michiana household names such as Rise’n Roll Bakery. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, video games, and spending time with her two children, Lucius & Tegan.

Cori Nye
Account Manager

After completing their Master’s of Liberal Studies at Indiana University, Justine worked for 7+ years in technology. Pivoting to follow their passions for helping businesses grow and writing, they took on being an account manager with Vala Marketing. The joy Justine gets from engaging audiences and creative writing is only matched by their love of reading while curled up with two mini dachshunds named Scooter and Tanqueray.

Justine Backus
Account Manager

Kristen graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in Film & Digital Media. She later developed a passion for marketing and creating content for social media to share businesses’ unique stories with the community. When she’s not taking pictures or editing videos, Kristen loves to travel the world, go on food trips, and try new recipes in the kitchen. 

Kristen Pascual
Account Manager

Ryan was once 👊🏾 by Muhammed Ali! It’s true, though he was 8 and Mr. Ali gave the kind of jab that says, “there you go, sport.” Ryan’s work on projects have taken him all over the US, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Canada. He studied aesthetic and digital content creation at Italy’s Santa Reparata International School of Art and loves to read, play in his band, and ride mountain bikes.

Ryan Shields
Director of Videography

David grew up in Wisconsin, and spent much of his childhood with a camera in hand, filming his friends’ backyard adventures. He studied film production at Full Sail University, Taylor University, and the Global Cinematography Institute in LA. In his spare time, you can find him eating cheese with a whiskey in hand, going on adventures with his wife, nerding out over the latest camera gear, and watching British crime dramas.

David Perkins
Video Producer

When Jon was young and watching behind-the-scenes features on his favorite movies, he thought, “I could probably do that”, and has been involved in filmmaking ever since. He studied film production at Huntington University and has worked on all sorts of commercial and narrative videos. In his free time, he enjoys performing onstage, shooting photos and videos on actual celluloid film, and playing around with vintage tech.

Jon Mayer
Video Producer

Rachel grew up in Elkhart and studied photography at Taylor University. She loves using a camera to explore the world and to capture the interesting people, places, and things she encounters. In her free time she enjoys traveling, reading, hiking, watching movies with her husband, trying new foods, and cuddling with her cat, Waffles.

Rachel Perkins

Tony came to Vala with a degree in graphic design, an impressive portfolio & nearly 15 years of experience designing. As a freelancer, Tony worked with major power brands, international musicians, and local businesses. Tony lives in Goshen, Indiana with his wife Laura and their three kids.

Tony Zacarias
Art Director

Gretchen majored in graphic design and minored in advertising at Ferris State University. She’s passionate about people and all things art. With a desire to solve problems and create, she finds the sweet spot where the two meet – making an aesthetically pleasing and purposeful design. When she’s not crafting on the computer, she’s crafting in the kitchen or on a canvas.

Gretchen Boley
Lizzie has always loved art and being creative. She grew up in the Chicago suburbs and went to Lake Forest College where she majored in studio art and minored in graphic design. After college, she attended Chicago Portfolio School for design. She enjoys trying and learning new things, whether it’s learning a new program, rock climbing, or finding the best bubble tea in the northwest suburbs. She is happiest when designing or petting a floofy doggo.
Lizzie Johns

Ashley was born in Massachusetts but grew up in Arkansas, where she majored in Graphic Design at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. When she’s not designing, she enjoys sewing her own clothing, taking a stroll through Victorian cemeteries, and watching the 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice on a loop.

Ashley Khakeo

Hailing from Phoenix, Arizona Bethany has had a passion for creativity as long as she can remember. After studying Visual Arts at Azusa Pacific University, Bethany grew her design skills through freelance projects during the pandemic. As a lover of learning, she is always eager to add more skills to her repertoire. When she’s not designing, Bethany can be found absorbed in a book, painting, or walking her collie, Beau.

Bethany Cart

Hiring a traditional, old-school marketing agency can require a lot of expertise and infrastructure. We want you focused on running your business, not coming up with ideas, writing creative briefs, and holding hands. We provide a full suite of marketing services, including full marketing management. That means we can execute on your project, but we can also proactively manage the strategy, ideation, and direction. Whether you need full brand management, a specific project, a product launch, or your marketing team needs additional support we have the experience, expertise, and team to make things happen.

Strategy & Consulting

Strategy always comes first. We operate on a programmatic method of research that takes into account perceptions and realities from consumers and stakeholders. We then perform robust audits of each angle, touchpoint, and process – both external and internal. With this information, we engineer a strategy and create a prioritized and customized roadmap.

Auditing & Planning
Discovery & Research
Consumer Research
Marketing Strategy

Brand Strategy
Brand Architecture


Branding & Design

We have created and maintained some of our region’s most iconic brands. Our branding work is not just logo design, custom illustration, or copywriting, but a comprehensive approach, both visually and emotionally, internally and externally, to who you are and why you do what you do.

Brand Development
Logo Design
Brand Style Guides
Visual Identity Systems
Collateral, Print, & Packaging
Point of Purchase Design
Experiential Design
Digital Development Icon

Digital Development

In a world of templates and marked-up freelancers, we provide a full in-house team, great technology, and a continually improved process that allows us to complete design projects much quicker than our competitors without using stock assets or slapping your logo on the top of a template.

Website Design
Website Development
UX/UI Design
E-commerce Development
Wireframing & Prototypes
Content Management Systems
Content & Copywriting
WordPress Hosting & Security

Integrated Marketing

We provide marketing management and services across all channels and mediums, specializing in digital marketing. Our best work is done when we can fully integrate with our partners to create consistent and authentic marketing communications, both inbound and outbound.

Marketing as a Service
Social Media Management
Digital Advertising
Voice Advertising
Search Engine Optimization
Paid Search
Traditional Advertising / OOH

Creative Production

Our in-house creative team boasts a huge spectrum of competencies, from design and illustration to videography and copywriting. We can help whether you don’t know where to start or have a dream you need realized.

Campaign Creation
Content Creation
Motion Design

Our Mission



To become a regional provider of the highest quality, full-spectrum, turn-key marketing & advertising solutions to small & medium-sized businesses, startups, events, and places through well-aligned partnerships, concierge-level service & support, and a comprehensive suite of offerings from best-in-class teammates.



To remain consistently on the cutting edge of marketing technologies, platforms, and innovations and properly listen for, identify, and react to shifts in consumer behavior. To form close relationships with our clients & partners to gain a better understanding of the challenges they face in this rapidly shifting digital world.



To provide a home base for creatives, artists, internet wizards, social media rockstars, and critical thinkers to thrive, master, and practice their passion without the rigidity of in-office hours & endless meetings. To provide a flexible and supportive workplace where teammates can grow, hustlers can hustle, and we all take care of ourselves & each other.