As the powerhouse of Tropic Survival Advertising & Marketing Agency,
Sheila Duffy-Lehrman is now adding a twist on conventional advertising. For the past 20 years, Ms. Duffy-Lehrman has worked to establish Tropic Survival as a traditional advertising agency, with a specialty in broadcast media, creating over 1,500 TV spots each year for both national and local clients. Tropic Survival’s success has not gone un-noticed, as they have won numerous broadcast and design awards and were recently recognized by the South Florida Business Journal as one of the Top 25 Best Advertising & Marketing Agencies in South Florida.
Although a current resident of Miami Beach, Ms. Duffy-Lehrman started her career on Capitol Hill after graduating from the University of Southern California 1981 with a degree in Gerontology. She began working in the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming the youngest staff person to be appointed as senior professional staff to the Chairman of the Select Committee on Aging.
Ms. Duffy-Lehrman was responsible for overseeing all fraud and deceptive trade practices, low-income poverty, and housing issues. Her work led to curbing abuses in the funeral, insurance, and home healthcare industries. Ms. Duffy-Lehrman came to TV news when her impressive investigative work on Capitol Hill was brought to the attention of CNN’s investigative unit. Her consumer, health, and investigative reports received national recognition, including the George Foster Peabody Award, for an Emmy award winning series on the accuracy of medical laboratory testing. Locally, she received an Emmy for a documentary on trauma care in South Florida, in addition to numerous other journalism awards. Ms. Duffy-Lehrman’s unique ability to make someone think and feel in thirty seconds is what ultimately drew her to advertising and marketing.
At Tropic Survival, Ms. Duffy-Lehrman has pioneered, developed, and implemented retail customization programs that have given Tropic the reputation as the “Go To” agency for reputable brands with wide retail bases. While such retail advertising programs have set Tropic apart from the competition, the recent development and launch of proprietary software/advertising platform CometAds has propelled them into the digital space in a very big way.
Four years ago, her business partner, Jim Knutt and Ms. Duffy-Lehrman bravely began a self-funded investment that would bring them and their clients to the digital forefront of the advertising world. Thus, the idea and birth of their new company, CometAds, a groundbreaking online video ad builder, publisher and tracking tool, complete with it’s own mobile app.
The goal of CometAds is to help businesses affordably market themselves in the “wild west” of online advertising. CometAds has been a stand-alone business since day month one in beta testing, and became profitable within weeks of its official launch in 2011.
It takes great courage and tenacity to create a profitable entrepreneurial effort during one of the toughest economic times in generations, and it is this type of tenacity which Ms. Duffy-Lehrman has exhibited her entire career.
The team continues to add new features and enhancements. CometAds is now beta testing its DIY (Do It Yourself) model. This DIY option will be available to individuals, small businesses, and service providers globally. By creating this type of model, businesses are able to create their own online video ads at a low cost. Over the next two years, the projected growth of the DIY model is expected to be at 10-12 thousand users per month. With the exponential growth of the online video space, this number is expected to increase rapidly over the next 5 years. Continued innovation and creativity keep Tropic and CometAds on the leading edge of advertising and marketing.
The true testament to her remarkable influential character lies in the many national corporations that have kept long standing client relationships with Tropic. She is a true thought leader and will create advertising and marketing programs suitable for clients when none others exist. Now with the entrepreneurial development and creation of CometAds, she and her partner are making their mark and transforming the online advertising space as true pioneers.
Ms. Duffy-Lehrman serves on several city, county, and charitable boards and was honored as “A Woman Worth Knowing” by the City of Miami Beach. She was also recently named one of South Florida’s Movers and Shakers. Her active community involvement and leadership on Miami Beach is plentiful, and she is and integral part of every board of which she serves. Whether serving a work related organization (Miami- Dade Film & Entertainment Board) or one that touches her heart (Casa Valentina casavalentia.org), she contributes with her keen intelligence, extraordinary selflessness and deep compassion.
Although she has received numerous awards and recognitions throughout her career, she will tell you that her greatest accomplishment is her marriage to the “love of her life”, estate planning attorney, Richard Lehrman and her three “delicious” children.