Chief Executive Officer
Whether navigating the nuanced world of online marketing or training for a 60-mile ultra-marathon, Troy Lerner likes challenges that resist shortcuts. He believes in the power of dedicated, step-by-step progress toward a goal. As Chief Executive Officer at Booyah, Troy is a digital marketing expert, and his unique expertise includes a knack for communicating the complexities of his field in practical, accessible language. Those who know him best admire his uncanny ability to find the right words for any occasion— to express good news, bad news, and everything in between in the best possible way.
Troy is a true Denver native with roots that run several generations deep. “I live just a few blocks away from my great-grandmother’s house. I went to the same high school as my grandparents and parents.” Signs of his future career were evident by age ten, when he plastered flyers around the Washington Park neighborhood advertising his lawn-mowing business— much more interested in designing the fliers than in mowing lawns. Troy left Colorado to study Economics and American Government at the University of Virginia, but promptly returned for his first post-college job: a scrappy startup run out of a family friend’s basement. As the startup’s youngest employee, he was the de facto manager of all things digital, including the advertising. His enthusiasm and tenacity paid off when the founder asked him to become a partner and pivot the company to an emerging new space: website templates. The company grew to over 70,000 customers and was eventually sold to Dealin’ Doug (a name well-known to Coloradoans). Following the sale, Troy joined Avenue A/Razorfish, the largest online advertising agency in the world at the time. In 2005, he left Razorfish to start up the agency services division of a small, Boulder-based AdTech company with a down-to-earth team and a funny, memorable name: Booyah.
After over a decade as the company’s leader (but a W2 employee nonetheless), Troy bought Booyah in 2018 with long-time colleague Dan Gallagher. Troy formed many of the company’s current policies from lessons learned in his early startup career: that there’s no replacement for action (do something now!), that you can do more than you think you can (if you’re willing to try), and that specialization can be overrated (anyone can do what needs to be done). “Booyah is not a startup anymore, but that energy is still here: Figure it out! Get stuff done! Raise your hand and do what you can for the team.” An exacting yet approachable leader, Troy motivates his team by focusing on individual strengths and how they play into a winning team. He believes that the best leadership is transparent. “I try to be open about what I know, what I don’t know, and how I’m making decisions. I believe this is a team sport, and I want people emotionally committed to the shared outcome of winning together.” That transparency is a hallmark of Booyah’s client relationships: There is a strong focus on shared information and open, direct communication. “In the early years, online marketing seemed like black magic to people. It’s important that we take time to separate real advertising tactics from the smoke and mirrors, talk in a language that people understand, and teach clients what we know and how to apply it to their business.”
Troy is a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and the Denver University Marketing Department Advisory Board. His advice tends to be humble and practical. “My success doesn’t come from some big, great idea I had. This business and its success come from the consistent, regular, wake-up-every-day, do-your-work attitude of the people who work here. I care about the quality of my work and about the people working with me, and I try to make the best decisions I can. One foot in front of the other. If you do that long enough, you’ll end up somewhere amazing.”