Weaver to work in both the US and Canada; BrandDialogue to convert from consultancy to a blog
For the past seven years, I have been searching for an agency home: one in which I could do meaningful work, and have a good work/life balance; where I had proper support from my management; where people were fearless; and where I was given the freedom to contribute to both agency and clients with as little politics, control issues or agency drama as possible. Over the course of my thirty-year career, I have had fantastic work environments, and wherever possible, I have worked hard to try to create them within my teams. I’m proud to say I’ve had teams who truly enjoyed working together, won awards together, and found personal relationships that far outlasted the team’s longevity.
I’ve also had some short stints. The rough economy and its attendant worries, beginning in 2002, have brought out both the best and worst in people. And I obviously share some of the responsibility for the shortness of tenure: I’m impatient with others, a bit of a perfectionist (even when that’s not necessary), super-picky with how I invest my time, and when I’ve had tight controls or confines placed on my role or abilities, I’ve frequently responded with equal pressure to take control back. Not often a hit with management! So there are some learnings and opportunities for improvement there.
Simultaneous to this search for a strong, upbeat agency has been an increasing desire to give back to society. It’s hard to “pimp products” when you can’t help but notice the myriad social issues we are facing on a global basis. How do I justify to my children the application of my skills to marketing SUVs, diamonds, toxic chemicals or other socially or environmentally irresponsible products? How do I justify using my life to make a tiny percentage of people rich when others are starving or dying? How long do I sit on the sidelines of this train wreck without getting up to help the injured?
My new (old) role
At Tribal, I’ll be acting in a role that’s very familiar to me: account director and strategist. Of all the roles I’ve performed over my career, this is really the one I’m best at. I am a digital brand counselor, first and foremost. I’ll be managing a number of existing accounts and working to build business both in Canada and the US. Given the strength of the team at Tribal, that shouldn’t be too difficult.
This new role will provide me with a chance to be a part of a large team again, applying my skills to socially-responsible clients, and growing my business network in a financially sound work environment. Vancouver is a stunningly beautiful city, and its residents are as progressive and socially focused as Seattleites. My new team seems very talented and buttoned up. And I’ll be using my brain to concept and strategize around brands, developing new social, cultural and business applications for digital technologies—my idea of a fun way to make money!
I’ll also be splitting my time between both Vancouver and Seattle – for the next few months, at least. I get asked constantly if I am “leaving” – nope, just expanding my “range.”
Thank you, egg
For nearly two years, I have been partnering with egg, a Seattle branding agency that has taken the bold step to ONLY work with socially responsible clients. That is a very brave commitment that limits their revenue considerably. We’ve worked together on numerous projects and with them I have found the same kind of laughter, camaraderie and sense of purpose that I’ve long sought. I want to thank them for their interest in working with me, including me on their projects, and even providing me with office space.
Marty McDonald, Hilary Bromberg and their team have a vision for ethical business that aligns very strongly with my own. They also know the conscientious consumer better than anyone. Because of their generosity, I have been financially sound over the last 9 months and met many new people who are interested in doing good. Through Tribal, I hope to continue to partner with egg and help spread their values in the market.
Just to keep things interesting: massive and overlapping life changes
For the last several months, I have been experiencing a foundation-shaking set of life changes, which are all culminating this same week. The hardest: my children are moving away and I will no longer be a residential parent. Equally challenging: through a fantastic counselor, I’m revisiting and addressing issues that I’ve tried to run from or avoid my whole life, including a tremendous amount of grief—some long-overdue personal rewiring that should help me in all aspects of my life.
Finally, I’m hitting 48 years of age, with 30 years’ worth of work experience. How the hell did that happen so quickly?
New job, new tribe, new country, new parental role, new patterns. Lots to look forward to, lots to adjust to.
Not leaving, just shifting
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