Today, Intuitive Digital celebrates 8 years in business. Normally we’d celebrate this anniversary with a little (maybe a lot) more fanfare. We would have at least gone out for a happy hour and ordered double of every appetizer and fried thing on the menu.
This year, as we’re heading into (according to my computer’s count of days not backed up to the office server) nearly 150 days of the entire team working fully remote, I found it pretty emotional going back through our image archive.
And so, as the Brand Manager with a lot of autonomy, someone who is generally considered an “over-sharer”, and an employee of almost 4 years, I wanted to take some time to reflect on what this company means to me, and how far we’ve come over those last 8 years.
And so it begins
I first met the owner, Nick Footer, in 2012 while I was working as the marketing manager for a specialty medical clinic. He was fresh out of grad school, had launched his business, and was doing free digital marketing assessments and pitches to help bring in his first or second round of partners (clients).
The clinic ended up hiring him and I was able to get to know him a bit while we worked together over the coming year, him on the agency side, me on the partner side. The clinic ended up moving agencies after a bit but Nick and I stayed in touch.
About 3 years later I ended up applying to become an Account Manager at Intuitive, and while I find that story fun in itself, let’s skip ahead and 4 years later I’m still thrilled to be here, developing my digital marketing skills and growing into a larger role.
A unique and sincere group of individuals
I know that people have very strong feelings in both directions about the phrase “work family”. I get it, I have worked for several small, family-owned places before that have used that phrase a lot but did not back that talk up with their actions.
At Intuitive though, to me, this place really does feel like family. Sure, sometimes we piss each other off, but that’s family right. We Radical Candor each other and work through it. I feel genuine love and support from my coworkers and the director’s team. I feel like I get to bring my full self to work every day. And I hope everyone else does too. We’re actively working to make sure that whoever you are if you come to work at Intuitive, that it is a place you would feel comfortable, seen, and enabled to flourish.
I think the only way this is possible, is if that sincerity and vulnerability come from the top. I have seen the owner, truly crestfallen about a mistake he has made, take ownership of that in front of the whole company, and then actively work to make it right. (he’s probably not going to love this part of my post, sorry Nick!).
The ride goes up, and then it comes down, and then it goes back up again
We have been through a lot together. Over the past 8 years we’ve:
- won (and lost) a good amount of awards
- had people come and stay (seriously do you know that the typical expectation for digital agencies is “churn and burn”)
- or come and go, and I miss so many of these lovely people being a part of our team. I am happy they’ve moved onto something they were excited about, but damnit if I don’t wish from time to time they were still here to go on a coffee run with.
- welcomed a lot of team members’ babies – 6 to date…
- had many opportunities to celebrate together, our holiday parties are generally pretty epic as far as I’m concerned.
- pranked each other, like a lot, don’t go on vacation if you don’t like pranks
- been in 3 different business offices, not including our now semi-permanent home offices
- volunteered together laying gravel, putting up house siding, setting up the Audobon plant sale, cleaned books for kids, cleared trails in Forest Park, and helped prep meals and grocery shop for the homebound
We’ve also been through some s**t together. The struggles most new companies face like how to grow the right way, trying to hire good people, and working with companies whose values reflect our own.
But most especially last November, when we lost Max Hoffman, suddenly to pancreatitis. I still miss his endlessly positive goofy presence in team meetings, and his incredibly sincere slack messages when his team was struggling and he wanted advice on how best to support them.
Max was an absolute gem of a person, and we will always miss him.
Where do we go from here
More than ever the future seems to be incredibly unclear. What will the continued struggles of the pandemic do to our business and our families, let alone the entire country? How can we ensure every day that we are being a force for good in our industry and our community?
I don’t know where we go from here. I don’t know what things will look like for us a year from now. What I do know is that wherever we end up, we’ll have gotten there by doing what’s right, by tirelessly working to make things better, by being authentic and building relationships with each other and our partners, and we’ll have a bit of fun on the way.