Cause-Driven Company Culture
Devoting 40+ hours a week to a job is a major time commitment, so it’s imperative that employees feel passionate about the work they do. The work environment a company fosters is crucial to employee satisfaction, retention and ultimately the company’s success. When employees feel motivated they can become powerful marketing weapons and brand ambassadors for the company.
There isn’t a “one size fits all” company culture, so companies should devote time to find one that best suits their employees and the work they do. In the words of Tory Burch, American fashion designer, businesswoman and philanthropist, “I’ve worked in many companies, and I think that, number one, if you are going to have a great environment, you produce great work… If people are happy, that’s what’s important.”
As a recent college graduate, I gravitate toward atmospheres that inspire growth, encourage learning and promote a “work hard, play hard” mentality. When I started at Proof Strategies as a Fellow it was clear that its culture embodied these characteristics, and with hard work and constant encouragement, I became an Associate Account Executive and moved on to my current position as Account Executive.
Food For Thought
As I began to immerse myself in the company’s culture I quickly became familiar with the benefits and opportunities for growth. When the junior staff was presented with the option to come up with their own weekly benefit, with the consent from senior leadership, I jumped at the task to recommend a food option. Mondays soon became everyone’s favorite day of the week when we implemented “bagel Mondays.” Some argued that work from home Fridays, which we took every other week, was better, but free food is always number one in my book. Even when it isn’t Monday, we are always being surprised with snacks and treats for special occasions both in the office and occasionally outside of the office at restaurants of the team’s choosing.
Pitching My Way to the Top
Last November, we held a company-wide pitching competition with the goal of giving $10,000 of public relations work to two deserving nonprofit organizations for Giving Tuesday. The rules of the competition were simple: pick an organization in the D.C. metro area with an annual budget of less than $5 million. Employees from all levels of the organization had the opportunity to pitch on behalf of a nonprofit they thought was most deserving. As a new junior employee on the team, I was excited to be part of the pitching efforts and have the chance to develop my presentation skills. Each pitch contained a description of the organization and a strong reasoning as to why it deserved the pro bono work.
Once each employee pitched their organization to the collective team, we ranked them on a scale from most to least interesting. This polling technique was used so each individual could participate and vote for clients they felt passionate about. It was then announced that my client, Active Minds, was chosen, in addition to the organization that my Senior Account Supervisor pitched. It was heartening to know that I had captivated and persuaded the collective team enough to vote for my suggested organization. Opportunities like this have helped me gain confidence in my ideas and become more comfortable voicing my opinions in day-to-day scenarios.
When moving from a Fellow to an Associate Account Executive I gained more responsibility and with that responsibility came more opportunities. Public speaking has always been one of my strong suits, but leading a presentation with your clients and colleagues in the room was a new and daunting experience. With a lot of guidance from my team and many practice runs I got to lead my first client meeting, an opportunity not many people in my position can experience. The client that I got to present to was Active Minds. My engagement with this client was coming full circle as I led the efforts of the campaign from start to finish. Now as an Account Executive, my confidence has skyrocketed and leading client meetings is a weekly occurrence.
A Perfect Strike
Our hard work definitely doesn’t go unrewarded either. We’re given so many opportunities outside of the office to venture out of our comfort zone and get to know our coworkers beyond the walls of our office. In June, we all brainstormed suggestions for team bonding events. Bowling felt like an appropriate and perfect opportunity to work together in a fun, yet surprisingly competitive, atmosphere. Everyone on the team got to showcase their bowling talents, or in my case, the secret to a perfect gutterball. Despite my unfortunate bowling skills, stepping outside of my comfort zone helped to foster my relationship with team members, and ultimately made for a more enjoyable work environment. As I felt more comfortable on a personal level, I became more comfortable on a professional level as well. I began asking more questions in the workplace and was more willing to take risks when trying new things.
The opportunities offered at Proof Strategies have allowed me to grow and advance my career from a Fellow to Associate Account Executive and now, Account Executive! I look back to where I was just a year ago when I was starting as a fellow and am amazed at all the opportunities I have had and the growth I have achieved. I am excited to continue on this journey and proactively seek out more chances to improve the company culture and learn from those around me. Learn more about our small but mighty team here.