Like many years, 2011 was a mixed bag for us at CurrentMarketing. Without any doubt, all of our “ups” far outnumbered our “downs.” But no matter how many “ups” we celebrated this year, they could never offset the cumulative weight of our “downs,” due to one devastating tragedy.
We kicked off the year in great form. Katy Miller, in her new capacity as Account Supervisor, landed a large multi-unit dental practice. Along with several other great gets through the year, Katy closed 2011 preparing a client to to roll out a new product with a big-box retailer. (I’m sure details on the product and the retailers will follow as soon as it’s announced publicly.)
Led primarily by Katy’s efforts, we added a total of 18 new clients in 2011 and increased our overall billings by more than 20% (final numbers won’t be in for a couple of weeks).
In order to provide great work to those clients, we had a total of 18 new hires throughout the year. That’s more than 2009 & 2010 combined. With seven people leaving our ranks in 2011, that left us with a net growth of 11 people.
Today 40 of us enjoy the CurrentMarketing culture that still includes occasional company lunches, Partner Days in the summer and the Birthday Wheel ‘O Fun at least 40 times. And the experimental “let’s close up for the holidays this year,” gave us all a week off between Christmas and New Years. Free coffee, sodas and a no-prima-donnas-allowed environment top-off the reasons this is a wonderful place to work. Thanks, Lisa, for creating such a culture!
In 2011, we began using Studio NuLu, our next-door neighbor, for photo and video shoots. The commercial grade kitchen is a unique advantage for NuLu since there’s not another food-shoot-equipped studio within 100 miles. From steaks and Tex-Mex food to wine, whiskey and Bourbon to fitness and wellness….oh yeah, and lots of people, too…NuLu proved to be a great resource for us and our clients. It also served as a terrific venue for our annual Halloween Party!
We expanded our Geek Suite to five people in 2011 and our video/motion graphics team from one to three. This included the first-ever returning employee, Luke Hattemer, who quit CurrentMarketing a few years back to attend film school in Chicago. He left us as a production artist and returns as a highly-capable 3D animator…incredible capabilities for CurrentMarketing to offer new and existing clients heading into 2012.
However, reflecting on the past year, none of us can help but come back the mid-year tragedy which I mentioned in the opening lines of the entry. On the June 26, a drunk driver took the life of young Ben Koier, son of our COO Lisa Schardein and stepson of our CEO Rick Schardein. It was a tragedy that will follow most of us far beyond 2011 and some of us for the rest of our lives.
As Lisa and Rick continue coming to grips with their “new normal,” so does everyone else at CurrentMarketing. In their absences through the last two quarters, a new generation of leadership emerged here. Steeped in The CurrentMarketing Way and tempered with an occasional WWRD or WWLD, the younger managers kept the ship not only afloat but steered toward the ever-changing horizon…the evolving vision of what our client need to compete.
So, bring it on 2012. There’s nobody more ready for you than CurrentMarketing.
No we’re not talking about Charles VII or his father Charles VI. Instead, we’re recognizing the passing of the baton after years of shifts from