January 21, 2015, marked the day I started barber&hewitt. From the beginning, my goal was to help marketing and agency teams do better work. Whether it was making the output of that work better or how the work gets done, I hoped to put the 10+ years of experience and perspective gained from several of the best minds and brands in the business to work for clients that valued strategic guidance.
Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined what the last three years would bring...
Our first client is still actively working with us—they also happen to be our largest client. In fact, every client minus one has continued to work with us beyond their first project. We helped a billion dollar organization launch its marketing automation platform, advised one of the most successful state lotteries in the country on how to the migrate from an old stodgy, in-house email service provider to Salesforce Marketing Cloud and developed its email marketing strategy, all the while providing consistent marketing leadership for a client’s team that overturned from top to bottom.
And along the way, I somehow managed to speak at 120+ conferences with an average speaker rating of 4.69/5. We all need a pat on the back here and there, don't we?
I’d be remiss not to say everything was all gravy. It wasn’t. We failed on numerous occasions.
We missed potentially tremendous opportunities because we just couldn’t get back to people quick enough. To keep things humming along, our investors (aka. my Mum and Dad) had to float us cash when receivables were crazy high, and our credit cards maxed. And in one case, which still pains me to this day, we failed to meet expectations with a client that we not only loved as a client but counted as friends (they know who they are and are likely smiling right now…love you both to bits).
You take the good and the bad—reveling in the good, learning from the bad—and just do better the next day.
One of the best client relationships we built over the last three years was with the team at Godfrey. I first met their leaders, Stacy Whisel and Erin Michalak, via Worldwide Partners, an agency collective that brings together independent shops from all over the world to help clients that value a global footprint sans the holding companies. It was an instant connection and a relationship that has grown over the last three years as we helped them tackle challenges confronting their team and clients.
And so I couldn’t be more happy to let you know that beginning next week, barber&hewitt is joining Godfrey.
Godfrey is led by people who I have amount a massive amount of appreciation and respect for not only because they lead with a strong vision of the place they want for the people that work on their team, but also because they understand the value of outside counsel and perspective. Their team is incredibly talented, doing work that is helping clients meet the needs of their customers in more unique ways that I’ve seen elsewhere, all the while delivering that work with a steady hand, fostering a culture that values transparency, uniqueness of ideas and skills, understands that people have families, kids, lives, hobbies (all of which are way more important than your 9-5), and that we can all do the work while we are all being kind to each other too.
As for me, I’ll be joining their team as SVP, Chief Creative Officer, providing vision and leadership for the creative team while also being a brand ambassador through my speaking and travels around the world.
To be a small part of what is a wickedly smart group of 95 individuals and leading a creative team of 30 diverse women and men that love the unknown, that ask the right questions, that love listening intently, that see B2B and the industries we serve as thriving spaces...well, it's all just beginning to sink in.
Yes, barber&hewitt was a sweet run. Yes, it was incredibly rewarding. Yes, and…I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve done, the people we’ve worked with and on behalf of, and the love and rewards the last three years have brought.
Yes, I’m losing independence as a business owner, for now. As smarter folks than me have pointed out, some people need an employer, and some people need independence. Neither is risk-free. And if you think that isn’t the case, do both please and then come talk to me.
Yes, I’m moving to the East Coast. Lancaster (it’s pronounced “Lan-kister” as many of the locals have corrected me) will become my home.
Yes, this California-born, sun-drenched kid is gonna have four seasons, snow, and a lot more weather events than he is accustomed to dealing with, but do visit before you say anything. There is a spare bedroom that will be ready in a few weeks. And you too can see what 50,000 good people with good coffee, good food, no traffic, and a cost of living I can’t understand at this point yet...feels like ;).
I would be remiss not to say thank you to a few specific people.
To Kim Brater, Stuart Ellis, Stephanie Risto, Janet Johnson, Brittini Smith, and the rest of the current and former members of the Charter School Capital team, thank you for being with us since hour zero.
To Chris Bergen, Dan Hennen, Annika Smith, and the Core 3 Technologies team, thank you.
To Liz Bowles and the marketing team at the North Carolina Education Lottery, thank you.
To Michael and Amy Port of Heroic Public Speaking, thank you for not only allowing us to come help on your journey but also making me an immensely better speaker and individual too.
To our agency partners including Scott Kaufmann, Ken Bonham, and Walt Valo at Lucid Agency, Cody Landefeld at Mode Effect, and Niki Blaker at Five Sigma Studios, thank you for always making sure we looked like rock stars.
To the conference teams at Tech Media, Digital Summit, Internet Summit, Digital Marketing Bootcamp for the Arts, and all the brands that we've had the pleasure of speaking for, thank you, thank you, thank you.
To the audiences that have listened, laughed, and learned from my talks and shared those presentations, thank you. Several of you have become friends and advocates of us. I'm tremendously grateful to all of you.
To those smarter than me who I have called, talked to, emailed, and bugged for advice including Susan Baier, Carrie Wilkerson, Scott Kaufmann, Jeff Cohn, Mike Ganino, Laura Gassner-Otting, and Jay Baer, thank you all.
To Marty, thank you for reminding why life is worth pursuing as passionately as possible. I love you.
To my Mum and sister, Megan, none of this would have been possible without your love and support. I love you both, always and forever.
To my Dad, thank you for your near constant reminder of how well or not-so-well the balance sheet, P&L, and cash flow statement look. And, also for that love and support stuff too.
This is the right path and the right time. All of the change feels good.
Every story has a beginning and ending. One ends today; another begins next week.
You know what’s coming next, right?