Reflection is a reminder that what we do matters. That we’re making a difference in both big and small ways. I think that’s something we can forget in the daily grind when we’re rushed, stressed, exasperated or just plain frustrated. Treefrog Marketing fosters an incredible working environment and I will forever be grateful for the time I spent here working with you wonderful people. So I offer my reflection here for you.
I have loved reading these posts by previous full-timers, part-timers and interns, as I believe they are a true reflection of the business growth of Treefrog and a reaffirmation of the culture that has been built within these walls. Treefrog is a one-of-a-kind place with a one-of-a-kind work environment, and words cannot fully express how much I have learned and the joy I felt coming into work every day to work alongside each and every one of you.
Seeing this place grow, change and create unbelievable things is something I can’t believe I had the opportunity to have a hand in building. I want to share with you about where we’ve come from and where I hope you will help it go. Because if you didn’t know, Treefrog is not a place, but a group of people that work incredibly hard to create amazingly beautiful things. It would not be what it is without you and this team. All of the Treefroggers who are here now and who have been here before, have left a part of themselves here and contributed to what it is now.
I still so clearly remember my first day walking into Treefrog Marketing. I was nervous and a bit unsure about the whole thing. I had not reached out to them, but them to me and their office was located above a local restaurant and a bit hard to find. However, the second (and I mean the second) I walked through their doors, I immediately knew this was my kind of work environment.
At that time, Treefrog was headquartered in a much smaller office space. We worked off of our personal laptops gathered around the conference table. If a meeting was coming in, whoever was not attending would shuffle into the adjoining side room. It was a team of three, and we were making things up as we went. We built communication systems, protocols and a way to both write and design effectively. It was a chaotic, wilder time and I thrived in it. I walked in these doors as an intern, stayed as a part-timer and joined as a full-timer as Kelly’s (Treefrog’s owner and founder) second full-time employee.
It was incredible to be heard, trusted and taken seriously as Treefrog worked to develop a method of who we are and how we would grow. To be a recent graduate trying to figure out this professional development was a one-of-a-kind experience that taught me something new almost on a daily basis.
I love what I do and waking up to come here to Treefrog was never a burden. I was excited to see you wonderful co-workers and that excitement seemed genuinely reciprocated (a unique work experience to be sure). I found great purpose and joy in what I accomplished for every one of our clients and for this team. I got to share my knowledge, but learn just as much. Here, I share that advice with you:
Small business requires a group of people to step up and share their ideas. I remember coming and feeling like I hadn’t earned my ‘spot at the table’ so to speak. Yet, the first time I shared an idea I felt strongly about, I was heard and was able to make a change that affected how Treefrog did things. It was a powerful feeling that just made my investment in this place continue to grow. Don’t be afraid to express your ideas because they do matter.
I’m someone who likes to talk and be heard. I know that. But being in a position of leadership has also shown me the power of stepping back and listening. I may have ideas, but it may not be the best idea. Interns have made suggestions that have impacted the entire office (Treefrog Lunch, anyone? Yep. An intern made that suggestion). When problems crop up that I may not be aware of, I appreciate that I can trust my team to let me know. I’ve learned that other perspectives matter, whether it’s management v. production, design v. content or simply content v. content. Simply sitting back and listening can have a lasting impact in the work we produce and the work environment fostered here.
Treefrog has been a place of accessibility to me. Whenever I needed a supervisor or coworker for whatever reason, they went over and above to make themselves available both in a personal and professional sense. We very much work in an open office environment and that mentality is a reflection of leadership from the top down. I was never turned away, and so in turn, worked hard to make myself available to my team. Each and every one of you is a leader in some capacity. You have a team that surrounds and looks up to you, and trust me when I say it matters when you give your time to them.
Oh, communication. What a crazy love hate relationship I have with you. Probably the hardest part about working in a small business agency (am I right?). It’s a thing that’s constant, so important and almost impossible to completely nail down, especially in a fast-growing agency. But, setting expectations is something that I learned early on is vital in building an effective, cohesive team. It allows for the work we do to be effective and focused, and so I learned to not be afraid to ask for what I want. To set guidelines, give direction or share what I want to see. To address problems I see or make suggestions for improvement. Expectations don’t limit creativity, but foster it. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t immediately balk at the requests (hamster in a racecar, Jennifer?) but also don’t be afraid to be clear on what you want or need to be successful in completing your task.
Sure, the pompous English major inside me wants to cry out and rage against that thought. But, working here has shown me the value of establishing a relaxed tone, a confident tone, an informative tone, and a grammatically-correct tone. There is no one perfect way to write, and it’s silly of me to think that there is as we write for so many clients, on countless platforms and mediums. Sometimes, it may be appropriate to say ‘screw correct grammar!’ while other moments call for precise grammar points. So my Content team, I’m telling you to write well and that you’ll never be perfect. And that’s 100% okay. It just makes us stronger and more dynamic writers as we learn to adapt in this crazy marketing realm.
Okay, so we’re not perfect writers, but we’re also not slobs. Words matter and how they’re utilized can have powerful reactions. So, fight writing just to write. Find purpose in every phrase, word (maybe not letter) you use. What we write matters and it’s fun to see how that positively affects what we do for our clients. What we do wouldn’t be possible without good content. It’s everywhere and literally affects everything. From major headlines to the tiniest legal jargon. It all matters.
Small but mighty is right. The work that Treefrog has accomplished is something I’m very proud of, and it has shown me that it doesn’t necessarily matter how big your business is, but who the people are working behind it. Working in a small business environment has been a life-changing experience, and I’m grateful for the many hats I’ve been able to wear here.
I could share stories upon stories about each and every one of you. You have all shaped and influenced my life in a profound way as we’ve worked and shared life together.
My time here has come to a close and I can hardly believe it. When I walked in Treefrog’s doors, there was just our owner and an art director. And look at us now. Three functioning departments operating out of a 3-story building in downtown Lafayette. To even have a small hand in helping make this place what it is today, I feel honored and so grateful. It has been a privilege working alongside each and every one of you.
I love this place and these people. You have all taught me, shared with me, laughed with me (and at me), worked with me and had an irreplaceable impact on my life. Thank you.