Here is my story: From a receptionist to a business team manager (and still learning)!
With nothing but my ’80s mall hair, my ambitious personality, a strong work ethic and minimal skills, I walked into Waggener Edstrom (WE) as Employee 92 on July 8, 1992 — 21 years ago! I first discovered WE when I worked for a company that placed both temporary and permanent employees at the agency. In interacting with the agency in that capacity, I was full of wonder and awe. When I interviewed for an entry-level receptionist, I knew I had found the place I wanted to build my career. With a limited skill set, the agency took a chance, and I haven’t looked back.
WE has grown in many areas over the past 30 years, but one thing has remained the same — its commitment to our people. The agency invests in its employees and provides limitless opportunities to grow in different and new directions — what it expects in return is a desire to learn, to help solve our clients’ business problems, and to have boundless curiosity and passion. How do I know? Let me share a little more about my WE journey.
As a receptionist, I answered the many daily calls we received, which helped me learn about our agency, our clients and our business — sometimes the hard way. One of my most memorable learnings early in my career was the need to ask questions. I received a call from an editor asking for Pam Lamberton — of course I knew no one of that name and didn’t ask for clarification, so I said, “I am sorry, we don’t have anyone by that name at the agency.” Needless to say, I soon learned that Pam Lamberton was Pam Edstrom! I discovered that we all make mistakes, but this agency’s employees always learn and apply learnings quickly, and I was no different.
The next step in my journey was as an admin on the Microsoft account, where I learned and absorbed the true value of public relations for our clients and how our account teams provide unparalleled support to them. I then became an executive assistant, providing onsite support at agency and client events. I experienced the rush of preparing for and executing events and announcements that really made an impact on our clients’ customers. Every day was exciting — I still remember finalizing printed press releases and stuffing press kits until the early morning hours before a major announcement.
Although I loved my executive assistant role, I saw a gap in business management across the agency, so I started learning how we could fill it. I helped with budget management and partnered closely with our Business Services team on a few projects, just to get my sea legs if you will. I loved it! So I dug in more and realized I could invent a solution to help ensure that our financial and account teams were deeply connected to ensure flawless business management. I collaborated with key leaders at the agency to present my idea, which led to the creation of the Account Business Planning team. Today, we support the global Microsoft account by helping team members run their businesses and giving them the right financial information to drive strategic business decisions.
A lot of people ask why I stay at WE, and my answer remains the same — the investment in our people; the never-ending opportunities to learn, grow and stretch; and the colleagues I get to work with and learn from every day.
Congratulations to WE for 30 years of amazing work, but just as important, for 30 years of being the best company to work for!