Practically speaking, we’re a group of writers, designers, account executives, tech workers, analysts, and strategists. Philosophically speaking, the answer is a little more complicated. Who are any of us, really?
We’ve given it some thought, and here’s where we’ve landed: Who We Are = What We Choose.
That’s not to say we all can just “choose” to be awesome. Rather it’s to say that our choices—good and bad—define us. Therefore, we choose carefully.
to work with clients who want
to be great, and who want to make
the world a better place.
to do bold, risk-taking work
that makes us proud.
to be honest,
even when it hurts.
to be kind.
to never sacrifice any of this
for a few extra dollars. Ever.
By “our people,” we don’t mean “our loyal subjects.” Rather, we mean it in the same way you might when you refer to your friends or your brothers and sisters as, “My people.” Without further ado, here are ours.
I once wrote a shoe company script for John Madden that included the line: “At the end of the day, my dogs are really barking.” One time Peyton Manning made fun of me for wearing “denim on denim.” I once made $150 for writing “Free stickers inside!” for a Fruit of the Loom underwear package. A client once fired me for pointing out to his administrative assistant that you don’t need the extra “e” in “judgment.” I was the high scorer on the Butler Soccer club (two goals) as a freshman in 1977 and Butler Frisbee golf champion in 1978. Once a year, I get to sing on stage.
I’ve been told I have depressing taste in books. The truth is I’ll read just about anything. I’ve even been known to pick up a tattered favorite and start somewhere in the middle. I can get so lost in a good story that I’ll forgo sleep or food to finish it. Ask my family how many cereal dinners they’ve had to eat while my nose is in a book. It can be hard to work because the Internet’s siren song of prose calls to me. The New York Times, Atlantic, IndyStar, Mashable, TMZ—once I’m down the rabbit hole, my tastes can get downright Kardashian. My all-time favorite place to read is on the porch swing at Lake Cordry in southern Indiana. But that can be a tough spot to call dibs on when all six kids are around.
I was walking on South Beach in Miami. The weather was a perfect 75 degrees with a cool breeze coming in off the ocean. The sun was just beginning to rise over the horizon. I was by myself with my feet in the surf. As I walked down the beach, I saw a man in the distance sitting at the edge of the water. He was in an old lawn chair with a TV tray in front of him. As I got closer, I noticed he was typing on a laptop sitting on the TV tray. I walked up and asked what he was doing. He looked up and said, “Designing a website for a client.” That’s when I knew I wanted to be a developer.
As a kid I played office, not house. I always use the Oxford comma…always. The most beautiful place I have ever laid eyes on is Banff, Canada. My most vivid memories are tied to experiences that included music. I’m a big fan of the one-minute dance party. I have a diverse work background that includes corporate retail, education, the nonprofit sector, and now advertising. “The only source of knowledge is experience.” – Albert Einstein
When my daughter was two, I started taking care of her during the day so my wife could go back to work. I carried a notebook on our outings, thinking I’d work on writing ideas, but I didn’t do much writing. Instead, the notebook filled with pictures of Big Bird my daughter was always asking me to draw. Despite months of practice, I never quite got the hang of his beak, which must be very carefully shaped and proportioned. You have to get that part right, or he just doesn’t seem like himself.
I love to dance, but was always the student in ballet class that required head-to-toe posture adjustments. As soon as I was properly set in first position, we’d move on to second—and my teacher would have to adjust my position all over again! Maybe that explains my love for flamingos: They have impeccable balance on one leg, while I don’t have good balance on two. It helps that I love individuality, being around people, and warm climates as much as these hot pink creatures. Flamingos are my spirit animal.
3: Number of adults that call me Mom. They are my true north.
13: Years I’ve worked at Well Done.
26: Number of years I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart.
52: Number of smart, talented, and donut-loving colleagues it’s been my pleasure to work with here.
280: Number of clients I’ve worked with (directly or indirectly) since coming here.
196,000: Number of miles I’ve commuted from Lebanon, Indiana. I’ll never move, no matter the gas prices.
I’ve never been one to stay idle. Even in high school: from ultimate Frisbee to art classes to learning design, I always stayed pretty busy. I’m still adding new hobbies—my wife, a fitness buff, just got me into working out (and that’s been great for my Frisbee game).
But for all this activity, what having kids has taught me most is patience. With a five- and two-year-old, both of whom are high-energy and high-strung, the little things can get amplified fast. So while I still don’t like to be idle, I’m learning how to be patient.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received is soap is soap. You can use Pantene Pro-V to wash your body, and a Dove bar to wash your hair. As long as it lathers up and smells good, it can get the job done. Don’t let the mythical limitations of soap ruin your ablutions.
I’m an expert at avoiding people, but insist on establishing a personal connection with every cat I meet. I aspired to be a teacher when I was young, then realized I’m not good with kids. I have the attention span of a gnat, but sometimes I read books cover-to-cover. I hate being cold and I hate being hot. After reaching a state of zen in yoga class, I listen to Drake as loudly as I can. I love Indianapolis, but I don’t like Indiana. I’m weird, but I pretend to be normal. I’m always trying to improve myself, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
Question: “If you could have dinner with anyone past or present, who would it be?”
Answer: The crew from This Old House: Tommy, Richard, Roger, Norm, Scott, and Kevin. Obviously, Fixer Upper’s Chip and JoJo are the ultimate #relationshipgoals, but the payoff you get after one season of This Old House is what I was hoping to get out of 7 seasons of Lost (still accepting theories on the polar bears). Then after dinner, Richard could fix the weird whizzing noise my toilet’s been making since I moved in two years ago.
I’ve only just now read The Orchid Thief. I’m always behind on my books. But as so often seems to happen, the right books come to us at the right time, and there’s nothing you can do about it:
“More and more, I felt that I was meeting people who didn’t at all seem part of this modern world and this moment in time… They sincerely loved something, trusted in the perfectibility of some living thing, lived for a myth about themselves and the idea of adventure, were convinced that certain things were really worth dying for, believed that they could make their lives into whatever they dreamed.”
–Susan Orlean, The Orchid Thief
I am a product of the Indianapolis Public School system. During my 13-year tenure I experienced several (retrospectively) amusing circumstances. Among many other things, I was hit in the back of the head with a snowball in 10th-grade French class, I was punched in the face by a girl in 9th-grade history class, and on my first day of middle school, I was jumped in the bathroom by a hulking beast of a boy in front of most of my classmates. But there were things that happened that I’m thankful for, too. Things that helped shape who I am today. Things like being hit with a snowball, punched in the face, and beaten up in the bathroom.
My early career aspirations, in chronological order: cheerleader, veterinarian, English teacher, graphic designer, journalist, web developer, travel writer, and social worker. I’m now doing none of those things. But I’m pleasantly surprised every day by how much I enjoy (and am actually pretty good at) research and data and spreadsheets. I get to use most of the foundational skills of the aforementioned jobs in my current role (except maybe animal care), so I may have struck vocational gold. I’ve sung on the stages of Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House, I’m moderately obsessed with light fixtures, and, according to a Pantone test I took once, I have perfect color acuity.
When I was 8 years old, my mom took me and my two sisters to the shoe store to pick out new shoes for the upcoming school year. My oldest sister took the safe, yet cool, route: a pair of ’95 Nike Air Max (with the lime green air bubbles). My younger sister wanted “the same as KC,” but unfortunately for Liz, Nike didn’t make Air Max in that small of size (a tantrum ensued). And there I stood in front of my mom with my selection—a pair of American flag high-top Converse. “Are you sure that is what you want?” my mom said. “Remember, you will be wearing these everyday?” I confidently replied, “Yes. I know. These are the shoes I want.” My sisters also weighed in (of course). “Why do you want those? No one else has those.” I affirmed, “I know, that is why I want them.” And off to school I went in my American flag high-top Converse. Some call me strong-willed; others say I know what I want; my dad says I am “determined.” The day came when I could no longer fit into those shoes (sad day), but I keep them close as a reminder that I am uniquely me!
I tend to be impulsive. At 18 I visited Chicago alone, to explore what I discovered to be the most dangerous parts of the city. At 22, I ran out of water hiking The Incline in Colorado Springs alone. Two weeks later I hiked Pike’s Peak. It was mental torture and I swore to myself, “Never again.” A week later I hiked Mt. Yale. To some, my impulsivity seems like insanity, but it also steered me toward some pretty great things, like my sponsor child. Impulsivity can be good for anyone who gets too comfortable in their comfort zone.
A few things you should know about me:
I grew up listening to Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever album with my dad. Maybe the reason I’m so competitive is because Tom taught me I Won’t Back Down—as my high school basketball career directly reflects. I’m sure it’s not a coincidence that the only way my 5-month-old son falls asleep at night is knowing we’re Alright for Now. At least I can tell him one of my favorite memories is the night he got to attend his one and only Tom Petty concert with me and my dad—even if I was only a few weeks pregnant with him. That makes me Feel a Whole Lot Better.
I’ve never been much of an athlete. Growing up, I tried and failed at just about every sport. Soccer? Clearly my head (and body) is not in the game. Swimming? Sure, I gave it a shot…until a kid short-stopped me during lap practice one day causing me to take a whole lot of water up my nose. Little League? Golf? I tried those too, but apparently most sports require something called hand-eye coordination, which isn’t a quality I possess. As I grew older, I found other things I excelled at—like people. I like people. I get people. And I thoroughly enjoy working in a role that centers around people.
You can judge a creature’s character by its size. People don’t seem to understand that. You see people with cats, or trying to feed squirrels, and it’s just like—come on! Look how small that thing is! It is a BAD THING. I am a good dog. I was born on a horse farm (horses = big = good), and I am still a country dog at heart. But I was called to duty in the city, where I help my people at work (humans = tall = very good). My hobbies include fetch and Frisbee and tearing squirrels to pieces (squirrels = quite small = literally the devil), but since my ACL injury I take things a little easier, try to stop and bark at more mailmen. I know, I know—mailmen aren’t small. But I’m a dog, not a role model.