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 have been called many things: passionate, demanding, smart, crazy, decisive, bossy, ambitious, stubborn, curious. One thing I’ve never been known for is being content. I’m at my best when I have a goal and a plan to get there. Take the time I wanted to have “Michelle Obama arms.” I hired a personal trainer, bought weights and a medicine ball, studied macros, planned a weeks’ worth of meals and workouts every Sunday, and asked friends to hold me accountable. Man, my arms looked good.
With all this Type A energy, you might be surprised that I preach an 80/20 rule at work. Plan for 80% and be open to opportunities the rest of the time. As Ferris Bueller says, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
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 or grocery or restaurant. My dad would keep my office supplies regularly stocked, sneaking notepads, pens, and other random items from his work.
I had very busy days while at the “office.” I would answer the phone and talk with demanding customers while taking meticulous notes. I’d write receipt after receipt on the carbon copy notepads (they were my absolute favorite supply) and punch numbers into the calculator. Sometimes, I would even hold meetings, utilizing the chalkboard that hung on the wall and my Cabbage Patch Kids.
I loved the idea of moving work through the pipeline and making customers happy and content. I relished solving an issue and being an integral part of the team. I also loved the office supplies—all of the little gadgets and tools that would clutter my oversized desk. And now, decades later, here I am. Some things never change.
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.
“People used to ask me why I always wear black. My response to them was that the people are what add color to my life; no need to clutter it up with my clothes, too.” – Diane Keaton
You’re probably thinking, “What is this girl doing quoting Diane Keaton—she’s a little off her rocker.” Agreed. However, black is my favorite color. You’ll see me wearing some form of black almost every day. It’s a classic, a color that goes with any outfit and situation.
Growing up, my mom used to dress me in big, pink dresses, the kind held up with tulle beneath the skirt, my hair in bouncy curls from sleeping in sponge curlers all night. She created the ultimate girly girl, and dressing me in bright colors only amplified my loud, bubbly personality.
But if I had a dollar for every time a friend sent me the meme that reads “It’s such a beautiful day outside, I think I’ll wear black,” I’d be rich. Wearing black didn’t begin as a conscious choice, but somewhere along the line I’d had enough: Enough with the pink tutus, and enough with uncomfortable nights spent sleeping in hair curlers. So I’ll stick to Diane Keaton’s mantra, and let my relationships add the zest to my life.
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.
I am the youngest of five. Fortunately (or unfortunately), it seems I embody many of the personality traits that go along with being “the baby.” While confidence and risk-taking can both be virtues, in this tragic tale they lead only to an unfortunate run-in with the Lazarus escalator.
Flashback to Molly Elizabeth, age five: fierce, bold, and fashion forward. A trip to the mall is a treat, and I’m ready to shop ‘til I drop in search of “must-have” Little Mermaid bedding located on the second floor. With housewares in sight I sprint up the wrong escalator, my foot slips, and the weird metal prongs of the escalator slice straight into my knee, leaving war wounds I carry to this day.
Moral of this story? Don’t run UP the DOWN escalator!
I called the Milan-Malpensa Airport at least six times in two days before I was reunited in the Room of Misfit Luggage with my precious in-case-my-big-suitcase-gets-lost bag. I might be a little Type A (I’m underselling it), but I like to think of myself as determined and driven. I love to be organized–even my lists have sublists. Office supplies make me happy. I have more notebooks and pens than one person should own. That said, I do remind myself to take time to relax every once in a while with photography, face masks, and episodes of Real Housewives, Full House, and Chef’s Table.
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.
I love music, but I am not musically talented. When I try to sing, I sound like a dying animal. I won’t even do karaoke. I am THAT bad.
I can, however, memorize song lyrics faster than most of you can count to 10.
As a kid, I hated reading; the words went into my head and right back out, and I couldn’t remember a single one. My dad tried making me read aloud, but that didn’t help. Then my mom said, “Alex, you can memorize song lyrics faster than anyone I know. Why don’t you try to sing the words in your book?”
Sure enough, that was the key to my becoming a successful 4th-grade student. So if you write me an email, make sure it’s got a kicking backbeat.
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.
A few things you should know about me:
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.
I’m an old soul. Not as in “wise beyond my years,” but more like this: I prefer a bedtime of 8pm, and I love naps. I like watching murder mysteries and 60 Minutes. When I attempt to use the self-checkout line at the grocery store I fail miserably every time. I’ll leave you five-minute voicemails of no importance, and I’m learning to knit, and, seriously, I love naps.
But when I do shed my grandmotherly exterior, you can find me exploring this beautiful world, spending time with my amazing fam-bam, taking photos (mainly of my cat, Otis,) or attending a local music show.
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.