Six months ago, I was determined to find a way to convince Strong Coffee to hire me as a summer student. It was the end of December, there was no job posting, and I hadn’t even graduated from University yet. Instead of letting that deter me, I sat down and composed an email that sounded as professional and as far from begging as I could think of and held my breath as I sent it to Brian Siddle. I had worked in the Marketing Unit at Tourism Yukon for the past few summers, and Strong Coffee Marketing had worked closely with the same team. I had heard nothing but great things about this digital marketing agency, so by the time I sat down and wrote this email to Brian I was determined to do everything in my power to convince them they needed to hire me for the summer. Luckily, Brian happened to be in the office and offered to set up a phone interview in the near future. Instead, I asked if I could stop by and meet with him. Bright and early the next morning, I showed up at the office and after sitting down and talking about the work that Strong Coffee does, I was more confident than ever that this was the place I needed to teach me real work experience.
30 days later, I have not been disappointed. Strong Coffee lives by the words ‘think, do, teach’. At this point in my life, I am not looking to make the most amount of money or to have a glamorous job title. My number one goal at this point is to learn and to gain experience in a variety of different areas within both marketing and in digital, and to expand on and apply the knowledge I have learned during my last four years of University. For this, I couldn’t have found a better company to work for.
Strong Coffee possesses a strong learning environment. Not only are there many opportunities to learn something new, it is strongly encouraged to do so. I admire not only how effectively the team analyses and utilizes each person’s strengths and experience, but also how available it is for employees to take advantage of opportunities to gain a skill set in a new area. Each team member has a specialty that they are exceptionally adept at and are willing to share this knowledge and experience if we are interested in doing so. This sharing of knowledge not only helps add appreciation to the work that your colleagues are doing around you but also allows you to contribute and support in more areas than one.
Coming from a government background, I have been impressed with the efficiency of productivity within the workplace while still encouraging a fun atmosphere. When there is a heavy workload, the team concentrates quietly and produces quality work at a fast pace. Instead of letting this fuel a workaholic environment however, bean bag chairs line the floors, a snack table is open for business, a drone flies consistently overhead, and chatter about funny everyday life situations are shared, all to maintain a relaxed and productive workplace.
As hardworking as the team is, there is always time to have a bit of fun. It just takes one person to speak up and start a conversation, and suddenly the hard working quiet atmosphere shifts to a good time and a small break. This creates great team working relationships and also provides a moment to refresh. We then go back to work revitalized, and ready to do an even better job with new ideas.
Something that I was especially impressed by was the efficient organization and communication between team members of Strong Coffee. Communication is constantly going on, whether it is by assigning or completing tasks on Teamwork, messaging a co-worker within Google hangouts, or sharing media through Google Drive; everyone is connected. The team maintains this connection and open communication by making sure that no small tasks are overlooked, and together as a team, large projects are accomplished quickly and effectively.
Brainstorming for me has been a really interesting exercise to witness. Ideas are encouraged and built upon, until a clever slogan, catch phrase, or idea is reached and incorporated into the project. The client’s ideas, brand, and parameters are always taken into consideration, but are embellished in such a way that often results in exceeding the client’s expectations, and embodies interesting, outside the box, and big picture thinking.
So in short, what have I learned after 30 days? I have learned that if you want an environment that cultivates appreciation for team member’s work, understands the importance of a teach/learn environment, promotes a healthy balance of work and play, and makes you come to work with a smile on your face every morning with a desire to learn, then Strong Coffee is the place to be.