The FLIRT staff is full of influential and creative minds, but sometimes we wonder…how did it all come to be? We decided to do a little field research of our own and interview the FLIRTies to discover motivation, career juncture, and ultimately, why FLIRT? Without further ado, we humbly introduce FLIRT Stories Part I:
Shh…Do you hear that faint shuffling through the cookie tin? Odds are it’s Kacie looking for her midday pick-me-up, a chocolate chip cookie of course! Kacie is a Project and Marketing Manager responsible for growing FLIRT’s social media and web presence and organizing client experiences. When she’s not at work, you can find this fitness-ista running to the gym, spending time exploring the great outdoors, or eating cookies (duh).
“My sister works in the industry and her company often partners with FLIRT. So, she introduced me and I was fortunate enough to begin as a Digital Marketing Intern in 2015 and I have now been full time as a project manager since June of 2015.”
“I would say be totally open minded. Know that every day is going to be different in this constantly changing environment. One day you could be sourcing 5,000 custom 3” buttons and one day you’re creating mobile sites.”
She smiles, “I’m a big fan of FLIRT’s Halloween trick-or-treating.” (On Halloween the FLIRTies parade around the office dressed in our best costumes “knocking” on the doors of each cubicle soliciting for candy.) It’s fun to see everyone dressed up, it really shows our personalities. But also…candy.”
Kacie expresses with beaming excitement, “I’m going to move to Mars tomorrow?!” She continues, “Hm, is it coffee or is it ice cream? (thinking for a moment) Coffee Ice Cream! I’ll bring them both together.” – Good Job Kacie, the interns approve!
Andy knows it all—Branding, Communications, Training Events, Media—You name it, he’s done it! As Business Development Manager, Andy uses his wealth of strategies and techniques to draw in new clients. However, don’t let his business front fool you, he’s a sweetheart! He’s a caretaker to everyone, whether you need help handling clients or just want to know how to make a mean FLIRTini.
“Well I guess I have always been one at heart, it was just a matter of coming to FLIRT to bring it out in me. I worked with Kari, Pete and Michael for many years before FLIRT, and then I joined later because I wanted to work with people I respect: old friends and colleagues who understand each other and can work together in a familiar manner. In short, we ‘get’ each other, we can speak in shorthand, and we get along really well.”
“Having a diverse background with many different types of experience is very helpful, and you gotta like people. Be prepared for anything. Be prepared to be busier than you can ever imagine being in one moment, and then be prepared to be bored and wondering if you will ever be busy again.”
“It was my first day at FLIRT. My first assignment was to make a signature FLIRT cocktail.” Andy continues while smirking, “The FLIRTini is a special craft cocktail found only at the blue bar (aka FLIRT Communications.)”
“You can see the stage better at a crowded concert.”
Sweet Franny Girl holds FLIRT together – In other words, she’s our Italian Office Mama. Fran handles everything from financial management to enhancing our agency’s workflow and productivity. She’s all about meeting deadlines, “closing out the month,” and strongly believes in the power of a homemade dinner and strong cocktail. When she’s not at the office, you can almost always find her treating her puppy, Sauce, to hearty meatballs and lots of lovin’.
Fran lost her job as office manager for another agency at the peak of the 2008 stock market crash. She remembers, “I received a call from a recruiter who I used to hire administrative assistants through [informing me] that she was about to sublease her Michigan Avenue office space to a new startup company and they needed an office manager with an accounting background.” Fran interviewed and quickly rose to the top, chosen because of her administrative skills, account expertise, bachelor’s degree in business processes, self-developed invoicing process, and “good phone voice.” She was the first person FLIRT hired outside of their previous agency’s comfort zone.
“We all [throw] the balls up in the air, we’re juggling all of the time – Constantly follow up on yourself.” Secondly: detail, detail, detail. You have to satisfy the client – You take the hit, even if you didn’t forget [a task or client need,] take the hit. Third: I know we’re pressured and clients want everything now, but if you give it to them fast and wrong, it’s a waste of time and not functional. Check everything when you’re sending something. Double, triple-check, and if it’s real important, have another person check it too.”
It was August 2008, a few months after Fran became a FLIRTie. Paul was eating lunch on a job across the country when he called Fran and asked her to read him an email. “I read it once [missing a few words,] and then Paul asked me to read it again. So I read it a second time correctly. While chewing Paul says, “You dyslexic *freak!*” He was reading it along with her on his computer the entire time, “without missing a beat I told him I was left handed so I naturally was dyslexic.” They laughed about it forever. “He was testing my loyalty or something,” Fran explains with tears in her eyes and a beautiful smile on her face.
“Probably an old-school disco queen.”
This jubilant newly-wed is the queen of Fro-Yo Fridays, a premiere stylist 11/10 times, and has got a laugh you can hear from over a mile away. Let’s give a warm welcome to Brianna, our Digital Engagement Specialist! Bri designs and manages digital campaigns, with a passion for figuring out how to use the latest technology to foster personal connections for our clients. When Bri isn’t busy working on projects or app developments, she’s bringing characters to life on stages all over Chicago, singing Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” with scary accuracy, all with a glass of red wine in hand! We hope you enjoy getting to know Brianna!
“I started two weeks after I graduated college, and have been here ever since. I knew I wanted to work at a small company because it would allow me to try out a lot of different roles and responsibilities to figure out where my skills and interests best aligned.”
“My biggest piece of advice is to say “yes” to everything when you’re first starting out. Every project, every task, every coffee run. You’d be surprised at how the things you learn during the seemingly small tasks can be so applicable down the road. I’d also say you should find someone you admire in the workplace and use them as an example or mentor as you develop your professional skills. Pay attention to the way they carry themselves, how they talk to clients, present ideas, etc, and study them. I learned so much from Paul and often would write down notes on how he presented ideas and concepts to shape how I would carry future conversations. I think studying successful people is just as valuable as studying specific skills.”
“I’ve had so many … I mean it’s been 7 years! I couldn’t possibly pick just one so here’s the first one that comes to mind: We do an annual baseball outing and one year at the Sox game the Sox spirit team picked me to go on the JumboTron for a competition where you had to bounce a whiffle ball on a plastic bat. It was so much harder than it looks! But as a lifelong Sox fan it was a total dream come true. The FLIRT team cheering me on the was absolute cherry on top.”
“Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sauvignon Blanc.”
We hope you enjoyed hearing straight from some of our brilliant FLIRTies—check back next time for the exciting second edition!