A Q&A with Waggener Edstrom’s Office Manager in Mumbai

Posted on April 10, 2012 by Comments Off

“I don’t think it’s important to be successful and you can’t measure it. I just like to LIVE and take each day as it comes and play my part”, says Shalini Pathak. She is the office manager at Waggener Edstrom’s Mumbai office and is responsible for the office administration and assists the entire team with their administrative needs. Though she efficiently coordinates the finance and HR, she confesses that numbers are not her best friend and even simple math drives her up the wall. Shalini quickly gets attached to people, places and things. She has a mental list of ‘things to do before I die’ and her ambitious nature is symbolized by her stars and dice tattoo. Grishma Samuel, found out a few more interesting things about Shalini, which came out of this brief Q&A session with her.

  1. How do you add value to WE with your roles and responsibilities

  • I believe the best way to lose weight is to help other people lose weight (not literally) and I try to follow it. I might fail to diet on my own, but if I decide to help someone else diet, I will feel more committed and more likely succeed. At work it is just as simple, I try and become an engaged employee, help others (exactly what my role demands) and in the end this is what makes me love my job.

2. Where did you work prior to joining Waggener Edstrom?

  • Skyway RMC Plants

3. How do you prefer to unwind after a hectic day at work?

  • By Spending hours in front of the TV :)

4. One event in history you would’ve loved to be a part of?

  • 15th April 1912, the wreck of the Titanic…not necessarily at the time of the “wreckage” but would have loved to be a part of THE journey to witness the grandeur.

5. If you weren’t working at Waggener Edstrom, what else would you have been doing?

  • Owning a shack in Goa and making enough monies to travel around the world :)

6. You favorite movie quote

  •  ‘Nothing is more necessary than the unnecessary’ (From my most favorite movie “Life is Beautiful”)

7. One thing about your job that you think is the best

  • The people I work with

8. If something could define you, what would it be?

  • A song by Lady Gaga “Born This Way” best defines me.

 (Interview by Grishma Samuel, Account Coordinator, Waggener Edstrom, Mumbai, India)

One Year Later…Home Sweet Home!

Posted on April 4, 2012 by Comments Off

Colby Reade, Account Executive

A few weeks after I started at Waggener, I wrote a post for this blog about the initial integration process and how impressed I was with the way that Waggener “walks the walk” in that department.

 Fast forward and, hard as it is to believe, I’m approaching my one-year “Waggeversary” on the Windows team which means the honeymoon phase is officially over. I’m no longer the happy-go-lucky newbie savoring the “new car smell” of my cube and relishing the various, unique qualities that set Waggener apart from other employers (hello free Talking Rain!). I’ve gotten my hands dirty … I’ve worked the long hours we all hear about … I’ve had the late night client emails … the surprise deliverable asks … the emergency reactive situations. And like any good relationship, I have to say I love it more now than I did 12 months ago.

 

The agency does a lot to make the work environment enjoyable … Intern Fun Week … War Rooms … Donut Thursday … but there are a few big reasons why I am truly passionate about showing up to my cube every day and why I sing Waggener’s praises every chance I get.

 Work Life Balance is more than just a buzz word.  Many companies urge their employees to find “work life balance,” but actually taking the time to achieve this balance can be difficult. In some cases, a team is horribly short staffed so employees can’t get away without the organization collapsing.  In other cases, employees worry about the security of their job if they disappear for time off and the world continues to function in their absence. For several reasons workers are not taking all of their vacation time these days. Not the case at Waggener. While you can’t just take off at any time and for any duration, Waggener makes sure team members feel comfortable logging off to recharge.

 Waggener treats employees like adults. I can remember my first week here, checking in everyday with my manager before I ran to get coffee at Starbucks or ducking out for lunch. After a few days, Bonnie kindly let me know that the head’s up were not necessary … that she’d call my cell phone if the world was collapsing but otherwise, any work could wait fifteen minutes until I got back. This is emblematic of a bigger theme. There are no clock watchers at Waggener. Yes, we monitor our time, but managers know we work hard and will deliver gold standard work on time, so there are no Bill Lumberg’s wandering around making sure that coffee breaks last ONLY 15 minutes and that we are seated at our computers promptly at 9 AM. Management trusts the team because we show up and work hard.

 Waggener believes in flexibility. We had some work done on our house this year which meant a few days with repairmen who needed to be babysat. Instead of having to brick time off of my calendar and be “off” for half a day (or a full day in some cases), I simply plugged in at home and was able to keep plugging away as if I were at my desk in 3CP. For anyone who has had to skip work to wait on a contractor you know how valuable that freedom to stay on top of your to-do list instead of just sitting and waiting can be.

 Waggener hires brilliant people. One of the things that sold me on the chance to come work for Waggener was the opportunity to learn from some really smart individuals and this place has not disappointed. From watching Mark Martin lead the Windows business to the careful review and feedback I get from my manager, Bonnie, to the knowledge sharing sessions I have with my fellow Windows UnLeaded teammates … I am literally surrounded by “brilliant” every day. The growth I have seen in myself over the last 12 months is due, in large, LARGE, part to those folks and their positive influence. 

 Working for Waggener? Best. Career Move. Ever.

In preparation of the Summer 2012 Olympics – coming to you from London!

Posted on March 27, 2012 by 1 Comment

Guest post by Annabel Kerr, Senior Account Executive

While I am pretty psyched about my upcoming Olympics date with the male volleyball competition, most Londoners’ excitement about the Olympics this summer is being severely tested by almost daily reports of predicted travel chaos over the 3 week period. This comes as an estimated 3 million additional trips on busy days are added to an already strained London transport system. The website getaheadofthegames.com has helpfully provided a map showing the predicted impact an influx of games tourists will have on London’s tube network so commuters can avoid the main stress points however the advice given by most is for businesses to adopt a flexible working practice and allow employees to work from home.

 Company laptops make working from home if necessary more of an option than ever so I thought it might be a good idea to pool the team’s collective knowledge and offer up some top tips. What I came up with however were ideas on how not to work from home – lessons learned from Waggener Edstrom staff apparently…..:

 1. Pajamas are not appropriate work attire – get up, get showered, get changed and get going – sometimes even leaving the house for a short walk can make the world of difference, allowing you to return in the right frame of mind…

2. Keep the TV turned off – the lure of soaps/Jeremy Kyle is an unexplainable yet powerful one

3. Clear yourself a designated workspace – whether it is the kitchen table or your own desk make sure you have a good chair, good lighting and HEATING

4. Work your set number of hours – it can be very easy to work 7 to midnight – DON’T

5. Plan breaks into your working day – without the natural distraction of colleagues discussing the latest celebrity scandal/what they plan to have for lunch it is all too easy to just keep going but without breaks your work will become less and less productive

6. Beware the doorbell – answering your door in the middle of the day can be a dangerous move which may lead to many long and unwanted conversations

7. Padlock your fridge – boredom grazing is neither productive nor good for the waist line

8. Lync is your friend – keep in contact with colleagues throughout the day to feel part of the team and save from having to write an email for every single thought which comes to you

9. Have you got everything you need? – make sure to take any and all materials you might need home the night before to save from yelling at yourself in frustration the next morning when you realise what you have forgotten

10. Laptop = check, power lead = ?? – bring all the tech you will need home just in case

 So there you go – educational I think you will agree!

Never Fear, TS is always here!

Posted on March 19, 2012 by 1 Comment

Jonathan Scheiner, Service Desk Specialist

New York City

You know when your computer or printer goes haywire and that deep panic, anxiety and even anger sinks in? You think to yourself “how can I possibly fix this? I have no idea how any of this stuff works!!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And as you are about to give up all hope you remember that time when someone in Technology Services (otherwise known as “TS”) saved your day!  And when you remembered this you realized that everything is going to be OK. Your blood pressure begins to return to a safe level…

 

My name is Jonathan Scheiner and I started at Waggener Edstrom only 3 weeks ago as a Service Desk Specialist in the New York City office. My manager, Darcie Opferman, has given me many tasks and goals to work on. One of these goals is to be a learning sponge for understanding the inner workings of Technology Services, their systems, processes and what WE does and stands for.  

 

To help me in this process, I have met with many team leads to get an understand of how they and their teams contribute to making the technology here at WE up to date, effective and integrated.  I am also lucky to have John Lowe here in the NY office to help me integrate and learn as much as I can. In my opinion he should be dubbed “Sensei Lowe” for his masterful wisdom on so much of technology here at WE.

I have just graduated from college and I feel lucky to be associated with Waggener Edstrom. Now that I’m here, I am having a blast getting to know my team mates in the NY office and the ones all over the world. Also since NY is the hub for so many businesses, our office gets to host many team meetings with team members from all over. This week we hosted The North American team leads and had a chance to discuss what they learned while they were here.

Finally, here is one thing that I hope never gets old. The view.  (31st floor looking down at 47th and 3rd)

A Paradigm Shift of Perspective

Posted on March 13, 2012 by Comments Off

Sarah Vitort, Intern

Heading into my second rotation of my internship at Waggener Edstrom (or as I affectionately call it, SWAG-gener Edstrom) has brought what you could almost consider a paradigm shift in my perspective on life.

To contextualize this a little bit, since graduating college, I’ve been working filler jobs that paid the bills but didn’t allow me to use my brain or my creativity really at all. While this was beginning to feel like the norm, it hasn’t always been this way. Growing up, you couldn’t find a kid with more imagination and more of a passion for storytelling, where I loved to daydream about my future.  Before I could write, you could give me anything with pictures and I’d make up an elaborate narration, always for an audience. There is a video of me as a kid with a 12-month cat calendar, “reading” a story about cats from the pages as if the words were right there, and yet I was too young to read and the only words on the page were the month and the year. Where others saw simply photos, I saw stories.

Once I got a pen in my hand, I was filling notebooks with stories of all types: short stories, blurbs, you name it. I’d get an idea in my head and run with it until the next idea came along, the ideas often coming so fast that I never finished the previous one.

Then I started growing up. The ideas kept coming, but fear of being set apart settled in, leaving me to pursue coolness over innovation. Regardless, my social calendar was always full and my gums were always flapping; I never let that light grow dim.

High school and college seemed to be a balance of these two worlds. Many times, fear of failure won out over taking risks and sharing ideas, especially in my college sorority. While I made great friends and enjoyed all the social experiences Greek life had to offer, I did not feel like I fully used my perspective or imagination as much as I would have liked to have the opportunity to. Most likely, this was a fear that turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy, but it suppressed my creativity nonetheless. All this followed by fruitless post-grad occupations, leading me further down the path towards what I perceived to be an intellectual dead end.

Enter Waggener Edstrom, a PR firm with a heart of gold. Where my broadcast degree failed to land me an on-camera job, it aided in my getting hired as a PR intern, allowing me to explore a new avenue within the communications realm and foster my talent and passion for storytelling. In the short time I’ve been here, I already feel my creativity blossoming, and I haven’t even done any real work yet. It’s as though the imaginative spark that was burning so dimly for so long has been blasted with a fresh gust of oxygen, allowing it to gradually become a full-out fire. I’m thinking again, inspired; creating things in my mind. Even if it’s not always work-related, it proves to me that the path I’m on couldn’t be more right.

One of my weaknesses has always been fleshing out my ideas. That is one of my biggest goals for the next 11 weeks. Both on the clock and off, I want to learn to not only come up with great ideas, but find a way to give them life and make them a reality. I want to innovate, and really make it happen by setting my intention and giving it my whole heart. I want to see my creations through from start to finish, allowing myself to create space for success, and come to expect it from myself. I want to turn that cat calendar into a novel, and do it fearlessly.

 

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Smiley, Happy People… My First 2 Days at WE!

Posted on March 6, 2012 by Comments Off

 My First Two Days at Waggener Edstrom!

Cara Archambo, Sr. Administrative Assistant-Consumer Team

Day one at Waggener and I am attending meetings with “Business Services” and “People Services”.  Departments that, in my past life, were referred to as Finance and Human Resources. I begin questioning myself,  have I been out of corporate America that long that departments everywhere have taken on new titles or is this just unique to Waggener Edstrom? The meetings are full of cool Jargon that I don’t recognize as plain English. Mostly acronyms:  APAK, NA, 3CP. My little black note book (that has been tied to my side) has a giant ? at the top of page one followed by a long list of unknowns.   All questions for me to throw at Alison (Sr. VP on the team) on the plane ride to Seattle tomorrow (Day 2) where I will be meeting more members of the NA Consumer team.

Day two – Alison and I catch a bumpy flight to Seattle and I am grilling her with all of my questions! She greets them with enthusiasm and goes above and beyond with her explanations. I don’t remember which question I asked that led to her getting out her laptop and pulling up a PPT deck, (another acronym!) that the consumer team worked on.  Whichever the question, I am happy I asked and even happier she went the extra mile to explain.  Excited about this plan, she starts rolling… Editors photographing the infield of the Kentucky Derby for Men’s Health, Crush Fest in Napa, Coachella music festival, John Mayer dropping a new album….. “Wait, Wait, Wait…..back up” I say, insanely impressed “Who is coming up with these creative ideas?  How do they know John Mayer is dropping a new album? What is Coachella?”

We arrive at Civica (one of the words on my ? list ) the elevator doors open. I can’t help but be struck on how hip and modern this space is.  Before I have a chance to fully admire the beauty of the office something even more inviting is standing in front of me.  Five smiling faces all giggling about something. We are too late to be part of the joke, but their smiles are infectious.  I am introduced and instantly realize these names are the same names I heard 45 minutes earlier.  These kind, genuine, happy faces belong to the same creative, talented team that Alison talked about on the plane.  Minutes later I am greeted with a warm hug by Erin Barnard, a woman who will be a key part of my integration. This is My Team and I couldn’t be happier!

An insider view into our newly remodeled Bellevue office!

Posted on March 5, 2012 by 1 Comment

My remodel experience!
Jenn Warwick, Sourcing Strategist

As a newcomer to WE, I had heard all about this “7th Floor” that people had been speaking of.  Having never been up there, I didn’t really think it existed and much like unicorns, elves and Justin Bieber I thought it was just a figment of everyone’s imagination.  Imagine my shock and amazement when the caution tape that had been on the bottom of the stairwell on the 6th floor was no longer there and I could freely walk up the stairs to this haven, this Nirvana of the 7th floor.  Immediately I was struck by the openness and light.  Of course, I did initially feel a bit like Dorothy in Oz as I tried to find my desk while carrying my laptop bag, purse, coffee and the orchid I had left down on the 6th floor. 

I finally found my desk and was happily surrounded by my teammates in our quiet little corner of the building.  The new floor not only gives us the much needed space to have all of our Washington based employees in the same building again, but we now have enough conference rooms to conduct meetings in, as well as a beautiful and open kitchen area with space to eat lunch and engage in casual conversation with our co-workers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The celebratory spirit was alive and well the first afternoon as dozens of cupcakes and fine plastic tumblers of champagne were passed around. Toasts were made to commemorate the new space and for all of us finally being in our permanent home after months of construction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, this WE newcomer could not be more excited about this fun, fresh and bright new space!  There are blank glass walls that we can write on, plenty of rooms to share ideas and a big kitchen space to hang out in and get to know one another better while taking a break.  There is also an ice machine, which makes this lover of ice water incredibly happy and has also been used to make the occasional cocktail and keep wine and beer chilled! 

The intention of the design team was to bring us together and encourage collaboration.  I think that has been accomplished, and I look forward to all the great work that is to come!

The Thrill of the Hunt!

Posted on February 23, 2012 by Comments Off

The Thrill of the Hunt

 Monica Brown, Senior Account Executive-Consumer

For those individuals currently searching for a job, I’m quite sure you’re least likely to describe the job hunting process as “thrilling.” In an employment market as challenging as the one we’re presently experiencing, job seekers know that looking for a job can easily be described as a tiresome, frustrating, and lengthy process. To make matters more challenging, it’s tough to find a job, but even tougher to find a good job. 

As I reevaluated my professional goals late last year and started my pursuit for a new occupation, I reminded myself that I was not simply looking for just any old job that would pay the bills – I wanted to work for a company where I could be challenged and experience professional growth. Ideally, I also wanted to work for a company that holds some of the same values I also hold personally, however – being the realist that I am, I figured that second request might be too tall of an order.

 Well, as it turns out, the sum of qualities I sought in the company I wanted to work for weren’t so unreasonable after all. Towards the end of 2011, a current WE employee and former classmate reached out to me to say “hello” and catch up. When I shared with her that I wasn’t really finding a thrill in my job hunt, she said to me, “Monica, you should definitely apply to WaggEd – we’re NOT like every other agency.” She and I chatted for a while and she shared her love for Waggener Edstrom and why she thought I would be a great fit. I learned that the agency’s values are positive and felt they were ideals that I could support and promote. I was pleased to be introduced to a company that is equally as passionate about both its clients and its people.  

 As I progressed through the interview process, I found myself more excited about the opportunity to work for a company that truly drove its value proposition and encouraged employees to have a passion for innovation and curiosity – all while treating each individual as a valued contributor both inside and outside of the office. The various Waggener Edstrom Talent Acquisition team members I encountered while interviewing were some of the most professional, kind, and helpful individuals I’ve ever come across during a job search. My wonderful experience with Talent Acquisition combined with the positive interviews I experienced with my new manager and team made selecting Waggener Edstrom as the next step in my career an easy choice.

 To those of you who are still hunting for that right position or career path, don’t give up. And don’t assume that it’s too tall of an order to find a company you mesh with both professionally and personally. In a difficult employment market, it can become easy to relax the standards you might hold for a potential employer. However, trust me when I say that it’s important to decide upon the skills and value you seek to provide to your next company and conversely, know what you would like to receive in return. Hopefully, doing so will lead you to a position that you are happy about and proud to step into every day. And considering the fact that most individuals spend more time at work than with family and friends – this is an invaluable factor. Best of luck to you all!

An Open Letter for the Winter 2012 Interns

Posted on February 14, 2012 by 7 Comments

An Open Letter for the Winter 2012 Interns

Written by Ben Benson – Account Coordinator – DPE (Developer Tools)

Welcome, new interns!  

I can easily recall your exact position. On October 3 last year, I arrived at Waggener Edstrom in Portland with a notepad in hand and tie around my collar. I walked into the reception area sporting a shave only 20 minutes old. I was prepared for a new day.

Turns out, I was only as prepared as a fresh WaggEd face could be – not at all. I heard unknown terms, acronyms, phrases, and lingo. My fellow interns and I glanced at one another periodically in confusion and awe. The people were enthusiastic, forthcoming, friendly, and informative. And yet, we felt overwhelmed. My notes, no matter how plentiful, may as well have been unintelligible scrawl.

At one point on our first day, my fellow intern and now great friend, Shaun Mayo said, “I don’t know about anyone else, but I have no idea what is going on.”

Trust me, I could relate. In fact, I still can.

You will soon need information from Waggener Edstrom’s marketing team for Fun Week, the operations team for where to locate supplies, or any one of the Microsoft BGs (business group – you’ll pick that one up quick) for your daily projects.

In a general sense, you may find yourself in this situation: You do not know whom to contact to give you background on the thing you’re supposed to do for a team lead in a different state. You may not even know where to start. But someone else does. And you should ask them.

Across the entire agency and every BG, someone can help you out with – honestly – any problem you encounter.

You will have countless people tell you “Please reach out” or “Let me know if you need anything” or “Shout with questions.” I’ll be one of those people. But the truth is that everyone at Waggener Edstrom is willing to help you however possible.

Sometimes you will be referred to several people before you find the right answer. This process of tracking down information turns out to be extremely valuable. Each additional person you contact and build a relationship with can help you from then on.

With that said, if I can give you one key piece of advice, embrace the opportunity to connect with people across the agency. I cannot emphasize how important it is for you to network internally without using extravagant word art.

During your internship, find someone you spoke to briefly over coffee and ask them about their typical day. Pick a team you’re interested in and learn more about how they operate. Shoot, fabricate a reason to connect with someone. Your manager can help you if you do not know whom to connect with or feel awkward reaching out directly. I guarantee it will be worth your time.

With that said, feel free to ask me anything, any time. Whether that question is “What do you do on a daily basis?” or “Could you tell me about developer tools?” or “Do you actually like standing all day?” I’ll try to give you my best answer.

Life as a Waggener Edstrom Intern!

Posted on February 1, 2012 by Comments Off

Hana Katen – Account Coordinator, Microsoft Windows

I’ve spent my entire life dreaming of things to come—I’ve never been a person able to sit back and enjoy the moment. At the age of seven, I was busy deciding what car I would drive when I was sixteen; by the time I reached driving age, I was preoccupied with college decisions—and once I was enrolled at the University of Oregon, the only thing I could think about was where I would plant my roots and begin my career.

 When I learned that I had been accepted into Waggener Edstrom’s intern program, I was ecstatic—and for the next two weeks, I couldn’t stop thinking, talking and obsessing about what my life would look like during the coming months. 

 Upon starting my career as an intern at Waggener, my historical model of obsessive forward-thinking continued—for about five minutes after walking through the door.

 As I rotated through various teams within the agency, I got to experience in a whirlwind what life was like as a full-time Waggener Edstrom employee—not simply as an intern. Throughout my three-month tenure, I had the opportunity to do hands-on work on a broad variety of projects ranging from handling reactive media requests, to analyzing coverage for Windows announcements, to working as a member of the launch team for Windows Phone 7.5.

 Outside of Waggener’s unprecedented learning opportunities, what struck me the most, day after day, was how gracious and truly excited the Waggener Edstrom employees were to get to know all of the interns. From the moment we began, the WE family was welcoming and engaging—making it clear to us that we were truly a valued piece of the broader agency puzzle.

 

For the next three months, I was so consumed by the excitement I felt coming to work each day that—perhaps for the first time—I learned to live in the moment and appreciate the opportunities at hand. When I finally lifted my eyes off the ground 12 weeks later, after a challenging, engaging and incredible journey, I was lucky enough to land a position on the Microsoft Hardware team—where I can honestly say I get to do amazing work with amazing teammates every day. 

 I wholeheartedly credit Waggener for not only kick-starting my career, but for yanking me out of my futuristic tendencies and teaching me the value of savoring life in the moment, while still intelligently paving a path for personal and professional development.

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