As a creative agency we do not have a product or a storefront that defines us. Our culture, the people within it, and the climate we maintain are what defines us. When it came time to make our home with an office headquarters we had already been in business for 6 years working virtually. We had a very established and unique culture but had a hard time envisioning how a physical space could ever represent the values and identity we were so passionate about.
To further complicate the challenge of representing our genuine selves in a space, one of our defining characteristics was the freedom for individuals to not just conform to a culture but rather add to it by infusing their passions and true self into the recipe. In our work we have to continually find the balance between respecting and empowering a variety of specialties (technical writing, creative writing, graphic design, instructional design, digital media, etc.) to allow each to be intensely creative in their own craft while at the same time bringing it all together into a single deliverable that looks like it was one unified thought.
This is where Lisa stepped in. Instead of feeling constrained and frustrated with all the passionate feelings and perspectives she seemed to feed off of it. I am sure this was not always easy. If I as the owner had simply modeled the office after my likes and dislikes she would have only had one person to keep happy. Instead she had to truly hear the thoughts and feelings of half dozen people at any given time. We were all so excited we would show up after a weekend and people would have just bought chairs and rugs and things that they really liked. Several of us even built things or made things for the office to contribute. Somehow Lisa had to find a way to adjust to all of this and help us put it together.
How she did that was a spectacular thing to watch and be a part of. It felt like she could see the depth and beauty of all the randomness in a way that we couldn’t even see ourselves. She could look right past what, on the surface, might have seemed like a departure from a unified design or vision, and she could see that the love and care and work that someone put into their idea WAS the unifying vision we were trying to capture.
We all take great pride in our office and look for any opportunity to bring people into our space. Everyone comments on it yet struggles to put to words what it is they like so much about it. Usually they just fall back to the same comment “can I just come do my work here?”
I think I know what it is that people sense in our space. What Lisa was able to do was to create a perfect combination of beautiful diversity in all the parts with a satisfying and calming unity in the whole. It is everything we hope to be as a company.
As the owner of the business I am so inspired every time I look around the office. I don’t just see stuff ordered from the same page of a catalog, but rather I can point to every chair and every lamp and recall which person felt passionate about that being a part of our space. It is a constant inspiration to do my job better.
The story of our space would not be complete without also talking about Lisa as a person. Over the years since working with her I have had the pleasure of getting to know Lisa and her family better. What I have come to realize is that not only is our whole team represented in our office, but Lisa left us a special gift by infusing part of herself. Lisa has an almost superhuman ability to see beauty and love in the things and people around her. She inspires me and others to look to understand and see the beauty in someone or something rather than first asking ourselves if it fits in or is part of the plan. I feel so blessed to have a place to go every day that is a reminder of this profound spirit.