Editor’s note: This week I am very excited to turn the blog over to our new (first ever!) General Manager, Angela Bachman and new Director, Account Services, April Wonsick. Not only are we strengthening our team through these senior positions but we’re doing it by promoting from within. And we’ve done it with two people who understand the essence of AKHIA and what makes us different to employees and clients alike. I hope you enjoy getting to know them this week!

One of the great blessings in my professional life was landing at AKHIA. I came to the agency with just enough experience to get me in the door, but I’ve learned far more here than I could have imagined. I’ve spent the past nearly six years absorbing the principles that Jan and Ben run this business by every day and I’m hoping to do them justice in my new role as General Manager.

Growing up at AKHIA has taught me a thing or two about service, and I view this position as a service to the agency. I’m here to handle the behind-the-scenes inner workings that help make the agency tick so this unbelievably talented group of people can focus on delivering (okay, over delivering) the great work they’re all so passionate about.

In addition to service, one of the many AKHIA principles I’ve learned to understand over the years is the idea that this business isn’t just about the money. And when I say “this business,” I’m referring to AKHIA, not the industry in general – AKHIA is unique, and I’m not afraid to brag about the fact that this agency is special. Of course a sustainable business model is a must, but AKHIA’s focus has never been about cutting a corner (even a small one) to save an extra penny. AKHIA is about servicing clients, looking at their overall business goals, understanding the current climate, facing challenges hand-in-hand and doing whatever we can to help make our clients’ businesses a success. I’m finding that understanding the AKHIA model is so important in this position. Not everything is black and white (in fact, hardly anything is) and I’m planning to view everything I do in this position through that distinctive AKHIA lens.

So in this new role, I’m spending far more quality time with spreadsheets than a communications major would have ever anticipated . . . but I kind of love it. I have the opportunity to rework old policies and write new ones, all in the hopes of keeping things running smoothly. I’m the person who sends the dreaded emails asking the team to put their hours in (here’s a little agency secret – we all hate logging our hours). I’m also searching high and low for top new talent and managing the overall agency operations in general.

Additionally, I’m charged with heading up the agency Culture Committee. Yes, believe it or not, there’s a whole committee – we take our culture seriously around here. It’s true that we expect a lot from our team of overachievers, and we owe them a lot in return. Preserving and enhancing our culture is one way we can thank our team for all they do. We celebrate everything from Valentine’s Day and birthdays to Opening Day and AKHIAversaries. Come on by on a Monday evening and you’ll find our wellness champ teaching a Pilates class. Interested in participating in a beer or wine exchange? How about a baby photo contest? Cinco de Mayo celebration? Happy hour? Our kids come here to have breakfast with Santa (shhh it’s not the real Santa – it’s our proofreader’s husband). And to think, just the other day our president said, “I think we need more parties.” Ummmm, okie dokie, Ben.

We’re fortunate to have an amazing group of people who truly want to serve clients beyond their expectations. And we have a president and CEO who recognize the value of our team members. That makes my new job easy. Ok, it’s actually not easy at all, but it certainly is an exciting challenge and I’m looking forward to this opportunity to continue serving the team and the agency.