In November 2006, I came to my first in-person interview at Matter in a state of high excitement: not only had a preliminary phone interview led me to believe that I had found my dream PR agency, but it was the first time I’d donned heels and lipstick in over a month. My husband and I had welcomed our son to the world in late September, and I was in that stage of near-delirium produced by lack of sleep combined with incredible responsibility and commensurate happiness that any parents reading this will find familiar.
The in-person experience did not disappoint: here were an amazing array of talented, personable individuals who all had one key thing in common: they absolutely loved working at Matter. I heard about the entrepreneurial environment, the mentoring of junior (and not-so-junior) staff, the overall sense of teamwork that was at the heart of the outstanding client service on which the agency prided itself. So far, so good, but honestly, as a PR agency veteran, nothing I hadn’t heard before and later seen disproven. But then one of the principals told me the company motto: Employees and clients for life. And he didn’t blink when he said it. I started January 2, 2007.
Over the next three years, that motto proved true. Did all employees and all clients stay? Of course not. But did the majority, more so that at many other agencies or for that matter other businesses with which I had experience? Yes. I was part of a collaborative, well-designed team in which all members worked together, sans egos, to benefit our clients.
If I keep coming back to the notion of teamwork, it’s because the value of being part of a team was brought home to me last week. Completely unexpectedly, I wound up spending a week in the hospital with my (now 3 year old) son – yes, he’s fine now. It was a scary experience, and when it came to work, an obliterating experience. For 98% of the time, I was off the grid.
On what turned out to be the last day in the hospital, I sent out a message to my teams letting them know it would be another day (at least) and apologizing for my absence and the increased work they must be facing. My boss – the motto guy – sent me a message, gently reminding me that we work as a team, and that my teammates would step up in my absence. And he was right – I returned to notes from clients first asking after my son (we have great clients too) and informing me that my colleagues did a stellar job making sure nothing got dropped during the week I was out.
My hat’s off to my colleagues; I’m thankful to be a part of Matter Communications. In parting, as I look outside at Day 2 of one heck of a rainstorm, I’ll leave you with the wisdom of Elvis Presley: At the end of a storm is a golden sky / And the sweet silver song of a lark /Walk on through the wind / Walk on through the rain….Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart / And you’ll never walk alone