A rebrand, website redesign and PR program increase contact form fills by 532% while differentiating edtech provider in crowded space
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If you’re an avid reader of our blog posts, you know a lot about what we do but you may not know much about the brains behind the well-oiled machine that is Walker Sands. Our new “Team Spotlight” Series will provide insights from our innovative employees while giving you a sneak peak into their lives. This week's spotlight features one of our San Francisco team members, Annie Gudorf!
We relaunched our presence into the Bay Area in April 2016 led by Will Kruisbrink, managing partner and VP, and Annie Gudorf, account director. Annie was able to talk with me and answer some questions about the transition and day-to-day life in San Francisco.
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and when did you start working at Walker Sands?
Annie: I am actually from Dayton, Ohio but went to Loyola University in Chicago and double majored in Marketing and Advertising. I interned at Walker Sands the summer going into my senior year and knew right away it was somewhere I wanted to work after graduating. I was able to extend my time with them working part-time while finishing school and was hired full-time after completing my undergraduate education.
2. What is your current role at Walker Sands?
Annie: I'm the account director of the San Francisco office, so I am in charge of helping to grow our client base here. My day-to-day includes a lot of sales meetings, networking, and attending events to get Walker Sands' name out there. I also have to keep up with existing clients to make sure we are meeting their goals.
3. How has Walker Sands changed since you first started at the company?
Annie: There have been a lot of changes! I think the two most significant have been size and geographic location. It has been such an exciting roller coaster - when I started as an intern, we had 20 people and were working out of a loft space in the West Loop. So to have gone from that to our now prime location downtown on the 39th floor with 80 people in the office has been really fun to see. And our expansion into San Francisco has been a huge change for the company and myself.
4. What is your favorite part about working at Walker Sands?
Annie: The people! You can do a job anywhere, but what makes the difference is who you are working with everyday. It amazes me that Walker Sands has managed to maintain the very same supportive entrepreneurial culture we had when there was just 20 of us even after experiencing such tremendous growth.
5. What sets Walker Sands apart?
Annie: It isn’t just one thing - it’s the fact we are really good at a lot of different things. Walker Sands delivers excellent content to all of our clients while also investing a great deal in all employees. It makes a world of difference working for an agency that is so focused on allowing their employees to succeed. The huge emphasis placed on clients and employees is what allowed us to grow very quickly and what kept employee retention so high.
6. What excites you most about the coming years at Walker Sands?
Annie: I am most excited about the unknown and the challenge that comes with it. I love taking on things I haven’t done before so when the opportunity to go to San Francisco presented itself, it was a no-brainer for me. We know what works so we just have to buckle down and do the work to attract and cement new clients. As far as short term goals, we are excited to see how many clients we can sign by the end of the year and to eventually add a third person to our office in San Francisco.
7. What is your most memorable experience of Walker Sands' core values (learn, support, and do) at work?
8. I have witnessed so many LSD moments, but the support we have received throughout our transition to San Francisco is by far the biggest. My team back in Chicago has worked really hard to learn about the new market we are trying to reach. Outside of my team, the entire agency has stepped up to support us and help with anything we may need. The employees at Walker Sands really do embody and act on these values.
9. What is the best restaurant you have eaten at in San Francisco?
Annie: Dinner at Zuni Cafe was delicious, but the best meal I have had thus far is definitely the lemon ricotta pancakes at Plow!
10. Have you done anything fun on weekends since moving to the Bay Area?
Annie: Visiting Sonoma Valley is always fun! I have also hiked to the top of Point Reyes with friends which was a beautiful view and then went to Tomales Bay Oyster Company. We got to shuck our own fresh oysters and they were absolutely delicious.
Interested in learning more about our team? Keep an eye out for another Team Spotlight next week!