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Six Reasons I’ve Stayed at One Agency for 14 Years

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A version of this post previously appeared on LinkedIn.

According to LinkedIn, I celebrated my 14th anniversary with Edelman yesterday.  As most in the industry know, that is a lifetime in the agency world, as people tend to move around a lot. I’m often asked — from my father, an entrepreneur who extols the virtues of owning your own business to long-standing clients to prospects to our account executives who’ve just joined Edelman — what has kept me at Edelman for so long.  So, in honour of my 14 years at Edelman, I’ve put together a list of six considerations to keep you at any job  – along with my own reasons for why I continue to ‘bleed blue:’

  1. A company should allow you to be entrepreneurial – and to take risks. I often tell my father that I get the benefit of running my own business with the broad reach of a global network. What could make for a better arrangement — having the freedom to make decisions that are right for my region, while accessing resources from across our network?
  2. As the saying goes, if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.  On a daily basis, I’m exposed to some of the brightest and most innovative thinkers in the industry. If we don’t have local or regional expertise, I can find it in our network, and international colleagues will happily jump on a plane to help us out. A strong collaborative spirit is embedded within our culture.
  3. The company should consider your career path as much as its own bottom line.If you have the drive and ambition, you can wear many different hats here. I’m proof of that, but so are many others – we have many long-term employees who have switched practices, sectors, specialties or even offices, started up brand new offerings, or spearheaded new initiatives. This goes hand-in-hand with making sure that every day offers you a new learning opportunity.   For me, that could be anything from better understanding the nuances of a local Canadian market to learning about the different and unique needs of a global client in Canada.
  4. Playing hard is as important as working hard.  From team celebrations to our weekly social gatherings to regular employee engagement activities, it’s important for us to have a dynamic culture, making coming into work each day fun. It’s part of why we’ve been recognized as one of the Best Workplaces and Best Workplaces for Women for five consecutive years in Canada.
  5. Work for a company that actively champions the advancement of women.  There are still far too few women in our industry who hold senior executive positions. Since the launch of our Global Women’s Executive Network (GWEN) in 2011, Edelman has increased the percentage of women within the global senior ranks from 34 to 44 per cent.  And, in Canada, three of our five offices are led by amazing women.
  6. Great people make for great companies. My colleagues – both near and far – have become my second family. I would be remiss if I didn’t say that much of my success at Edelman has been as a result of the unequivocal support and partnership of the talented people that surround me each and every day.

Here’s to the next 14!

Lisa Kimmel is president & CEO of Edelman Canada.

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