On My First Day as CEO: An open letter to my team

Today, January 1, 2020, marks my first official day as president and CEO of FrazierHeiby. To quote our colleague Noah, I’m stoked.
The FrazierHeiby crew at work.
The FrazierHeiby crew at work.

Today, January 1, 2020, marks my first official day as president and CEO of FrazierHeiby.

To quote our colleague Noah, I’m stoked. Along with Ann and Whitney, we’re taking on a well-established, fiscally sound agency with a notable book of business and a team that comes to work everyday with a smile, ready to get the job done — together. Already with the improvements and investments we made in 2019, we’re starting to realize our potential for growth. And we’re just getting started.

Yes, I’m eager and optimistic. I’m also nervous, anxious and self-doubting. More than once, I’ve given in to the voices in my head saying, “Who thought this was a good idea?” “You’re too young for this job.” “What makes you think you can run a business?” These thoughts can be paralyzing, but I’ve learned to use them to my advantage. Rather than cowering from the risk and uncertainty, I’m using it to fuel my motivation to prove the voices wrong.

I recognize the magnitude of my responsibility to build on our company’s foundation and lead us into the future. In the basic, practical sense, we all rely on our paychecks to provide for ourselves and our families, and hopefully have plenty left over to travel or enjoy this amazing city we’re lucky to call home (#Cbus). I will ensure we have a fiscally sound organization that continues to pay its employees fairly and equitably.

I also have a responsibility to create a positive professional experience for each of you. We spend the majority of our waking life working. I want to create an environment where you feel comfortable and inspired. I want you to take on work that is challenging, satisfying and keeps you on your toes. I want you to experience trust and autonomy, with all the support and resources needed to deliver your best work. I want the very best talent in our field throwing their resumes our way and, once they join, never wanting to leave.

My responsibility extends to our clients, too. I will ensure we continually push ourselves to take risks thoughtfully, to learn and grow, and to always look beyond the obvious solution. It’s on each of us to collaborate, problem solve, and bring the heat each and every day. We say we’re intelligent communications consultants in service of our clients. I’m going to push each of you to live up to this — and I ask that you continue to challenge my way of thinking, bring new ideas to the table, and hold me accountable.

It’s also my job to contribute to our community. We are extremely fortunate to live, work and play in Central Ohio where there is immense opportunity for personal and professional growth. I’m committed to looking beyond myself and our team and finding ways to be an exceptional employer, educator, advocate and volunteer. If there are causes or organizations that matter to you, tell me. Let’s find ways to aggregate our time, resources and skills to give back.

If we do all of this, we will create a business that will outlast us all — and that’s the goal. Simon Sinek, author of The Infinite Game, wrote:

“The true value of an organization is measured by the desire others have to contribute to that organization’s ability to keep succeeding, not just during the time they are there, but well beyond their own tenure.”

Together, we can take the strong FrazierHeiby foundation and build something inspiring, something important, and something sustainable.

Still in my 30s, I have a long career ahead of me. During that time, I will work incredibly hard in service of our team. I will put people before profit. I will listen to and support you. I will be open to new and different ways of getting the job done. I will be honest with you. I will lead earnestly and without ego.

I will also make mistakes. You will, too. And that’s OK.

Like my role model Leslie Knope once said (quoting Theodore Roosevelt):

“The best prize life has to offer is a chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

I’m humbled, proud and excited to propel our agency into the future. Let’s get to work.