I’m delighted that Maura Lafferty has agreed to join Firebrand. She previously worked with Grayling and ran her own agency. Maura was connected to me through a mutual friend (thanks Alison) and came armed with a business plan based on social impact. She’s bright, articulate and full of hustle.
Look at the messenger, not the message
But here’s something surprising. During our initial conversation, Maura reeled off a list of other firms she had approached – all of them said no. The plan was robust but the comms industry is awash with opportunity today. To me, the message didn’t matter – the messenger, though, was a different story. Anyone who had the conviction to approach 15 top-ranked agencies pitching their idea, undeterred and enthusiastic was someone I wanted on the team. I can’t think of a single client who wouldn’t want that tenacity on their side.
As it happens, we are planning work with social impact clients – ones who are making a difference. There’s an opportunity for tech firms in the Valley to connect more with their community. The best tech companies have a soul and those are the ones top talent wants to work with. Maura was right – sometimes despite rejection, you need to keep on the course until you find someone who believes in you.
A mindset, not just a skill set
I don’t plan to profile everyone we hire. Hiring is an everyday occurrence in companies across the land. But I do think sharing the thought process as you put together an initial team is valuable. You’re not looking for units of production or worker bees. You’re looking for a mindset, not just a skill set. People who can see what you envisage and want to join you on the path to that mountain top. They don’t care whether you have an onboarding process or about the 401k match. A formal job description is just a constraint for initial team members. They want to do important work with meaningful clients – to make a difference through their work and with their firm.
So to Maura – welcome aboard and thank you. I believe in you, and am thrilled you have committed to Firebrand. Our path is unknown, it’ll twist and turn and no doubt be steep at times. But the journey will be fun and I promise the views will be worth it!