The Importance of Growth Experiences

Posted by: in Employee Interviews, w20 group on January 30, 2014

In a meeting the other day a colleague was discussing some staff changes and mentioned the importance of growth experiences. As I mulled this over and reflected on my own career, I had to agree that the opportunity for growth experiences is a critical element of personal education, skill development, and career trajectory.

In the last five years or so, I’ve been fortunate enough to have ample opportunity to learn through growth experiences. In fact, from my early days here (at what was then WeissComm) – having moved from a company of about 35,000 employees to an agency of about 85 people – there has never been a lack of opportunity. When Paul Dyer asked if I’d like to join a small group of colleagues to start a social media team, I was in. In 2009, when we created our first meme and social media analytics offerings, I was in the trenches. Nearly two years ago I was fortunate enough to help Jennifer Gottlieb  and others launch Twist.  And just last June I had the pleasure to partner with Greg Matthews and Brian Reid to create The Social Oncology Project.

With all this swirling through my head, I thought I’d ask some colleagues about their thoughts on growth experiences. Here’s what a few had to say…

“The past 10 years of my career at W20 Group have been one continuous growth experience. I walked into a 6-person start-up with the goal of growing the healthcare business and have evolved my skill set way beyond public relations taking on ever changing roles and responsibilities along the way. Through it all I’ve learned that change is scary, exciting, intimidating, rejuvenating and life affirming.” – Diane Weiser 

 “I came to WCG four years ago with a content and engagement background. Since that practice hadn’t been fully developed yet, I agreed to work in Analytics. At first this was a big challenge for me, but, with a lot of help, I eventually grew into the role. The job got easier and more intuitive as my way of thinking evolved. I now approach content & engagement with a completely different way of thinking. My perspective had broadened, which has been great for me both personally and professionally.” – Todd Dwyer 

I’ve worked here for the past 10 years (and arguable most formative part) of my career and the biggest thing I’ve learned here is to try and leave my ego at the door and approach people and projects with a clean slate. I say “try” because it is obviously extremely hard to do – some folks practice for a lifetime, and they are called monks. As odd as it sounds, it means letting go of insecurities and fear (as much as pride or anything else). It means taking my knocks – but not allowing them to hold me back on future projects.  I have fumbled on things before and made mistakes; I’ve provided counsel that I’ve regretted in hindsight. Because this is a company that encourages risk-taking, I’ve really put myself out there in certain situations. Sometimes it’s only looking back that I realize how much! But I have a lot further to go, so this is a continuous learning experience for me.” – Carolyn Wang  

“The last 2-3 years would have been an interesting time to spend at any company given the profound changes that have taken place as social media becomes the new ‘normal’ and mobile begins its climb to top dog. But spending those last 2-3 years at W2O Group has been amazing given the focus of the company, the quality of the clients and the opportunity to work with the amazing talent base here. Working in such a dynamic environment has allowed me to truly understand the importance of analytics and how it drives marketing, the value of leadership and has offered me the opportunity to meet clients and co-workers that I plan to keep in touch with for the rest of my career!” – Aaron Strout 

What is your take on the importance of growth experiences?  What has been the most impactful experience on your career?

By: Mark Bennett

Group Director

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2 Responses

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  1. Thanks for the outstanding piece, Mark! I’ve worked for some really good companies – big and small – but I’ve never worked anywhere that encouraged people to follow their passions as much as the W2O Group companies. There’s no question that everybody has to carry their share of the load in running the business – that’s table stakes, really – but everybody here is encouraged to take their ideas and go after them. If our clients like them, great! If they don’t, we put ’em on the shelf and go after the next one. In my mind, it’s the ultimate intrapreneur’s environment.

  2. Anonymous said

    Great stuff Mark. I’ve never been a part of an agency that celebrates and encourages the “Choose Your Own Adventure” concept more than WCG. It’s the reason I “boomeranged” back to rejoin the team and why I enjoy this agency so very much.

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