It was the end of a decade, but the start of an age

If you’re anything like us, you’re so busy looking ahead to what’s next that it can be challenging to slow down and take stock of where you’ve been. In the midst of planning for 2020 and beyond, we thought we’d take just a minute to look back at 2019. Check out what our team had to say about the last year and share some of your own answers with us! We’d love to hear from you. (And, yes, the title above IS a Taylor Swift reference.)

Kim McKeeman, CEO

  • What was your most memorable moment of 2019?
    • One thing folks know about me is how I enjoy integrating our team’s professional and personal lives. For 2019, I had a unique chance to do just that. I involved one of our sons in our business at a time when we needed immediate hands-on talent and support. And, it just so happened that he was exploring other career options as he finishes his bachelor’s degree. Is working with family challenging? You bet. But it’s also fascinating and rewarding to see/help your real family along with your “work family” learn, grow, make mistakes and recover in a completely different way.
  • What was your personal best for 2019?
    • Life gets busy. Business gets busy. For 2019, I had a personal goal of being very intentional about my husband and I spending more “us” time together. We decided that meant traveling together on business and combining vacation time. We loved “playing tourist” in our still-new hometown of Nashville and exploring the many unique neighborhoods via weekend stay-cations at our favorite hotels. We planned a few long weekends, and decided on some impromptu trips – both rewarding. And, it also meant something as simple as guaranteed weekend breakfast dates – exploring some of the best breakfast experiences in the area. Goal accomplished and thoroughly enjoyed.
  • What was your professional best for 2019?
    • Hands-down, working with this team. We have such a strong core team of employees that continues to grow personally and professionally – right along with our business – and live our core values every day, with each interaction. And, I’ve been so delighted to grow our extended team to include so many talented subject matter experts that work with us on client work, and from whom we learn along the way. I feel so fortunate that I “get to” choose you all. More importantly, I’m so appreciative that you all choose to work and partner with me.
  • What is one thing you hope stays in 2019?
    • High-waisted mom jeans. It looks like they’re still a thing for 2020, but a girl can hope. Sorry fashion forward folks, I just can’t.
  • What is your resolution for 2020?
    • Continue the journey of “intentionality”, both personally and professionally. We all get to choose. I plan to continue to make great choices.

Caroline Schmid, Vice President

  • What was your most memorable moment of 2019?
    • Watching my son, Austin, graduate from preschool and head off to kindergarten. It’s amazing how brave he is and he walked into school like owned the place – so different than his mom who was always a little timid. He is so social and absolutely LOVES school. In fact, his teacher’s comments on his first report card started with “Austin comes into class every day with a smile on his face and is a friend to everyone” and ended with “he sometimes likes to talk a little too much and isn’t able to complete his work.” I can only imagine what our future years with him will bring.
  • What was your personal best for 2019?
    • In 2019, I made it a priority to exercise and do more cooking at home and less eating out. I’m happy to report that I’ve been averaging 3 to 4 workout sessions a week, and most of those occur at 6:15 AM – something I thought I could never do. I also enjoy cooking much more than I used to and think my skills have improved a bit even though I did break down and get a HelloFresh subscription – hey, you have to be OK with cutting corners somewhere.
  • What was your professional best for 2019?
    • My promotion to vice president was a tremendous honor. I began this job almost nine years ago as an account executive and would have never thought that this is where I would be today. I’m so grateful for Kim and our team’s faith in me. It’s an absolute privilege to work with this group of people.
  • What is one thing you hope stays in 2019?
    • Rushing. Some days I feel like I’m in a constant hurry. As my kids (3 and 5) continue to grow, I want to continue to slow down and really be present – especially when I’m with them. On Friday nights we have started having family movie nights – lights off, popcorn, blankets – and my kids LOVE them but, most of all, I think they like it just being the four of us with no distractions. I want more aspects of my life to be like that.
  • What is your resolution for 2020?
    • Ha – this is really bad but…I need to go to the doctor. I used to be pretty good about getting yearly physicals, specialist check-ups and all of that (except the dentist – I go to the dentist!) has fallen by the wayside since I’ve had kids.

Whitney Williams, Account Supervisor

  • What was your most memorable moment of 2019?
    • I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl, Calloway Williams! She’s changed my world for the better and made me a mommy. She’s so expressive, loves to stand up (with a little help) and “make eyes” at every ceiling fan in the house.
  • What was your personal best for 2019?
    • My personal best was trying to fearlessly take on pregnancy and motherhood as it brought so many new challenges both amazing and hard. It was also a lot of fun to let my friends and family know I was pregnant. I even told my leadership team on a planning trip in Nashville at this time last year!
  • What was your professional best for 2019?
    • I was able to help streamline processes and prepare my team for me being out for 3 months on maternity leave. It felt nice to get to a good place with our clients and internal team before leaving so that I could concentrate on my little one. I’d like to think that I helped set them up for success with both current and new business.
  • What is one thing you hope stays in 2019?
    • Worrying about the little things.
  • What is your resolution for 2020?
    • Be ok with throwing out the schedule sometimes. There’s always tomorrow.

Katie Parker, Account Supervisor

  • What was your most memorable moment of 2019?
    • Halloween. It’s the first year my almost 3-year-old, Liv, really got it! From her precious Elsa costume to saying “trick-or-treat” and “Happy Halloween” – my heart just burst. I have loved watching the world unfold right before her eyes.
  • What was your personal best for 2019?
    • I took the most incredible trip to Kaui with my husband this year, and I really had the opportunity to unplug (thanks team). Not only did we enjoy the beautiful island, the hikes, the food, we really enjoyed each other and had a chance to reconnect, just the two of us.
  • What was your professional best for 2019?
    • Joining the leadership team. I have loved getting the opportunity to learn more about our company and how we can help people, as well as work more closely with our incredible leadership.
  • What is one thing you hope stays in 2019?
    • Refusing to step away and not take time for myself.
  • What is your resolution for 2020?
    • Take more time for myself – work out, get my nails done, have dinner with a girlfriend and not feel bad about any of it.

Becky Ogburn, Account Executive

  • What was your most memorable moment of 2019?
    • My husband and I watched our only child graduate from high school and head off to college at Appalachian State University. It was a big deal for our whole family, as it’s been the three of us for 18 years. My husband and I were not sure how we would manage when she headed off to school. It was a real turning point for all of us, and a really exciting time.
  • What was your personal best for 2019?
    • Not crying like a baby when we dropped our daughter off at school. In fact, no tears were shed. That’s a major milestone and a huge personal best for this mom. And, realizing that the empty nest was actually a GREAT thing that took no less than a week to adjust to. #Winning
  • What was your professional best for 2019?
    • Taking on more responsibilities, and really getting into editing. There is nothing that annoys me (our entire team, really) more than spelling errors and grammatical mistakes. It’s fun having the red pencil power sometimes!
  • What is one thing you hope stays in 2019?
    • Exhaustion and the need to say yes to everything. That hasn’t happened for the past, oh, 54 years, so not holding my breath.
  • What is your resolution for 2020?
    • To take better care of myself and take some down time. Not only that, really enjoy the down time and not feel like I need to be doing something to fill the quiet. Again, hasn’t happened in the past 54 years, so maybe 2020 is my year!

Victoria O’Neal, Account Executive 

  • What was your most memorable moment of 2019?
    • I got married to the best human being I’ve ever met. Look, I’m a realist and I am fully aware that I’m not the easiest person in the world to live with – I’m stubborn, I’m always right, and I leave dirty clothes everywhere. I feel truly blessed to have met my match and to have such a supportive partner who shows up for me every single day. As I’m writing this, my first anniversary is just days away and I could not be more grateful for this last year and all the growing we’ve done together.
  • What was your personal best for 2019?
    • I read over 40 books in 2019 and I loved every single second of it. If you’ve ever set foot inside my house, you know that there are books crammed into every nook and cranny and it makes me so happy. If you ever need a recommendation, I’m your girl.
  • What was your professional best for 2019?
    • Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I feel like I’ve really grown a lot this year. While Whitney was out on maternity leave, I really challenged myself to step in and practice that “bias towards action” thing we’re always talking about. I can 100% say that I am a better thought partner, a better leader, and better strategist than I was at this time last year (even if I am still a horrible procrastinator sometimes).
  • What is one thing you hope stays in 2019?
    • Cavities. It’s not going super well so far.
  • What is your resolution for 2020?
    • To FINALLY get around to legally changing my last name.
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