If there’s one thing we’re more proud of than our clients and their projects, it’s our employees. The list of individuals who started or expanded their careers at Tactive is a long one, so we thought we’d catch up with a few of our “alumni”. Today, we catch-up with Jenny Boling – one of the first employees in Tactive history.
When did you work for Tactive?
I was at Tactive from July 2003 to November 2008.
What was/were your role(s) at Tactive?
Kurt and Tim hired me to help with graphic design and customer service. Initially, they had me physically working at the Colliers Turley Martin Tucker building – a client at the time – to help with some basic signs. I totally jacked them up. So, in true Tim and Kurt fashion, they decided I might be better suited for a different role at Tactive and transitioned me into a sales role. That position morphed into inside sales and client management with an incentive for outside sales. Since it was my first job out of college, I didn’t know any better!
What are you doing now?
Now, I’m a freelance marketer. I help with content writing for newsletters, blogs, and websites, and manage social media for a diverse set of clients. My primary client is a branding and web development agency, but I also work with an online art company, a financial advisor, a hair salon and an educational market research professional. I focus on content writing and marketing strategy.
Is there anything you learned at Tactive that you are using in your current job?
All sorts of things! Tactive was a really great first job. There was a good mix of work hard/play hard, and Tim and Kurt were willing to help me be a great employee. They would be vocal about hangups from other employees or share stories about mistakes and I would think, “Okay, so, don’t do that.” When it’s your first job, you don’t have the business know-how, and no one teaches you business etiquette. I didn’t know those things, so I appreciated that they talked about it so freely! And they never really had the attitude that because they were the boss, they couldn’t hang with the employees. For me, as a 23-28-year-old, I thought, “This is the best job ever!”
Do you have any memorable moments from your time at Tactive?
Oh my gosh. Ike, the office dog! Ike is actually my dog. I wanted to get a dog, but I was afraid of it being at home all day. Tim said “bring it in!” and I loved that. He became our mascot for several years! I’ll also always remember all of the Carb Days, Here Come The Mummies, the parties. At 4 pm on Fridays Jenn, who managed the parties, would yell “gallery mode” and we’d all organize our desks and get everything ready for the gallery shows. I started dating my now husband, Matt, at that time and he would bring all of his friends. They weren’t that interested in the art, but they would call it “who cares free booze” parties.
We also had really transparent team meetings. I’ve had quite a few jobs since my time at Tactive, and I’m still shocked how other companies are not open with their financials. That was an excellent lesson for me to learn about the importance of transparency with your team.
When Jenn took over marketing, we started doing employee spotlights. We were all supposed to have a picture taken of ourselves. Someone came up with the idea for my employee spotlight picture to be me in Tim’s big truck, wearing a white t-shirt with cigarettes rolled into the sleeve. It was so in line with my sense of humor, and it was so cool that they were willing to incorporate that sense of humor into their public image. It taught me that if you’re taking care of your customers, then you can also speak the personality of your company culture.
Kurt & Tim are notorious for sharing words of wisdom with their employees. Are there any that stick out for you?
This job was my first experience in customer service, and they taught me the importance of “Say yes, and figure out how to make it work for the client.” That’s stuck with me and is something I’ve carried on into my current business.
But in general, everything was a learning experience! I think back to my time at Tactive way more than I do any other job. I think that says something. It was my first taste of the “real world,” but being there for five years left a huge positive impact. It’s probably the only job after all these years that I’d ever entertain going back to.
Anything else you’d like to share about Tactive?
Tim and Kurt have done a really good job at creating a sustainable culture. I wouldn’t want to be a manager, and I imagine it’s hard to be a manager of young people. We were all in our 20s and clueless, and the handholding they had to do is not for everyone. They must be doing something right as they have grown exponentially! There are so many former employees who speak highly of their time there. That’s not an easy thing to do, but they’ve done it. I’ve definitely compared all of my jobs to Tactive, and it makes me think, “How did they do that!? I would have no patience for 23-year-old Jenny!” But they did, and they did it with humor and humility.
Thank you, Jenny!