Fall 2019 - From the Partners
This has been a year of change for us at Smith & Connors. Yes, every year brings with it a good dose of change, but this year feels different. We surpassed 6 years in business, which feels like a significant marker, as most businesses fail in the first five years. This has been a time of turning inward to examine who we are, how we work, why we’re here. We’ve achieved incredible success and growth, but not without some challenges along the way.
We often talk about the process of change in our work with clients. Creating a new way to express the core identity of an organization is a dicey affair. Yes, the ultimate vision comes from the top, but just as important is the culture and identity that the full team creates. It takes patience, empathy, and listening to navigate this process gracefully and emerge with something that draws people together in alignment and purpose.
Our team has spent the last 10 months embracing the idea of change — reflecting, reworking, reinventing. We are currently rebranding our company, a process that is rife with excitement and challenges: how can we do for ourselves what we do for our clients?
We have been working to improve every aspect of our business, from how we work with clients, to creating team working agreements, to starting a book club, to creating to creating a "cabinet" of senior team members that help us make decisions about how to run the business.
We recently moved into a newly repurposed building on NE Sandy created by the inspiring visionary Kevin Cavanaugh, founder of Guerilla Development. Kevin believes in pursuing “enough” (watch his TEDx talk!); that creating community in a space is just as important as the physical aspects of it, and that the private sector can (and should) innovate to solve our biggest social problems. Our new space has created a sense of possibility. Our vision, under this roof, is to hold important, meaningful conversations and collaboration with our community to forge the change we all want to see.
Of course, we couldn’t have invested in our business without the work our clients entrusted us with. We would not exist without them! A few examples of work we’ve completed this year:
- Talie’s former employer, Open Society Foundations, spun off a long-standing program, and we were lucky enough to help the new foundation launch with their story expressed in a new brand and website. Known as INclude: The Mental Health Initiative, this visionary organization works internationally to stop the institutionalization of people with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities.
- We completed the launch of Oregon Community Foundation’s new brand and website this year. OCF has an impressive 46-year history and is the largest public charity in the state. For over a year-and-a-half we worked to deeply understand and reimagine their story. The statewide organization’s legacy and innovation are now expressed through a new visual identity and messaging, a vast set of collateral and media, and the launch of a beautiful new website!
With all of this work and all of these changes, we remain steadfast in our mission and purpose at Smith & Connors. We’re grateful for the privilege to do such deep, important work with our clients, our amazing team, and our partners and friends. It’s an adventure owning a design business, and it makes it a lot easier to manage the difficult parts when you’ve got laughter and people around you who are there to support, share your values, and inspire one another to keep getting better.
Thanks for listening!
Scott, Talie, and Becca