If I had to go back and redo anything from my nine years of steering the ship at Walk West, I would have found the right partners earlier. It’s the best advice I can give both to aspiring entrepreneurs and business professionals alike.
I naively dreamt of creating an agency, despite never having worked in one. I honed my skills in business, marketing, and digital, and, as it turns out, I was a decent salesperson. But, I spent the first few years running the business without leveraging a strong network. My peers hadn’t yet done what I was doing and I didn’t have a network of people to contact in regards to fulfilling services or growing the company.
We experienced a tremendous growth spurt around October 2014 when I met my mentor and now partner, Donald Thompson. Donald was a seasoned executive and had achieved business success at a young age. He was first appointed CEO at the age of 36, and he worked to grow multiple businesses to successful exit events in the following next decade. As we met regularly, the opportunity for him to align with Walk West as a partner proved to be key in scaling our now mutual business.
Finding the Right Partner
Partnership is important in all aspects of life and in business. Using the resources around you to maintain balance can prove to be the missing element that turns a bad year and into a great year. Moreover, the partner relationship goes beyond relationships within your organization; it extends into the vendor-client relationship as well.
Walk West doesn’t simply provide services for money. We’ve ripped up the traditional vendor-client relationship and created something new out of it. We don’t have clients. We have partners. Each of our partners has a unique set of challenges that we’re well equipped to handle.
Walk West’s Partners
Inside our agency, we have a 20-year marketing veteran in Chris Austin who has put his mark on industries from travel and tourism to sports and entertainment. Chris has successfully fielded projects from brands like Norwegian Cruise Line, Crush, Disney, and the NBA.
Laurie Onorio recently joined our leadership team and heads up our Government and Public Affairs practice. Bringing over a decade of political and public affairs experience — running the gamut of both federal and state campaigns — Laurie has been a harbinger of change and a leader in the field of issue advocacy in many domains. She’s worked for Tesla, the Association of Global Automakers, and Professional Engineers of North Carolina, among others.
A newcomer to our team, Kurt Merriweather, brings to the table a background in engineering (BA, Ohio State University) and an MBA from Stanford. Kurt has 20 years of experience solving problems for top-notch organizations such as ReverbNation, Discovery Communications, and AOL.
And then there’s me. I’ve spent my entire career successfully promoting and scaling our agency. Bringing an in-depth digital and technical background, as well as an unrelenting passion for our business, my biggest contribution is turning digital obstacles into opportunities. On any given day, I’m tackling both high-level web development and digital marketing challenges for our clients, while formulating (and walking the walk for) the overall vision of our agency.
The Walk West Team
And then we have an incredible team of professionals with a wide-range of skills and expertise. From web design and application development, search engine optimization, content strategy, social outreach and management, issue advocacy, and public affairs, we have a team that is skilled enough to solve problems large and small. And it’s all rooted in strategy and discovery. Everything we touch has the “why” firmly answered.
Finding a good partner is hard. Finding one that has the culmination of our experience is extremely rare. Sure, there are larger agencies with skilled executives lining their corridors. Pick up the phone and see if you can get them on the line. We’re a growing agency, but we’re not a behemoth. We excel at providing our partners with a world-class experience, complete with access to each of our leaders. We want to meet you where you are.
Whether you’re a CEO of a firm large or small, a director of marketing with a robust or nimble team, a public affairs director running solo or with boots on the ground, we’ve got the right experience with the right partnership perspective to help change the way you do business. It’s a bold statement. But we do it every day.