Leighton's Methodology - aka How I Left My Decade+ Career in Cinema Advertising to Join the #TransparentTribe

Culture, Inbound Marketing, Strategy


As the PR & Social Media Chair for AAFCM- American Advertising Federation of Central Minnesota, it’s my job to know. To just KNOW. Find, Friend, Follow, Connect with the agencies, companies, freelancers, students, schools, promoters of our club and its components. I was urged to join this club, which is 100% straight pro-bono, BTW, when my company’s corporate health started to show signs of decay over three years ago.

There were changes then in 2011 that had me thinking, ‘yeah, I should make some new friends with all those People & Places Downtown,’ not knowing what those changes would entail, or even if they would affect me. In that vein, I Found, Friended, Followed, & Connected with Leighton Interactive. Through my affiliation with AAFCM, I was attracted to them instantly. Their Facebook page- the crazy antics, hijinks, debauchery, and genuine awesomeness.

Their office space- exposed brick, windows overlooking St. Germain, the legitimate beer fridge in their conference room.

Their employees- bright, bubbly, exuberant shiny happy faces and the level of talent they possessed. The entire … everything … about them was attractive.

From AAFCM’s point of view, the Leighton Interactive employees on our board were so supported and encouraged to participate at 100% by Leighton Interactive, just as our club’s bylaws require, or at least encourage. We could always count on Leighton Interactive to host our meetings, pay our fees, be our sponsor, attend our events, and support our mission. They are, actually, the agency that proves their work works.



As I mentioned, in 2011 my corporate culture did indeed undergo some change. Long story short, 2014 proved to be furthering along those lines. Yes, I had a good job, a boatload of responsibility and tenure, and great health benefits. After I hit 12 years in that role, I figured the Gold Watch was mine for the taking a few more decades down the road.

I wasn’t even in the Awareness Stage of the Buyer’s Journey regarding my career. 2015 held promise of continuance of my current role at yet another company, one who was fighting the Federal Government to take over its competitor, which happened to be the company currently signing my paychecks and buying my plane tickets to every square inch of the lower 48. I was aware things would change- office space and logistics and corporate zip codes but that I had all done before.

On November 3, 2014, I sat at an AAFCM board meeting at Marco, and filled my board in on my previous week’s findings from a work conference in Miami, and then let them all know of the little merger update. At this point, Simone said, ‘We’re hiring. You could send Jen an email,’ and my heart rate sped up my voice for me as I rushed to thank her. At that moment in 11 seconds flat, I went from awareness straight into consideration.

Email Jen? Effing A Right I would. I drove home obeying zero percent of traffic laws and spilled into my entryway and told my family, ‘I AM EMAILING JEN’. They didn’t know what that meant.


I did email her and what I thought would be a casual exchange, perhaps including a phone call or extending an invite to meet for coffee, turned into her requesting resumé. Resumé? The last one I had prepared and presented had been created in Microsoft Word for me… by my Dad… in 2002 when I was a brand-new college grad. This was when George W. Bush was in office and I didn’t even have a mobile phone number to add to my resume. That 2002.

I managed to whittle 12.5 years of work onto a single page and hoped like hell someone from Leighton Interactive wouldn’t comment on the fact I’d produced it (again) using trusty ol’ Microsoft Word. That first meeting with Jen included Dan, who was nearing the end of his Movember challenge and as he shook my hand, he apologized for his ironic mustache quickly adding it was for charity. The best ones always are.

That hour-long meeting was incredible. I know that’s an overused buzz word, but it truly encapsulated what I experienced in that office. As I spoke, I began to realize how badly I craved change, how I wanted to do something new, make my brain develop a few more folds, push myself out of my comfort zone, and here I was in the decision stage- I wanted the change and newness to only come from Leighton Interactive.

I didn’t even know I wanted it when I plugged the meter prior to walking up the stairs to that office. As Jen and Dan spoke of their crew, ideas, and future, I was sold. That meeting required a second where I met Travis and together, he and Dan showed me … everything. That’s how transparent these guys are. Every goal, every number, every strategy, every plan - they trusted me with it all that very day.


As far as the methodology goes, delight is an ongoing, evolving process, but it certainly hasn’t required that genesis for me. From the job offer lunch through new hire HR stuff and supporting me as I quit my first-ever job (I had to Google the best practices on topic, BTW) and including me as much as possible even before my first day, Leighton Interactive has delighted me to my very core.

My first day, Travis wore a tie. He’d likely consider it a coincidence, but I have my theory.

My workspace was set up as promised, included an awesome welcome basket from my tribe, and I was treated as an equal from the get-go and had 14 people join me for a welcome lunch. Just as he did on June 25, 2002- my first day in corporate America, my Dad checked in on me. ‘Well?’ he asked. I told him they gave me new notebooks AND a stapler. Things I was required to furnish myself on my last, first day.

Maybe I’m a girl who appreciates the little things, but these simple standards proves Leighton Interactive is who they say they are- just like OUR audience: driven, passionate, and will work as hard as necessary to make OUR clients successful. So here I am in the Delight phase, sharing and promoting Leighton Interactive's Methodology and hoping it attracts people even more rad than I am. 

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