2018 Firewood Year in Review

Exhilarating: This is the word we feel best represents our last 12 months here at Firewood. We opened new offices in new cities, added clients, and neared the milestone of hiring our 300th employee. Before we fully leap into 2019, join us for a final farewell to 2018—another memorable year!

We turned seven!

A lot has changed in seven years. If you walked into the 2011 Firewood Marketing office, you would’ve found exactly two people—founders Juan and Lanya Zambrano—in a converted wine storage closet located in the wine country town of Glen Ellen, CA. Now Firewood has seven offices globally. What hasn’t changed is that we’re still surrounded by clients and peers who we’re proud to also call friends.

We ended the year with 290 employees

On January 1, 2018, there were 178 of us and we wondered, Can this growth continue? If we’d had a Magic 8 Ball, the answer would have been a resounding “yes!” Our head count has grown along with our success, yet our core values have stayed the same. And, as proof of these values, we were humbled and honored to earn, for the first time ever, recognition as one of the 2018 Bay Area Best Places To Work, an awards program presented by the San Francisco Business Times and the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Hello, New York!

And London, Mexico City, and Mountain View, CA. Our growth this year was local and global. To accommodate all the new Firewoodians around the world, we opened four new offices—plus we upgraded our office in Dublin to a shiny new location.

Our amazing holiday party: equal parts urban and urbane

Beautiful venue + amazing food + festive drinks + fun coworkers who are also friends = a good time for all. But all good things must end (hence the tears).

We continue to pay it forward

Since day one, we’ve believed that with success comes the responsibility to help others. Nothing gives us more pride and satisfaction than paying it forward, and we do so by supporting organizations that share our vision for helping the underserved and disenfranchised.

Firewood in the Field, our giving-back platform, allows us to directly support organizations through financial contributions, donated marketing time, and volunteer efforts including pro-bono digital marketing efforts using Google Ads.

One of the organizations we’ve supported with our Firewood in the Field efforts is Lava Mae, which restores dignity to San Francisco’s homeless population by delivering hygiene services and products. We were introduced to this amazing organization two years ago, and our partnership continues to inspire all of us, due to the impact they are making in our community and beyond.

This video only scratches the surface of our experience partnering with Lava Mae:

A part of our Firewood in the Field platform is what we fondly call our Season of Giving. In this holiday tradition, we ask Firewoodians to nominate causes that are near and dear to their hearts. We review the submissions and then select a few standouts among the many worthy organizations. The following selected organizations were announced at our holiday party and each were awarded a $10,000 donation.

Project Avary: Being a kid with a parent in prison is hard—and the emotional needs of kids whose parents are imprisoned are often overlooked. Project Avary, a Marin County-based organization, provides mentor leadership programs to children between 8 and 11 years old and their families. The program makes a commitment to each child to provide 10 years of support, resources, guidance, and training, helping them build resilience, gain self-confidence, and develop basic social and life skills.

LifeMoves: Direct, rapid engagement can mean all the difference when helping homeless families and individuals return to long-term self-sufficiency. LifeMoves helps bring stability to people’s lives by providing interim housing that’s safe, clean, and modern. They also offer nutritious food, counseling and mental health support, therapeutic childcare and after-school activities, and job and housing search assistance.

ACLU Foundation of Northern California: The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California is an enduring guardian of justice, fairness, equality, and freedom that works to protect and advance civil liberties for all Californians. For nearly a century, the ACLU of Northern California has been at the heart of many of the major—and sometimes controversial—struggles for civil liberties. They fight to ensure that constitutional rights don’t just exist on paper, but also in practice.

Women’s Aid: A national organization that supports women who are victims of domestic abuse and violence across Ireland, Women’s Aid operates a 24/7 helpline, and offers one-to-one support and court accompaniment services, as well as training and development opportunities to women experiencing abusive relationships.

CanTeen Ireland: CanTeen Ireland is a nationwide support group for young people ages 12–25 who currently have, or have had, cancer. The organization hosts numerous activities and events, and seeks to build a community for its members to support, develop, and empower them as they address the challenges of living with cancer.

The Honor Roll

Many of our people received well-deserved promotions. Here is the list, in no particular order:

 Stephanie Reyes, promoted to Account Director  Valerie Keeranan, promoted to Sr. Digital Marketing Manager  Lauren Hebert, promoted to Marketing Manager  Lianne Hong, promoted to Project Manager Meghan Patrick-Crane, promoted to Senior Talent Manager Dustin McDavid, promoted to Art Director  Deb Rodriguez, promoted to Account Manager  Matt Markovich, promoted to Associate Creative Director, Technical Writer  Sam Pantuev, promoted to Digital Marketing Manager  Julia Vitaro, promoted to Account Manager Dina Tavares, promoted to Account Director  Dave Sechko, promoted to Senior Account Director  Jenna Nelson, promoted to Operations Manager Kenji Hagiwara, promoted to Senior Analyst  Sabrina Kiel, promoted to Senior Digital Marketing Manager, Team Lead  Al Pontes, promoted to Senior Digital Marketing Manager, Team Lead  Jessica Wehage, promoted to VP, Group Account Director, Events  Jeff Reese, promoted to VP, Group Account Director, Incentives and Content Sonia Chandra, promoted to Senior Creative Operations Manager Katherine Carter, promoted to Creative Operations Manager  Freesia Rafello, promoted to Events Manager  Alana Hatcher, promoted to Associate Director, Recruiting  Tulsi Gandhi, promoted to Director, Digital Marketing  Maria Grimaldi, promoted to Senior Account Manager  Kelly Mashura, promoted to Associate Director, Events  Kat Killeen, promoted to Associate Director, Events  Lindsay Anderson, promoted to Events Manager  Maridette De Guzman, promoted to VP, Group Account Director  Jessica Woodruff, promoted to HR Manager Rachel Noce, promoted to Senior Marketing Manager  Jenn Colby, promoted to Associate Director, SEO  Judy Brown-Perry, promoted to Payroll Manager/Senior Accountant  Sean Dunnigan, promoted to Senior Copywriter  Nathan White, promoted to Senior Digital Marketing Manager  Jennifer Leonard, promoted to Account Director Brian Huo, promoted to Senior Digital Marketing Manager  Yueling Luo, promoted to Senior Analyst Alan Cuevas, promoted to Digital Marketing Manager  Kristin Whalen, promoted to Account Director Henry Cardenas, promoted to Director, Digital Marketing  Adam Wright, promoted to Senior Account Manager Hime Hagiwara, promoted to Senior Digital Project Manager John Leung, promoted to Senior Digital Marketing Manager  Spencer King, promoted to Senior Manager, Media Strategy  Allie Fabiani, promoted to Project Manager, Technical  Bethany Leonard, promoted to Associate Director, Financial Analysis Ahmed Soliman, promoted to Senior Developer • Seulgi Ho, promoted to Design Director John Wegner, promoted to Senior Art Director Brian Finucane, promoted to Creative Director • Morgan McIlwain, promoted to Senior Art Director Gray Joyce, promoted to Associate Group Creative Director  Marco Iannucci, promoted to Senior Director of Strategy  Katy Volo, promoted to Senior Director of Strategy  Meaghan Davenport, promoted to Senior Director Director II, Strategy  Dave Sechko, promoted to Senior Account Director II Tina Applegate, promoted to Account Director  Angela Neri, promoted to Copy Director  Curtis Green, promoted to Creative Director  Ciara Dunne, promoted to Associate Events Manager  Callum Edwards, promoted to Account Director • Kelly Mashura, promoted to Senior Account Manager  Liza Mock, promoted to Senior Copywriter  Ashlie Tubb, promoted to Associate Marketing Director  Thorne Washington, promoted to Senior Digital Marketing Manager I  Valerie Keeranan, promoted to Associate Director, Growth Marketing  Brian Huo, promoted to Associate Director, Growth Marketing  Brian Verbaken, promoted to Senior Analyst II  Sabrina Kiel, promoted to Associate Director, Growth Marketing  Jason Wilson, promoted to Associate Director, Growth Marketing  Spencer King, promoted to Associate Director, Media Strategy • Brendan Tugnao, promoted to Senior Manager, Media Strategy II  Kelli Shine, promoted to Senior Manager, Communications and Operations  Nathan White, promoted to Associate Director, Growth Marketing  Hime Hagiwara, promoted to User Experience Research Manager • Matt Sgro, promoted to Global Digital Programs Manager  Stacie Katz, promoted to Director of Production  Fallon Davis, promoted to Senior Production Designer Harrison Karlin, promoted to Senior Art Director  Kris Belau, promoted to VP, Digital Marketing  Lena Vasserman, promoted to Account Director  Kelton Zenishek, promoted to Office Manager Seulgi Ho, promoted to Creative Director  Angela Neri, promoted to Creative Director  Jerod Garner, promoted to Senior Digital Marketing Manager I  Zach Rudolph, promoted to Business Systems Analyst April Huff, promoted to Associate Director, Strategy  Janet McKasson, promoted to Lead Proofreader  Jess Kaihoi, promoted to Creative Director

We did a lot of team building

As one of our senior managers likes to say, “Hire people you would like to have a beer or a cup of coffee with.” We agree and we do get together regularly at offsites, monthly happy hours, picnics, fun runs, etc. And we always seem to have a camera or two on hand.

As one of our senior managers likes to say, “Hire people you would like to have a beer or a cup of coffee with.” We agree and we do get together regularly at offsites, monthly happy hours, picnics, fun runs, etc. And we always seem to have a camera or two on hand.

And we managed to fit in some really great work

Google Pride

We were honored this year to help Google build a global Pride campaign, #ThisIsFamily. It took our team on a journey that stretched our limits and reminded us what it means to be loved. #ThisIsFamily challenged the heteronormative lens through which we think about family constructs—and pushed us to consider the experiences of families that look different from our own.

Overall, #ThisIsFamily performed better on all key metrics than Google’s 2017 Pride campaign and enabled Google to match user donations to their nonprofit partners, up to $100K, during the month of June.

Firewood Brand Refresh

We officially hit refresh on our brand and launched our creative reel. Check out our work and see the great brands we represented!

Some tied the knot. Some had babies. Some just wanted to have fun.

Firewood brides this year included Tara Parente, Sabrina Kiel, and Piper Cook, and Firewood grooms Kevin Gu and Adam King each said “I do” to their new brides—and Adam took the house-buying plunge as well! Julia Vitaro and her husband, Etienne, took a belated honeymoon to Australia and New Zealand. Future bride Morgan McIlwain asked a fellow Firewoodian, Rachel Carranza, to be maid of honor for her big day. And we added some new babies to the family. Meaghan Tiernan and her husband welcomed a cutie named Avery. Logesh Kumaar and his wife welcomed a very smart-looking  Zaden, with irresistibly chubby baby cheeks. Kris Belau and his wife had their hearts stolen by the adorable Adelaide. And Iris Yau and her husband welcomed the “best present ever,” the too cute Lily. Our Idaho team got creative with their lunch-hour workout, and the always fearless Stephanie Arata went to a surf camp in Costa Rica. (Go, Stephanie!)

Cheers to a great year and an even greater year ahead!