2019 Year in Review

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Mind-blowing. That pretty much sums up the past 12 months here at Firewood! A groundbreaking year marked with milestones across virtually every area that’s important to us. But now that we’ve changed decades and kissed the teens goodbye, sit back, grab some popcorn, and join us for a recap of 2019.

We grew our family

In 2019 Firewood reached a record 345 employees! Since our very first two “employees” (our co-founders Lanya and Juan Zambrano) in 2010 to 355 Firewoodians strong at the writing of this post, the real accomplishment has been building a thriving business on principle. Good people truly are good business.

And our family got even bigger and cooler—expanding to include 1,800+ people in 23+ countries, and over 50 nationalities—when we merged with MediaMonks in October and joined the S4 family of media companies. Since then, we’ve continued the Firewood way—delivering the speed, quality, and value our clients have grown to expect. With an even larger global presence and network of talented colleagues, we’ll continue to expand our always-on support across regions in 2020, enhancing speed and scale without compromising quality.

The C-suite got even sweeter

We stepped up our game thanks to two amazing people. In March, Amy Michael moved into a senior leadership role as Firewood’s chief revenue officer and has continued to lead the expansion of our services and offerings to new and existing clients. Amy came to Firewood four years ago from the client side of the agency-client relationship, where she drove global innovation at some of the world’s biggest brands, including Visa. Fun fact: Amy and her husband own E-Yearbook, a company that digitizes old high school, college, and military yearbooks

And in September, Warren Marenco Chase joined Firewood as our first chief operating officer, driving our growth efforts company-wide across business development, strategy, technology, and LATAM expansion. Warren came to Firewood from Verizon—where he was COO of 140, the in-house creative agency at Verizon that he helped build—and a long career at BBDO. Fun fact: Warren led teams that created campaigns for the National Tourism Boards of both Costa Rica and Panama.

We brought home some precious medals

2019 proved to be a milestone year for Firewood. We topped the charts in the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s list of Largest Agencies in Silicon Valley, were recognized as part of the 2020 Chief Marketer 200, and made the list of Adweek’s Fastest Growing Agencies––ranking #42 overall and #6 on the Top 10 Large Agencies list.

And our Dublin team brought home our first awards in Ireland, winning both silver and bronze in the An Post Smart Marketing Awards for their work with Salesforce.org on The Nonprofit Digital Marketer Report. While our work in collaboration with Google for Pride, called #ThisIsFamily, was awarded an honorable mention in Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas awards.

We made things we’re proud of

In 2019, we focused on a digital-first, always-on approach delivering over 2,000 projects to more than 100 client teams in five time zones (whew!) spanning strategy, creative, technology, performance media, and events. 

Here’s a sampling of some very cool projects we partnered on with a few of our biggest clients:

  • Google | Pride Forever. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Pride and provide a platform to connect the worldwide LGBTQ+ community, we were honored to partner with Google to create Pride Forever, a tribute to the past that carried Pride forward and was embraced globally by diverse LGBTQ+ communities, going live in 41 global markets and 16 languages. 
  • Google | Google Cloud Select. We collaborated with our partners at Google Cloud to design Google Cloud Onboarding, an integrated customer success and onboarding program that provides a personalized and customized experience for enterprise accounts. We also executed the program end to end with Google Cloud customers and cross-functional teams supporting program build, website design, content strategy, and event management.
  • LinkedIn | Small Is Mighty. This anthemic concept we created with the LinkedIn Consumer/SMB team for National Small Business Week 2019 celebrates how powerful small businesses are and encourages participants to share their experiences on LinkedIn. 
  • Cummins and GILLIG | Electric Bus Launch Campaign. Global power technology leader Cummins and GILLIG, the leading manufacturer of heavy-duty transit buses in the US, partnered to launch a new electric bus. We were thrilled when they chose us as their agency partner for campaign strategy, concept and execution.
  • YouTube | YouTube Music, Premium, TV, Kids. Our team provided creative work in YouTube growth marketing subscription channels—including YouTube Music, Premium, TV, and Kids—and partnered with YouTube on a range of projects including email, app notifications, and video.
  • Facebook | Spark AR. We partnered with Spark AR on a series of creative deliverables that were used to seed the market leading up to the 2.0 product launch at F8 2019, Facebook’s annual developer conference.

Take a peek at just a few of our 2019 campaigns.

We did things we’re passionate about

Community involvement and giving back have always been integral to the Firewood mission. Since the beginning, we’ve believed it’s our responsibility to support organizations that champion human dignity. That’s what sparked the creation of Firewood in the Field, our giving-back platform that allows us to directly support organizations through financial contributions, donated marketing time, and volunteer efforts. Since its inception, we’ve built numerous partnerships with nonprofits, providing digital marketing support by managing Google Ad Grants accounts and launching social media campaigns, among other things. In 2019 we supported the following organizations in their digital marketing efforts:

 

 

 

Giving back: fighting fire with fire 

Unfortunately, the wildfire season—and the serious impact it can have on our communities—has become much more prominent here in California. This past year was a devastating time for Californians—many of us lived without electricity, and many others were displaced by the fires. The American Red Cross for the Northern California Coastal Region needed financial support to assist California fire victims in need of food, shelter, clothing, medical supplies, and other support to help them rebuild their lives. And Firewoodians answered the call. Between employee donations and a matching donation from Firewood, we raised over $20,000 to support those affected. 

Thanksgiving donation to Raphael House

Each year during the week prior to Thanksgiving, we like to change things up for the benefit of others. Every week during the year we host an all-team lunch featuring a different local restaurant. But during the week prior to Thanksgiving, instead of ordering in for the team, we hold a company-wide Thanksgiving potluck and donate the money saved to a charity. When Raphael House, a charity we’ve supported in the past, coincidently reached out, we knew it was meant to be. So, this year we kept with tradition, brought in our favorite home cooked Turkey Day dishes, and contributed to the Raphael House Giving Tuesday fundraiser.

Season of Giving

Here at Firewood we have a holiday tradition that’s seven years’ strong: our annual Season of Giving. Each year, we invite our employees to nominate local charities and organizations worthy of a donation and pro bono work from Firewood. And this year—on behalf of our clients—we increased the amount of each donation to over $11,000, bringing the 2019 Season of Giving donation to a total of $57,200. 

Here are the organizations we selected for Firewood’s 2019 Season of Giving program:

The diaTribe Foundation: Diabetes is a serious disease, posing one of the largest challenges in the United States: one in seven American adults already has diabetes. To fight this growing crisis, The diaTribe Foundation was founded with a mission to improve the lives of people with diabetes, prediabetes, and obesity, and to advocate for action.

Sensational Kids: Sensational Kids is an award-winning nonprofit that has changed the lives of more than 6,000 children. Operating three child development centers across Ireland, they provide frontline therapeutic services for children with additional needs, ensuring that these children have access to vital support when and where they need it.

Larkin Street Youth Services: On any given night in San Francisco, more than 1,100 young people are on the city’s streets without a safe place to call home, often through no fault of their own. From outreach and housing to health, education, and employment, Larkin Street offers the comprehensive services a young person needs to end the cycle of homelessness and create a permanent pathway out of poverty.

Alliance of Moms: Young adults aging out of foster care have a significantly increased risk of homelessness, economic instability and poverty. In Los Angeles, 58% of young women in foster care experience at least one pregnancy by age 19 and their children have a higher likelihood of entering foster care themselves. Alliance of Moms’s mission is to help break the intergenerational cycle of foster care by offering educational programs to young parents in the foster care system with a focus on practical tools that empower them to build resilient families and become informed parents who can give their babies a healthy childhood.

Bay Area Nonviolent Communication: BayNVC is home to a number of projects and groups working under the same umbrella to apply and promote the principles and practices of Nonviolent Communication. Most of these are operated and run by BayNVC staff and trainers and include private sessions, classes, organizational services, retreats, and a variety of projects designed for social transformation. 

We team-built like it was our job 

Here at Firewood we believe a company is only as good as the company it keeps. And with so much good company, we like to regularly get together––whether we’re making grilled cheese sandos in San Francisco, doing Savasana in Sandpoint, or graffitiing in Lisbon.

We got funky fresh during the holidays 

We ate, we drank, we sang, we laughed. All was merry and bright (cue the lasers) at the North American offices’ ’80s-themed “Galaxica” holiday bash in San Francisco and overlooking spectacular Lisbon at the EMEA team’s holiday gathering.

The Honor Roll   

Congratulations to the 80+ Firewoodians who were promoted this year! They’re an amazing group of people, all of them rockstars in their own fields, who make their colleagues proud every single day:

Kyle Kemp, promoted to Associate Creative Director, Design; Jeff Reese, promoted to SVP, Group Account Director; Amy Michael, promoted to Chief Revenue Officer; Linda O’Connor, promoted to VP, Group Account Director; Katie Dunne, promoted to Account Director; Caoimhín Magee, promoted to Senior Designer/Art Director; Steven O’Rourke, promoted to Senior Copywriter; Anya Stafford, promoted to Associate Creative Director; James Stafford, promoted to Designer (Art Director); Gabriela Chavarría, promoted to Senior Events Manager; Veli Akman, promoted to Creative Director; Sindhuja Ambadasugari, promoted to Manager, Media Strategy II; Ala Bishop, promoted to Senior Creative Operations Manager; Alexander Callsen, promoted to Senior Motion Designer/Senior Art Director; Jaimee Capili, promoted to Senior Digital Marketing Manager I; Leanne Chabalko, promoted to Creative Director; Kevin Chen, promoted to Senior Manager Media Strategy I; Alan Cuevas, promoted to Manager, Media Strategy II; Trevor Dawson, promoted to Creative Director; Jeffrey Deamer, promoted to Associate Creative Director; Eric Deanda, promoted to Senior Digital Marketing Manager I, Paid Media; Bethanne English, promoted to Director, Creative Operations; Kayla Gravel, promoted to Sr Payroll Specialist/HR Associate; Maria Grimaldi, promoted to Associate Account Director; Alana Hatcher, promoted to Director, Recruiting; Lauren Hebert, promoted to Senior Account Manager; Maggie Hunt, promoted to Account Manager; Cat Kidd, promoted to Senior Proofreader; Mamou Kilambi, promoted to Senior Digital Marketing Manager I, Social; Matty Klemanski, promoted to Associate Creative Director; Logesh Kumaar, promoted to Senior Manager, Media Strategy I; Cindy Leong, promoted to Senior Digital Marketing Manager I, Paid Media; Milton Martinez Velazquez, promoted to Senior Production Designer; Bridget McAnany, promoted to Associate Account Director; Jonathan Oei, promoted to Senior Digital Marketing Manager I, Paid Media; Angeles Oviedo, promoted to Senior Digital Marketing Manager I, Paid Media; Shwetha Pandit, promoted to Senior Digital Marketing Manager I, Paid Media; Meghan Patrick-Crane, promoted to Associate Director, Talent Management; Leah Pincus, promoted to Associate Creative Director; Jung Ah Rha, promoted to Senior Digital Marketing Manager I, Paid Media; Rebecca Routs, promoted to Account Director; Gerard Talampas, promoted to Creative Director; Gladys Tsang, promoted to Senior Digital Marketing Manager I, Paid Media; Joyce Wagner, promoted to Associate Group Account Director; Katie Ward, promoted to Associate Director, Events; Thorne Washington, promoted to Senior Digital Marketing Manager II; Becca Wolf, promoted to Associate Account Director; Iris Yau, promoted to Associate Strategy Director; Jill Mattis, promoted to Account Director; Harrison Karlin, promoted to Associate Creative Director; Katya Black, promoted to Associate Group Account Director; Rachel Carranza, promoted to Senior Office Operations & Facilities Manager; Tulsi Gandhi, promoted to Senior Director, Growth Marketing; Deborah Rodriguez, promoted to Senior Account Manager; Colleen Whalen, promoted to Creative Operations Manager; Sonia Chandra, promoted to Associate Director, Creative & People Operations; Kat Killeen, promoted to Events Director; Kara Shell, promoted to Associate Group Account Director; Kat Kirkman, promoted to Creative Operations Coordinator; Julia Vitaro, promoted to Senior Account Manager; Lindsay Anderson, promoted to Senior Account Manager; Fallon Davis, promoted to Art Director; Tony Landgraf, promoted to Associate Creative Director; Erik Gonzalez, promoted to Associate Creative Director; Selena Welz, promoted to Associate Creative Director, Technical Writer; Kelly Mashura, promoted to Associate Account Director; Meagan Bradshaw, promoted to Senior Account Director; Tanya Munson, promoted to Associate Director, Financial Analysis; Zhenni Zhang, promoted to Senior Recruiter; Kelly Gube, promoted to Associate Creative Director; Sarah Henderson, promoted to Senior Account Manager; Chibuzo Okoro, promoted to Senior Strategist; Sal Taj, promoted to Strategist; Freesia Rafello, promoted to Senior Events Manager; Hannah Louis, promoted to Senior Events Manager; Alessandra Cigna, promoted to Events Manager; Mary Grundy, promoted to SVP, Group Account Director; Allie Fabiani, promoted to Senior Technical Project Manager; Micaela Cadotte, promoted to Senior Digital Marketing Manager I, Paid Media; Eli Mashlenko, promoted to Senior Digital Marketing Manager I, Paid Media; Laura Davis, promoted to VP, Group Account Director; Meaghan Davenport, promoted to VP, Strategy; Kevin Gu, promoted to Account Director; Ashley McGovern, promoted to Associate Account Director; Irene Garcia, promoted to Account Director

Wow!

Another amazing, phenomenal—some might even say “galactic”—year! What a great way to close out the teens and move into a new decade. Stay tuned for more to come in 2020!


About Firewood Team

Firewood is a global digital marketing agency founded on the idea that good people are good business. With a model that focuses on speed, quality, and value, it partners with top tech brands, startups, and Fortune 500 companies—including Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, VMware, Salesforce, Cummins, and other key clients—providing strategy and insights, creative, performance media, events, and technology services. Firewood was named an Ad Age Best Place to Work 2020, ranking No. 13 of the Top 25 (201+ employees). Firewood was also ranked No.1 on the list of largest advertising, marketing, and PR agencies in Silicon Valley by the Silicon Valley Business Journal (2019), and No. 6 (large agencies) on the Adweek 100 Fastest Growing Agencies (2019) list. Founded in 2010, Firewood is headquartered in San Francisco with seven offices in four countries and nearly 400 employees. In October 2019, Firewood merged with global creative production company MediaMonks to become the digital marketing arm of S4 Capital (SFOR.L). Learn more at http://www.firewoodmarketing.com.