People First, Processes Last

I’ve been a part of the Distilled NYC team since the beginning. I distinctly remember my first day (just over 14 months ago), showing up to the office, saying hi to Tom Critchlow, configuring my new laptop, and thinking “what’s next?” Conversely, the subsequent next few months passed by in a blur - the office struggled, we didn’t have our own clients, and had prospects that just wouldn’t close. On top of it all, over half of the office had moved to NYC from out of the state / country to be a part of this team. Here we were, a team deep in the red in an unfamiliar city. And so, we painfully struggled (personally and professionally) for the next 6 months.

It’s not a rare story to hear about a business struggle. In fact, I’d vouch that’s the norm. What did surprise all of us was the team spirit and how we built a cultural framework around it. Each individual member of the team has different strengths, whether it be building relationships, establishing project frameworks, or even the intangibles, like loving a challenge. Ron is amazing at communication, Julianne owns planning and organizing, Chris relishes in building frameworks / owning challenges, John is a master of data / blogging / social media, and Pete at getting “stuff” done efficiently. Those differences have inspired us to acknowledge that we need each other, which has only allowed us to work more collaboratively together.

Doing so has produced amazing results - working on fulfilling projects and all of us owning less than exciting tasks because it helps the collective. As a team we know that ultimately, sustaining this office is everyone’s responsibility and we take that very seriously. And it’s also so important to celebrate victories. Recently, one of the more stoic members of our team came back from visiting a client and exclaimed to the rest of the team with a big grin “It was like magic!!” The energy was magnetic. It’s moments like these that are truly indescribable. 

Being a part of Distilled has been such a tremendous experience for me. As someone who thought they loved (and needed) processes and solid frameworks in the work environment, I’m starting to see how valuable it is to just trust the people I work with - that we will all make decisions with everyone’s best interest in mind, that although I’ll be continuously challenged, I will also be continuously supported, and that truly anything is possible.