Something I think too-easily (and too-often) gets left out of reviews of a new job is the office culture you step into, the set of company values you embrace and, of course, the people you work with. Beyond the routine and seemingly all-important concerns of salary, work assignments and enviable office views, what are our co-workers like and, more importantly, what is it like actually working with these new and unfamiliar people toward a common goal?
As many of you know, I’m (brand) new not only to Southern Weddings specifically but also to the wedding industry in general. I’m learning about the print world and wedding realm simultaneously, discovering new things about myself, my talents and my interests and, not surprisingly, making my fair share of mistakes along the way. But when it comes to really learning about a company, there’s no one quite like a newcomer to give you a fresh glimpse into the daily life, culture and people behind the pretty logo. Over the next weeks, I’ll be sharing with you more about the fabulous women of SW: how they live, work, interact and, most importantly, how they make things happen.
image :: David Murray Weddings
Indeed, here at SW, we are our own newer (and younger) Sex and the City foursome. And just like the iconic Carrie Bradshaw, Samantha Jones, Charlotte York and Miranda Hobbs, we each have our own unique history, personality and special skills. At any other company, large or small, I’m convinced we would be judged, defined and even remembered by our resumes, job titles and work experience alone. But while I certainly could rattle off my colleagues’ impressive stats and polished credentials (Lara, as the founder and owner of Bliss Event Group, publisher and editor-in-chief of Southern Weddings and front-woman of Lara Casey Reps, is the definition of a self-made and uber-successful entrepreneur; Emily, the recent summa cum laude Phi Beta Kappa grad from Wheaton, specializes both in discovering the most visionary and sought-after weddings for print and in creating truly inspirational inspiration boards; and Whitney, a rising sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill, is nothing short of Lara Casey’s right-hand woman), I see these amazing women in a slightly different and more personal light. And herein, I believe, lies the magic, novelty and genius of Southern Weddings.
image :: our labor of love
As a company, an office and a brand, Southern Weddings (and its women) are something special. We want to be real and approachable (not corporate) and strive for openness and transparency. Naturally, with our unique work focus comes an even more original office culture. Lara Casey is not only the founder, owner, editor and my boss, but also my mentor, teacher and inspiration. We start our day with a morning huddle. Most people dread going to their morning meetings, but this is my favorite part of day. We sit in the “office living room” – aka the comfy couch decked with designer pillows, several pedestal-esque ottomans and overstuffed chairs – and build excitement and a plan for the day. We end each morning huddle by reading something inspiring. Right now we’re into Tribes and are loving its effect on our daily attitude and approach. These morning huddles build a sense of community and solidify our shared purpose. My co-workers are not my competition but my counterparts, simultaneously integral and essential to my own success and the continued success of our work product and public image. What I cannot do, Emily does flawlessly and effortlessly; what comes slowly and painfully to me is second-nature to Whitney. We’re learning each day how to fill in the gaps for each other.
Certainly, every company insists they are a team and that their success is built on the strength and talent not of individuals but of the group as a whole. If we don’t connect as a team every day and feel renewed when we walk in the door (details on how we do that coming in future posts), we wouldn’t make things happen as often as we do… or have as much fun in the process! After only a short time here, I already can see that we are unique: we are not simply a small office that has no choice but to depend on one another to complete the day’s tasks, the month’s assignments and the year’s projects, but a group of women that is conditioned to treat our company, our work and, importantly, our relationships with both colleagues and clients differently than the rest of the working world. Quite simply: we break all the rules and succeed because of it.
image :: David Murray Weddings
I wish I could take credit for my sudden and admittedly radical change in perspective on the working world, but there’s something about working for Lara that encourages and, in fact, almost demands one completely revamp and revise her perspective of the professional world and her place in it. She has gone through quite a transition in the last few months and it’s so exciting to see the fruits of her many efforts beginning to show. We’re pushing new boundaries. It is precisely by pushing these boundaries and challenging accepted conventions of how business is done and how employees should interact with one another that allows Southern Weddings to grow, thrive and continue to wow!
Still want to know more about the girls behind the magazine? Check back for all the exciting details about our professional and personal lives together as the lovely ladies of Southern Weddings.
Love from the Southland,