jenna gibson - aae - ketner group

Meet Jenna Gibson, Our New Assistant Account Executive

Hi! My name is Jenna Gibson, and I’m so excited to be joining the Ketner Group team as an assistant account executive.

Growing up, I knew that no matter what job I would have, I wanted to do at least one thing: write. When I was little, I wanted to be an author or a journalist, but through experience, I’ve found my niche in PR. 

From journalism to PR: I love to write

In 2019, I graduated from Millsaps College, where I majored in Communication Studies and English Literature. I started writing for the college newspaper and freelancing locally, but I quickly realized that marketing and PR piqued my interest in journalism.

After graduating, I started working as a copywriter at Creative Distillery, a boutique advertising agency in Jackson, Mississippi. My past experience has primarily centered on content development and social media for nonprofits and retail businesses.

From my experience with journalism to my current work in PR, I have loved getting the chance to tell a client’s story, and I’m so happy to put my skills to good use at Ketner Group, diving head first into the retail technology industry. 

From Mississippi to Austin: exploring a new city

I moved to Austin from Mississippi in June 2021, and it’s been so fun getting to explore the city.

Over the last few months, I’ve enjoyed spending time at different parks, visiting the library, taking kickboxing classes, and trying new restaurants and coffee shops.

When I’m not out and about, I’m spending time with my chihuahua Raymond, reading celebrity memoirs and contemporary fiction, or watching late-night sitcoms on TV.

Odie-and-Stacee

Get To Know Our New Account Executive: Stacee Collins

Howdy, I’m Stacee Collins!

I’m thrilled to be joining the Ketner Group team as the newest account executive. I come from an agency background, and am so excited to dive deeper into the world of retail tech. But when I was a freshman in college, I had no idea PR would become my career path. 

At Texas State University, I pursued a degree in journalism — reporting, copy editing and running social for the university’s newspaper. It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I was introduced to PR, and when I took my first intro class, I knew I was passionate about it. So, I transferred to The University of Texas at Austin as a junior and began building up my experience in the field.

Throughout my internships, I learned more about PR for sustainable energy, food and beverage and advertising technology. I ultimately landed a full-time role after graduation at Blast PR, where I spent the last three years driving success for adtech clients through media relations, speaking and awards and content management. 

Making client stories come to life

What I learned throughout all of those experiences is that I absolutely love making client stories come to life.

Whether it’s sifting through mounds of data to find the most compelling pieces of the puzzle, crafting engaging award nominations to establish clients as thought leaders or simply cultivating relationships with clients and reporters alike — I love the world of PR and am beyond happy and thankful I get to do this work every day. 

Enjoying my spare time

Other things that make me happy include: growing my frog collection, hiking with my sweet dog Odie, playing Donkey Kong on my Super Nintendo, discovering new music, taking care of my succulents, exploring Austin’s best happy hour spots and spending the weekend working on a good puzzle.

I may or may not be a grandma trapped inside a 24-year-old body, but at least I’m a grandma who is a part of Team Awesome now!

ketner group parent culture

Parenthood at Ketner Group: Creating an Inclusive Environment for Working Parents

I’m just going to say it, being a working parent is not always easy. No matter what age our kids are, the juggling act that we as full-time working moms and dads perform is not for the faint of heart. We must figure out how to coordinate and balance countless doctor appointments, dance practices, baseball games and various school functions with our work priorities. We sometimes have to be two places at once, all the while worrying how we are going to get it all done.

Life happens, which is why at Ketner Group, we do all that we can to make the surprising and wonderful world of parenthood a little bit easier for our team.

This is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart, as I was the first employee in the agency to go through the maternity leave process (twice), and I know first-hand what it is like to be a working parent at Ketner Group. We put a huge emphasis on being a family-first agency, making sure that all employees have a healthy work-life balance.

That’s not always the case in this country. According to Small Business Trends, 66% of full-time employees do not have a good work-life balance and 33% of Americans are working on weekends and holidays.

We have worked very hard as an agency to keep a family-friendly culture, ensuring that working parents feel supported, heard and understood. Let’s take a closer look at how.

“I’m expecting!”

Telling your company that your family is expecting should be a joyous occasion, not one filled with anxiety and fear.

At Ketner Group, we have always rallied behind our employees anytime there is a birth announcement. (Full transparency, we have had a total of three employees, including me, that have gone on maternity leave while working for Ketner Group.)

ketner group maternity leave

Ketner Group currently provides three months of paid maternity leave to employees. This is a policy that we wanted to provide, ensuring that families do not miss a paycheck during those very special three months and reinforcing our commitment to being a family-first agency.

We feel very fortunate to be able to offer this to our employees, given it is not something many small businesses are willing to do. According to a Department of Labor survey, only 12% of employees at businesses with fewer than 50 employees have access to explicit paid parental or family leave benefits and only 28% have access to paid medical leave.

During the time between the official announcement is made to the team and when an employee goes on maternity leave, we get to the business of planning for that leave. That includes making the announcement official to our clients, making adjustments to team leads and handing off any other agency tasks to other team members.

And of course, Ketner Group loves to celebrate, so we throw baby showers for the parents-to-be! The past year has not slowed us down in that department, either – we have already thrown two virtual baby showers for Amanda Reed and Kirsty Goodlett – complete with sweet treats and fun baby gifts! (For a good laugh, check out the song Jeff wrote celebrating Amanda’s baby.)

During leave, we make sure to only reach out to those employees for important updates and fun company gatherings – otherwise, we want them to enjoy their time with family.

“My kid has strep throat…again!”

Being a parent is truly a full-time job. The needs of children don’t just stop during the 9-5 workday. That is why we have created a culture of flexible work schedules for all employees, but this is a policy that is especially critical for working parents.

When my kids were younger, I felt like I lived at the pediatrician’s office! I can’t tell you how many times I had to email my team early in the morning, and a few times in the middle of the night, to let them know I wouldn’t be in because of a sick child. There were also many, many times I had to stop what I was doing during the middle of the workday to run to the daycare or elementary school to pick up a sick kid or leave work early or come in late because of a special occasion at school.

working family ketner group

Never once, however, did I worry about how these parent errands or last-minute emergencies would affect my job. I knew I had the support of my team and would not be penalized or judged for needing to do what I needed to as a parent.

When it comes to being a parent at Ketner Group, flexibility and support is the name of the game.

During the summer months, my kids often spent time with me at the office when I didn’t have a summer camp planned or childcare available. They always enjoyed those days because it meant getting to draw for hours on the big white board or getting to have a cool “grown up” lunch with Mom! Never once did my team make me feel bad for bringing my children up to the office, they were always kind to them and made them feel welcomed.

“I got a promotion!”

Of course, the elephant in the room when it comes to being a working parent is whether planned and unplanned time away from the office will affect one’s career. In short, at Ketner Group, it doesn’t.

We believe that bringing a new life into the world and putting family first does not mean the end of someone’s long-term career goals. All of our employees are important to us and being a parent doesn’t require anyone to take two steps back.

ketner group parent career

In my time at Ketner Group, while also going through two pregnancies, maternity leaves and the countless times my children needed to come before work priorities, I continued to work hard and was promoted to account manager, director, vice president and most recently as president of the agency. Being a parent at our agency does not put a warning mark on you, and it never will.

2020 and 2021 have been tough years for all working parents, especially mothers, and we continue to do all that we can to make the transition of a being a hybrid remote/in-person company as easy on working parents as possible. There have been plenty of Zoom calls over the past year that have included our kids on the screen, whether it was planned or not!

“I can have it all!”

I’m not going to lie, being a working parent can often be a hard gig, no matter how wonderful your company is – and that is the truth!

There is the ever-present parent guilt combined with the worry that you are never doing enough at the office. But there is a silver lining! Once you get the hang of things, it is the most rewarding experience you could ever have, especially if you work for a supportive and parent-inclusive organization.

At Ketner Group, I get to have the best of both worlds, and my children get to see first-hand the aftereffects of a family and employee-first company. More importantly, they know that it is possible to have a successful career and be there for them no matter what. I am grateful for this and hope this kind of support for working parents will become the norm in the near future, rather than the exception.

jenny bradford aae ketner group

Get To Know Jenny Bradford, Our New Assistant Account Executive

Hello! My name is Jenny Bradford, and I am the newest full-time team member at Ketner Group!

So much has changed in our world since I wrote my intern intro blog at the beginning of 2020, but I am thrilled to still be with KG and taking on my new role as an assistant account executive.

In January of 2020, I became the first intern in the New York City office. I was part of a semester-long internship program hosted by my school, Marist College, that allowed us to experience life in the city before we graduated.

I had a few internships under my belt at the time, but I was ready to find a team I could see myself with long-term. I was hesitant to apply to KG at first because retail technology sounded daunting, but I’m so grateful that I gave it a try and joined the Ketner Group dream team. Now I can confidently say I’m becoming quite the ‘tech nerd.’

Navigating 2020 as a senior in college

While my Marist in Manhattan experience ended abruptly in March of 2020, my journey with Ketner Group did not.

I stayed on remotely throughout the year and into my last two semesters of college. While being a senior during a pandemic was not exactly ideal, having Ketner Group as a constant despite the chaos was a relief.

jenny-bradford-ketner-group-aae

I was still able to maintain a high-grade point average and navigate leading my school’s PRSSA Chapter through redefined opportunities for pre-professional growth.

My free time transitioned from dance team rehearsals and Poughkeepsie outings to lots of socially distant picnics and outdoor games. All of this taught me that it’s really not about what you’re doing, but rather who you’re with (even virtually!), and that’s a lesson I’ll cherish forever.

While I’ll miss doing my work from my dorm window that faces the Hudson River, I’m excited to move back to New York City with my older sister.

Crafting and exploring when I’m outside of the virtual office

As someone who’s not too keen on relaxation, “the city that never sleeps” is the perfect place for me in my twenties.

I’m determined to find the hidden gems and become a true New Yorker, but I’m also secretly excited to revisit all the tourist destinations each time someone comes to visit me. I already have a list of must-try restaurants and must-see views that’s growing rapidly. (Any favorites? Please, email them to me!)

When not out-and-about, I love to try new crafts. This year has been all about paint-by-numbers and embroidery. I’ve made way more than I can reasonably display, but it hasn’t stopped me from buying more kits…oops.

“Graduating” from intern to AAE

I am so excited to finally be a full-time member of Ketner Group Communications. It’s been an honor watching the company grow and acquire new clients in the past year and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

ketner group Top Place to Work by Ragan

Ketner Group Communications Recognized as a Top Place to Work by Ragan

AUSTIN, Texas, – April 14, 2021 – Ketner Group Communications, a public relations, marketing and communications firm for innovative technology companies, today announced it has been recognized as one of Ragan’s Top Places to Work: Class of 2021.

ragans best places to work ketner group

Ragan Communications, publisher of the influential Ragan Report, is the leading publisher and resource for PR and communications professionals. This inaugural award is part of Ragan’s annual Employee Communications Awards and recognizes organizations with great company cultures that are true to their mission and vision and provide a top working environment for each of its employees. Ketner Group joins this inaugural class alongside 18 other organizations.

While public relations agency life is often associated with high burnout, Ketner Group has gone the extra mile to ensure each employee can attain a healthy work/life balance by providing a flexible work environment that fits each employee’s personal needs. This work environment was established by founder and CEO Jeff Ketner 30 years ago and been a guiding principle ever since.

Employee-oriented, remote working has been part of Ketner Group before it became fashionable. Prior to COVID, team members spent time working from Germany, the Czech Republic, Indonesia, Thailand and across the U.S, Canada and Mexico without missing a beat. To ease the burden of social isolation and increased family responsibilities during the pandemic, work schedules have become increasingly flexible.

In 2020 the agency implemented Summer Fridays, allowing employees to clock out early May through August to get an early start to their weekends and enjoy time to disconnect. Ketner Group also launched a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, reinforcing the agency’s commitment to improving its recruiting, hiring and training processes as well as creating a company culture with all employees in mind.

“We’re honored by this award from Ragan, which is widely recognized as the premier media company in our industry,” said Jeff Ketner, founder and CEO. “It’s a team award that recognizes the contributions from everyone at the agency. They make Ketner Group a great place to work, day in and day out, and they make it easy to maintain a collaborative, friendly and positive work environment that enables us to go above and beyond for our clients.”

In addition to Ragan’s Top Places to Work recognition, Ketner Group was also recently named to the 2021 Inc. 5000 Regionals Texas List as one of the fastest growing companies in the state of Texas and was named to 2020 PRNews PR Agency Top 100 list. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ketner Group team has continued to provide the highest levels of guidance, support and results for clients, securing media coverage in publications like Reuters, Variety Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, MarketWatch and more.

About Ketner Group Communications
Ketner Group Communications represents innovators that are reshaping the world we live in, including high-growth companies in retail, e-commerce, grocery and CPG, advertising and marketing and consumer technology. We work with clients throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K, and our core capabilities include media and analyst relations, content development, social media strategy and implementation, and digital content marketing. Ketner Group has called Austin home for 30 years and expanded in 2019 with the addition of offices in New York City and Nashville. For more information, please visit www.ketnergroup.com.

Media Contact
Mariana Fischbach, Director of Media Relations
Ketner Group Communications
[email protected]

texas inc 5000 2021 ketner group

Ketner Group Communications Named to the 2021 Inc. 5000 Regionals Texas List

AUSTIN, Texas, – Mar. 17, 2021 – Ketner Group Communications, a public relations, marketing and communications firm for innovative technology companies, today announced it has been named to the 2021 Inc. 5000 Regionals Texas list. The Inc. 5000 Regionals: Texas recognizes the fastest-growing companies in the state of Texas and is an extension of the Inc. 5000 nationals list.

inc 5000 ketner group

Being named to the list is a local honor with national recognition and one of the most esteemed honors a privately held business can receive. Ketner Group joins this year’s list alongside innovative companies including Urban Betty, Red Fan Communications, SEI- Dallas and CKP among others.

This recognition comes on the heels of Ketner Group announcing its 30th anniversary as a B2B PR agency. Serving clients throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K., Ketner Group has established itself as a trusted partner to clients ranging from publicly traded companies to high-growth startups. Ketner Group has achieved many milestones throughout its 30 years as an agency, including reporting consistent growth in revenue, employees and client portfolio and naming Ketner Group’s longtime leader Catherine Seeds as agency’s president and partner in 2019. In recent years, the agency has expanded office locations beyond Austin, opening offices in New York City and Nashville.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ketner Group team has continued to provide the highest levels of support and results for clients, securing media coverage in publications like Reuters, Variety Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, MarketWatch and more. It has guided clients on the best practices in communications during the pandemic and officially launched the agency’s first webinar series, KG Connects, bringing together influencers and industry experts to discuss trends in PR and marketing.

“It’s an honor to be recognized in the 2021 Inc. 5000 Regionals Texas list,” said Jeff Ketner, founder and CEO. “Even in the midst of a global pandemic that affected all of us professionally and personally, our team demonstrated exceptional resilience, focus and dedication to Ketner Group and our clients. This award recognizes our team’s hard work, and we anticipate that 2021 will be our best year yet.”

To learn more about Ketner Group’s capabilities and career opportunities, visit ketnergroup.com.

About Ketner Group Communications
Ketner Group Communications represents innovators that are reshaping the world we live in, including high-growth companies in retail, e-commerce, grocery and CPG, advertising and marketing, social media and consumer technology. We work with clients throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K, and our core capabilities include media and analyst relations, content development, social media strategy and implementation, and digital content marketing. Ketner Group has called Austin home for close to 30 years and expanded in 2019 with the addition of offices in New York City and Nashville. For more information please visit www.ketnergroup.com.

Media Contact
Mariana Fischbach, Director of Media Relations
Ketner Group Communications
[email protected]

kg 30 year anniversary video

30 Year Anniversary Video: A Picture is Worth…Countless Words and Memories

When we began planning our 30-year anniversary campaign we knew early on that  we wanted to do something really special to celebrate digitally since we would not able to host a big, in-person soirée.

Of course, we wanted to incorporate all the elements of a good PR and marketing campaign, but it was equally important that we include our industry friends and family, who have been such a great support to the agency over the past 30 years.

Voila! I present to you the KG 30th Anniversary Video, which we think meets all these goals!

Sharing the video with Jeff was a treat

We surprised Jeff with the video a couple of weeks ago via Zoom, and it was so special to watch his reaction to all the fun memories shared and the wonderful accolades spoken from friends, peers, former co-workers and his family.

I wish we could have included all of those who have been a part of the KG team over the years, but you know who you are, and I am so thankful for each one of you. You are equally a part of our story!

A special thank you to those who shared a video

I’d like to thank the following for taking their time to send in their kind words for Jeff and, in the words of our good friend Dave Murphy, the entire Ketner Group dynasty.

  • Brian Kilcourse
  • Debbie House
  • Joe Skorupa
  • Caitlin New
  • Valerie Martin
  • Dave Murphy
  • Terry Barnes
  • Molly Ketner
  • Elizabeth Winterroth
  • Andrew Ketner

Keep the anniversary celebrations going

If you have any pictures of your time at Ketner Group, we’d love you to share! Feel free to post and tag us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter!

We hope you enjoy the anniversary video, especially our motivational speech towards the end! In true Ketner Group fashion, we manage to inspire through laughter. Just the way we like it!

jeff ketner ketner group 30 year anniversary

30 Years Young: Ketner Group Celebrates Our 30th Anniversary

Ketner Group celebrates an honest-to-goodness milestone this month: our 30th anniversary.

Has it really been that long? As one of my favorite clients said, “how is that possible when Jeff is only 29 years old?” (Hint: if you tell me something like this, you, too, can be one of my favorite clients.)

Weathering it all: from the dot-com bust to the pandemic

Three decades means that we’ve weathered the ups and downs of the dot-com bust, the Great Recession, the Retail Apocalypse and the biggest one of all, the global pandemic. Through our history, we’ve managed to thrive and become a stronger, better agency.

We’ve grown year-over-year for the past five years, opened offices in New York and Nashville, and expanded our client roster to include new verticals and companies in Canada, the UK and Europe.

growing pr agency - ketner group history

We’ve won industry accolades, too, including being named to PR News’ 2020 Top 100 “Agency Elite” list, which recognizes the industry’s most innovative PR and communications firms.

How did we do it? Specialization.

As we celebrate our anniversary, I’ve been asked several times, “how did you do it?” One of the keys to our success is specialization. Ketner Group has never wavered from B2B communications, and in particular we focused on retail technology early on.

We’ve expanded into other business segments, too, but we’ll always maintain a strong practice in retail tech.

Retail is a fast changing, fascinating business, and our team has been fortunate to make lifelong friends among the many clients, editors and analysts we’ve worked with.

But really, how did we do it? A great team.

But I must say, the biggest reason we’re successful is the “group” in Ketner Group. My name may be on the proverbial door, but it’s the team that makes it work, day in and day out.

Teamwork is the key to San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s success as the longest-tenured coach in the NBA. And it’s the secret to our longevity and success, too.

From our senior leadership team to our account management staff, they’re whip-smart and a joy to work with.

retail b2b pr agency

If Tim Duncan was the X factor behind the Spurs’ five NBA titles, then Catherine Seeds — our president, my partner and a friend and co-worker for over 18 years — is our Tim Duncan.

Simply put, there would be no 30th anniversary without Catherine. We couldn’t have done it without her. She’s a leader who has earned the respect of our clients, co-workers and many friends throughout the industry. I’m thankful every day for Catherine’s professionalism, integrity and “can-do” spirit as her role at Ketner Group continues to grow.

The unsung hero in all of this, though, is Molly, the love of my life. We celebrated our own big anniversary last year – 40 years – and she’s always been my best adviser, most patient listener and biggest supporter through everything. She’s also put up with me working from home during the pandemic, Zoom calls and all. It’s fun to both be under the same roof during working hours.

The future is bright at 30 years young

It’s only natural to look back to your history as you reflect on a milestone, but it excites me even more to look to the future.

Ketner Group has a lot to be proud of, and the best is still ahead of us. Our team continues to expand our capabilities, work with great clients and build a strong foundation for the future. At 30 years young, we’re just hitting our stride.

In case you’re wondering, I’ll continue to be part of Ketner Group for quite a few more years. As one of my guitar heroes, Mark Knopfler (formerly of Dire Straits) said at a 2019 Austin concert I had the pleasure to attend: “what could be more fun than this?”

Here’s to the next 30 years, with a heartfelt “thank you” to everyone who has helped us get here.

jeff ketner and catherine seeds 30 years

Lessons Learned and Memories Made: 30 Year Anniversary Q&A

It’s been 30 years since Jeff Ketner founded Ketner Group Communications, and it’s been an absolutely incredible – and sometimes wild – journey. To help us celebrate, Jeff and I kicked back for a stroll down memory lane. Check out the full video below or read our summary to learn more about some of the highlights of the last 30 years!

How Ketner Group began: striking out on his own

Catherine: Tell me about the day you decided to strike out on your own. Did you have any memorable conversations with your family? Or friends or peers?

Jeff: It wasn’t planned that far in advance; it was pretty spontaneous. I was vice president at a technology PR firm here in Austin when one day the owner walked and said that she was retiring and shutting the whole place down.

What?!

At that time, I was very fortunate to have Texas Instruments as a client and a strong 5-plus-year relationship with them. So, after the owner of the firm said she was shutting it down, I told her I was going to talk with TI. “That’s fine,” she said. Literally the same day, I talked to TI and they told me not to worry. In just a few days, I was set up as a vendor.

I would like to say that it was planned out. I had wanted to set out for a while, but I was sort of thrust into it.

Indelible memories (alt: Ketner Goofs Communications)

Catherine: There have been a lot of crazy, silly things that have happened to us over the years. What are some of your favorite moments from the past 30 years?

Jeff: I remember the time at NRF when we had a snowball fight with the team from Digby, now known as Phunware, at one or two in the morning. We were in New York City, it was cold, and we were all stranded because the airports were shut down. So, we had a snowball fight on the streets of New York!

Or another time at NRF’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Retail. Just being able to play guitar onstage with some fun people like Brian Kilcourse, Steve Rowen and Cathy Hotka. Just to be able to be onstage — and I used to be pretty good, but I hadn’t played in a long time — it gave me a chance to get the rust out and to have some fun and play with people that became my friends. Plus, I get to tell my grandkids that I was onstage at B.B. King Blues Club in New York.

The fun and silly things that happen around the office are amazing, too. People spontaneously breaking into song or just laughing and being together as a team. The things that make anyone feel special. Like the times when I come back from a day off for my birthday and my office is decorated to the max. Of course, there is Bosses Day – which I didn’t even know was a thing – during which people dressed up like me: flannels and blue jeans.

It just things like that that are fun and make you feel special. We do a lot of that as a team, just to really maintain a sense of caring for one another and trying to each other’s back and have fun together.

The lessons learned in 30 years

Catherine: What lessons have you learned as a founder and CEO of your own business?

Jeff: Well, there are a lot of them. The most important is to build a great team, give them a lot of freedom and just trust them. I think the people really make it work. We have a very collaborative team, and we work together well. That’s what I’m most comfortable with. It’s not really a top-down organization that’s driven by one, singular personality. We’ve worked to establish a culture of openness and trust and collaboration.

As much as anything, it’s about getting the right people in place and doing everything you can to hang on to them and make it an exciting place to work, but also give space for a work-life balance. At the end of the day, it’s the things everyone does outside of work that are going to stick with you for the rest of your life. What you do at work counts, but there is life beyond work, and we give our team the space to realize that.

Finding a niche in retail technology

Catherine: We’re known around town for specializing in retail technology, but what is it about retail tech that is so exciting to you?

Jeff: It’s fun! We’ve worked in semiconductors, we’ve worked in servers, we’ve worked in both the fun and the boring parts of technology. But everyone shops. Everyone eats. Retail touches every part of life and it changes so fast. Ten years ago, all the shopping was done in store, and that’s just totally flipped. Over the last three years, no one used to order groceries online and have them delivered or arrange curbside pickup.

It’s changed, and it’s changed really fast. I can’t think of any technology sector that is changing and that touches every facet of our lives like retail. To me, it’s the most fascinating, fast-paced industry to be in.

Overcoming current and future challenges

Catherine: I’d like you to share some advice on how you’ve overcome challenges.

Jeff: When you have a challenge that comes up you have to do a couple of things. First, face it honestly and straightforwardly. You can’t sweep it under the rug. If there is a tough conversation to be had with a client, it’s much, much better to pick up the phone than send an email. You also have to double down and work through it. Rely on your team. Be honest. Be transparent.

I know you didn’t want to bring up the “pandemic” word but working through this has been something I’m most proud of. The team came together even when clients were having issues and cutting budgets. There was a mass freak out throughout every sector of business. We’ve worked through it, we’ve focused on bringing on new clients, and we did everything we can to take care of our existing clients.

We worked our way through it and I’m grateful for that. The impact of COVID-19 has been devastating for so many people and businesses. It’s really because of the team that we’ve overcome it.

Bad times will happen, there will always be unexpected things that come your way. Look to your team and rely on your instincts. Over time, you will develop a resilience that will allow you to get through things that are difficult.

Remote work

We Were Remote, Before Remote Was Cool

When it came to the topic of remote work and how Ketner Group has addressed it over the years – I immediately thought of the 1981 hit country song, “I Was Country, When Country Wasn’t Cool,” sung by Barbara Mandrell.

In it, Mrs. Mandrell talks about how she listened to music from the Grand Ole Opry growing up while her friends were “digging on rock ‘n’ roll” and how everyone is now trying to be what she was back then.

When it comes to remote work at Ketner Group, this song seems spot on. We’ve been at this for quite some time – way before it was cool, and (now) necessary.

The way we were, and are: Ketner Group and our history of remote work

While I know that Ketner Group is not the only company to have instituted flexible work-from-home policies prior to the pandemic, our agency was founded with an emphasis on offering a good work-life balance for all employees.

That became very apparent to me in 2005 when my daughter was born. My two bosses at the time, Jeff Ketner and Terry Barnes, made it clear that my family was very important and that they were just fine with a work schedule that was best for me and my family.

"we were remote before it was cool (or frankly necessary)" pull quote

This philosophy started even before my tenure at Ketner Group, when Jeff launched the agency in 1990. He was to be at home every night for dinner, and if he needed to work from home, he would lug home a big laptop to finish any client work after his kids had gone to bed.

Thus, the roots of Ketner Group’s flexible work standards started to grow, and we’ve never looked back.

Our attitude toward working from home has always been simple: plan accordingly, meet your deadlines, and communicate with your team and managers of your schedule. In normal times, we always encouraged the team to be in the office as much as possible, but life happens.

Whether it be a doctor appointment across town, picking up kids from school, or being at home for the cable guy – working from home to take care of things is sometimes just easier. There are also times when one needs to work from home to concentrate on a big writing or research project – we’ve always encouraged that, too.

We’ve been everywhere

In recent years, Ketner Group has continued to walk the walk and talk the talk when it came to working remote – a sentiment I talked about last November in the Austin Business Journal. One of the most important things we value at the agency is trust, and we have a very high level of trust with all of our employees.

For example, we have had employees take extended vacations to Europe and Asia (learn more about Mariana’s time in Bali here), where they worked remote for a period of time while they were overseas and then take an additional two weeks off for vacation. A few years ago, one of our employees spent a year working from Ireland, and it worked out beautifully.

It is important to support these remote work options because we want our team to live their best lives, see the world and have amazing experiences.

W.O.R.K in the USA

Since March, our remote work game has been in overdrive – along with the rest of the world.

In fact, a global survey conducted by Gartner, Inc. found that 88% of business organizations all over the world mandated or encouraged all their employees to work from home when the COVID-19 virus started to spread at exponential rates.

team culture ketner group

The move to full-time remote work for the Ketner Group team was seamless, and again demonstrated how much we value and trust each of our employees. Not only is everyone currently working from their respective homes, but we have a few employees that have hit the open road in RVs to fully experience remote work life!

It’s been an adventure for all of us so far.

Our team is spread out across five states, but our productivity and company culture remain strong. The pandemic has been hard on all of us – professionally and personally – but we remain a strong and dedicated team because of the processes and work policies we put in place 30 years ago.

I look forward to when we can all be in an office together again. Until then, we’ll be seeing you on a Zoom somewhere.