Kitchen Conversations


October 4, 2019BY TRADEMARK

If you’ve had the chance to visit our San Francisco office, you know the kitchen is the center of our space and family. It is where we share meals, talk about our lives, and come up with some of our best ideas.

As a way to share more about our team and what Trademark is all about, we decided to interview our team members on everything from the future of experiential marketing to their favorite lunch meal. We’ll be sharing snippets of these interviews in the coming months.

First up, we’ll be hearing from Greg Villeneuve (Producer), Hunter Rich (Business Development), Claudia Paghunie (Producer) and Jon Forst (Co-Founder and Executive Producer)

How does the Trademark culture help you do your best work?

A big motivator for me at work is the people I am working with. The Trademark family and closeness we have is huge for me. Having people that you care about and doing things for them and vise versa is a big motivator. It doesn’t hurt that we genuinely, really like our clients.. – Greg Villeneuve, Producer

I genuinely love the people I work with, and want to do good work for them. This pushes me. We also prioritize finding enjoyment in our work, but that’s not to say we don’t work really hard as well. We work hard because we have fun and we have fun because we work hard! – Hunter Rich, Business Development

The Trademark culture is based on people genuinely caring for other people. For its co-workers, vendors, partners, clients… you name it, they care! So, naturally, in that kind of environment, you come to work wanting to give your best. You have a team of really unique individuals with skills and talents spanning the creative spectrum that coming to work is fun… you can dream up ideas and see them come into fruition. Lastly, there is trust. At the end of the day, you know you can count on your team to execute excellently. It makes you feel like you can accomplish anything, and I love it! – Claudia Paghunie, Producer

There are certain qualities we look for in the people we hire: intelligence, resourcefulness, someone gregarious who enjoys being with people and is curious about how things work – and probably the most important skill, which is great communication. One of our biggest strengths – and one I’m the most proud of – is that we all come from different backgrounds, and bring different experiences to our collaborations with one another and our clients. This diversity fuels our creativity and has helped build the core of Trademark’s offering. – Jon Forst, Co-Founder and Executive Producer

What characteristics/qualities do you bring to the Trademark team? What characteristic/quality do you WISH you had?

Coming from a software engineering background, one of my strengths is taking problems and being able to break them down into concrete steps. Taking an abstract idea and making it real life.

I wish I was better at holding more information in my head, keeping track of information. Managing schedules, and switching from one topic to the next. – Greg

One thing I’ve always prided myself on is the ability to ask great questions AND listen. Which wouldn’t be the first skill you’d expect to be successful in a client outreach and lead generation position. Clients, and humans in general, don’t want to be told what their problems are and how they should handle them. In my experience if I lead with a question then the focus of the conversation is immediately on the client, or partners and the problems they are trying to solve. On the flip side of that same coin, I’m always finding better ways to express myself. Excited for this fall’s improv class to help. – Hunter Rich, Business Development

I bring a “can do!” attitude and I am a fairly optimistic person, so whenever there’s an idea or a project that comes my way, my first reaction is, “Let’s do it!”. /// I honestly wish I had Kate Keleher’s people skills. The way she can respond to a person on-the-spot with such grace and service, or the way she crafts her messages, whether it is copy for a printed piece or an email, she does it in a way that gets the point across but is also very diplomatic – it’s such a great skill. – Claudia

When we go into new client meetings, or even when we meet with existing accounts, we have an opportunity to build the working team that will take that event across the finish line. Observing how people gel, communicate, actively listen and respond tells me a lot about how to build a successful event team. I attribute this ability to “read” a room to being a Navy kid who moved around the world and had to jump into and assess new situations, and make new friends. I also like to manage and nurture teams…. I want people to grow and be happy in the work that they do. – Jon

What has been your favorite homemade TM lunch and why?

Chicken day, it’s just so good! – Greg

Elle’s sticky rice was SO good. With most of her meals it is just as fulfilling to hear the entire process as it is to enjoy. She often spends her whole Sunday, if not the weekend, preparing these meals. – Hunter

Hands down, Elle’s lotus wrapped sticky rice. She got the recipe from Slanted Door and it’s incredible. I think I ate it 3-days in a row one time! – Claudia

We were in DC with 4 hours before our flight. We decided to pick up a bushel of crabs and bring them back. We bought a cooler, filled it with ice, seaweed, and crabs- checked it at the airport and made crab back at the trademark office – Jon

What was your first job and what lesson from this job do you still use?

I worked in my uncle’s biology lab for an entire summer in high school. A test for the project I was working on was returning bad results so I had to run the same 12-hour test every day, changing one variable until I found the problem. Then the summer ended. I don’t know if there is a lesson to be found there. – Greg

Working for my aunt and uncle’s restaurant in Ocean City, Maryland as a busser. What carries with me is there’s always more work to be done. When you think you’re done, look and look again. – Hunter

Working at Papa Murphy’s Pizza really honed in my customer service skills. I remember answering the phones on our biggest nights and dealing with clients who had demands, requirements, and requests — especially when in a rush. – Claudia

My first job that represents what Trademark stands for was at the Perfect Cup. The Perfect Cup was in White Flint Mall and it was inspired by French bistros that brewed individual cups of coffee. You would think from the business name that the ultimate goal was to give customers a perfect cup of coffee. But the real product of that business was customer service. Stewart Butterfield, Slack’s CEO, said essentially the same thing during his keynote at Frontiers this past year: their goal is to service their clients and make their communications more efficient. That’s true for Trademark, too. We succeed when our clients achieve their goals. And we achieve this by listening to their challenges, and delivering incredible creative solutions within their timeframes and budgets – and doing it collaboratively so we’re in the same boat, sailing together towards that finish line. That teamwork is what inspires us and drives us to innovate. – Jon

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