July 20, 2015
I can – and do – tell people all the time that Aria is a truly amazing, special and rewarding place to work. But, for those who are skeptical or think I am biased, get this: two of our star employees, VP Ross Homer and senior account executive Kristen Berry, both left Aria several years ago to pursue other opportunities and missed us so much that they came back (and have promised to never leave again)!
Ross first joined Aria in 2006, as a senior account executive, and stayed for almost five years before leaving to get some in-house, corporate PR experience under his belt. He returned to Aria in 2014 as a vice president. Kristen began her PR career at Aria back in 2007, as an account executive, and then left in 2008 to see what it would be like to work at a much larger PR agency. She realized that the grass was in fact not greener, and came back to Aria in 2012. I sat down with both Ross and Kristen this week to hear a little bit more about why they decided to come back to Aria and what this experience has taught them.
1. It’s pretty unusual for someone to leave a company only to return a few years later. What was the #1 reason you decided to come back?
(RH): For me, it was really all about the people. While working in-house was a very valuable experience, I really missed working with a team of people whom I not only like, but also trust, and actually consider to be my friends.
(KB): I also really missed all the people at Aria so much, and I really missed the work environment. It did not take me long to realize how important it is to wake up and feel excited to go into the office every day. You spend more time at work than anywhere else, and I just knew that I needed to return to the one place that felt like my home away from home!
2. What did you learn from this experience?
(RH): Projects come and go, clients can come and go (though, not too often here!), but the people that you work with every day can really make or break your experience. Also, I think I took for granted the benefit of working in a team versus as a solo-practitioner, and now I realize how important that is for me.
(KB): One thing that I was surprised to find out was that I wanted to focus on one industry, versus working at a PR firm that had clients across many fields. Beyond that, I realized that I wanted to specialize in healthcare, as it aligns with my personal interests. When you can become an expert in one subject that you really care about, it’s easier to do good work. At Aria, I can feel good about the fact that we are working with companies that are truly transforming healthcare in the U.S.
3. What has been the best part about returning to Aria?
(RH): I returned at a very exciting time. Scott had just purchased the company, we were moving into an awesome new office space and re-launching the company, so the timing was perfect for me to return. It has been great too to come back in a management position and have the ability to help guide the direction of the company. I love managing my teams and helping my employees excel at what they do.
(KB): Honestly, this was really like a homecoming for me. It is great to be working again with some of the same people that I actually began my PR career with back in 2007. That said, while some of the faces from 2007 haven’t changed, the company really has – and for the better – and I am really excited that I am a part of this new chapter at Aria.
4. As your roles continue to evolve at Aria, what are you looking forward to next?
(RH): I am looking forward to becoming a better manager – no one is born a great manager, it takes some trial and error, and I am really excited to grow and learn in this position.
(KB): What am I looking forward to? Well, at my next work anniversary, Aria will pay for me to go to any conference of my choosing, anywhere in the continental U.S – so there’s that. Ha-ha. All jokes aside, I am truly dedicated to the company and its long-term growth and success, and I find it so rewarding to know that I was here in the beginning and have an opportunity to really help shape the future of this company.
5. Any final thoughts?
(RH): Don’t worry – we learned our lesson and the only way I am leaving again is if you drag me out of here kicking and screaming!
(KB): What he said! #Aria4Life