lesley bruno

Floricane Has traded up

Floricane almost feels like a new business. Again.

This month, we brought on two new employees. They've already changed the way we do business. 

Julie Pence is replacing Caroline in a newly titled role. As experience coordinator for Floricane she's in charge of making sure that our collaborative space in the Times-Dispatch building, and the more than 100 discrete workshops and events we hold each year, reflects our brand -- and leaves every client feeling well-engaged. 

Lesley Bruno is coming on board as a consultant -- a new role for the former marketing all-star. Floricane has known Lesley for a long-time. She was at The Valentine when we did strategic planning for the museum way back in 2009, and a few years later I tipped her off to a job at the Greater Richmond Chamber. I let her stay there for four years before luring her to Floricane with Dan Pink's three keys to engagement -- a job with purpose, the opportunity to master new skills, and the autonomy to create a role that really works for where she is in her life. 

Last week, as our team -- five full-time employees, one departing employee, a dedicated contractor, and a new intern -- walked out of the building together for lunch I was a little overwhelmed. Almost seven years ago, I sat in a basement office with my new business' advisory team and said that my vision was to build a team of passionate, smart people who cared about changing our community and people's lives. And here they are.  

As we look ahead at Floricane to a future that is different from our past, I am most excited about my own growing edge -- which involves getting out of people's way. My role in the business continues to evolve and change. My new team relies on each other to deliver great work for our clients more than they rely on me, and that's a good thing. 

We tell our clients all of the time that they need to hire great people, clear a path, and let them run. Lesley and Julie are collectively three weeks into their new career marathon, and they've yet to hit their stride. This is going to be a fun race. 

Orange is the New Black

Hello, my name is Lesley, and by the time you read this I will have been at Floricane for three weeks. In what was no doubt an effort to get me out of his hair, John asked me to reflect on my short time here at the ‘Cane: what I’ve learned, what I’ve seen, how I feel, etc., and the following is my attempt at doing just that. 

My first thought is this: I’ve never been asked to share my thoughts on a new employer, for a new employer, as well as for all of its blog readers. Kind of daunting, but completely expected from a place like Floricane, which is all about relationships, self awareness, reflection and development. Joke’s on you, Bruno!  

Some background: After 12 years of promoting the fantastic work of a diverse mix of organizations as a “marketing & PR professional,”  I’ll now be helping local nonprofits find their true north and chart a way to get there via Floricane’s unique and people focused strategic planning process. Floricane serves all types of organizations, but I’ll be focusing primarily on nonprofits. 

Here’s why this appealed to me. I’ve been on the client side of this equation, both with Floricane and other consultants, and enjoyed it tremendously. For some reason, herding people into a room and asking them to consider the future of their organization and, by extension, themselves is fun! So, I took the leap. And as my friend Anedra says, it’s always handy to have marketing tools in your back pocket. 

As far as what I’ve learned and seen and done in the last few weeks, it’s been a lot of following John around, eating lunch and introducing myself to people. He knows a lot of people, and I’m eager to meet all of them. But the process of transforming from a marketing person to a strategic planning consultant is nascent at best, so I offer the following rudimentary observations of my time thus far and promise a more cerebral update in the coming months. In the meantime, I look forward to meeting all of you and possibly working together on something awesome. 

Lesley’s Thoughts on Her First Few Weeks at Floricane/in a New Career

  • There are more nonprofits in this town than I had ever imagined.

  • You can try all you want to leave the Marketing/PR world behind, but the urge to post things and rewrite websites will never ever go away. 

  • Orange truly is the new black. 

  • Working in a collaborative environment is a challenge for me but one that I’m eager to tackle, as soon as I learn how to tune out people. (JK JK JK, new teammates!). 

  • Sometimes it’s okay to head over to the comfy chairs during business hours and read up on organizational development. 

  • With the exception of the Vertical Horizon song that is playing currently, my coworkers have great taste in music.

  • Almost everyone here has kids, so it’s fun to make the non-kid people uncomfortable with talk of unspeakable bodily functions. 

  • Greens* can and do Get Things Done.

  • As an ex-PR hack, I find it oddly thrilling to run into RTD newsroom staff in the cafeteria.  “Look, everyone, it’s Michael Martz. MICHAEL MARTZ!”

  • These people will allow me to wear jeans to work, as long as they are high rise editions. It’s in my contract, and I’m okay with that.

  • I still need a Diet Pepsi and a salty snack at 3pm each day. Some things don’t change. 

*What’s a Green you ask? Register yourself and 5 of your colleagues for our Insights workshop on June 11, and find out. It’ll change your life.