Published on November 13, 2018, at 12:40 p.m.
by Ali Carden
Atlanta, Dallas and Athens are all homes to Jackson Spalding, an agency with a goal to “help brands bring meaningful experiences to life.”
As noted on its website, “In the summer of 1995, eight like-minded people decided there had to be a better way to structure an agency, serve clients, advance the community and have fun doing it. The result was Jackson Spalding, an agency that, in our clients’ words, ‘just feels different.’”
Today, a couple of those like-minded people are Glen Jackson, a co-founder of Jackson Spalding, along with Bo Spalding who recently retired. Now there are multiple “partners” in the company who all oversee major accounts, which include names such as Coca-Cola, Mattress Firm and Delta Air Lines.
The list of impressive clientele is not the only thing that makes Jackson Spalding stand out from other agencies. Notably, employees do not have specific titles.
As an employee of Jackson Spalding, Emily Clack, home to the Atlanta office, enjoys working on the Coca-Cola account. “Without titles, you feel less limited in terms of what kind of work you can do,” she said. Clack explained that with the absence of titles, it allows everyone to feel as though there is opportunity for growth, and that there is nothing stopping you from trying to be a better employee.
It is evident that the agency environment is positive and encouraging when an intern also gets a seat at the table. Maret Montanari, a senior at The University of Alabama, interned at the Dallas office during the summer of 2018. She said that during her internship, the absence of titles allowed her to truly be one of the team members and take on more responsibilities. Montanari had the opportunity to work on a large amount of media relations, create social media content, coordinate an event for Mattress Firm and complete many other public relations related tasks.
The company also has its 5 Cs that it emphasizes: character, chemistry, class, competence and confidence. During her time as an intern, Montanari received a mentor or “buddy” who would assist with goal setting and help her “pave a path to success.” This example showcases the upstanding character of employees at Jackson Spalding. Montanari noted that even though everyone is humble, they are also hungry for a successful and impactful career.
Jackson Spalding also treats its employees well. They were named a Top Place to Work for 2018 and five other years previously by The Atlanta Journal-Constitusion. Montanari’s experience also attests to the company’s culture and cohesiveness. There is an annual retreat that all the employees from each office attend, plus their spouses, to encourage an all-inclusive environment. The purpose is to bring the whole company together, once a year, to have a little fun outside of the office. Costume contests are involved as well as a work-life event, team building activities and exciting cities to explore. The cohesiveness of the company is maintained throughout the year with Skype monthly staff meetings across all three locations.
As far as furthering education and development within the office, Clack said that there are internal teams that employees can join called JSAT teams. JSAT stands for Jackson Spalding Advancement Teams. For example, the wellness team encourages wellness in the office through different activities, such as competing for the most workout minutes per week during the annual summer workout challenge. The learning team promotes classes total on budgeting, project management and any other topics helpful to the company.
Clack explained that this structure helps everyone to be exposed to the basic skills everyone has touched on but has rarely had the opportunity to dive deeper into. For example, “the creative folks can see the big picture to what they are doing,” she said.
Employees are also given a “learning allowance,” which can be used for books and webinars to further improve skills or to provide opportunities to learn new ones.
Jackson Spalding has an open, casual and welcoming physical atmosphere. The Atlanta location has expanded since Clack started two-and-a-half years ago, it has moved to a two-story office space with over 100 employees.
Clack explained, “The large office still feels so small because of the great relationships we have, as well as the office setup. There are small neighborhoods of employees, usually grouped similarly based off of which client or project you are on.”
If employees are ever in need of a change of scenery, there are various hub rooms with unique styles. For example, a room with high top tables and high chairs is named the “high roller” room. These rooms give an opportunity for change and quiet in the workplace.
Ultimately, the leadership of the company encourages employees to further their knowledge of the public relations world and to fully utilize the open door policy each company partner possesses. Jackson Spalding creates a workplace where people work hard and strive to work harder, together.
As the Jackson Spalding website claims and employees prove, “Our people love what they do, love working with each other and have leadership that loves them back.”