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The Intern

Smart, Savvy + Associates enjoyed having Kyleigh Thomson join us in the role of intern for the past few weeks. Kyleigh is studying corporate communications, and also working on an Art + Design Diploma. She took some time to reflect on her experience with Smart Savvy, and shares her takeaways about corporate culture, open work space, coaching, and...soup.

What I learned at Smart Savvy

My time at Smart Savvy was short, but what I learned about people, and how they work, exceeded what I thought I would learn. On day one, I settled into a chair and desk space surrounded by four other Smart Savvy employees. Two across from me, one to my left, and one to my right. Each of us with a different role but all with many tasks to get done, typing away, together but separately. With no expectation to discover much more than names and snippets of personalities, I quickly experienced quite the opposite.


Beyond the first impression: What I learned in just four weeks

  • favourite foods
  • least favourite foods
  • travel history (there’re quite a few world travelers on this team!)
  • what Jody would do if she had all the bravery in the world (thanks to Josh’s daily random question)
  • Josh’s first impression of Peter Reek

… the list (and the learning) continues…

A team with great tastes

The team members of Smart Savvy have a love for great soup. I have yet to figure out how this up-rise of knowledge for the local soup specials started, but I appreciate it. At any time, I could probably know the soup of the day from all our local shops just by leaning over and asking Josh or Caitlin.

All joking aside, the fashion style of this group is top notch. From James’ and Caitlin's speckled, square shaped glasses, to Lauren and Angela’s ankle length flow pants, Smart Savvy comes dressed for success.


Workplace Culture

Brand Unity and Good Corporate Culture

One of the over-arching topics I noticed while working with Smart Savvy is the importance of good corporate culture.

During my degree studies, the concept of a good corporate culture has ample research to back up the benefits of fostering a healthy workplace. Opportunities to be a part of organizations with great corporate culture, can be hard to find when you're a young student looking for work. Smart Savvy exhibits a great culture, and one that succeeds in retaining and developing its members. They are passionate, and are just as energized to chat informally as they are to talk formally about work.


Leader Lounge at Domain7

I joined the team for one of the Leader Lounge events in Vancouver at Domain7’s Railtown space. The Case for Coaching event started with a social period where local leaders and our team could mingle and meet new people and make connections. It was very interesting to hear these conversations and observe how Smart Savvy team members responded to the different areas of work. Some guests were from art galleries, others from marketing firms, architectural firms, etc. From outside on the balcony to behind the bar, and over across the room, there was a unity in voice. More specifically, a boldness. They were uplifting and engaged. Following this time, Peter and Catherine took it away with their presentation of the benefits to coaching and how it manifests in a corporate culture at a leadership level.



Freelance Design Work and Coaching

Processing the Leaders Lounge experience got me thinking about what coaching might mean for my design career. I strongly believe in mentorship, but the coaching had never crossed my mind. It presents itself as a valuable way to become more aware of who you are, where you see yourself, and how you value your talents and skills. It also provides deep self-actualization and opportunity for humility as you answer questions from your coach, designed to let you dig deeper to explore your true values and how they’re reflected in your current circumstances.

In my experience, working with my peers in design classes, and even with young clients in my freelance design work, there is often that missing piece of self-actualization coinciding with humility. A lot of clients I work with aren’t aware of what value they can personally bring to a workplace, or to the goal they are trying to achieve. They have the confidence and the means, but aren’t connecting personally with their work in a way that makes them an asset to a group just simply by being. Individual entrepreneurship is trending, but a team player is very much required. Maybe coaching could be the answer to this missing piece as the millennial era moves forward in the workforce.


Internship Experience

My takeaways from the Smart Savvy team:

Smart Savvy’s space in Fort Langley provides great opportunity for peer-to-peer encouragement and motivation. Working freelance design, motivation is a tough hurdle to overcome. Working by myself at home or at coffee shops, it can be difficult to find a rhythm. The layout of Smart Savvy’s office, and the value they have on open space and collaborative opportunity, gave me energy. By being around people while things constantly move and change, I discovered that I work really well in that environment.

The open workspace, and the understanding that People are the Plan™ bring a unique flare to the way Smart Savvy builds their influential connections in the recruiting industry, as well as with business leaders of the Pacific Northwest.

I am taking away a lot of knowledge from my time at Smart Savvy. From what it looks like to create great corporate culture, to the importance of unity in brand and voice throughout team members, to my new appreciation for soup. I am thankful for it all!


Smart, Savvy + Associates finds high-calibre marketing, communications, creative and sales professionals with proven track records and in-demand skills for companies who need them, across the Pacific Northwest and in Toronto. And now, our Smart Savvy Academy provides leadership and training development programs for workplace programs, corporate retreats and individual growth opportunities. Contact Founder + CEO, Peter Reek, to discuss your organization's training needs.


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