Best Places to Work:
Purdue Marion & Associates
1st Place, Micro Category
Fri, Oct 30, 2009 (6 a.m.)
If you want to work in what feels like a family environment, don’t work for Purdue Marion & Associates.
“A lot of people like to say they create a culture that is like family. But my family is very dysfunctional. So we don’t do that here,” chuckling firm principal Bill Marion said, while outlining the perks of working for the small but accomplished public relations agency.
Started in 2001, Purdue Marion hit the ground running in the public relations arena, with large notable clients such as politicians and casino operators on its principals’ résumés. By 2005, the boutique public relations firm was offering a comprehensive benefits package to its employees and enjoying an expanding and diverse client mix. Today, Purdue Marion has a staff of 10 very motivated, high-energy public relations professionals.
Both Marion and fellow principal, Lynn Purdue, have worked to create an environment that encourages employees to take risks and not fret over making mistakes. Marion calls it an “empowerment culture” where employees are responsible for growing and managing their client lists, while seeking out opportunities to better themselves through educational courses and offering the firm’s services to community programs and nonprofits.
“I firmly believe people respond to being relied upon,” Purdue said of her employees. “People who work here are constantly put in a position of challenge. You should be a little uncomfortable. That means you’re growing, you’re reaching.”
With the trust they put into their employees, Purdue and Marion both admit to doing very little managing of personnel.
“We love to get in the trenches with our clients. Neither of us manages on a day-to-day basis. That’s why we bring in people who are reliable and can manage (themselves),” Purdue added.
With an economic downturn in full swing, Purdue and Marion have committed to open communication and support of employees’ efforts to salvage and grow business in the past year and beyond. At a time of hiring and raise freezes, Purdue Marion was proud to give raises and fully fund its 2008 holiday party to the same level of past years. Both principals also are known for throwing their share of impromptu celebrations acknowledging employee accomplishments and firm milestones.
“It’s just one of our ways of saying ‘thank you,’ ” Marion added.
Both principals agree that much of the success of their firm relies on employees’ ability to think outside the box and find opportunities where others may not see them. Marion likens that nimbleness it to a quick speedboat, as opposed to a lumbering battleship.
“It’s more of a spontaneous kind of thing we look for in our people. That’s also the kind of service our clients have grown to expect from us,” he added.