One of the perks of being a Charlotte-based digital agency is meeting the amazing people who live in our wonderful city. Whether it is a potential brand, a new hire or in the case of high school student and future marketing expert, James McLelland, UNION is always excited to bring new people into our community. That’s why when James showed up as part of Charlotte Latin’s excellent Observe & Serve program, which allows graduating seniors to explore a career area of interest as an intern or volunteer for a non-profit organization for a three-day period, we were just as excited to learn from him as he was from us.
During his short time at UNION, James got a comprehensive look at the agency’s day-to-day activities. From shadowing our campaigns team as they walked a client through new Google Adwords strategies to sitting in with our developers on a platform proposal for a B2B client, James was able to view the workings and process of how we create successful digital experiences for our brands.
After three full days of observation, we were all curious what James thought about what he saw here and how it compared to his expectations of what a digital marketing agency looks like. So before he left, I sat down with James to discuss his experience and his plans for after graduation.
UNION: What’s your biggest take away from your time here at UNION?
JAMES: Two things come to mind. First, UNION is incredibly thorough and thoughtful from the ingress of a project, throughout each of the many phases of the project and afterwards through the retainer. Second, UNION’s culture is second-to-none. UNION feels like a home. Everyone cares about everyone from the top to the bottom. There’s no barriers between the tech team to the account managers to the partners.
UNION: Did you have any expectations about what our work life would be like?
JAMES: Not really expectations, but I will say that UNION is most certainly a collaborative environment. It was clear to me that each person at UNION plays a huge role in each project, and works hard to get their job done but everyone seems to have fun doing it.
I will say the dress code was different then I had thought.
UNION: [laughing] How so?
JAMES: It was a lot more casual than I expected but it was great that there was not a distinction between the employees and the leadership. Dress codes can establish a lot of precedent and the general comfort in dress from the leadership to the employees reflected the sense of community and openness throughout the office. Christy and Banks are both very approachable and take care to know who their employees are and how they are doing.
UNION: Aside from our great sense of style, were you surprised by any other facets of our process here?
JAMES: Definitely the level of organization involved and how important it is to be thorough throughout everything you do at UNION. The tools you use are all so vital and contribute to making everyone’s lives a little easier and a little more focused. It’s been really intellectually stimulating seeing the logistical and time management skills needed at UNION, which are skills I used to use a lot when doing my own fundraiser events for Habitat for Humanity.
UNION: You graduate next week. Have you figured out your plans for after?
JAMES: I want to stay in Charlotte and pursue a BA in Business and Communications online while continuing to work as a manager at Chick-Fil-A.
UNION: That reminds me, you brought in several trays of Chik-Fil-A Chicken-Minis this morning for the agency, did you not?
JAMES: Yes I did.
UNION: Did you always plan to do that or was it only after you decided we were worthy of such a generous gift?
JAMES: [laughing] I was not planning on doing it.
UNION: That means you are now officially welcome back to UNION anytime, always and forever.
JAMES: That’s nice to hear. Thank you.
UNION: No James. Thank you.
We were so pleased to host James for his senior project and wish him the best of luck as he takes his next steps to becoming the Charlotte marketing specialist we know he is capable of.