Drinking the Kool-Aid

Lynda West, Wyecomm Agency Coordinator & Grape Kool-Aid Fan

Many people use the phrase “Drinking the Kool-Aid.” It is an urban saying that refers to buying into something because you believe in it. It also appropriately defines how I ended up working for Wye Communications.


Serving as a Marketing Coordinator for an internet consulting firm was my first experience working for a small company. It was also my first introduction to working for a company that placed importance on work/life balance and creating an environment where employees look forward to spending time with each other. During my interview, the CEO shared that he was a single father and was very understanding about working from home to care for a sick child. Before this, I would feel heavy with anxiety if I had to take off. All of this was new to me and I loved it. When the company was sold, I was heartbroken. As luck would have it, one of my colleagues moved to a PR firm. He called to let me know a position was open to support the President and CEO, and that was my introduction to PR.


I met Erica Swerdlow six years ago when she was hired to run that PR firm’s Chicago office. Erica’s first order of business was to schedule a 30-minute one-on-one meeting with each person in the office. It was the first step in getting to know everyone and finding out what they believed they needed to be successful. When it was my turn, she asked me what I thought we could do better to win new business. No one had ever asked me what I thought about this before, but I did have answers. I was surprised by her questions, but even more by the fact that she took the time to ask and attentively listened to what I had to say. During our conversation, I realized that we shared many of the same work ethics.

I walked away from that meeting feeling empowered. Over the course of working together, Erica created many exercises to help break the ice and motivate colleagues to get to know each other better. These exercises were instrumental in creating transparency and camaraderie in our office. The company culture quickly changed to a more upbeat vibe. We began collaborating better, winning more new business and employees were actually volunteering to work on new projects.


When I found out Erica was moving on to become CEO of Wye Communications, I knew I wanted to be a part of something different and with no hesitation I joined her. At that point, I was already drinking the Kool-Aid. Wyecomm has granted me the opportunity to apply myself in areas that are new to me. I am optimistic, challenged and refreshed all at once.

Additionally, every member of our talented team is supportive, collaborative and eager to pitch in where needed. I equate this to Wyecomm’s number one value: we have each other’s backs. It’s incredible to work for an agency that above all else, values company culture. Maybe I have been drinking too much Kool-Aid, but I believe by having a great culture, you will undoubtedly build a successful business. And by the way, my favorite flavor is grape!


This post also appears on Medium.com.