food-frenzy-recap

Cupcakes Change Lives

From the desk of Seattle recruiter, Beth Miller

I’ve always been a firm believer that cupcakes change lives. This sentiment became a reality as smartdept. inc. partnered with Food Lifeline for Food Frenzy, Food Lifeline’s summer fundraiser.

Last year for the fundraiser, our Seattle office hosted an open house and the raffle prize was a fabulous painting by our very talented principal, Michelle Pairitz. This year, we decided to take a different route, and host a bake sale. We invited our neighboring offices in our building, our clients, candidates, friends and families to drop by for a treat.

Over the course of our two-day sale, we had a few “repeat customers” coming back for another slice of Meghann’s pistachio cake. Overall, we raised $1,062.00! Every dollar we raised equals five meals for Food Lifeline’s programs – that’s 5,310 meals for hungry kids!

For the second year in a row, smartdept. inc. secured first place in the “Per Capita – Kitchen Sink Category” (Professional Services, Technology, Marketing). Overall, Food Frenzy raised $620,000 this year, and it continues to be an honor to be a part of something that’s making a tangible difference in our community.

Thanks to everyone who donated via our Crowdrise page and stopped by our office to visit and pick up some treats during our bake sale!

 

Welcome to the 5-Year Club, Meghann

From the desk of smartdept. inc. Principal: Eric Pairitz

meghann_five year club

“Meghann Francis Kern” is what we affectionately call her (to her face). But you might know her as the Branch Manager of the smartdept. inc. Seattle office!

Now, we can include “5-Year Jersey Club member” in the list of ways you can search for her on LinkedIn. On June 22, 2015, Meghann Francis became the second smarty in two months to garner the coveted 5-year jersey. Although it doesn’t come with a jelly-of-the-month club membership, it’s still something to be proud of.

I knew almost immediately, during our very first conversation, that Meghann would be a great fit for our environment. She was hired without staffing experience to be the Creative Consultant for our Seattle office. Meghann is a fast learner, and a short time later was promoted to a senior position. Over the years, Meghann has continued to display not only good business sense, but also outstanding leadership ability. These qualities earned her the opportunity to manage the Seattle branch — and her willingness to take on new challenges opened up the opportunity to change her focus from recruiting to business development, where I’m certain she’ll once again succeed with great enthusiasm.

Meghann, congratulations on this great accomplishment, and thank you for everything you do for us here at smartdept. inc.!

 

seattle-smarties

Getting Ready for Our July Fundraiser to Support Food Lifeline

From the desk of Seattle recruiter: Chessjuan Monk

1,290 lbs has little meaning when placed all on its own, but when talked about in regards to keeping children from being hungry after school, and its correlation to providing 1,075 meals for the hungry in Western Washington, it really does bring a heavier significance than just weight. Last Wednesday, June 24, I had the pleasure of volunteering with my new Seattle team at Food LifeLine’s food distribution warehouse in Shoreline. Being able to be part of an amazing organization that is providing such a great service to the community was priceless, and I’m looking forward to helping fundraise for this awesome group July 10-24.

If you’re in the Seattle Pioneer Square area, remember to stop by July 13 and 14 for our smartdept.inc. Seattle bake sale!

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leahburkhardt_5year

The 5 Year Club has a new member!

From the desk of smartdept. inc. Principal: Eric Pairitz

The “5 Year Jersey” (Club) started with smartdept. Vice President Matt Crook. Many of our longtime friends and associates will remember a picture of Matt sitting proudly at his desk sporting his custom-made smartdept baseball jersey. This finely crafted cover-up was highlighted by an orange 5 year patch, stitched tightly into the left sleeve and driven home with his name and number 1 gloriously displayed on the back! The jersey was made and presented to Matt in celebration of five years with smartdept. inc. And, since that cold January day in 2012, I’ve been waiting patiently to distribute yet another.

Enter Leah Burkhardt, from the great state of Oklahoma (where the winds come sweepin’ down the plain). We met Leah in mid-April 2010 and were immediately impressed by her contagious brand of enthusiasm and her willingness to try her hand at something new. I recall being impressed that she had a mix of professional attributes we’d recognized in other successful smarties. So we went for it – and offered her the job of Junior Creative Consultant.

Fast-forward five years. Leah’s star still shines brightly, but now as a Managing Creative Consultant. Leah has blossomed into a leader, not only to her Chicago teammates, but to her coworkers clear across the country. Our entire organization is proud to call Leah a colleague and a friend and we congratulate her for accomplishing so much in the five years she’s represented smartdept. inc.

In ceremonies held earlier, Leah was presented with her very own smartdept. 5 Year Jersey. Finally, Matt has someone to share the honors with!

– Eric

 

leahbye_blog

Life at smartdept. inc. Through One Recruiter’s Eyes

From the desk of Chicago recruiter: Leah Bye

Lately we’ve been discussing in our Chicago and Seattle offices the way the workforce is changing, both for employers and employees/job seekers (case in point, Beth’s last blog post).  While the job seekers are looking for extra perks in the workplace to engage them, employers also are looking at what job seekers are bringing to the table in addition to their career experience.  Look on any career information site, and you’ll see article after article about employers needing to be capable of motivating their employees to keep them engaged and happy. On the flip side, you’ll also see discussions that encourage hiring managers to bring on individuals that have inspirational attitudes, are a cultural fit, and can contribute something extra to the team. Obviously, experience is also part of the hiring process, and position details and potential to grow are players in the searching process (but let’s not worry about the minor details).

So, with that being said, I thought I’d share a bit about our workplace, how we keep engaged and how I, personally, have wedged my way in so my coworkers will suffer from sugar withdrawals if they decide they don’t need me in the office.

Here’s a little insight into what it’s like at smartdept. inc.:
As you may know, we have “boutique” spaces, both in Chicago, and Seattle. So, making sure that our teams work and interact together well is extremely important. On the work/motivational side, we keep each other in check, we encourage each other to push boundaries when applicable, and we always keep it constructive. On the interaction/frivolities side, you’ll occasionally see us at Cubs’ or Mariners’ games, or the Thai place around the corner. You may even see one of us walking around in our new “Winner’s” belt (see Eric’s last blog post). Our office competitions might sound silly, but the winner is always rewarded with something special, like pork rinds, which in turn creates a lot of running office jokes.

What I contribute outside of my job description:
Because I’m a narcissist, so why not talk about myself? I’ve positioned myself as the resident baker (in Chicago, sorry Seattle) – mostly birthdays, occasionally just because, always because I want to make something and can’t be trusted to keep it in my apartment. My contribution outside of what I actually do as a recruiter here at smartdept, inc. is that I make treats, hopefully well, and will even put together your own personal stash to take home if it’s your special day.  There have definitely been a few guinea pig moments. I’m thankful to have such an accepting crowd (especially Eric, don’t tell Michelle).

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I’m not saying your workplace has to be your everything, but, you do spend an awful lot of time there. So why not be somewhere that keeps you at your best, better than the rest?

– Leah Bye

 

Amy champion

A Little Friendly Inter-office Competition

From the desk of smartdept. inc. Principal: Eric Pairitz

We have greatness among us. Our very own Amy Amato has now scored inter-office victories in 2 straight Oscar pools, our SD Fantasy Football league and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. That’s right, she had the Badgers (not Kentucky) in the final! Obviously these are strange occurrences, so I immediately sent her file to the White House where I’m certain they will be involved in the future monitoring of the situation.

In the meantime, I’ve been inspired by Amy’s ability to win literally any inter office competition she has been involved in. So, in the spirit of great sports promoters like Don King and Vince McMahon (two people who may also have their files being looked at by the White House), I would like to introduce the Wild and Wacky Exhibitions (WWE) Championship Series. 

You got it, buddy! Each week our Chicago, Seattle, and National offices will come together to compete against each other in a wild and wacky challenge. The winner of each challenge will receive the honor of sporting the WWE Intercontinental Championship belt. The winner of the current challenge will remain in possession of the belt until the next challenge is completed and a new champion is determined.

Oh, by the way, in honor of Amy and her ridiculous ability to win the past challenges, I am officially naming the belt after her. You read me right, from this day forth the belt will be referred to as the Amy Amato WWE Intercontinental Championship Belt. And, for her NCAA tourney victory Amy has earned the pleasure of being the recipient of the very first presentation of the Amy Amato Wild and Wacky Exhibitions Intercontinental Championship belt (okay, let’s just call it the AAWWEICB). 

Congratulations, Amy, on you most recent victory! 

P.S. Since this was originally written, Amy was defeated in the championship match of our rock, paper, scissors tournament by Leah Bye.

#smartdeptinspires

smartdept. inc. Chicago Kicks Off Their 2015 Volunteering with a Day at Lakeview Pantry

Inspired by the Seattle team and their involvement with Food Lifeline, one of the Chicago team’s goals for 2015 was to get more involved with the community and volunteer our time to a local charitable organization.

Last Thursday marked our first group volunteer activity of the year! We spent most of our day at the Lakeview Pantry, one of the oldest food pantries in Chicago. Their mission is to eliminate hunger and poverty in the community. They do this by providing on-site food and clothing distribution as well as offering food deliveries to homebound clients. They also have a social services program that helps clients connect with other services they need to address the causes of food insecurity.

We helped the team unload deliveries from the Greater Chicago Food Depository and other grocery stores in the area. We also restocked and repacked food, organized, cleaned and washed windows! It was nice to get out of the office and work our muscles for a good cause. I think I speak for everyone when I say that my arms are just starting to recover from all the lifting. We’ll need to get in shape for next time.

We’re looking forward to more volunteer days with Lakeview Pantry in the future!

#smartdeptinspires

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EthanJackHarrington

Inspiration In the Open Air

Ethan Jack Harrington is a plein air painter who lives in Seattle, Washington. Plein air is a French term meaning “in the open air” and is used to describe the act of painting outdoors (I Googled it). Raise your hand if you’re from Seattle and have walked past a guy with his easel set up in the middle of a busy sidewalk. THAT’S ETHAN! I knew you knew him.

One of my first memories of starting the smartdept. inc. was walking down the street in Pioneer Square, and seeing Ethan working on one of his amazing paintings—right there, out in the open. We chatted about how Michelle and I were also artists, and we certainly appreciated his entrepreneurial spirit. Well, a baker’s dozen of years have passed, and you can still see Ethan out there painting in the open air. And, if the outdoors aren’t your thing, you can visit his gallery in the Pike Place Market (because it’s inside).

Alas, If you’re too impatient for a chance meeting in the street or just too busy to visit the market, you can check out his online gallery at ejakart.com. Give it a look! Maybe you’ll be inspired like Michelle and I were, oh so many years ago.

– Eric

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What Inspires Meghann Kern? Target Meals for Minds

Last Thursday afternoon marked our second volunteer adventure this year with Food Lifeline in Seattle. In the past we’ve worked in their warehouse repacking food for outgoing shipments, but last Thursday we had the opportunity to walk students and their families through a make-shift grocery store we helped set up at Northgate Elementary. Target Meals for Minds is a program that helps get groceries into the hands of elementary students in our surrounding schools. At our busiest we had students, anywhere from 5-10 years old, lining up with their parents, or patiently waiting by themselves, to walk through our assembly line. Some kids were in a hurry to catch their school bus so we rushed them through our line stuffing their backpacks and grocery bags with as much food as they could carry on their own. I have continued to be inspired by the staff and volunteers at Food Lifeline that work tirelessly to find creative solutions to get food into the hands of hungry families.

We were excited to have our neighbors (we share an office floor) from PlaceFull, Ben Kappler and Adam Lang, join our Food Lifeline volunteer efforts. Ben, Adam, Beth and I were on a highly trained team dubbed “the bag-ettes” – which is a really cool way to describe being on a grocery bagging team. We look forward to our next adventure with Food Lifeline!

smartdept. inc. Seattle | Food Lifeline | Target Meals for Minds

smartdept. inc. Seattle | Food Lifeline | Target Meals for Minds

smartdept. inc. Seattle

Meet With a smartdept. Seattle Recruiter and Experience Pioneer Square Culture

We’d like to think of ourselves as trendsetters at the smartdept. inc., or even mildly psychic. So when The Seattle Times stated over the weekend that Pioneer Square is in the middle of a “not-so-quiet renaissance” we weren’t surprised!

Our Seattle office is located right smack dab in the middle of what’s becoming a bustling foodie’s haven and artist’s dream (galleries galore). Our building houses Bar Sajor on the main level, The Pharmacy (speakeasy) in the basement, Temple Billiards, and of course, your very own creative and marketing talent resource.

After a visit to meet with one of our recruiters, you can explore our happening neighborhood and get inspired! #smartdeptinspires

Click here to read The Seattle Times article.