On a balmy Friday evening in March (practically a century ago), we celebrated a week of back-to-back client research presentations on a restaurant patio. We laughed together and swapped stories and shared plates of appetizers without having the faintest idea that such an ordinary outing as a team would soon become something like a daydream.
The following Monday, COVID-19 quarantines and shut-downs started rolling out across the country. Our leadership team made the quick, efficient call to go temporarily remote. We closed down the office, locked the front door, and lugged our monitors home. We sat at our kitchen tables and on couches and looked at each other through screens, feeling apprehensive.
But our world kept spinning. We hit our stride more quickly than any of us could have imagined. Our clients needed us to help them adapt to the new "Twilight Zone"-version of normal, communicate changes with their audiences, and knock out goals. We kept collaborating, gut-checking, thinking hard, finding proof, and producing great work. We smiled a little less for a while, maybe, but we still got down to business.
And through all that, this year still had a lot of good in it for us to reflect on. Here's what sticks out.
Team Member Additions
We added some truly incredible people to our team this year:
- Cornelius Ukena, engineer
- Sav Russell, senior engineer
- Dalton Fischer, business development manager
- Emily Dale, senior account manager
- Noah Kinney, designer
And just recently, we welcomed our new Content and Media Specialist, Madelyn Freeman, to the team. Her talented presence officially makes us a team of 15—the largest Mostly Serious has ever been.
Oh, and we'd like to give a shout-out to an honorary team member, possible future intern, and definite future office snack stealer: our Director of Client Services, Emily, brought her daughter Rosalie into the world this November. Congratulations, Emily and Charlie! Baby makes 16—we're calling it.
UpBallot and the Missouri House Democrats
Remember the first few months of 2020? No? Us either. Well, with a couple exceptions—we do remember launching UpBallot, a code-free, hassle-free way for political candidates to make their own campaign website. We remember traveling to Jefferson City on Filing Day to show candidates how easy it is to use. We remember stopping to eat at Culver's on the way home (because we love those butter burgers, dammit.)
Anyway. Just a day after UpBallot's launch, we launched a custom Craft CMS website for the Missouri House Democrats, the official campaign committee supporting House Democrats in Missouri. Launching the UpBallot platform and the Missouri House Dems' new site is the biggest role we've gotten to play yet in helping to ensure democracy is alive and well—and we're pretty proud of that.
Fast forward to September when we launched a new website for AGFinancial, a faith-based financial institution. As AGFinancial's collaborative partner, we custom designed and engineered a site that makes it easier for site visitors to find a wealth of financial resources, discover services, and get connected with a consultant for one-on-one advice.
You can have a website done anywhere. There’s a flood of website developers and digital agencies in every major city. But you don’t always find people you trust… people you actually WANT to have a long-term relationship with. I’m so glad to have found that with Jarad, Chelsea, and the rest of the Mostly Serious team. Through this process of developing the AGFinancial website, they’ve become a part of our extended team, and working with them could not have been better.
Want to learn more about our work for AGFinancial? Read the case study.
Long before we started a partnership with Andy B's, we loved bowling, playing Skee-ball, and ending friendships over laser tag at the Springfield Andy B's location. But when we dug deep into the Andy B's brand ahead of its website overhaul, we learned so much beyond what we already knew—enough to design and build a Craft CMS site with dynamically generated, location-based content, custom-embedded forms, and a look and feel true to Andy B's forward-thinking, always-innovating personality.
We look forward to continuing our partnership with Andy B's throughout 2021, but until then, we'll be practicing our laser tag skills at home in anticipation of our next team battle. Pew pew pew!
From the beginning Mostly Serious dug in deep and put in the time to truly understand our customers, our industry, and our brand. They asked countless questions, challenged the status quo, and offered unique solutions throughout the process. The result: a highly visual and fully dynamic site that not only meets the need of our customers but allows for efficient and easy-to-use back-end management.
At Mostly Serious, we believe in social justice and equal representation. We believe Black lives matter. And we believe in putting our values to work to support our community. This year we protested safely and peacefully, we raised funds for deserving organizations, and recently, we worked on nights and weekends to give the Springfield chapter of the NAACP a custom-built site free of charge.
Over the span of just a few weeks, we had a blast collaborating with the Springfield NAACP board, absorbing the chapter's local history, and crafting a site that makes it easy for new and current members alike to get involved.
That's not all.
We launched a ton of other projects that we'd love for you to check out. Head to our Our Work page to see all our latest projects.
Non-Billable Moments Worth Noting
We still had many fun moments in 2020—some while in the same room, even!—which we remember with the faraway fondness of Rose at the end of "Titanic". We kept our culture going while working apart, for 100 remote days and well beyond.
We constantly, inexplicably debated how many mozzarella sticks each of us could eat in one sitting. Some people on this team claim as many as 80 and that's... well, that's worrisome.
We almost burned down the office by using a hot dog bun toaster that had its own agenda.
For Valentine's Day, we conjured elementary school memories with homemade valentine boxes and a themed potluck that combined two of our favorite things: food and puns.
A baby snake fell out of a vent and onto Spencer's desk. (Everybody was really cool about it, don't worry.)
We initiated Prouds, a recurring meeting in which we share what we're currently working on and projects that we're really, well, proud of. Subsequent meetings have been eloquently titled Prouds 2: Prouder and Prouds 3: The Proudening.
We collectively worshipped TV shows like "Fleabag", "The Queen's Gambit", "What We Do in the Shadows", and "Pen15" with brief but intense bursts of nerding out on Slack.
A few dedicated team members participated in a fantasy league for the latest season of "The Great British Bake-Off", and we're still talking about that Freddie Mercury cake.
Maranda led a monthly virtual yoga class for us. (Namaste, Maranda.)
We celebrated 10 years in business with 10 Days of Good, encouraging team members and our social followers to "do a good" for the first 10 days of October.
We made the most of what 2020 gave us. We grew together as a team, produced our best work ever, and solved really tough challenges. We adapted. We made better processes. We bought stand-up desks because sitting all day sucks and is terrible for you. But now that this year is on its way out the door, we've got a new one to look forward to, and it holds an awful lot of promise.
In 2021, we'll grow and learn from team members we haven't met yet.
We'll get to know new clients.
We'll redefine normal in a post-pandemic, remote-friendly office.
We'll solve problems we've never encountered before.
We'll launch our best work ever.
And we'll be on the lookout for more ways to live up to our values. It kinda goes without saying, but we think we're up for the challenge.
See you on the other side, friend. 👋👋👋
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