Tag Archives: Gallup

Pingpong, Popcorn, and Pops of Colors

September 17, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Ervin & Smith’s office resembles an aquarium floating above the Aksarben Village street level. But instead of fish, there is a full-service advertising and public relations firm occupying the second floor of 1926 S. 67th St., Suite 250.

Pedestrian passersby can catch a glimpse of ad agency life through bare full-wall windows wrapping along the southeast side of the modern office building. 

Ervin & Smith’s stand-alone popcorn machine beckons from the corner of the second floor overlooking Lotus House of Yoga and the new HDR headquarters. 

The suite’s bare-glass southern wall faces Genesis Health Clubs with a row of pod workstations—partially enclosed, high-backed club chairs in teal and gray upholstery. The east wall of the office space features three house-shaped semi-private spaces with bar tables and chairs.

Heidi Mausbach, president and CEO of Ervin & Smith, says the current design is the result of a collaborative process focused on fostering an environment conducive to teamwork and community engagement.

Mausbach challenged the local architectural office of RDG Planning and Design to build an office space that encourages fun, collaboration, and community involvement. Everyone on the Ervin & Smith team participated in RDG’s research to provide insights on an ideal working environment for a diverse workforce.

“People wanted more private space, more collaborative space, more comfortable space, but many didn’t want an open environment. So we really dug into what’s the problem and heard that a lot of times in an open environment it’s just flat desks all the way across, there is very little privacy,” Mausbach says.

RDG tackled the assignment with a variety of mobile dividers, private offices, and myriad café- style booths. A mix of materials—plywood, metal, and textiles—were incorporated into the designs to serve as visual buffers. Soundproof materials ensure a quiet workplace to the agency’s staff of 42 employees.

When Mausbach was thinking about effective ways to use the new office, she decided to invite clients and representatives of other companies to use Ervin & Smith’s meeting space. For example, employees who serve on the boards of nonprofit organizations can do community impact work in the large conference room. And if more space is needed? The garage door separating the large conference room and multifunctional kitchen can be put up for more people to gather.

Ervin & Smith was named in Best Places to Work by Ad Age in 2014, 2016, and 2017. The Omaha-based advertising and PR firm also earned a Top Company Cultures award from Entrepreneur magazine in 2017, and it received a Business Excellence Award for Leadership from the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce in 2018.

“We want to continue to have a culture that people want to work here, so we can recruit and retain the best talent. We put a lot of emphasis on making it a great place to work,” says Mausbach, adding that Ervin & Smith sought to foster career, social, financial, physical, and community well-being among its employees, based on research from Gallup.

“With Gallup, they have five different categories of well-being, so we’re looking at creating perks that align with those,” she says. “This year, we bring in lunch twice a week. Free lunch aside, it brings together coworkers for a little bit of downtime and builds social relationships outside of the work that we are doing.”

And then there is that free snack. “The popcorn machine is used every single day,” Mausbach says. So is the pingpong table in front of it.

One of the team’s associate creative directors, Aaron Christensen, enjoys both. He even keeps a recurring appointment with Don Aguirre, one of the agency’s senior copywriters. These creative staffers bounce ideas off each other during their daily pingpong contests. And they keep score.

“For me, the daily pingpong game serves as a brain break,” Christensen says. “It gets me away from my desk and gets the blood flowing a bit. I haven’t had any amazing creative breakthroughs, but just taking the time to stop thinking about things is an important way to come back and get a new perspective on a problem I’m trying to solve.”

“Playing pingpong is my daily reminder of just how great of a gig I have at Ervin & Smith,” Aguirre says. “It’s just a fun way to give myself a mid-afternoon brain-break.”

“That playful, give-your-brain-a-break type of environment, sometimes that’s where the best ideas come from,” Mausbach says.


Visit ervinandsmith.com for more information.

This article was printed in the October/November 2018 edition of B2B. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

MILLENNIAL MYTH: We’re Job Hoppers

June 13, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

I’m a millennial who’s held four different jobs over the past two years. 

This begs the question, “Am I a cliché?”

Gallup called millennials the “job-hopping generation” in a 2016 study. 

An April NBC news article said: “Right now, job-hopping is on the rise because of the good economy and millennials who’ve grown up suspecting that there’s no such thing as loyalty from employers anymore.” 

And a 2016 CNN Money article had the headline: “The new normal: 4 jobs changes by the time you’re 32.”

BTW, I’m 34.

Throughout my job-hopping years, I’ve been an event organizer for/owner of a nightclub, a marketing director for a hip startup, a journalist for a 103-year-old architecture firm, and now a sales manager for an eco-friendly sustainability company.

When I announced my most recent career switch on Facebook, I wrote, “Like a flakey millennial in continual pursuit of purpose, I’ve switched careers…again.” 

One friend resonated with my sentiment by commenting, “Nail on the head lol.” 

In my naive narrative of the generation that I’m a part of, I assumed that millennials do in fact quit their jobs more often than previous generations, and that we do it because we’re driven to find purpose and passion in our work. Which means I once believed the media headline hype, too. 

But in the midst of researching this column in an attempt to reverse engineer my assumptions, I discovered that the numbers say something different, and that I was projecting my own ego onto a whole generation. 

A number of studies do in fact show that millennials are job-hopping quite often. Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2014 showed that the typical worker, aged 20-24 at the time, had been in their position for 16 months, as opposed to the five-and-a-half-year median tenure for those aged 25 and older. A widely referenced 2013 study from the consulting firm Millennial Branding said that 60 percent of millennials leave their companies within three years. 

While this all may be true, the problem is how we’re looking at the data. 

Consider this: In a FiveThirtyEight article from 2015, Ben Casselman wrote, “Numbers on job tenure for Americans in their 20s were almost exactly the same in the 1980s as they are today.” And, according to a 2017 Pew Research study, millennials are sticking with their jobs slightly longer than Gen Xers were in 2000. 

What’s the point? The flakiness of millennials is nothing new. It’s not that millennials quit their jobs more than other generations—young people do. 

And while job hopping is simply a symptom of being young and trying to find your place in the world, according to that same FiveThirtyEight article, it also has the benefit of driving up wages. Which is a great thing considering the wage stagnation that’s stemmed from the
Great Recession. 

In other words, as much as I want to think I’m part of a “special generation,” or as much as millennial stereotypes want to perpetuate the myth that my generation is disloyal and complacent, it turns out we have much more in common with Gen X and baby boomers than most might think. (But don’t tell them that.) 

Do you have thoughts, comments, or column ideas? Please share them with us at editor@omahapublications.com. 


This article was printed in the July/August 2018 edition of Encounter. 

Ten Outstanding Young Omahans

February 21, 2017 by
Photography by Contributed

On Feb. 8, the Omaha Jaycees honored the Ten Outstanding Young Omahans of 2017 during a banquet at The Paxton Ballroom. This award recognized individuals for their commitment to the community and their extraordinary leadership qualities.

“It’s pretty amazing that this award started right here in Omaha, and it truly is an award and recognition of the highest honor,” says Jennifer Anderson, president of the Omaha Jaycees. “The Omaha Jaycees continue to be impressed with the caliber of applicants we see each year, and we are happy that we can continue the tradition of honoring Omaha’s best and brightest.”

The judges for this year’s event were:

Mikaela Borecky
United Way of the Midlands

Jessica Feilmeier
Truhlsen Eye Institute, UNMC

Nicole Jilek
Abrahams, Kaslow, & Cassman LLP

Nick Langel
Union Pacific Railroad

Marjorie Maas
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska

Maggie McGlade
CQuence Health Group

P.J. Morgan
P.J. Morgan Real Estate

Katie Triplett
Nebraska Methodist Health System

Michael Young
RSM US LLP

This year’s TOYO! recipients are…

Chinh Doan

KETV Newswatch 7
Doan studied journalism, Spanish, and international studies at the University of Oklahoma and graduated as the “Outstanding Senior.” She is Omaha Tri Delta alumnae president, Young Catholic Professionals’ Parish Ambassadors coordinator, and is the inventory manager for the Junior League of Omaha’s “Project Hope Pack” Committee. She is also a member of Vietnamese Friendship Association of Omaha, and Asian American Journalists Association. She participates in the Omaha Press Club Show and Omaha Fashion Week.

Megan Hunt

Hello Holiday
Hunt began her career as a bridal designer.
She is the co-founder of Hello Holiday and is also the founder of Safe Space Nebraska. In 2010 Hunt received Shout Magazine’s 30 Under 30 honor, and in 2011 she was recognized as one of Midlands Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. Her 2014 book, Fabric Blooms, sold out of its first printing in under 24 hours. Hunt has served on the boards of Omaha Area Youth Orchestras, Friends of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, CHEER Nebraska, and Friends of the Nebraska AIDS Project.

Ryan Ellis 

P.J. Morgan Real Estate
Ellis began his career at P.J. Morgan Real Estate as an intern while attending Creighton University. He graduated from Creighton with a bachelor’s degree in finance. In 2007, Ellis was promoted to vice president and chief operating officer, and in 2009, Ellis was named
company president.

Ellis serves on the boards of Family Housing Advisory Services, Omaha Conservatory of Music, and Fashion Institute Guild. He is a 2014 Leadership Omaha graduate and was awarded the Midland’s Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 award in the same year.

Emiliano Lerda, J.D., LL.M.

Justice For Our Neighbors of Omaha
Lerda earned a B.A. in communication studies from the University of Northern Iowa and a J.D. from Drake University Law School. He holds certificates in Public Service Law, Food & Agriculture Law, and International Comparative and Human Rights Law from Drake. He is the executive director at Justice for Our Neighbors of Omaha and has taught “Immigration, Law & Latinos” as an adjunct professor at UNO. He participated in the Nonprofit Executive Institute and Leadership Omaha Class 36 and is currently enrolled in the Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program.

Leslie Fischer

Together A Greater Good
Fischer graduated from Millard North High School in 1995, and with a degree in business administration, minor in marketing, from UNO in 1999.

She is the co-founder of TAGG, a social good app that received the “Excellence in Business Award—Community” from the Greater Omaha Chamber in 2016. Fischer also received UNO’s Young Achievement Award in 2015.
She co-founded Ladies Who Launch Omaha and serves on the board of Saving Grace Perishable Food Rescue and B4B Society.

Cliff McEvoy, MPA, MSL

Buford Foundation
McEvoy graduated from Saint Louis University and served as an Air Force officer for 6 1/2 years. He left with the rank of Captain and was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal.

McEvoy also earned an MPA from the University of Akron and an M.S. from Creighton University. McEvoy serves on Nebraskans for Civic Reform, the Greater Omaha Chamber’s Young Professionals Council, the Greater Omaha Chamber Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, and is president of Omaha Professionals United in Service. He is the executive director of the Buford Foundation.

Sheena Kennedy Helgenberger

Live Well Omaha Kids
Helgenberger earned a Master of Arts in Educational Administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2010. She wrote a thesis under the direction of Dr. Rachelle Winkle-Wagner about African American women’s experiences transitioning to college. The research resulted in an article in the NASPA Journal.

She is the coalition director for Live Well Omaha Kids, and she is particularly passionate about empowering and protecting youth. The greatest reward of Sheena’s volunteer experiences has been her relationship with her Little Sister, Allanah.

Emily Poeschl

University of Nebraska at Omaha
Poeschl is also a 2016 TOYO! recipient. She has a BSBA from UNL and an MBA from UNO, where she is the director of marketing. Poeschl is a member of the Susan G Komen Nebraska Board of Directors, and serves in two national volunteer roles: the Komen Advocacy Advisory Taskforce and Komen Advocates in Science. She is a member of Women’s Fund of Omaha Circles Group, and United Way Community Investment Review Team. She is also a Girls Inc. Pathfinders mentor, a Delta Gamma Omaha Alumnae Chapter past president, and an SID 502 past trustee.

Kasey Hesse

Gallup
Hesse leads Gallup’s dot-com team as a technology manager at Gallup. She majored in international studies and Portuguese at UNL, and earned an M.A. in mental health counseling from UNO. Hesse is a board member at Bluebarn Theatre, Omaha Friends of Planned Parenthood, and is on the Kent Bellows Mentoring Program’s education committee. She is a 2016 New Leaders Council Fellow and a member of Leadership Omaha class 34.

Tony Vargas 

Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance and Omaha Public Schools Board
Vargas is a State Senator for District 7 in the Nebraska Legislature, representing the communities of Downtown and South Omaha. He previously served on the Omaha Public Schools Board of Education. Vargas earned a B.A. from the University of Rochester and an M.Ed. from Pace University and is currently the director of marketing and communications for Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance. He is also serves on the advisory board for New Leaders Council-Omaha.

A Family Downtown

December 9, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

It helps to have an elevator.

Which is just what Kristin Brown tells friends and the curious whenever they ask how in the world she’s going to get that baby stroller and other infant paraphernalia into her home. “We always get the question, ‘How are you going to carry all the baby gear in from the car when living on the second floor?’” Brown says. “To their surprise, our response is ‘Do you have an elevator in your home?’

“It’s not any more difficult living off ground level to get groceries or gear inside. It’s quite easy, and not something that should discourage someone from living in a condo.”

Kristin and her husband, Scott, have been doing just that since 2007 when the couple moved into the Kimball Lofts at 15th and Jones streets.

They had figured that when they began their life together, it would be in a house: The kind with a yard and a driveway (and mowing and shoveling). They were suburbanites, after all. Both grew up in west Omaha, attending Millard North High School together before graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

 

Their first search for a home brought them to the Dundee neighborhood. The Browns found a house they liked but waited too long to bid on it. It was snatched up by the next day. Soon thereafter, Kristin got Scott to join her on the Downtown Condo Living Tour. That took them to Kimball Lofts.

“Neither of us had spent much time Downtown, but we knew we loved city living,” Kristin says. “Within minutes of touring the Kimball Lofts building we could picture ourselves starting our lives there as a married couple.

“The minimalist lifestyle was most appealing. We knew we’d use every bit of space in our condo. And we love to travel, so being able to pick up and go without the responsibilities that came with a traditional home was important to us.”

Still, the Browns figured their downtown living was only meant for two—and not for children. Once a third Brown was added, they’d get a home with a yard. “We assumed that’s where we’d end up sooner rather than later,” Kristin says. Sooner came in 2014 with Kristin due to give birth to her first child, Brock,  in August. It wouldn’t be long until the 1,500 square feet they were sharing wouldn’t be enough.

They considered building on a lot in West Omaha, but without knowing how large their family would grow, found it difficult to commit to plans. They wanted something move-in ready. They found it across the hall in the largest condo in Kimball Lofts. Their neighbors had moved out. The Browns moved in. Now they had two bedrooms and gobs of entertaining space amid nearly 2,600 square feet.

“We decided to reevaluate our desires and what was important to us,” Kristin says.

The condo is ideal for entertaining. Natural light floods every room through tall windows inset into exposed exterior brick walls. The tops of young trees along 15th Street are visible and promise a dazzling palette come every fall.

Guests first enter a large kitchen featuring stainless steel appliances and a long stone countertop that seats six at bar stools. That flows into the living room and dining room, where the Browns have a table that can host 16 guests when it unfolds. Off the dining room is a small deck where Scott frequently grills. There’s a room for baby Brock and a spacious master bedroom. The ceiling is high and exposed throughout.

Kristin parks underground in a heated garage; Scott has a street-level stall in a gated lot. Their commute is almost nonexistent as both work downtown in sales, Scott at Gallup, Kristin with Pfizer.

“Not having to fight traffic day after day is a huge benefit,” she says.

Yes, there are space constraints. In their previous condo, Scott’s bikes—he rides regularly and competes in triathlons—were stored in the hallway. There’s room for them now in a closet, but today the baby stroller takes residence in the hallway. And the dryer is stacked atop the washer in their walk-in closet (at least there’s no trip to put away clean clothes).

But if they have to do with less stuff, they certainly have more stuff to do. The Browns are outside more often, perhaps, than their suburban counterparts with yards. From their condo, Scott can hit trails that take him through Iowa on the Wabash Trace or to Fort Calhoun. They walk downtown frequently—to the pedestrian bridge or throughout the Old Market. And quite frequently to dinner.

“Being able to walk out our front door to the best restaurants in Omaha is a huge perk,” Kristin says. “And everyone knows everyone. There’s nothing better than going to the local market or our favorite restaurant or coffee shop and being greeted by our first name.”

20140923_bs_2989