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Voices of Spool: We Are Making the Culture

This is part of our ongoing Voices of Spool blog series, where we ask our team to share their voices and experiences. In this post, Carrie, our ECD, writes about why she's with Spool and what brought her over from a previous agency life.

Recently I joined a collective of powerful women. I took all the lessons I’ve learned about speaking up for myself, about pulling up a chair at the table, and I invited myself among them.

They accepted me without question. We didn’t go to a coffee shop in Lower Manhattan that sells only obscure roasts. We didn’t interview over drinks after work. No one wondered if I would fit in with the culture.

There was no doubt because we are making the culture. I’m doing it right now as you read this.

After 15 years in the agency world playing someone else’s game, I find myself surprised and relieved that someone is asking me to help them create a new one.

It’s tough to find any game in town that succeeds without bullshit. It’s part of who we are in marketing and PR. We’re raised with it, fed on it.

Why does one campaign succeed and another fail? The better ideas win—sometimes. Sometimes it is because of smarts and due diligence. Other times it’s because the other guy’s boss went drinking with the client after the pitch.

In the agency world I’m used to asking these questions—often silently while eating an $18 salad at my open-floor-plan desk. Why did this person get promoted and not that one? It’s definitely either because they are better or possibly because we like to hang out with them more. We can’t say. Either because it’s uncomfortable or because we can’t articulate why we make decisions like this at all.

As we strive to build something new, these women are proving that bullshit is more nurture than nature. Just because we were raised that way doesn’t mean we have to live like that now, as adults. We get to decide.

And you can tell me every agency has to have some bullshit. And I believe you. Which is why Spool—yes, we’re called Spool, like a gathering of thread ready at your fingertips to weave the stories you want to tell—is not an agency.

In addition to sporting an all-female staff, we are both a collective and independent. We work together and remotely. There is no set hierarchy. And there is little overhead. We can serve our clients with our ideas, our strategy, and without layers of management or a front office or a holding company.

Unlike an agency, we have thought leaders without having bosses. We are collaborative individuals who each bring our own skills, experience and clients to the table. The table, by the way, is round.

There is mutual respect for all kinds of intelligence. We have space—mental, emotional and physical. We share compassion and humanity and unbridled, very uncool levels of excitement.

There are other perks. As far as the New York office goes, the snacks in the agency kitchen are not politicized because they are my snacks in my kitchen. Also, the bathroom is always stocked with tampons.