14 years & many memories later, Leslie Gibson retires
14 years ago, Leslie Gibson joined Collective Measures (then known as Nina Hale). As the third employee hired, the agency looked a bit different than it does today. Starting with only a few employees and a small office space, the agency has gone through a complete transformation with more employees, more areas to specialize in, and even a rebranding. Today, as a Senior Search Marketing Manager, Leslie has truly left her mark on the agency, from her unique approach to SEO and jack-of-all-trades capabilities across all things content to her vast knowledge of the agency’s history and her unfailingly positive, welcoming presence in the office. There’s no one quite like Leslie. To say she will be missed is an understatement.
We sat down with Leslie to learn more about her time at Collective Measures, how the agency has changed during her tenure, and her plans for retirement.
What made you apply to Collective Measures 14 years ago?
Oddly enough — I didn’t! I worked with Nina Hale, the founder of the agency, at another company. We enjoyed working together, but took different paths when our company changed direction. We kept in touch, mostly via my husband as he and Nina were both interested in photography. When Nina was looking to hire for her still-new agency, she reached out to Steve to see if I would be interested in joining her team. I’d been doing SEO and email marketing in the franchise industry for several years, and had gained the ability to quickly understand each company’s products and services. Agency life seemed like a natural next step and I was excited to work with Nina again. She took my very basic digital skill set to a completely new level. 14 years later, I can honestly say that I have learned something new every day and I still really enjoy all aspects of SEO.
Search marketing has evolved over the years. What have you enjoyed most about working in that field?
Staying on top of the new and different ways people search has been challenging and fun. People used to search by typing just one or two words into the query box on Google. Now, they can search by voice. They use much longer queries — posed as questions — to get answers and information or to find the solution to a problem. They get recommendations on social. Everyone has a different search style and different platform preferences. Search marketers have to navigate a state of constant change to drive success for their brands, but the opportunities are endless and it nevers gets old!
During your tenure, what have you enjoyed most while working at Collective Measures?
This is easy to answer: the people. Nina set the tone from the start with a “no jerks or slackers” policy when hiring new team members. This has continued over the years. The agency is filled with smart, amazing, hilarious, and hardworking people who truly care about each other. Agency-wide group chats have helped me stay in the loop on music, movies, and culture. They make it easy to find like-minded foodies to share recipes or restaurant recommendations, or help you figure out what’s wrong with your roses. Connecting with coworkers on other levels besides work has led to friendships that I hope will last for a long time after I leave the agency.
14 years is a significant milestone in the agency world. What has been your proudest achievement?
I think about my achievements at the agency in two ways: professionally and personally. Professionally, I am very proud of the work we did over the years with 3M, particularly when they were restructuring their website. We worked with multiple business units, in many different countries, to help them understand the importance of SEO and to make the best use of their excellent content, some of which was buried in the site, out of reach of the search engines. I’ve always enjoyed the unique challenges of B2B marketing and have jumped at every opportunity to work with manufacturing, medical products, and other B2B clients.
What are you proud of, looking back at your time at the agency?
Personally, I feel privileged to have been part of the agency from early on. I have enjoyed welcoming new employees on their first day, especially those fresh out of college, and watching them grow into polished professionals. I loved being a mentor to summer interns from Achieve Minneapolis and The BrandLab, And it’s been fun to share the rich history of this agency with employees — to help them understand where we came from, and to imagine where they can take the business in the coming years.