Here's a New Year's announcement.
I love new beginnings. A fresh sheet of paper. A brand new planner. The turn of a page into something undiscovered. And in this first newsletter in 2023, I’m here to share something new that I’m launching today.
In the last 10 years I have built brands and companies for myself, as I navigated what kind of “work” could fit into my life growing and caring for my family. And since the beginning of the pandemic, when our compartments for work and family started to blend, and when we collectively questioned what kind of work we wanted to dedicate our precious time and attention to, I knew that I wanted my work to occupy a space where I could talk openly about building our careers (and families) on our own terms.
This newsletter has been a really helpful outlet for experimenting with ideas that have been permeating my head. And in the course of the last few months, my writing uncovered my core mission: finding agency in my life and work, and helping others to do the same.
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An Agency for Building Agency
I always believe in starting a business only if it solves an actual problem. I discovered that people were looking to start something of their own, but when it came to getting the essential building blocks for launch — branding, website, brand collateral — there were few agencies or designers who understood their true need. They didn’t need the fanciest animated graphics and digital art, and they didn’t need a website with all the bells and whistles. What they needed was counsel on how to show up authentically as a brand, and in a way that speaks to the decision-makers that make their venture successful. They needed the digital tools that met them where they are and gave them agency to build their brand, their life, and their work on their own terms.
So that is what I’m proud to be launching today. SY|agency is a boutique agency that provides branding, website design, and ongoing brand support to individuals and organizations that are looking for a creative partner in building their digital platform and their own venture.
An Agency for the Moment
We are in a moment right now when trust in large institutions is volatile. We, as consumers of information, products, and services, are looking to individuals and smaller brands for authentic values that we believe in. This has, of course, coincided with the growth and ubiquity of digital tools that enable each of us to build our own brand and our own platform.
Building a digital platform enables you to share your story on your own terms — to take up space in the now-default digital space, and own your own narrative. Whether you are an established organization in need of a digital transformation, or someone looking to start your own business, whether and how you show up online can have a profound impact on the perceived value of your work, your expertise, and your voice. In other words, your digital platform is a vital tool in exercising agency over your career, and in turn, your life.
I see this as an opportunity for designing a “future of work” that creates ample space for diverse voices, and decentralizes power. And through this work of designing digital platforms, I hope we can help more people feel true agency in building their careers.
I’ve recently worked with author Alisha Fernandez Miranda to prepare for her upcoming book launch, My What If Year (the debut book under Zibby Owens’s new publishing company). I’ve had the honor of working with Hilary Phelps in launching her new website and sharing her journey of recovery and sobriety. I’ve worked with bestselling author and grief advocate (and dear friend) Marisa Renee Lee as she launched her bestseller Grief Is Love, as well as some badass professional women who launched their own consultancies doing what they’ve always done, but working for themselves (Bauerly Consulting and Oxbow). I’m excited to share some more projects that will be launching soon.
My Word of 2023: Now.
My chosen word for 2023 is “now”. I feel a strong sense that now is the time to do the thing. Earlier this week, my 4 year-old wanted to stop by the playground on the way home from preschool. And normally I would have punted to stick to our routine and stay on schedule for lunch. But I realized that now is the time when he is enthralled at every playground he sees… so now is the time that we should play at the playground before lunch. Next month or a few months from now, his interests may have moved on. There is no guaranteed place in the future for a desire or creative urge that is here now.
Though I’ve been doing this type of client work for a while now, I sense that now is the time to do it out loud — to follow my own advice to clients that now is a great time to find, nurture, and exercise agency over one’s work. I suspect many of you and folks in your network may also have a sense of urgency in starting something new, seeking more autonomy and agency. I invite you listen to and honor that voice in some way, and consider that the future may not guarantee a place for what you’re seeking now.
You can follow along on LinkedIn, and please reach out if you are also in search of finding more agency in your work and feel like there’s a pain point in this space that isn’t being addressed. This agency work is going to be a central focus for me in the coming months, but I do believe it’s just the beginning.
As always, thank you for being here and Happy 2023!