Feedback: February 2021

by Matthew Clyde, Brett Farmiloe, Ben Kalkman, Dizzie Ramsey, Angela Sticca Snyder

Q: Guidelines and mandates were in flux much of last year as we all struggled to learn about the coronavirus.  To protect your business, what  strategy or strategies have you employed or what  “temporary” changes did you put into place that you see becoming standard policy going forward?     


Matthew Clyde

President and Founder
Ideas Collide
Sector: Media Consultant

At Ideas Collide, our mantra is to “Love the team, love the work, give back with impact!” When the pandemic hit, we held this mantra close to our heart, and honored it as much as possible.

First, we immediately moved to remote work to protect our team’s health. We’ve always had remote work options and flexibility to work in personal needs, which we will continue to balance.

To preserve the financial long-term and protect team health benefits, we worked with our entire leadership for recommendations. We had to make difficult sacrifices, including temporary pay cuts, but have since restored pay and are building ongoing innovative ways to keep long-term opportunities thriving in the future.

The overall challenges from 2020 reinvigorated our team-first and giving purpose with servant-leadership guiding tough decisions and important community giving. The pandemic affected timelines, in-person video shoots, production schedules. Everyone had to step up performing tasks previously not related to their jobs. The result? New client growth, unexpected fast-track projects launched, and an ensemble of creative muscles flexed across the agency.

Matthew Clyde is the president and founder of Ideas Collide, an Inc. 5000 company and full-service marketing firm based in Phoenix and Portland, with clients in the U.S. and abroad. Ideas Collide specializes in designing fully integrated, custom marketing solutions that deliver high-impact results. Our approach is simple: We invent ideas and integrate solutions to create impact.


Brett Farmiloe

CEO and Founder
Sector: Media Consultant

Before the pandemic, our company had an 80/20 policy: 80% in-office and 20% remote work. As we look beyond the pandemic, we plan to still employ an 80/20 policy, but the percentages are now flip-flopped for us, with 80% of work being done remotely and 20% in-office. The best protection for employees is to stay home, and the best productivity for our company has been to remain remote. Quite honestly, in February 2020 I wouldn’t have seen remote work as a standard policy for our company. But when considering how to best protect our business, how could we not shift toward remote work?

We’ve been able to better retain employees who would have otherwise left our company to move outside of Phoenix. The talent pool has expanded beyond Arizona, beyond the U.S., and to a global scale. Mandatory monthly expenses like rent, utilities and more have gone away to allow us more margins to competitively price our services. Sure, there are cons and challenges to remote work. I’ll miss the accidental innovations that happen with a water cooler conversation and seeing how tall an employee may be. But for us, the pros of remote working have led us to a new future workplace.

Brett Farmiloe is the founder and CEO of Markitors, an SEO company for small businesses. Although his headshot won’t show it, he’s grown a gnarly, Shackelton-inspired, only-viewable-during-Zoom-calls, temporary beard during a stressful, small-business-survival type of pandemic. 


Ben Kalkman

CEO and Founder
Rocket Media
Sector: Media Consultant

Our team’s health and safety were priority number one from the start. We immediately embraced a remote-work structure, battened down the spending on all fronts and began looking to our clients to see how we could best help them.

The real pivot for us was based around the idea of becoming a communication conduit for our community and customers. Through our partnerships with companies like Google, we embraced this concept during the early stages of the pandemic and will continue to support the community at large in this way going forward.

Your business is only as good as the people within it; as the leader of this organization, it’s my responsibility to take great care of my team. We also embraced what we lovingly call “Rocket Love.” This is the intentional efforts we as a company put forth to ensure our team knows how important they are to our success and the future of the organization. The adjustments we made to our work greatly impact the culture, and that’s something we cherish at Rocket HQ.

Ben Kalkman is the CEO of Rocket Media, an Arizona-based marketing agency serving the home services industries nationwide. Kalkman’s purpose statement is, “To lead, by living a balanced and focused life, and caring enough to make a significant difference in all that I do.”


Dizzie Ramsey

Owner and World Class Entertainer
Just Energy Entertainment
Sector: Entertainment

Just Energy Entertainment decided to put into place these new strategies that helped protect our business last year, and we will continue these new policies, keeping clients happy and ensuring we can help out our employees and our entertainment community.

Sanitize: We work with children and we already keep things very sanitized. Last year showed us that we had to step up our cleaning game. Now that the bar has been raised, clients want to see that we are maintaining the same cleanliness. We have now invested in large industrial cleaners with a virucide cleaning solution as part of the new army of sanitizing procedures. We spray this fog disinfect on everything before and after our events for clients. Everyone will be looking a little closer on safety measures that companies are taking and we want to stay on top of our game. We’re a kids’ entertainment company, not a cleaning company, but this new way of sanitizing has become a standard policy that is here to stay as another addition to keep our clients and staff protected.

Giving: As a business, everything froze when COVID hit. We first scrambled to figure out “What will I do?” and “How will my company make money to pay my bills?” Well, even as a small business we knew that we had staff who were also getting hit hard. So, we started giving: time, food, gift cards and donations all during the summer. And then for the holidays, we decided to pay ENERGY bills of entertainers with great ENERGY! We wanted to do more to keep good ENERGY, and giving every year will now be a new standard policy of Just ENERGY Entertainment.

\Just Energy Entertainment is a full-service, family-friendly children’s entertainment company that specializes in providing a variety of family-fun entertainment at both corporate and residential events. Just Energy Entertainment spotlights kids’ events and children’s parties specifically for ages 1-12, and always caters to special events that bring awareness to children’s mental health, kid’s cancer, children’s autism, movement disabilities and any other illnesses that affect children.


Angela Sticca Snyder

Founder and CEO
Sector: Accounting

It’s been a constantly changing work environment this past year. Some changes we made we hope to be temporary, like masks, gloves and spraying every single surface down. On the other hand, working virtually we are finding that it is allowing us to have a more competitive yet flexible client environment.

During this time, we have really leveraged digital communications. The options are endless and getting better every day. We tend to prefer the ones with video (Zoom, Google Chat, Ring Central, to name a few) because it does give a little bit more of a personal feel, albeit only two dimensional.

We have found our meeting times down 40%, while productivity is up, so we are clearly keeping this change from the pandemic.

Angela Sticca Snyder is the consummate strategist. She loves listening, analyzing and developing ideas and plans. She graduated high school at age 16, earned her Bachelor’s in accounting at 19 and her Master’s in taxation at 21. She is a federally licensed, IRS Enrolled Agent and maintains a former Federal Top Secret Security clearance. She has more than 25 years of expertise in taxes, IRS audits, accounting and more.

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