In honor of Crawford Strategy’s fifth anniversary in 2015, the Sandy Linning Excellence Award was established to recognize an employee that exemplifies Crawford’s core values. These five qualities—respect, flexibility, responsibility, quality, and attitude—were created with the help of Marion Crawford’s long-time mentor, Sandy Linning. Each year, the employees nominate a member of the team for this esteemed honor. We recently sat down with Hannah Stone, our senior art director and manager of creative services—and also this year’s winner—for a quick Q&A.
- How long have you been with Crawford Strategy?
I feel like this dates me, but I’ve been a part of the team for a little more than 7 years.
- What roles have you held during your time with Crawford?
I actually started as a temporary employee—hired to help the designer on staff with anything from page layouts to plugging excel sheet data. Crawford was growing rapidly and my responsibility grew with it, ultimately ending in an offer to join the team as a full time graphic designer. After accepting, Crawford continued to burgeon almost exponentially—as did our creative team. I was promoted to an art director, and a senior art director following that. And most recently, I added the role of manager of creative services to my title. Almost just as important—I am currently sharing the role of “best team costume” from our 2017 Halloween costume contest—any Home Alone fans out there?
- Crawford’s core values are Quality, Respect, Flexibility, Responsibility and Attitude. Which is your favorite and why?
I have a sign hanging in my office designed by graphic artist Anthony Burrill that reads, “Work Hard and Be Nice to People.” The “be nice to people”, i.e., respect/attitude, really resonates with me. You can be the most talented and dedicated employee—but if you’re despondent, are rude to others, or are a source of negativity, it will overshadow your talent and work ethic (unless you are Gordon Ramsay).
- What does the Sandy Linning Excellence Award mean to you?
I’m lucky that I was able to work alongside Sandy when I first started at Crawford. She was a great role model and demonstrated the perfect mix of professionalism, southern charm, and strong work ethic. The award embodies values that Sandy, as well as our entire company, stands for. To have my own teammates—many of whom I’ve worked with for years—think that I was worthy of receiving such an award feels pretty great.
- What advice would you give to someone just starting their career with Crawford?
Hang on tight! We move at a quick pace, multi-task, and hold each other accountable for many things. There will be long days and times where you have to push yourself, but those days are made so much easier when you have a team of peers who stands there with you. We are not a dog-eat-dog company internally. We are a family. And at the end of the day, you can kick back and enjoy a beer with a co-worker or reflect on having a part in ringing the new business cowbell—who doesn’t like beer and cowbells?I’ll say this too: Each role I held at Crawford did not exist prior to me. While some of that has to do with the timing, it’s also a wonderful example of how you can grow at Crawford in a way that benefits not only yourself but also influences the direction of the team. It’s ok to stretch your role into other areas we haven’t yet explored—in fact, it’s encouraged!