by Brian Nordli
March 4, 2019

A company’s core values can go a long way toward setting the proper tone at work, but without employee engagement, they’re nothing more than empty words.

That’s why Adtaxi asked its employees about what culture they wanted to see and then gave them the opportunity to act on it. Through an employee-led culture club, team members have launched philanthropic initiatives, planned Halloween parties and arranged monthly chair massages.

Meet the employees bringing Adtaxi’s core values of collaboration and innovation to life — and furnishing the office with spooky playlists and delicious coffee to boot.

 

adtaxi pictures
photography by Nick Cote
adtaxi office
photography by Nick Cote
adtaxi office photos
photography by Nick Cote

 

FOUNDED: 2010

EMPLOYEES: 230 (90 local)

WHAT THEY DO: Adtaxi helps clients optimize their digital marketing campaigns by results-tracking through its machine-learning based platform, Quantum.

WHERE THEY DO IT: Denver

CULTURE CLUB: Employees are encouraged to participate in Adtaxi’s culture club, which is divided into teams focused on employee recognition, events, philanthropy, and health and wellness.

AHEAD OF THE CURVE: Adtaxi's tech team is keeping up in a constantly changing digital landscape. Learn more. 

 

Adtaxi careers
photo by Nick Cote
Chris portrait
PHoto by Haley Samuelson

 

Chris Loretto, EVP

Chris leads strategic planning for Adtaxi and drives innovation to ensure the company is ahead of the curve. He also develops and enhances strong customer relationships and builds dynamic teams.

 

When it comes to building the culture at Adtaxi, what is your philosophy? What aspects are most important?

Digital moves fast, and Adtaxi’s culture motivates all of us to stay ahead of the curve. Generating ideas and creating meaningful connections with both colleagues and partners empowers us to do our most meaningful work. Our strength comes from making digital marketing more human, and the individuals that make up our teams are the most important players.

 

We owe much of our early and ongoing success to our team of innovators, and some of the brightest ideas that have changed our business have come from within.”

 

How does Adtaxi’s culture influence the way teams work together?

People matter as much as technology. We owe much of our early and ongoing success to our team of innovators, and some of the brightest ideas that have changed our business have come from within. It was an employee who created Adtaxi’s search pacing and optimization tool. It was also an employee who devised our optimization platform, Quantum, which builds upon our employee-invented proprietary platform, Magellan.

 

As Adtaxi continues to grow, how do you see the culture evolving?

Our culture emphasizes ongoing learning and skills development. Not only is this necessary to remain effective in a rapidly evolving digital landscape, but it’s also a rewarding opportunity that keeps our team excited about the next move. I look forward to our culture of learning and skill-sharing carrying over and expanding with new projects.

 

Kurt Miller at work

Kurt Miller at work

 

Kurt Miller, Manager, Strategic Accounts Operations

Kurt leads a team of programmatic media buyers, as well as advises on programmatic ad campaign strategy to help retain top clients and facilitate growth. He also leads Adtaxi’s philanthropy team.     

BEYOND WORK: Kurt volunteers with an emergency medical services agency that provides ambulance services for the highways, neighborhoods and trails in Colorado’s front range.

 

What’s your favorite element of Adtaxi’s culture?

The company listens to good ideas regardless of tenure or seniority. The team has direct communication channels to our executive vice president, most often through our quarterly stretch goal program where employees can pitch and lead a project. I’ve seen new employees join the team with a fresh perspective and lead the way in improving the way we do things. To me, that’s pretty special.

 

 

Tell us about the philanthropy team at Adtaxi. What inspired you to lead the team?  

Individuals have led one-off volunteer events and charitable drives for years during their free time. I was inspired to create a dedicated philanthropic team this year to help give structure to and expand upon what we’ve already been doing. There’s a huge opportunity for companies like ours to bring value to our local communities through social responsibility initiatives.

Getting the team away from their desks and working together on some unique volunteer projects will create some powerful team-building opportunities. This is a growing trend among businesses in general, and it’s my goal to keep Adtaxi at the forefront of this movement.

 

What other opportunities are there for employees to participate in and help shape Adtaxi’s culture?

Our VP of operations has a common saying, “If you want to lead, lead.” Our culture club is open to anyone willing to volunteer their time. Its leaders are all new to their posts, and we have several volunteers in supporting roles. I’ve been amazed to see how people have stepped up, shared new ideas and made them a reality.

It comes down to each person in the company accepting his or her own responsibility for building a positive culture and taking action to make the changes they want to see, rather than waiting for someone else to do it. My advice is to never find yourself asking, “Why is no one doing this?” because that means you’ve realized a need for improvement, but you’ve failed to act on your own ability to affect change.

 

Getting the team away from their desks and working together on some unique volunteer projects will create some powerful team-building opportunities.” 

 

Tell us about your work with Highland Rescue. How has that inspired or influenced your work?

Highland Rescue is an emergency medical services agency that provides ambulance services for the highways, neighborhoods and trails in Colorado’s front range. Volunteering with them requires an exceptional ability to stay cool under pressure. We’re called upon to act and communicate confidently and intelligently amidst some crazy situations and doing so has helped me to cultivate those same skills in my professional life.

It’s also enabled me to keep a healthy perspective on the relative magnitude of the issues we face in digital marketing. Throughout my career in periods of high stress, coworkers have comforted me with the oft-used corporate phrase “we’re not saving lives.” It can be hard to remember that sometimes.

 

Cait at work

Cait Portrait

 

Cait Heitman, Strategic Accounts Campaign Manager

At work, Cait crafts together successful campaigns, ensuring that performance and revenue goals are met. As the leader of Adtaxi’s events team, she can also put together a great party.

BEYOND WORK: Cait has her hands full tying cord or ropes into intricate macrame designs. She hopes to one day start her own side business selling her designs.

 

How are employees empowered to shape the Adtaxi’s culture through culture clubs?

We’ve divided up our teams to focus on recognition, events, philanthropy, and health and wellness. All employees were asked to complete a survey letting us know how they feel about Adtaxi’s culture. This was also an opportunity to sign up for the culture club. Being involved in culture gives each employee the chance to enact the changes they wish to see at Adtaxi.

 

 

As a member of the events team, what’s your favorite event you’ve put on?

I have so much fun spending time with my coworkers on the events team. This year’s Halloween party was a lot of fun. We had hard cider, a “Spooktaxi” playlist and a costume contest with multiple awards given to groups for creativity, humor and more. It was a great way to bring us together and allow us to see the funnier side of our coworkers. Having events helps to build channels for better communication between the teams on a regular basis.

 

Being involved in culture gives each employee the chance to enact the changes they wish to see at Adtaxi.”


How does participating in a culture club shape your work experience at Adtaxi?

It has strengthened my connections with others and raised my awareness of what really goes into planning events. Growing up, I had always wanted to be an event planner. I went to business school for hospitality management and had no plans to enter this industry. Life took a different turn for me, but participating in planning events and being a leader in the culture club allows me to make good on my original goals.

 

Matt at work

Matt portrait

 

Matt Prater, Search Operations Manager

Matt balances a team of search campaign managers on Adtaxi’s strategic accounts team. He also helps the company stay healthy by arranging healthy foods, monthly chair massages and delicious coffee as part of the health and wellness team.   

BEYOND WORK: Matt has gone head over heels for hand-balancing, a practice that he’s been doing for years and often records on Instagram.

 

How are Adtaxi’s values incorporated into the employee experience?

Our priority has always been to make our values clear to our team and to engage them in helping us move forward. The best example of this is our quarterly stretch goals initiative. Stretch goals allow individual employees to come to the management team with ideas that can drive revenue growth, move forward a company initiative, or extend our marketing and brand efforts. They then have a quarter to put together a project to demonstrate their idea, and those who succeed get an additional quarterly bonus.

 

Our priority has always been to make our values clear to our team and to engage them in helping us move forward.” 

 

Tell us about the health and wellness team at Adtaxi. What inspired you to join, and how does it bring your team together?  

The health and wellness team is responsible for arranging monthly chair massages with a team of therapists, providing healthy snacks — and maybe some unhealthy ones, too — and my favorite: coffee. This year we will be looking to expand our offerings to include things like yoga or meditation classes and a discounted membership to a local climbing gym. 

As someone who has personally benefited from prioritizing health and wellness, I’m eager to share this mindset with others.

 

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