The creative staff and associates of Portfolio Creative, the nation's fastest-growing creative staffing and recruiting firm, find much to enjoy at the Wexner Center, including the Off the Grid fundraiser presented by our GenWex group. In this donor profile, Kristen Harris and Catherine Lang-Cline, co-owners and founders of Portfolio Creative, answered questions from Corporate Giving Manager Chris Koenig. This is an expanded version of the conversation that appears in the January/February 2012 issue of the Wexner Center's calendar of events.
Many people may not know what Portfolio Creative is. Can you briefly explain?
Portfolio Creative's mission is to make big and small differences in the lives of our talent and clients. We also hope that we can make a difference in the creative community. We connect clients with creative talent in all areas of design, marketing, communications, and advertising. In addition, we provide executive recruiting, payroll, and direct hire services. Every role in marketing or advertising is as unique as the individual who fills it. Speaking the language of the industry and knowing who would be the best fit for a company or project is our specialty—we work every day to connect talented creative people with companies who need their services. We help individuals find work that fits their skills, experience, and goals, and we help our clients accomplish their own goals and succeed in their own careers. That is all a very satisfying way to spend the day!
Portfolio Creative has been featured on Business First's Fast Fifty list of the community's fastest growing companies three times now. As a relatively new but rapidly expanding company, how do you balance maintaining your bottom line and giving back in the community?
Giving back provides opportunity and builds a strong community. We actually see the work that we do every day as a way to give back and support our community—when people are working, the economy is strong and businesses can thrive. In addition, it's always been very important to us to support local organizations, causes, and events, especially within the creative community. If people are able to see something creative, something beautiful, then their minds can be opened to amazing things. From the start we have viewed giving back as an investment in creating and supporting the kind of community where we want to live. We started that investment in year one of our business, albeit on a smaller scale, and plan to keep doing more as our business continues to grows.
Portfolio Creative has many creative employees and contract associates. Can you discuss employee engagement and how that aligns with your philanthropic motivations?
It's important to support things you believe in, and we believe in creativity. It's the thread that joins all of our employees, the thing that everyone has in common regardless of position or role. When employees, talent, or clients see our company supporting something they believe in so strongly, it means a lot to them. They understand that we all care about the same things, that we're all working towards the same cause. That is true engagement.
Your company sponsored Off the Grid in 2011 and plans to sponsor the event again in 2012, when it will take place on April 14. Off the Grid is an opportunity for young professionals to get a taste of what the Wex has to offer. Can you talk about why you have chosen to support the Wex and specifically Off the Grid?
The Wex is an amazing place to see some really incredible art in all forms and mediums. We have always considered it as one of the highlights of the Ohio State campus and a jewel for the city of Columbus. As former employees of Limited Brands, Inc., we completely understand the hopes that Les Wexner had in mind when he helped launch the center, and are honored that we can help support a facility that celebrates art. Off the Grid is the perfect event for us to sponsor because it is a way to celebrate the Wex, art in every form, and the many talented people we work with. And we've enjoyed participating in Wexner Center Business Casual Trivia Nights so much, that we've recently decided to sponsor the next one.
Do you have any other favorite experiences with Wex programming, past or present?
We each love different things, which is what's so great about the Wex—there is so much variety and something for everyone. Between the two of us, some favorites have been the Andy Warhol and William Wegman exhibitions, the Double Take gallery talk series, the Paula Hayes and Alexis Rockman exhibitions that just closed at the end of December. We both appreciate exposure to artists we're not familiar with—it can be so inspiring to discover something new. And we can't forget the cartoons and pajama party during Zoom. That's a special favorite for the under-five set!
Anything else you would like to share about the Wexner Center and Portfolio Creative?
The Wex is a true asset to the community in the way that it exposes Columbus and our visitors to a different way of thinking, seeing, and feeling. We're very fortunate to have something like this in our community, and we are thrilled to be able to support it in whatever way we can.