City Life

Win-win situations across the board

Three marketing and web development companies use creative solutions to help employees excel.

Widen Enterprises

Autonomy and ownership are tenets at Widen Enterprises, and that's why Melanie Olsen, community and event manager, says she has prospered in two years at the marketing technology solutions company. She credits Widen's freedom-at-work model with helping her do her job better.

For the second year in a row, Widen received a WorldBlu Certified designation for its dignity and fairness initiative. WorldBlu spotlights companies aspiring to create "world-class, freedom-centered organizations and leaders."

If employees are stuck in a rut, leaders encourage them to find a different career path within the company or develop new products and processes to impact change. "They can participate in things outside their normal daily job responsibilities," says Annette Jensen, director of software engineering at Widen.

Widen also integrates six employees from a company called Community Support Network into its workforce. CSN, a 2015 Best Places to Work winner, offers community-based services for adults with developmental disabilities.


The willingness to allow employees to tackle a tough venture is a focal point at Acumium, a web development and digital marketing company that has been on the Best Places to Work list for three consecutive years.

Josh DePeau, the firm's ecommerce program manager, enjoys the relaxed dress code and Ping-Pong table at the company's John Nolen Drive office, but he appreciates investigating and collaborating on a complex assignment even more.

Founder and CEO Dan Costello, who has a developer background, gives employees the budget and time to work on unique situations.

"We get to take on projects that other people haven't been able to solve," DePeau says. "As the data team, we come up with our own initiatives for how we can make our products better or ourselves better as a company."

C. Blohm & Associates

Professional development and enriching employees' skills are priorities for Charlene Blohm, who has owned the education public relations agency C. Blohm & Associates for 25 years.

Each employee receives an annual professional development budget and $5,000 for tuition reimbursement. If employees want to take a digital class, writing course or content marketing webinar to enhance their skills, they can.

"I'm a big believer of hiring from within wherever I can, so if I can provide the training and support and elevate them in their career, I've done a very good thing for them, the agency and the education industry," Blohm says.

Emily Embury, agency vice president, says she appreciates the company's focus on work-life balance, especially since she has a toddler. The firm's flex hours allow employees to work outside the office.


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