We're celebrating our ten year anniversary! WOW. As the Founder of Spotted Yeti, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank some of the pivotal people and organizations from our journey that helped us reach this milestone. Without you, we wouldn't be here.
Small business is family business. My love for storytelling and production started when Aunt Judy took me to Broadway shows as a kid. My Uncle Jamie was Spotted Yeti’s first accountant and always provided encouragement during early years when sales were slowly building. My cousins Holly, Katie, and TJ have helped clean and work on the office. All aunts, uncles, and cousins have shown their support through following our journey and hitting that "like" or "share" button on social media.
The Berrens family shows up. Do my parents have any business experience? Nope. They were both in education. (that’s why they said talk to Bill..see #2). But they’ve shown their support in so many ways from being at every major event to countless hours painting the new office. Mom, Dad, and Zach are the yetis' biggest cheerleaders and I gratefully share this anniversary milestone with them.
The Berrens Family (John, Cathy, Molly, and Zach) at our first office party.
You know the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”, right? Well I can probably trace most of my clients and business relationships in under three degrees to Bill Cunningham. A family friend and mentor, Bill encouraged me to network in the early days (when I admittedly despised it) and take risks. He’s a successful entrepreneur, visionary, and ultimate people connector and I am especially grateful to get to be his mentee and friend. Thanks for everything, Bill! (Kungfood soon?)
Bill Cunningham strikes the yeti-pose on vacation at Jenny Lake in the Tetons.
Yetis Past & Present
For anyone who’s seen Ted Lasso, there is a moment in Season 2 when Rebekah tells her employee Kiely to “Hire your best friend.” That sounds like horrible advice. HOWEVER, if you can hire employees who over time you develop a trust and friendship with, well then that’s pretty awesome. Spotted Yeti’s first hire Danielle Driehaus became just that and we keep in touch to this day. Her belief in me and our young business, followed by the support of the other early OG Yetis (Tommy and Casey), is still humbling.
I have had the pleasure of working with 14 yetis over the years who have each brought their individual talents and helped us grow. While the foundation was set by the OG’s, the current crew has elevated our productions and helped set our sights on bigger aspirations. Chris, Jenna, Bryan, Andy, and Liz - thank you. I am so excited for both your personal and our company growth in this adventurous world of storytelling. (Also, thank you to our regular freelancers, including Brad Shell and Tony Agliata, for being part of our extended work family!) (Left) The OG Yetis: Danielle Driehaus, Tommy Migaki, and Molly Berrens
(Right) The Current Yetis: Andy Gasper, Bryan Houston, Chris Hagan, Liz Dawn, Jenna Adkins, Molly Berrens
Small Business Tribe
Cheaper than therapy, this crew has helped to keep me balanced during the pandemic and beyond. Thanks to Shannan Boyer (Scooter Media), Kim Best (The Carnegie), Jim Guthrie (Hub + Weber), and Colleen Tepe Hofstetter (Tepe Dentistry) for sharing small business woes and laughs. Particular thanks to Shannan and the Scooters with whom we’ve shared two office spaces and have served as excellent neighbors through (mostly) friendly cocktail, soup, and chili competitions. (Happy 10 year anniversary to you, too!)
Small business tribe: Molly Berrens, Shannan Boyer, and Kim Best
Probably my single best personal career investment was participating in Leadership Northern Kentucky. The relationships made through this program continue today and the sessions helped to expand my thinking and be a better community participant. Cheers to the Class of 2017 (“Best Class Ever”) and the committee members of Community Vibrancy Day! Being engaged with this organization continues to be rewarding and fun.
LNK Class of 2017 at their class project, Unlock the Block, in Latonia.
City of Covington, RCOV, & COV200
Pick yourself a community that welcomes and supports you! I had the pleasure of working on the COV200 Bicentennial Celebration and served on the Board of Renaissance Covington. Those two activities, along with the support from the City have definitely contributed to our growth. Shoutout to the Covington Ladies Happy Hour group, Katie Meyer, Nick Wade, and RCOV Board Members for being a part of our story.
The Renaissance Covington Board (left) and COV200 Gala (right)
There are so many friends to list here and I hope you all know that following our journey and providing encouragement is what keeps us small business owners going when we need it most. Jaime Meyer Klein, my high school friend and travel companion, has provided countless mental work escapes as well as epic international adventures. Phone calls with my college friend, Fisher, always seem to ground me on whatever problem I’m working through. My earliest friends, Matthew Grote (with whom we collaborated for our Blink installation) and Audrey Weaver have known me the longest. And of course the PD and the rest of the college crew, have been there, too. Thank you, dearly.
Jaime and Molly after their hike to Machu Picchu.
…and really anyone who has supported me despite not fully understanding what the heck a Video Producer does. I have been surrounded by a community of people who want to help. Early on Grandpa Shannon connected me to the Verdin Bell Company, which led to some powerful storytelling and new friendships (Hi, Bob and Chris Santoro!) While I do not intend to follow in my Grandpa’s political footsteps (he was the Mayor of Fairfax), I think after ten years of owning a business, I’m starting to see himself in me a little bit….mostly in that I’m becoming more comfortable each day in striking up conversation with anyone and everyone.
While I met Village Life prior to officially forming Spotted Yeti, I consider them my first client as a freelancer. It’s still humbling to me to think they took a risk by trusting me to travel to Tanzania to document their work. Each year, I look forward to hearing about their progress at the Night on the Serengeti and we continue to give back and support their mission.
Keith Newman & Team People at BMW
My professional journey starts with my Ohio University professor, Keith Newman. Did you ever have a teacher that you despised? That was Keith to me…initially. He gave me an incomplete grade for a class sophomore year and then proceeded to be unreachable for three weeks while I tried desperately to get the error fixed before it automatically changed to an F. (For those who know me, you can imagine the rage.) But little by little, Keith won me over and for some reason built me up as having potential in this industry. Senior year he pulled me into his office and said “I want you to apply for this job at BMW's headquarters in New Jersey.” To which I replied, “I’m not moving to the armpit of America.” Four weeks later, I was moving to New Jersey.
Keith, thank you for believing in me and setting me on a path to where I am today. I will still consult you with any major career moves (though I think I’ll try for another ten years at this business ownership thing). And to my first professional co-workers at Team People at BMW, the lessons you taught me are the framework for our yeti operations today. You guys sure brought the fun, too. I'll never forget my first week at BMW when Brian sent out a YouTube video of the Blossom theme song with the message “I know where I’ve seen Molly before” and Veronica used me to prank Neil with the fake birthday cake. And though our shenanigans will likely never be topped, I find great joy and think of you guys when one of my employees resorts to photoshopping a ridiculous image for a laugh.