Since 2009, treetree has operated as an extension of client marketing teams. And while some things have evolved over the last 14 years, the way we support our clients when they need extra boots on the ground has remained unchanged. In fact, OhioHealth – one of our very first team augmentation clients – still turns to treetree for help when its internal team is underwater, under pressure or working under the wire. So we interviewed one of our current OhioHealth clients, Teratia Welch, Marketing and Communications Manager, and one of our most seasoned team augmentation trees, Niki Calvaruso, Account Director, to hear about their experience with team augmentation, including how it works, how it’s going and how treetree locks arms with our clients to navigate the most complex marketing challenges.
OhioHealth is a healthcare system with 14 hospitals across the state. Teratia is responsible for marketing and communications at Berger Hospital in Circleville and Southeastern Medical Center in Cambridge. Most recently, Teratia has been charged with integrating Southeastern Medical Center to the OhioHealth system. She is navigating marketing an established brand to a new audience and managing internal communications for the hospital. And when her plate began to overflow, Teratia called us to partner and navigate this complicated process and provide project management and creative support.
Teratia, what first prompted you to look for support? Tell us about what’s been happening over there that made it clear you needed some team augmentation.
In November 2020, my responsibilities grew to include a new care site, Southeastern Medical Center. With this change, I was responsible for overseeing their integration into the OhioHealth systems as well as their day-to-day marketing and communications needs. As time drew on and this role grew and my capacity for my other work became really stretched, it was clear I just couldn’t keep all the moving parts and pieces churning. I knew I needed support. And luckily, you know, treetree has a long-standing working relationship with OhioHealth. So that seemed like the natural fit – to work with you guys to get some of that marketing support when it came to campaigns and brand advertising. We needed a more seasoned company that was very up to speed on the OhioHealth brand and reputation. And we knew we could get that through treetree.
We were able to collaborate initially with some strategy and marketing efforts, and over time, things have just evolved. It has now stretched into communications, media relations and even includes integration efforts for Southeastern Medical Center, which will continue for the next couple years.
So you’re not getting rid of me easily, right Teratia?
Fine by me!
Teratia and I have well-matched work styles and we can just have real and open conversations. This is a full-fledged partnership. No one is too good to get any work done. And Teratia does a great job of not just throwing over the ticky tacky things like “hey, proofread this for me.” Which we can totally do. But she’s trusting us with big strategy and these hospital integrations. To be able to impact things and help provide this great level of care is important. These communities are getting this boost from OhioHealth, and we’re getting to be part of that.
Niki, can you talk a bit about how team augmentation works and how we ensure that treetree and our clients are set up for success?
I think a lot of it is starting to understand our clients and having very open and frank conversations. I am your new hire please onboard me as much as you can. And we know that
Clients sometimes come to us in a time of desperation is and everyone is sweating. They’re under pressure, and they’re coming to us because they don’t want to onboard a whole new person or because they can’t get approved budget for an FTE. So we make sure to meet people where they are and try to understand as much as possible.
Niki and I have a great cadence. We have weekly touch bases to go over everything that I’ve currently asked for support on with treetree. We talk through where we are with those different projects or the timelines for different things. Niki attends a lot of the calls as well some of the meetings with senior leaders at OhioHealth. I can’t be a part of every single meeting and there are a lot of times where we tag team, or she solely attends them to gather all the necessary information. Between the two of us, we hit all the meetings and are able to share what we’ve learned back and forth.
treetree has also been flexible and willing to work within our existing tools and processes. They are plugged into our project management system and can help everything move through our internal process.
We also publish a weekly status report that’s always up to date. And no matter how fast things are moving and how busy Teratia is, she knows she can always open that up and find out where everything is.
Honestly, Niki is always three steps ahead. We do have a kind of telepathy going on where we know what to expect or what should be done next. And if one of us hasn’t already made a move or written a draft of\r made a connection, the other one is. It’s a seamless relationship. I mean, it’s one of those things where, you know, she’s a valid partner professionally, but also a friend and somebody that’s right there willing to help.
That’s wonderful. So what would you say to someone in a similar position – a marketer with an overflowing plate, limited time and resources, who is needing support?
I think my advice would be “don’t wait.” For me, I didn’t want to burden people by thinking I couldn’t keep up with stuff or that I was challenged with trying to keep work life balance. Bringing treetree in was honestly a lifesaver. And I think it’s evolved over time. We are working on strategic work together, and it isn’t specifically like proofread this or, you know, can you do X, Y and Z tasks. It’s really creating a solid framework for us. So I would just tell people to raise your hand and ask for that support.
Sometimes even just the conversation of what all is on your plate is a good place to start. You don’t have to have a fully prepared list of things that need done. You don’t need to have a super clear ask. Let us help you.
Overall treetree has been fabulous, specifically Niki. I would not have been able to keep my sanity or muster through these past three years without her support and her guidance and her understanding of the organization and the brand. It’s been one of those relationships that’s unmatched for sure.