October 2, 2022

Why our C-suite is expanding—with some familiar faces

treetree
rachel and megan are c-suite members


treetree is headed to the moon

And after our recent acquisition of a successful B2B digital marketing agency, we’re accelerating our upward trajectory. With fast and furious external growth comes intentional internal evolution to align our structure with our future.

It is with incredible excitement that we introduce the two newest members of treetree’s C-suite, Rachel Hillman and Megan Myers.

Rachel Hillman will advance from her role as VP, Client Service to President and Chief Client Officer. As she continues to oversee the general management of the agency’s day-to-day, she will now have a 30,000-foot view to lead the agency’s growth and continue to exceed client expectations of what an agency relationship looks like. As president, she will harness our CEO’s visions and ideas and be instrumental in bringing them to life. And she will continue to lead our outstanding client service team. (And don’t worry, our CEO Becca Apfelstadt isn’t going anywhere.)

Megan Myers will advance from her role as VP, Creative Services to Chief Creative Officer. With the digital agency acquisition complete, Megan will unite the creative and digital teams, enhance our solutions, elevate our deliverables and bring out the best in this robust, powerful team. As Megan gears up to develop, define, refine and evolve what we sell, she will continue to drive superior quality assurance, team growth, people leadership and agency leadership across treetree.

Grab a chair (unless you’re already sitting in one) and join us in discovering the journeys that primed Megan and Rachel for their new roles.

Q: Congratulations on your new roles. Give us an overview of your path leading up to treetree and now into your new roles as C-suite members.

Megan:
I’m a copywriter by education and training. I thought I wanted to be a journalist but was pulled toward marketing instead. I started my career on the marketing team for a medical device company, but I craved a bit more variety. That’s when I found advertising. The pace, the energy, the challenges, the always-on-your-toes environment—I loved it. I even had an opportunity to build an internal agency for a large retailer in Columbus, which gave me such a great understanding of the operations side of things—of staffing, building teams, growing people and developing tools that led to better work. All of that prepared me for this role. And once I met Becca and got to know this amazing place, I knew I found my final stop. I started at treetree as Group Creative Director in 2016, later moving to VP, Creative Services and now Chief Creative Officer.

Rachel:
I memorized commercials as a kid, and even acted them out in the middle of delivering a book report to my elementary school classmates. So, no surprise that I majored in advertising and have made a decades-long career of it. I’ve worked my way up the client service ladder, starting as account coordinator, to manager, to executive, director and so on. Two things: First, my empathetic soul has always been happiest when I’m connecting with clients in a meaningful way, providing white glove experiences, and being their go-to person when something in their world hits the fan. Second, I’ve always been a creative wannabe. I would hand off the creative brief and wait in the creatives’ doorway to watch the magic unfold, hoping some of the sparkly bits would rub off on me. When I met Becca eight years ago, I was immediately taken by her energy, intelligence and bravery. I joined treetree as Group Account Director, and eventually became VP, Client Service, now President and Chief Client Officer.

Q: What is the impact of treetree expanding our C-suite? What change will this bring to the agency and to our clients?

Rachel:
I think internally what it allows is a general leveling up, not just in title, but in thinking: being more future-focused, being more proactive, being able to mitigate risk because we’ve lifted our heads out of the weeds. Having this level of leadership within our agency breeds other leaders and gives them the space to shine, take charge and know we have their back no matter what.

Creating space for other people to make decisions and encouraging them to own it are necessary for the health and growth of your agency.

Megan:
It also allows relationships and cross-functional collaboration to happen in a new way. Rachel and I have always worked really closely and sort of bucked the traditional wedge that can happen between creative and client service. And we’ve been very proud of that. Expanding our C-suite gives our teams even more opportunities to do the same and to continue proving that our agency runs differently in how we treat each other and build our culture. I think that we’ve done a good job demonstrating that, and I’m excited for upcoming leaders to do the same thing.

Rachel:
And I think the same goes for our clients. Frankly, they will get more of our attention as a consultative trusted adviser because we have team members who can level up to get the work done. We now have room to tackle whatever is in front of our clients.

Megan:
Our expanded C-suite is also a result of our agency’s growth. We have never been more robust and positioned to support our clients and their growth trajectories. This sort of leveling up that Rachel mentioned pours into and expands back to our clients.

We can serve our clients in a bigger and better way with more expanded and comprehensive capabilities.


Q: Can you expand on any new day-to-day shifts for the agency?

Megan:
With our new internal infrastructure, the creative team expanded again in mid-September to fold in our digital team members and create a single cohesive team. That means the team has more people to partner with. They will push each other and elevate and learn from each other—and we will continuously learn more about how our services can evolve to encompass all our strengths.

Rachel:
This is definitely a time of what got us here can’t get us there. So, we’re having a lot of internal conversations. We have an amazing group account director in place to knock down walls, assess processes and figure out new ways to QA deliverables. I anticipate a lot of day-to-day changes to integrate, refine, evolve and improve the output for our client service team. We can take client conversations even deeper, listen for their pain points and comfortably share how our menu of options has expanded exponentially. For years, clients thought of us as the Agency of Special Projects, and there’s a lot of learning—and unlearning—to evolve our clients’ expectations of what challenges we can solve for them.  


Q: What does the word growth mean to you?

Rachel:
As the client service representative, it’s all about our clients. What can we do for our clients to help them shine? We are growing to serve their needs in a more robust way, with full solutions. And it’s not just growing for number’s sake; it must be disciplined, and it must make sense with your organization’s mission. 

Megan:
With growth comes opportunity. The more strategically we grow—and at the right pace—the more opportunities treetree can provide to our people and the more opportunities we have to drive our culture. And for our clients, growth allows us to provide more strategic thinking, disciplines and solutions to each and every challenge.


Q: Tell me about the culture among the leadership team at treetree.

Megan:
We’re different in some pretty significant ways, but we’re all in it for the same reasons. We’re all working toward the same goals and have the same expectations of each other—and we like and respect each other. That creates a dynamic that’s truly authentic. As a C-suite member, we have a huge responsibility to preserve and nurture the things that make us treetree, and a big part of that for us is letting people know that it’s OK to be human here. It’s rare for people to feel that level of safety in a workplace, and we are united in our desire to protect that. We’re devoted to this culture, to the health and function of the trees, and to progressing the future Becca envisions.

Rachel:
Yes, and I believe some of the key elements are relaxing into the fact that our clients know their business. That means we’re there to listen and learn and be curious and come away with how we’re going to help them versus coming in with an aggressive posture. And then when you come into the agency, that vibe is carried throughout: there’s mutual respect for everyone, no one is trying to outshine the other one, there’s no ego and we appreciate a certain amount of vulnerability. I think that’s very unusual in our industry to raise a hand and say, “I need help” or “I don’t know what the next step is” or “I’m dropping the ball” and to not have a bunch of fingers pointing at you but instead be met with “How can I help?” And everyone has their bad days. But it’s about working in an environment that operates from a place of authenticity.


Q: What does success look like for you both?

Rachel:
Employees are well taken care of, our clients are thrilled and we have a waiting list of clients clamoring to work with us. Our award shelves are buckling because we’ve won so many. We are setting the standard for things like employee sabbaticals and half-day Fridays, and we are pioneers for the new and improved agency life not just in Columbus, but nationally.

Megan:
Yes, all of that, and options. We can be choosy and say “no thanks” to the wrong fits. Growing in scale and keeping our culture sacred while we are growing. Like Rachel said earlier, it’s really important to point out that there are hard projects, there are difficult conversations, and there are feelings and times when we don’t always agree. But when you’re in a culture of safety and trust, that only leads to growth for our agency and our people.

Rachel:
And we care about each other.


Q: What is it like to be on a C-suite of all women?

Rachel:
There’s something to be said that we’re also all mothers. There is a special strength in approaching the business in a maternal way—protective and nurturing combined with that superhuman multi-tasking ability. You’ve got eyes on everyone and everything and feel like you’ve been training for this your whole life.

Megan:
We used to joke about the 47 things we had already accomplished before we even saw each other in the treehouse.

Rachel:
And in all seriousness, this C-suite is full of very high-capacity drivers. We are thrilled to join Becca on this mission.


Q: Thank you both so much for your time today. Would you like to leave us with some of your most essential lessons learned?

Megan:
You do not need to know it all. And if you do think that or if you’re in a place where you’re told you need to think that, then I’d recommend reassessing the situation.

Rachel:
Listen and approach everything with curiosity. Take a deep breath before you receive or give any advice. Every moment is a coachable moment. Ask questions of your peers and leaders such as, “Why do you think that’s what we should do?” or “What do you think are the ramifications of this decision?”

Megan:
And do not surround yourself with like-minded thinkers. When it comes to work, find different perspectives, listen to diverse thinkers and notice if you have all “yes” people around you.

Connect with Rachel and Megan and join us in congratulating them on their incredible news.