Why We Invited Our Parents (And Grandparents) to Work

Two years in, our unique program is only growing

When The Media Kitchen first opened its doors to parents last year, inviting them to see what their children do for a living, it was a natural extension of the agency ethos to bring our full selves to work. In year two, attendance nearly tripled as parents, grandparents and other family members flew into New York City from as far away as Alabama. 

Here's why we plan to keep doing it, and some unexpected benefits of an intergenerational visit. 

Company cohesion.

Teamwork is everything to a creative organization. When you spend hours with people every day, getting to meet the elders who shaped your colleagues' formative years brings a new level of understanding and appreciation. The energy and enthusiasm were palpable. 

A sense of appreciation.

Seeing really is believing. As a parent, it's one thing to listen to a child share their enthusiasm for their workplace and its culture. It's quite another thing to see their eyes light up and hear the leaders of the company share the appreciation for the time and effort their child puts in every day. Plus, what better way for a child to thank their parent than to show them they are happy and successful? 

A chance to welcome employees new and old.

A growing company adds new employees every week. Events like this one give new staffers something to look forward to and provide a nice tradition for veterans to return to each year. Plus, after last year's event, several employees wanted the opportunity to bring parents who missed out the first time.

Necessary introductions.

Parents got a better sense of what their children actually do all day, but they weren't the only ones who learned something new. Even employees had a chance to take a deep dive into the work the agency is doing across departments, ranging from creative to analytics. 

Better understanding of our differences.

Any agency with a focus on the future needs a staff made up of diverse ages, genders, ethnicities, experiences and backgrounds. We all come from different places, and bringing our family to work shows us what we all have in common—the warmth and support of the people who helped us get where we are today. 

The bottom line.

Showing their families what they do all day gives employees a chance to explain not just the mechanics of how media buying works, but also the transformational impact great media and creative efforts can have on brands and consumers alike. It reminds us all why we do what we do every day. 

Next year, we're planning on expanding this event to include all relatives, such as siblings, as many chefs wanted to bring their brothers and sisters. When you love what you do, you want everyone to experience it.

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Bonnie Barest
Bonnie Barest is managing director at The Media Kitchen.

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