Ten years ago, on September 15, 2011, Forward Level Marketing was born. To put it lightly, it’s been a crazy decade with some amazing highs. We’re proud to say that we made it to where we are today driven by the same purpose we started with: to move our people and our community forward.
For us, it’s always been about connection and giving back. Marketing is what we do, but we’ve always sought out deeper connections with our team, our clients, and our supporters. It’s not about coming together to do work, it’s about coming together to work with people who share the same values in order to have fun, give back, and move people forward.
We have a bunch of exciting stuff planned for the upcoming year that we’ll share with you, but for today, we wanted to celebrate our greatest asset: our people. Here are some of the best memories of the last 10 years as told by our team:
Amish, Founder & CEO
“I think a moment that stands out is when we helped Moodys Tax plan their Charity Gala in 2016 – An intimate evening with Sarah McLachlan in support of The Project Warmth Society. This was right at our 5-year mark, so we were still a young company trying to figure out who we were and how to solve new challenges that came our way as we grew. The magnitude of this event and the production value required was something we had never tackled before but we were eager to take on the challenge.
On the morning of the event, our entire team at the time (all 6 of us!) met at the venue to set up the space, bringing the vision to life after months of planning. With the room set, Sarah McLachlan arrived to do the soundcheck. In the room, there was just our team and a handful of production staff. That moment was something else and something I’ll always remember. There was Sarah McLachlan doing a soundcheck in this beautiful room with our team just standing and soaking in the moment. I think it was right then that we all realized what we’d just accomplished. For me personally, it was a big moment for FLM. We were no longer a startup, or a young company trying to make it. We could take anything on after that.”
“The thing I love most about FLM is watching the growth of our people. Whether that’s our team, our clients or our community, we are really honoured to be part of their growth. Internally, we’ve had many people contribute to the success of FLM over the years. Our foundation has always been very strong thanks to the contributions of every single person who has walked through our doors. Watching personal and professional growth of our people has been the most rewarding part of FLM.”
Chelsea, Marketing Manager
“There are so many good memories I’ve had over the past few years at Forward Level, it seems outrageous to think I can pick just one. So let’s take a walk down memory lane. My fondest moments include the office after-hour parties where we would play shuffleboard, ride scooters to the billiards, dressing up for Halloween, and the raw unfiltered conversations we would have both as a team and with our clients. It’s also been extremely satisfying when we nail a client’s marketing strategy with meaningful connection points that link to their company’s DNA and purpose. It’s really powerful and even more fulfilling to see the impact it created for their business. But really at the core of all of these memories are the people and the forward-looking culture that allowed everyone to show up every day as their unapologetic self. The people I’ve spent my days with are like family, and I’m not just saying that. Our team’s values are aligned, we’re all community-minded, everyone’s a music buff, we all have a contagious zest for life and a passion for social change (it’s rare, and perhaps more rich than the dynamic we have with our real families).”
Bryden, Client Coordinator
“My favourite memory at FLM (so far) was during my internship in 2019. More specifically, it was during my ‘going away’ party where we ordered food to the office, had some drinks, pushed the desks to the side of the office and had a floor hockey game, and then finished the night by walking to Olympic Billiards and playing pool with the team. This was over 2 years ago but I still think about it all the time because it perfectly captures the FLM team culture of working hard and playing harder.”
Tyler B. Graphic Designer
“The thing I love about FLM is working with such a great team of individuals, who together make one hell of a team. The great Mother Teresa one said: ‘None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.'”
Carey, Content Strategist
“I remember a wonderful afternoon spent at Bowness Park where we connected as a team for the first time in a long time. It was great to come together for a picnic lunch, engage in some fun and games and meet each other’s families. It showed how strongly connected our team truly is, even the face of having to connect virtually over the course of several months. I also remember when I first started at FLM and how supportive our team was. They were always ready to lend a hand and walk me through what was needed for specific assignments. I also saw how great our clients were to work with, how unique they were and why they were such a great fit for our organization.”
Karan, Marketing Advisor
“My best FLM memory so far is definitely when we present LIFT packages to clients and see their faces light up when they realize the true potential that their business and brand holds from a marketing perspective.”
Nathan, Digital Marketing Specialist
“One of my favourite memories is the work we did with Custom Cannabis. Helping entrepreneurs with such a strong, community-focused purpose develop their brand, attract investors, and launch their business was really rewarding. Being able to launch their website on 4/20 and see the joy that brought them was the icing on the cake.”
Kristie, Client Manager
“Learning that one of our clients are huge Saskatchewan Roughriders Fans. I showed up to a meeting wearing a ‘Riders jersey and seeing their faces was priceless. At FLM, the relationships we have with our clients are about so much more than work.”
Tyler E., Content Strategist
“There have been so many memorable moments over the years. Whether we were collecting towel donations for the Mustard Seed at Folk Fest or racing electric scooters to the pool hall, I think every moment we’ve had where we can get together as a team and with our clients has been memorable. There’s no FLM event where you don’t miss out on a great memory if you’re not there, even if it’s just going for drinks. If I’m picking something personal to me, though, I will still always remember the short period of time before I even sat at my desk for the first time. Showing up for the interviews, it felt right. I immediately got the sense that it was a good fit because of the people. Katie and Matt, who worked here at the time, took me for a coffee after one of my interviews, and how often can you say you’re invited out by your (future) co-workers before you’re even hired? After that it was pretty easy, once Amish called to offer me a job, he told me I could think about it and I said ‘I don’t need to, I accept’ and I haven’t looked back since. There have been a lot of great memories since, but that’s the one that started it all. I think it says a lot that the great memories started before I officially did. That’s FLM for you. The people have always been what makes FLM special.”
Shanel, Marketing Coordinator
“My favourite experience working at FLM so far has been the one-on-one meetings I’ve had with members of the team. It was amazing getting to know everyone on the team on a personal level outside of work.”
Jeff, Creative Director
“Two memories stick out over the last ten years. The first was meeting Amish for the first time in the coffee shop below the studio I was working in. Little did I know that this would be the first of many meetings on my journey under the Forward Level name. We quickly moved from the coffee shop to a pub and the memory gets a little hazy from then on, but that’s just how it goes at FLM. The second was Jon joining FLM. In 1999 we went to lunch in downtown St. John’s and decided we both needed to go back to school and had hopes of someday working together in creative. The following year he was in Halifax and I was in Toronto. Umpteen years later Jon connected me with Amish for some freelance work which turned to full-time and not too long after, Jon joined FLM. A dream realized.”
Richard, Content Strategist
“There are many positive and rewarding memories from my time at FLM. There are too many to mention, so I won’t. Instead, my fondest memory of my time at FLM isn’t one specific memory but a feeling. Now, before everyone reading panics at the millennial with a keyboard writing about their feelings, let’s be clear: I’m not technically a millennial. So y’all can relax. The feeling I’m writing about is one of belonging, born out of a culture of acceptance, leadership, and expertise. FLM leadership has worked tirelessly to create a solid foundation, a strong root if you want to get botanical about it, that helps me and others create and find success. But it’s also true that this belonging also comes from inside every person at FLM. That’s what makes it genuine and special. We couldn’t have predicted a global pandemic resulting in all of us working from home and apart. But this only made us stronger, thanks to the solid foundation we all continue to contribute to every day. So, as things change and get more complex, we continue to thrive.”
To everyone who has made today possible, including current and former team members and clients, friends, mentors, and the people we’ve met along the way, thank you. This is just the start. We’re excited to spend the next year celebrating our first 10 years together, and we hope you’ll join us.
Amish, Jon, Jeff, Chelsea, Nathan, Richard, Carey, Karan, Kristie, Bryden, Shanel, and the two Tylers.