What a year it’s been! We dove into 2019 determined to take our 20 years in business and get even more focused on doing what we love. Designing and building websites and mobile apps for clients that we value feeds our collective souls. It stimulates the team, encourages collaboration and creativity, and when we launch a project, there’s a collective cheer. Every time. Here’s to 2019, and all the unforgettable moments of cheer we’ve had along the way.
We’re really getting up there
Plank turned 21! Moving into a new decade encourages self reflection, and that’s exactly what we did. What would the next years look like? How did we want to change things? How could we improve our skills? Growth is important in a business, and we wanted to grow. We’re awfully proud of our success story and knew we could continue to inspire our community and ourselves, by embracing a new side of our agency. One where we showcased our love of digital design and moved into our 21st year with energy and enthusiasm. We were excited about new projects and clients, and grateful to all the relationships we had built up over the years. So what did we do first…?
Bring in the extroverts
What better way to throw oil into the Plank fire then by adding some natural extroverts to our notoriously introverted group. Ours was a quiet office, but no more! We said hello to our first Director of Communications, Media & Marketing, two new project managers, a couple of back-end developers and one ridiculously cute dog.
But with every hello, there are some good-byes. We bid a fond farewell to much loved project manager Chloé Freslon and her dog Mila. But we always enjoy their visits!
A great big thank you
Showing appreciation for our team has always been a part of Plank culture. We want them to know that we genuinely care about them, and that each and every one is valued. So in 2019 we invested in some good old fashioned schwag. Even Bernard got on board! A big thank you to InPrint for their fabulous work.
And then there’s the annual Plank Appreciation Day, which is always a good time. From the feedback we received, it seems this was among the best ones ever. It started with a few hours playing pinball, Pong and air hockey while sipping cold beers and some pretty awesome cocktails at North Star Pinball in Montreal. As you can imagine, this led to some truly awesome photo opportunities.
We then moved on to dinner at L’Gros Luxe where the Caesar Cocktails were mighty impressive. Some people even made a meal out of them! We loaded up on carbs and laughed through table wars and ate far too many deep fried pickles (yes that’s a thing!). We will admit our office was quieter than usual the next day. All in the name of good fun.
Bring on the Plank
With a wonderful yoga studio on the same floor as our office, we began a private weekly yoga class at Ashtanga Yoga Montreal. Seven members of Plank look forward to it each week. We even got them mats that match our green logo. We are a digital design studio after all.
Who doesn’t love a good field trip?
Fueled by the energy of Plank’s Creative Director Jenn Lamb, we booked a field trip to Montreal’s Habitat 67. It’s a famous landmark in the city originally built as a pavilion for Expo 67, that was then transformed into a housing community. It’s a fascinating piece of architecture with an equally fascinating history. You can read about our visit here. We believe taking time out of the work day to be inspired by others, inspires us in return. We’ve already booked a next field trip for January!
This is what we do
In the end, it’s all about our work. And we love it. We have made some wonderful new partnerships, continued iterating on sites we designed long ago and have exciting projects on the horizon. Here’s who we welcomed into the Plank family in 2019.
And here are the loyal clients we work hard for everyday.
We launched Plank TV! OK, it’s not quite a TV station, but it’s a darn good series of videos. We created almost 20 videos this year showcasing our work, our Hack Day process as well as our clients. We also shared about our culture and our staff. You can see them all on our YouTube channel.
Plank Gives Back
We are truly proud of our Plank Gives Back initiative. We have always done pro bono work, helping non-profits or social change organizations with their online presence. But this year, we rebranded our initiative, and reached far and wide for those who needed help. We were introduced to some amazing organizations. Ultimately our team chose Montreal’s Nazareth Community, and we spent two weeks helping to improve their site. With such a wonderful response, Plank Gives Back returns in Spring 2020!
On the road
With 11 events and conferences behind us in 2019, Plank members were able to sharpen their skills, engage with others, build their expertise, meet new people and then bring it all home. Here’s what we attended:
- Owner Summit | Austin, TX | Warren | February 10-12
- Museums and the Web | Boston, MA | Warren | April 2-6
- Canadian Museums Association (CMA) | Toronto | Warren | April 14-17
- Community Foundations of Canada Conference| Victoria, BC | Warren | June 6-8
- Festival of Live Digital Art (foldA) | Kingston, ON | Warren | June 12-15
- Awwwards Conference| NYC, NY | Jenn, Vero | September 25-27
- Digital PM Summit | Orlando, FL | Jason, Kayla, Annika | October 20-22
- Digital Marketing Boot Camp for the Arts | NYC, NY | Warren, Tarah | October 23-25
- Museum Computer Network | San Diego, CA | Warren, Tarah | November 5-8
- Gather North | Mono, ON | Tarah | November 15-17
- Operations Camp | San Francisco, CA | Steve | November 6-8
Dinner is served
We just love hosting dinner parties. It’s a great way to meet new people in industries we value. We threw one in Montreal in the Spring for non profits, and another in Toronto in the Fall for the Theatre community where Michael Wheeler from foldA talked about the power of digital. Both were filled with wonderful opportunities for sharing, building connections, learning from and inspiring each other. And of course, we ate well and sipped good wine.
Warren on the radio
Plank founder Warren Wilansky hit the radio waves, making multiple appearances on Todd van der Heyden’s Viewpoints, and on the CJAD morning show with Elias Makos. As a digital culture and tech expert he can talk about it all. He even made his first TV appearance on CTV as a panelist. We also hosted events, gave talks and led a choir! Fun times.
Taco Tuesday (or any day that ends with a “y”)
It’s no secret, at Plank we love to eat. We have a large lunch table that fills up around the noon hour. We also love to throw theme lunches, and inevitably tacos get top tier. But we don’t stop there, why would we? We’ve done myriad pizza days, waffle breakfasts, ice cream excursions, cookie decorating, salad extravaganzas, donuts show up regularly, and beer on Fridays. We work hard, but we play hard too.
Which brings us to…
Tomfoolery. It is proudly a part of our office culture. We believe it makes for a happier work environment. Fun and quirky moments happen on a regular basis, but nothing comes anywhere close this year to Warren’s baby shark costume. He ordered it for Halloween, but it was used long after that. In fact, it became a bit of an office theme towards the end of 2019. How could it not? It’s baby shark after all, and there’s no beating this!
From all of us here at Plank, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season, and all the best for 2020.