Employee Spotlight: Ty Johnston

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Embracing the flexibility of AP’s remote work culture

When you contact Acceleration Partners for help with your paid search, Senior Account Manager, Ty Johnston is likely who you’ll talk to.  Since starting with AP in November 2014, Ty has become an integral part of our paid marketing team’s success.

When he’s not advising clients on how to cost-effectively optimize their paid search campaigns, you’ll find Ty exploring the many mountains of Colorado with his beloved dog, Sprite and out-bluffing his friends while playing the game Balderdash.

How did you get into paid search/paid marketing?

Since graduating from University of Colorado – Boulder with a degree in advertising, I’ve held a variety of marketing-related positions. My first job out of college was doing online marketing for a start-up company. I transitioned from there to working with an online insurance marketplace where I did everything from customer service to B2B marketing management. That’s also where I started getting into paid search and affiliate marketing. It was a new field and I was fortunate enough to be on the front end of learning about it.

How did you first hear about Acceleration Partners?

A headhunter actually reached out to me. I was intrigued because AP does both affiliate marketing and paid search/paid marketing and was really interested in the idea of working with an agency versus doing that type of work in-house. I was really excited when they extended me an offer because they’ve got such a great reputation in the digital marketing industry. It was also clear that they’ve got an incredibly supportive, engaged leadership team and truly understand how to build a strong, productive remote work culture.

What do you do for AP?

When I first started with AP, I came on as an account manager for our digital strategy division. I was mainly focused on working with clients and helping them build their paid search using Google AdWords and Bing. Today, I’m a senior account manager, which means I lead client engagements, manage members of our paid marketing team and work with our clients to implement paid search strategies.

Have you worked remotely before?

In past positions I had the ability to work remotely on occasion, but never full-time. Working with AP is my first experience working remotely full-time.

What do you like most about working remotely?

I like almost everything, actually. I’m hard-pressed to come up with things that I don’t like! I think first and foremost, I like the flexibility. Obviously we have emails and client calls that we have to attend to, but a lot of the work can be done when it’s convenient for us as well. For example, I can get outside and take my dog for a walk or run errands during the day when the stores are less crowded and then come back to work later in the afternoon or evening.

I also like how productive I’m able to be working remotely. I’ve worked in enough traditional office environments to know that, in reality, people are really only working two-thirds of the time at best. There’s a lot of idle chit-chat that takes place, interruptions and unproductive meetings and interactions. When you work from home, you don’t get credit just for showing up. Your value is based on your output, the quality of work you produce and your results.

Lastly, I’d say that I like working with other people who also value accountability and productivity. I think AP is unique in their remote work culture because they really work to bring on the right people and get them in the right seats. As a result, AP team members have great working relationships, even though we’re scattered all over the U.S.

How does working at Acceleration Partners help you balance work life and your personal interests?

I’ll admit that, initially, it was challenging for me. During the first few months, I’d find myself answering emails at 10:00 at night. But our leadership team does a great job reinforcing the importance of work/life balance and that you need to separate your work life from your home life. They instill that it’s about working efficiently and productively, but not over-extending ourselves, which can be easy to do when you work from home.

Knowing that I work with a company that strongly encourages work flexibility has made it feasible for me to travel to the west coast during the winter months and work from sunny California. I love living in Colorado, but being able to work outside in shorts and a t-shirt when it’s cold and snowing in Denver is fantastic.

What do you enjoy doing outside of AP?

Playing outside. I love to ski, but it’s actually gotten more difficult to do in Colorado with the traffic to the ski resorts being pretty atrocious. I’ve actually replaced a lot of my ski time with hiking. In the summer, I go hiking pretty much every weekend. That’s one reason why I love heading to CA during the winter months. I can hike with my dog almost every day and still be super productive work-wise.

What’s your favorite memory of working at Acceleration Partners?

Once or twice a year, the entire company gets together in person for a company-wide meeting, training and team bonding. A few years ago we were in Boston and we had a Great Race scavenger hunt. It was really fun and provided a great opportunity for people who usually don’t work together to get to know one another.

What advice would you give to new AP hires?

Our core values are really important to us, especially the ones related to accountability and figure-it-out. Those are two core values that are essential when working from home and will come up over and over again. And because your team members can’t see you and there’s no one looking over your shoulder, genuine partnership is another critical core value that should match who you are.  AP’s core values are actually something that really drew me to want to work here. They aren’t fluff or something that’s touted but not really adhered to. Our core values are consistently talked about, recognized and respected by everyone at AP.

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