Halifax creative agency Trampoline Branding has taken the unusual step of happily announcing the impending departure of one of its employees. Even stranger, it did so without once using the euphemism “leaving to pursue other opportunities.”
“We’re proud to lose some award-winning talent,” says the headline of a press release announcing the departure of the agency’s award-winning designer Britt Hall, who is returning to her native Toronto in the spring to become a senior art director at Forsman & Bodenfors. “I could not be prouder if she was my own daughter,” said Trampoline CEO Marc Gascoigne in the release.
Hall joined Trampoline from a small Toronto design firm in 2015, and quickly put her imprimatur on the 30-person agency. “We saw her raw talent then and were happy to hire this promising junior and thought we could teach her a few things,” said the release. “Turns out, we did teach her a few things. But she taught us more.”
Among those lessons: How great design needn’t be a struggle; that fully formed humans can work with anyone; that it’s possible to lead from the middle; and great design can influence behaviour and make an entire province gladly roll up its sleeve with a smile.
Trampoline’s senior vice-president and executive creative director Shawn King said that Hall has “large aspirations,” something she made clear to the team’s leaders right from the outset. “What I love about that is you know they’re thinking big, and that gets reflected in their work,” said King. “There were no barriers for her; when she did work, she did it so that it would stand up regardless of where it was from.”
King acknowledged that it’s a little unusual to celebrate an employee’s departure, but said it also sends a nice message about the agency’s culture to both current and prospective employees. “It’s okay to move on, especially if it’s because of growth, learning and opportunity,” he said. “These are things we want to celebrate for sure.”
The idea for the release was inspired by 2014’s Ivany Report (“Now or Never”), which stated that Nova Scotia was on “the brink of an extended period of decline” because of “serious demographic challenges.” In short, there was much hand-wringing over the fact that young Nova Scotians were leaving for larger cities like Toronto and Montreal, and there was not enough migration of young people into the province to offset their departure.
“To anyone who was nervous about being able to have a career in advertising on the East Coast I was definitely an advocate and living, breathing proof that it could be done,” said King, a native Newfoundlander who has spent the entirety of his career in Nova Scotia. “It became something I was proud of, and you can see a similar statement being made with this release.”