5 Things I Learned About Company Culture As Wray Ward’s Chief Joy Officer

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    December 20, 2022

5 Things I Learned About Company Culture As Wray Ward’s Chief Joy Officer


It has been my honor — and dare I say “joy” — to serve as Wray Ward’s chief joy officer in 2022.

Each year, one adventurous employee inherits this mantle and takes over an office tasked with planning and executing fun, thoughtful and engaging events for the entire company to participate in throughout the year.

As 2022 — and subsequently my term as chief joy officer — comes to a close, I am full of memories and introspection from the past year. If you’ll indulge me, here are five meaningful lessons I learned about the true meaning of company culture while serving in this fun yet critical role.

1. Bonding Builds a Stronger Culture

One of the reasons I took the chief joy officer role is because I love organizing things that bring people together while adding a little excitement to their lives. I’ve seen what previous people in this role have done and wanted to build on it. There are Wray Wardians who still talk about events years later, like the time goats paid our office a visit and people could hang out and pet them for a little stress-relief break. Or, who could forget the “Spring Pawty,” a bring-your-dog-to-work celebration of spring that included lawn games, customized hard seltzers, a balloon artist, pet adoptions and so much more?

During my tenure, I wanted to plan things that would have that kind of positive impact. From holiday gatherings to movie nights to BBQs, I thought I could successfully find fun for everyone at the agency.

Bonding via JOY events helps build a stronger culture because it allows us to step away from our computers and get to know each other better. We get to engage in games, share food, get some exercise and fresh air, help the community and create a bond that we wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to forge. I think enjoying and understanding the people you work with is important not only for mental health, but to also ensure that we all do excellent work for our clients and each other.

2. Teamwork Really Does Make the Dream Work

Creating a fun and dynamic atmosphere around the office is hard to do on your own. It was absolutely crucial that I had a team to help me plan and execute JOY initiatives. I couldn’t have done a quarter of the events we had or executed them at the level of quality we achieved without the support of so many on my team. Any time someone thanks me for organizing an event or activity, I make sure to mention the brilliant JOY team!

Our company has grown significantly since I started, and I quickly realized it was time to scale up the JOY role. Everyone on our team had specific strengths that they could lend to the team, whether it was organization, communications, terrific ideas or just a consistent set of helping hands. The right people in the right spots can accomplish anything.

3. Top-Down Support Makes All the Difference

Under the leadership of Jennifer Appleby, Wray Ward’s president and chief creative officer until her retirement at the end of 2022, it’s always been clear that a vibrant culture is one thing that sets our company apart from so many others. I have never worked for an organization that had a person or team in place to create joy and enhance the feeling of community around the office.

We also try to take that sense of community outside our walls. One of the events I had the privilege of planning was a pop-up arts fair in our parking lot for The MAKRS Society, an organization that encourages connection to local businesses through small markets and fairs. We had local artists, who normally don’t have a business platform, showcase and sell their wares.

At Wray Ward, we appoint people to ensure we’re having fun and helping out, further proving that our leadership team truly cares about its employees. Unlike many other companies, Wray Ward understands it will be more successful and turn out better performing work if it values company culture and job satisfaction. I feel very lucky to work here!

4. I Work With Amazing People

I’m proud to work here for a lot of reasons, but in 2022, I realized just how big a role our people play in that. I think the biggest thing I learned about my fellow Wray Wardians was that people really want to lend a hand to make sure things run smoothly.

While my JOY team members were consistently heroes, other people offered to hop in and help out every time we had an event or activity, no matter what was going on. When people have no responsibility for an event and are still willing to go out of their way to help, that speaks volumes about the character of the people we have. I love it!

5. Always Go Out With a Bang

Without a doubt, the highlight of the year was the End of Summer Party. While it’s an annual event, it still took months of organization and planning — and we were all hands on deck for the entire day of the event. It’s typically the highlight of our year, and 2022 was no exception. We had perfect weather, amazing food, entertainment, fishing, games and — most importantly — a terrific sense of community. It’s a big production, and it felt amazing to put all this time and energy into an event and have it go off without a hitch.

If you are looking to join a company that places a high value on culture, Wray Ward may be the perfect fit. Take a glance at our careers page and see if any of our open positions are right for you.

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