October 18th marks not only CEO Joanne Harmelin’s birthday, but the “coral anniversary” of the company she founded in 1982. Since day one, Harmelin has bucked so many industry trends – establishing a media-only business in the heyday of full service agencies; thriving as a Philadelphia-based company in the shadow of Madison Avenue; succeeding as a woman-owned firm in a male-dominated industry; and growing solely through client retention and acquisition, and not by merger or acquisition. The results? Harmelin is now one of the top independent media agencies in the U.S. boasting over half a billion dollars in annual billings and 225 employees (and growing).
Ask any of Harmelin’s senior management the secret to that success, and you’ll get the same answer: “It’s our people, plain and simple. They do an incredible job of servicing our clients, they constantly look for new and better ways to grow our clients’ businesses, and they work their tails off,” says agency president Mary Meder. “We’ve tried very hard to create an environment where each person can thrive and grow within the company, and we try to have as much fun as possible along the way.”
As a part of that fun, the company is wrapping up a 35-day celebration surrounding this milestone anniversary. Daily events have included food trucks, happy hours, wine tastings, trivia contests, charity drives, beer shares, and company breakfasts – essentially lots of food and alcohol! Each staff member is receiving an Amazon Echo Dot to underscore the impact that AI technology will have on the media industry moving forward (a technology which, coincidentally, was just getting off the ground 35 years ago as well!).
As with any anniversary, a certain amount of retrospection is involved as well, leading to a lot of laughter at all the moments we’ve shared over the years. For every business milestone – the big new account wins, or the launch of a new service or department – there are dozens more personal moments that we’ve shared together as a staff, that make Harmelin a true family. From weddings (including a few intra-agency romances) and births, to fantasy football, softball leagues, and endless debates over each season of The Bachelor, we have a great time, and do great work along the way.
As we move into year 36, Harmelin’s best days are ahead of us. We have a staff committed to excellence, a strong plan for growth and innovation, and a desire to continue to buck the trends, and do things in a different way – a better way – the Harmelin way.
Happy 35th, Harmelin Media!