Bringing Vision to Life With Michelle Stys

From initial client meetings, production, and delivery, each role in a marketing agency has its share of responsibilities, requiring agility and flexibility at every turn. Michelle Stys, Red Mallard’s Content Marketing Manager, exemplifies what it means to think on your feet—unashamedly carving her own path as she handles web design projects from beginning to end.

When we say “marketing is a team sport,” Michelle is what we mean. Get to know her below.

In-house to agency life

Michelle joined the Red Mallard crew in early 2021 as our content marketing manager after 19 years as a Southern California university’s in-house assistant creative director. As with small agency life, each role requires agility and willingness to step in where there is a gap—something Michelle excels in. 

“My role has organically grown and shifted over the last year. When I first started, I was the production manager for website projects and recurring clients, but I realized it would be good for everyone if we created a divide between the two. I continue to oversee production and manage the team, but I’ve moved into being our project manager for client websites,” she explains. 

Although her role continues to ebb and flow with demand, one thing remains the same: her dedication to improving team processes, being the primary touchpoint between clients and production, and cheering people on. “I spend ample time working with our web developers and play a leading role in our video production—from ideation to script writing—and those needs shift. However, what doesn’t is my leadership component. This is an interesting role because it’s more than managing our team, it’s also managing our visionary!”

Managing up, managing down

Bringing vision to life goes beyond lifting the team. Michelle is often problem-solving for how to take the visionary’s dreams and translate them into results. “As the agency’s pulse-checker and working alongside our implementer, it’s essential to maintain realistic expectations with our goals. I have to consider what will work or won’t,” she says. “Thinking about our Core Value, Strive for Better, I consider how John has always told us we don’t need perfection. We need consistent growth. At the end of the day, we have to consider the bigger picture and not avoid progress to chase something we could never achieve: perfection.”

Progress over perfection goes back to the necessity for consistency. As a creative agency that focuses on recurring content, repetition and rhythm will always win. “Throughout my career, I’ve learned that people see right through a lack of consistency, and quickly. Often, when businesses try to create recurring content by themselves, some of their platforms suffer,” she says. “Knowing this motivates me to continue focusing on the bigger picture while executing new processes. I want to maintain the essential 10,000-foot view while continuing to move forward. But, as important as processes and consistency are, relationships will always come first.”

When relationships trump process, everyone wins

As an EOS company, we esteem our values and let them guide everything we do. Michelle expresses that one of her greatest joys in joining Red Mallard stems from another one of our Core Values, Humble Experts. “My transition from in-house creative to agency life was daunting, but when you have a team that you can trust, where everyone is working towards the same goal and truly loves what they are doing, that’s a huge win. There is an undeniable culture of caring here, and you can’t force people to care. We’re all passionate, which made the transition easy and very welcome,” Michelle explains.

Alongside Humble Experts and Strive for Better is Empathy and Arm in Arm, each offering another lesson in this marketing world. “I’ve contemplated Arm in Arm recently, thinking through what it looks like to have relationships that mirror this, whether with our team or clients. We do well at this, as affirmed by our positive relationships. There’s a blanket of trust between all parties, and it’s a great breath of fresh air.”

“WOW is the one to aim for…”

Michelle’s infectious, creative energy touches every aspect of Red Mallard, never settling for less than the greatest “WOW.” You can get to know her and the rest of the team by following us on LinkedIn or subscribing to our newsletter.

“There are three responses to a piece of design — yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for.”

— Milton Glaser

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