9 Years at 9 Clouds: A Look Back and Ahead

9 Years at 9 Clouds: A Look Back and Ahead

I wouldn’t admit this at the time, but my first month at 9 Clouds, I was absolutely a fish out of water. 

Coming from local news, I didn’t understand marketing jargon. I’d write down terms in meetings, only to Google them back at my desk later. 

What a difference nine years makes. 

In my last weeks at 9 Clouds, I’ve done a lot of reflection on growth. My own growth. My coworkers’ growth. And of course, 9 Clouds’ growth.

9 Years of Change

Back in May 2015, 9 Clouds had six full-time employees, and everyone wore a lot of different hats. The definition between a digital strategist and a project manager was almost nonexistent, and the lack of documented process created frightening (and exciting) opportunities. 

We had freedom to take creative chances – for example, a very unique Nissan Titan promotional email featuring a titanosaurus – and work with clients across the country who challenged us every day. 

I’d say we failed and succeeded at a pretty even rate. 

This might sound like a nightmare work environment, but for me, it was an adventure every day. We learned so much from our successes, but even more from our failures. And with each new opportunity, we figured out a real process to make future 9 Clouds a better place. 

It’s hard to separate my own growth from that of 9 Clouds, because we really grew up together. Fellow director John Nelson and I built our roles through experimentation and collaboration. We celebrated each other’s leadership wins and muddled our way through hard times. 

The version of 9 Clouds I’m leaving is nothing like we imagined back in 2015. Honestly, it’s even better than we would’ve dreamed. We’ve tightened up our processes, defined roles and responsibilities, developed training, and learned what type of business makes the best partner. 

I’ve never felt more confident in the team I lead, which gives me a lot of comfort. I know 9 Clouds will thrive and grow on the foundation the “baby 9 Clouds” crew built. 

Embracing New Challenges

You might be thinking, “Why would you leave somewhere you helped build?” I’ve definitely asked that myself.  

Leaving this team was not an easy decision. I love my coworkers and clients. But I also needed to embrace some of the 9 Clouds values. My belief in passion and empowerment pushed me to take on a new challenge — outside of a marketing agency, where my client will be the community I live in. I’m excited to serve my friends and neighbors as a City employee. 

Not everything over these nine years has been sunshine and roses — no job is, in truth — but I’ve learned valuable life lessons and worked as part of a team that made a difference for businesses around the country. 

I’m looking forward to not having all the answers and working through new problems (with a better success rate than 2015 Jenny). And my exit opens up new opportunities, new ideas, and new mindsets for the 9 Clouds team. 

I can’t wait to see how the crew takes that freedom and grows from it.  

Agility, Flexibility, and Growth

Although it’s a bittersweet goodbye, I’m grateful for the growth we’ve all had since those early days at 9 Clouds. 

I know this team will adjust to all the challenges marketing throws its way. (And believe me, there are a ton.) Facebook and Google alone throw plenty of curveballs, but AI, privacy laws, and channels that don’t even exist yet will keep everyone on their toes.

This team will take on those challenges and thrive — along with whatever businesses choose to have 9 Clouds as their marketing ally. 

So even though I’m moving away from the agency world, I can confidently recommend 9 Clouds to anyone who needs digital marketing help, big or small. The processes are solid, the team is dedicated, and the results are in the data.