A personal connection and bulletproof project management

katie’s headshot By Katie, 25 Apr 2022

If you ask our clients about their experience with Ariel, you’ll get a flood of glowing reviews. As the one steering the ship for the client experience, she understands how pivotal her role is, and she always aims to over-deliver.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean extravagant measures. “I’ve learned that the power of a response is HUGE,” she says. “The simple act of being a responsive partner makes a big difference to our clients.”

This is part of “the Good Work Way” that has become the cornerstone of what makes Good Work such a unique web development company. A bulletproof project management process, with a personal connection at the center.

“It’s amazing how much people just want to be seen and heard. And if you can make just one thing easier in their day, it can change everything. We work with a variety of people who are responsible for things they are not experts in. And we get to make them look good in the process.”

Rooted in non-profit marketing

Ariel came about that passion and vision for an exceptional client experience honestly. She started her career in nonprofit marketing, as the client. During this season, she worked for some of the best in the area when it comes to public-private partnerships. She got to see downtown Dallas come into its own and become a thriving economic center.

She thought she would be in nonprofit marketing forever, except that a friend saw a knack for organization and encouraged her to consider trying her hand at project management. She dabbled in agency life for about a year, but ultimately didn’t find the right fit. She went back to what she knew.

As much as she loved her new role, and being back in familiar territory, she also missed project management. “I loved the thought of waking up to different projects each day. And I was at the point in my career where I had to either take the leap, or let that door close.”

Lucky for us, she took the leap.

The power of networking and relationship-building paid off. As a client, Ariel had worked with Switch, who frequently partnered with Good Work on web development projects. Garrett got wind that Ariel was looking for project management work, and the rest – as they say – is history.

Defining “The Good Work Way”

Soon after Ariel joined Good Work, she had the opportunity to go through a Digital PM and Ops apprenticeship with Louder Than Ten. It was a relatively new program at the time, providing extensive hands-on training for digital project managers and agency owners.

“Garrett basically opened the conversation with, ‘It’s going to be a lot of work, want to do it?’” she jokes. “But then he showed me he was serious about the investment by doing it with me. He said we could create a brain trust to implement something real and lasting.”

It was a crazy six months to hear her talk about it, filled with more coffee than she cares to admit. They were balancing online classes, client calls, and putting out the fires that inevitably pop up in this line of work. But thanks to some solid trial and error, they were able to implement the learnings in real-time, and within a year put together the foundational process that Good Work still uses today.

“We set the expectation for reasonable response times. Honestly, we are working with people who are in a vulnerable place [because they are not experts in what we do] and we make good on our promises. That is a big deal, and leads to deep trust.”

With that trust often comes long-term work, which is what gets Ariel most excited. These retainer clients are where the real relationships are built, and allow the strategic insights of the Good Work team to really shine.

Offline and outdoors

While Ariel is quick to gush about the specifics of project management, she is quick to admit that talking about her personal life doesn’t come as easily. But a few pointed questions helped to uncover the passion and spark that keeps her going.

Like many Good Work-ers, Ariel spends her time away from the office outside. She and her husband Joe are outdoor enthusiasts. They can often be found walking around White Rock Lake or on a golf course. Sustaining outdoor spaces in Dallas is important to them, and Joe is even on the board of the White Rock Lake Foundation.

Joe and Ariel also own property in the French Quarter of New Orleans, and thanks in part to the culture of flexibility at Good Work, they spend as much time there as possible. They bring the same passion for preservation to The Big Easy, and love that they can help sustain a piece of the history and culture in the area.

With a job that is as dynamic and focused on others as client-forward project management, a robust stress management practice is not optional. In addition to pilates and golf, Ariel is a big believer in mindfulness, which she credits to keeping her from overreacting, and instead allows her to remain responsive and balanced.

After all, it is the responsiveness and personal connection built on trust that is the foundation of the bulletproof project management process. Good Work has people who are obsessed with the process, and believe that the process is just as important as the end result.

With over 15 years of experience in integrated marketing and project management for everything from tiny nonprofits to global agencies, Ariel understands our client’s needs because she has been in their shoes. She’s a graduate of the Louder Than Ten Project Management Apprenticeship, which basically makes her a black belt in project success. She oversees our project process from start to finish and ensures every client gets the Good Work experience they’re promised. Somehow she also finds time to write for our blog. Outside of work, you can find her sitting in a courtyard somewhere in New Orleans where she lives part-time, or working on her slice on the golf course.

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