The Upside of Down Jill Taub Drury says the economic collapse resulted in a more collaborative approach with clients.
I didn’t want to do it. I’m flexible in the way I work, and it was great right out of school to have that opportunity. I enjoyed being a freelancer, but some people need to know where they’re going to be each day, 365 days a year.
ndependent meeting professional Jill Taub Drury is the CEO of Drury Design Dynamics, which describes itself as “a full-service communications company specializing in the
planning and production of meetings, learning and performance programs, entertainment, and special events.” Her husband, Chris Drury, serves as the company’s chief creative officer (CCO) — and, as Jill tells us, “Chris and I love having our own company.”
How did you break into the events industry? I was doing production for an advertis- ing agency for a little while, and then I went freelance. The first company I worked with freelance was Jack Martin Productions. I became a production assistant, and then a coordinator, and then a producer. Then Chris and I got married and opened up our own company. We thought if we can do good work for other people, let’s do it for our- selves. And we saw things we didn’t like,
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particularly in production and how peo- ple were treated, so we wanted a com- pany with a mindset and culture where people knew they were appreciated.
Is being an independent meeting and event professional for everyone? It depends where you are in your career and who you are as a person. When I started out being a freelancer, it gave me an opportunity to see how different companies did things, how they worked, and also how I wanted to do it and how
Do you enjoy working for yourself? Chris and I love having our own com- pany. He is the CCO and I’m the CEO; we split responsibilities. It’s interesting to be a married couple for 31 years, and also working together for 31 years. There is a supportive atmosphere that’s here and it’s important. Having our own company gives us the ability to really consider opportunities that come our way: Are we the best ones for the job? Do we want to do this job? Oppor- tunities arise that are not within our value set, and we have to take that into consideration. Plus, Chris and I love working together, and we also have the opportunity to bring in amazing people and pick and choose who we want to work with.
What are the pros and cons of owning and operating your own business? I think that it’s really difficult for company owners to keep space and staff the way they used to. It’s a huge commitment, especially since 2008, with the collapse of the economy. We used to have the opportunity to budget our jobs in a way so that as a company, more money went toward research and development and to keeping people on staff. It’s so much more difficult to do that today. It’s not as easy on the supplier end of this industry. But the upside is we all think differently and more creatively because of it. We work more collaboratively with clients, so we don’t spend money on things we won’t use later. It’s actually a really exciting development.