Finding a Trusted Partner in Uhuru
Our Culture, Mission, and Values
Uhuru set out to create an agency designed around the priorities of not only our clients but also the priorities of our team. We discovered that the happiest employees produce the best work for customers. After all, that’s why we named the agency “Uhuru,” as it quite literally translates to “freedom” in Swahili—the freedom for our team members to not only live fuller lives but for them to deeply feel how much we trust them. Learn more about the Uhuru Way and see whether we might just be your next, most trusted partner in business—or even as a dream workplace.
The Uhuru Way Is Different
Fundamentally, the core of Uhuru is built upon overhauling the way an agency normally does business. We thrive because we’re never afraid to say there’s a better way.
As a real, trusted partner, our team challenges assumptions, pushes to make great leaps, and knows when to stay the course. Each employee is thoroughly engaged and understands how their role fits into the bigger picture. We trust each other implicitly and hold each other accountable for excellent work, meeting deadlines, and keeping within budgets. We’re able to accomplish this because everything we do is guided by our mission and core values.
Leave people better than we found them—by transforming the way people and businesses execute sales and marketing.
For us, “people” means EVERYONE. Regardless of whether you are a trusted partner client-wise—past or current—an employee, the family of a team member, or anyone else who encounters our company, you should be able to walk away feeling as though we’ve given you something you needed.
That’s why we’ve been an entirely remote company for several years, and why we run an agile marketing team. We do not want to be in the business of micromanaging time or grading effort. We care that team members produce the necessary results, not about the corporate game of “work theater.”
Working 12-hour days is not a good thing and we don’t want employees who consistently spend so much time working. It means we’re not keeping up with our promise to be a good, trusted partner because we’re either not being efficient in our work, or we’re doing way too much and not giving ourselves enough time to rest, recover, and spend time with our two most important tribes—our families and ourselves.
We value people who focus on and get results. Don’t be busy; be productive. Be active. It’s who we want as a trusted partner.
Our Core Values
Core values are the rules and boundaries that define a company’s culture and personality and provide a final “should/shouldn’t” test for all the behaviors and decisions made within the organization. They are the soul of Uhuru.
We care the most about what matters most: people, and our relationships with them.
We care about the clients who trust us with their marketing, sales, and companies. But most importantly, we care about each other.
We believe our relationships with each other define our lives and determine what we can achieve as a team, so we choose to value these connections above anything else.
This means that we show up with empathy and compassion for each other. We see every one of our stakeholders (team, freelancers, clients, and any other trusted partner) as human beings. In every interaction, we consider their wants and needs—not just our own—and we act to build trust between each other. We believe work life and personal life should not have artificial walls between them. At its core, a relationship with a human is the same at work as it is anywhere else. We share our goals, achievements, failures, and celebrations with each other. Plainly put, we bring our whole selves to our work, and we support and cherish that in one another.
Without these relationships, nothing else matters. A business that doesn’t begin with people and relationships is not worth doing. We’re not interested in “winning” if we do not have a life that matters and is shared with people we love.
Uhuru has its own culture bible, which team members use to hold each other accountable and drive daily decisions. Read what each of these principles means to our team, in their own words.
We Before Me (The Team Principle)
At Uhuru, we value the organization’s success before we value the individual’s success.
We still celebrate and applaud our unique qualities, but thinking of your team first (the “we”), means prioritizing our workloads and calendars based around what helps our team have the fewest roadblocks. Our team-first culture removes many common workplace inefficiencies, such as siloed communication and lack of transparency. A common question among us is “How can I help?” —Erin Cece (Head of Mergers and Integration)
Bring Your Whole Self to Work
We are not two halves of a whole—our work selves and personal selves are intertwined. We have spouses, children, things we love to do; and we are also really passionate about our work.
We’ve all had jobs where we had to pretend our personal lives and interests didn’t exist. But life just works better when you leave space for things that don’t earn a paycheck.
So, we allow people to show exactly who they are—good, messy, and in-between. There is no pretense or mask needed and there are no “cases of the Mondays”—just a team that really, genuinely cares about each other AND the work we all do.
—Rita Fitzgerald (Strategist & Program Owner)
We love learning, and one of the most effective ways of learning is by asking questions. Great thinkers never stop asking questions. When we ask questions, we dig deep into an issue and help inspire innovative solutions.
Questions help stimulate ideas, acquire more knowledge, eliminate confusion, guide a conversation, and solve problems. We believe that curiosity opens the door to a new world of possibilities!
—Vanessa Medina (Graphic Designer)
Tell Your Team the Truth
In order for a team to be effective and efficient, communication of accurate information must flow freely.
Telling the truth fosters trust between team members by building your own reputation as well as encouraging others to be truthful. When team members trust each other, they enjoy their work and are more productive.
Being candid avoids wasted time and effort pursuing activities that aren’t aligned with reality. —David Ovies (Business Results Specialist)
Work Like an Owner
We are a team of owners. This means that we all agree to take full responsibility, find and fix problems, and care about details—even the smallest ones.
You can tell an owner from an employee when they take initiative to leave a client better than we found them (like our editor, who goes above and beyond to make sure a client’s website—even content we didn’t create—is clean and free of typos so they can make the best first impression on their prospects).
A person who thinks like an owner pursues what’s best for the client and for the team, not just what’s easiest for them. —Whitney Cole (Strategist & Program Owner)
The Glass Is Already Broken
We always do our best in the moment, but we always expect to find a better way, eventually.
In essence, we know everything we are doing now is going to be replaced eventually by something else. All of our processes are already “broken.”
There’s never going to be anything permanent about how we do things. There’s only going to be the permanent goal of building successful marketing and sales efforts with our clients, never a permanent path to this goal.
This principle effectively gives all of us permission to fail, to be wrong, and to change our minds, without judgment or loss of face, because we have already accepted that the path to success lies through an endless series of failures. —Peter Lang (CEO)
Discuss What’s Best, Not Who’s Right
Always discuss ideas, never people. If someone doesn’t agree with an idea, it’s not a personal attack.
A single person should never try to be right—as a team, we’re looking for the strongest possible argument in any disagreement that arises. When you don’t agree with something, you are encouraged to speak up so the entire team can decide what’s best, as a whole. —Claire Hambrick (Digital Marketing Consultant)
Do Right by People
Work together with the utmost respect and always do your best work to make the overall outcome the highest quality for the team, client, and company. If you see something, say something.
We are in this together. And at the end of the day, we are all aiming for the same goal: being the best marketing agency and maintaining a life-work balance. —Michele Lopez (Head of Process)
Teach What You Learn
Digital marketing is constantly evolving, and if we are going about our careers—and life—the right way, so are we. It’s important for us to take these lessons we’ve learned and pass them along to our peers.
At Uhuru, we take the “we before me” mentality seriously. Whether a team member has just learned how the latest Google Algorithm update affects SEO strategy or recently discovered a life hack for time management, it’s important that we share lessons learned so that we can become better coworkers (and people). —Morgan Chamberlain (Editor)
Recognize How to Get Beyond Disagreements
We want people to bring their whole personality and passion to their work. But, during an argument or discussion, it can be challenging to remain calm and not take things personally.
When someone notices a process that we’re involved in can be done differently—maybe even more efficiently—we try to remember the person is not attacking us. Instead, they are working toward Uhuru’s common goal: having more satisfied clients, helping the company grow, and being successful. The same principle applies when we are the ones addressing something we would like to improve.
When passions arise, even the best of us can forget the goal in the heat of the moment. Remember to breathe in and out, and ask yourself: What are we, as a team, trying to achieve from this conversation?
Once you get that answer, remind yourself and your coworker that you’re on the same side and should be working together toward the best solution for the given situation. —Ema Odorovic (Sales Coordinator and Lead Gen Team Manager)
Do the Little Things Well
Always be mindful of all the work you do. Taking care and consideration of the smallest details truly makes a difference.
What sets great work apart is the ability to deliver value at every step of the process. A successful outcome is always worth the extra effort and attention to detail. —Sundas Bellusa (Digital Marketing Consultant)
Unless it’s a surprise birthday party or gift, please, no surprises. Surprises catch people off guard and, most of the time, surprises at companies are not positive ones.
In most circumstances, we are in a position to catch problems before they turn into a big surprise by following the eleven principles before this one. When working as a team, we protect each other from unnecessary surprises. —Vanessa Lang (President)
How We Build Our Team
Because culture is such an important component of what we do, every team member who joins Uhuru has to be a good fit, as they will become a trusted partner in everyone’s success. Skills and techniques can be taught. Dedication, passion, humility, and empathy are far more difficult to instill, and our team relies on each other to keep Uhuru a company that leaves people better than we found them.
Prospective employees meet several members of our team through their interview process, and team onboarding can take 60–90 days to fully integrate a new employee. Everyone at Uhuru is dedicated to the success of everyone else, and we regularly hear our team discussing ways to improve not only Uhuru, but themselves, too. That is part of what makes us all a trusted partner for one another, clients included, since passionate people drive results. Our agency is committed to making Uhuru employees’ personal dreams come true.
Seven things potential Uhuru team members need to know:
- Uhuru is not your typical agency.
- We want you to build your career here.
- You must bring your whole self to work.
- You need to have a growth mindset.
- We want you to be successful.
- You’ll have the tools, systems, and training. If you don’t, ask.
- We before me.