Thank you to the team at Clearleft.

Strategically placed tangerine, and I won’t tell you what the sticky notes say. Credit: James Gilyead.

I joined Clearleft as their Content Strategist back in 2015. Now it’s time to say goodbye and a very big thank you, and move on to the next chapter.

It’s time to refocus. I’m still a Content Strategist, but I’m using my strategy skills to spend more time working with emerging brands. Above all, I love working with people to help them see the wood for the trees. So my focus is on how I can help individuals and small groups find exactly the right language to articulate their ideas clearly. I’ll be working with individuals and companies who need to find their voice through brand language, storytelling, proposition design and tone of voice…and I’m running some creative writing sessions.

My time at Clearleft.

Flashback to spring 2015, and I was standing in the glass walled meeting room at Clearleft with James Box and wrangling sticky notes around a hero’s journey. We were doing storytelling for a British broadcasting organisation. At that time it made sense to become a permanent employee; I was ready to learn new things, I loved the environment and the people, and the clients were pretty cool too.

Giving up my old business was a tough thing to do after 10 nearly years but there were a few major things that made it an easy decision to join Clearleft. It turned out to be so worth it.

Facilitating a workshop at the Juvet Hotel, Norway on Clearleft’s Artificial Intelligence retreat. Credit: J. Gilyead

3 things that make Clearleft a splendid place to work.

  1. It’s like being at home but at work.

The office (the stationery cupboard, the Sonos sound system etc.) and of course the people make it a place you look forward to coming ‘home’ to in the morning. It was all the little things that persuaded me to join; lunch with the team, being asked my opinion about other little side projects in the building. Above all, I laughed A LOT (Clearleft’s most golden hidden awesome trait is its Slack channel banter…).

2. Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration.

I loved working so closely with an amazing group of some of the UK’s most skilled UX-centric designers and developers. Also, because Clearleft have such an vast network of friends and practitioners all over the world, I had so many conversations with people I would never have met otherwise; people writing books, podcasts, people doing amazing things with robots, people who invent and build wacky stuff, designers who do the most amazing doodles on sticky notes during meetings. It’s the little things. But on a macro scale Clearleft opened the door for me — that’s an awesome thing to be able to say.

3. New experiences and learning.

Clearleft really set an example to other companies when it comes to their mission to help their staff pursue their ambitions — their training has given me a much bolder confidence for public speaking, for developing my voice and for getting my ideas out there. The generous attitude to learning, sharing and bold experimentation at Clearleft is one of the best things about working there.

Some of the things that Clearleft helped me achieve.

It turns out, as I’m writing it, that the list is much longer than I have time to type one-handed with an 8 month old baby sleeping on me.

I’m going to miss Clearleft, but ex-Clearlefties tend to be a bit like boomerangs. Once a Clearleftie, always a Clearleftie, it seems. So I have a feeling that ‘good bye’ isn’t quite appropriate. I’m looking forward to finding out what adventures the next chapter of my career holds.

Seriously, thank you Clearleft team. You’re special.

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Language geek, content strategist, puppeteer, object manipulator, whittler. And the content person @clearleft.

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Ellen de Vries

Ellen de Vries

Language geek, content strategist, puppeteer, object manipulator, whittler. And the content person @clearleft.

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