“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion”

Dalai Lama

In 2015, Jamie Shani founded Madison+Vine, an LA based digital marketing company. In 2017, at a gala awards evening, the company was voted ‘Boutique Agency of the Year’.

The evening was sponsored by Think LA, a non-profit making association that raises the awareness of the creative arts in Southern California. The judges were all high profile advertising executives. To achieve such recognition in such a short period of time is quite remarkable.

Jamie puts his success down to having a very talented workforce but also creating a workplace culture in which people are happy and feel valued. But his interest in the well being of his employees extends beyond the workplace as seen in his outreach programme.

In the workplace, he emphasises a compassionate style of management. He defines as one in which there is an openness among everyone to discuss personal issues or problems, without any fear of shame or guilt.

Shani said “ Everyone feels free and never feels hesitant to mention something they are going through. Everyone feels okay and empowered to feel vulnerable”. As a result, employees feel valued, trusted and motivated to do their best work.

Shami admits they seek the best creative talent available. He gives them autonomy and freedom and no fixed office hours. Creative minds don’t perform well in a very controlled atmosphere. Rather the company supports the attitude of “just get the work done mentality”.

But Shami is unusual as he extends his care for the well-being of his staff beyond the workplace. Shani talks about work/life integration – how do you fully integrate your work life with a fulfilling one outside work?

At the start of the year he has a round table meeting with all employees at which the goals and objectives for the company are discussed. This is followed on by another one, in which each employee outlines one personal goal they want to achieve outside work. This can be almost anything, learning a musical instrument, taking up a new sport, losing weight, travelling — anything that gives balance to their lives and helps them relax.

The company sets aside $2,000 to support these goals, the money being split according to position and tenure within the company. A believer in personal growth, Shani feels this initiative ultimately boosts productivity and creativity.

“At the end of the day”, he said “whether you are staying at our company for 10 years or leaving after a year, you are going out into the world a better human being and I think a lot of people really appreciate that.”