Russ Reid Reviews in Pasadena, CA | Glassdoor

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Russ Reid Pasadena Reviews

Updated September 21, 2017
41 reviews

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Pasadena, CA

2.5
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Russ Reid President and CEO Alan Hall
Alan Hall
13 Ratings

41 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Zero stability, low pay, chaotic working environments, unrealistic expectations for those who do stick around or aren't laid off (in 6 reviews)

  • Some highly qualified people were passed by for promotions due to office politics (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Genuinely good people doing meaningful work together - grateful for my time here."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Human Resources/Client Service in Pasadena, CA
    Current Employee - Human Resources/Client Service in Pasadena, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Russ Reid full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    -RR's big enough that there are lots of people to get to know and initiatives to get involved in, yet small enough that you can build deep relationships and take more ownership on projects than you could at a bigger, more bureaucratic organization.
    -I LOVE the people I've met at RR- smart, caring people who generally joined RR because they want to make the world a better place. One of the big reasons I moved into HR was because I thought our employees were so awesome, I wanted to work more closely with them. :)
    -Loved all 3 bosses I had at the agency - they were phenomenal people who were really dedicated to helping me grow.
    -I see RR as a hub for talented, compassionate people, which makes it a great place to build a professional network if that's who you want to connect with!
    -I genuinely believe the people with the most power at the agency - the game changers/innovators/decision makers have really good intentions for the company, and are willing to work hard to make it a better and better place.
    -Even with a couple 'intimidating' senior leaders, I can point to specific moments when they went out of their way to be gracious and help me grow both professionally and personally. This really left a huge impression on me.
    -Before I was in HR, like any normal employee I had some concerns and skepticism about how the agency functions...for example, I used to question our compensation practices with my boss pretty regularly. :) But truthfully, once I was in HR and was much closer to the decision makers/policy discussions, I had more and more confidence in how the agency's run and more faith that our leadership was willing and able to make positive changes to help the agency grow. Just with compensation alone, I saw a lot of progress made- I was so used to thinking "you can make more money outside Russ Reid" but I actually think we've come a long way and have become much more competitive, thorough and fair in how employees are compensated.
    -I see two of the biggest influencers of culture as our CEO and head of HR, and I've experienced them as being deeply committed to the agency and the well-being of employees. They're both phenomenal people who genuinely care about making RR a better place. I think this bodes well for the agency's future.

    Cons

    -The agency is in the midst of a lot of transition, which is understandably difficult at times in the day to day experience of an employee. Change is hard! And we're going through a lot of change right now.
    -The agency's had a solid track record of success but is now at a point where it's looking to reinvent some aspects of our business model and culture. I think positive changes are in process and ahead, but I think we've got a little ways to go to really be the place we want to be.
    -Because we've done well in the past, we haven't always had to be as creative and innovative as I think we're forced to be now. Sometimes in the name of speed and efficiency we could get comfortable with the way we've done things in the past, and at times I found myself wishing we'd get a little more outside our box.

    Advice to Management

    Prioritize our employees, our culture and our innovative spark just as much as you prioritize efficiency and accuracy. Keep on doing the little extra things that make RR a special place to work. :)


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Industry experts trying to adapt to changing landscape"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director in Pasadena, CA
    Current Employee - Director in Pasadena, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Russ Reid full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The agency exists for a great reason - to help nonprofit organizations raise money so that they can do good things in the world. It makes coming into work something I usually look forward to because I know that I am helping to make a difference in people's lives. For the most part, I truly enjoy working at Russ Reid and many of my co-workers have become good friends, and some have even become like family to me.

    Our CEO is a leader who inspires me on a daily basis. I believe that he has a vision for our future, one that looks very different from how things are today and I am excited to follow him into the next chapter of our journey. However, I think there are many people here who are not excited by change - who actually are resistant to it - and so I can see how the current transition can be a scary, uncomfortable one for many people.

    I have been at Russ Reid for several years now and have worked at other agencies around town and one thing I can say is a true benefit is the flexibility that management allows. For example, several people on my team have had to make adjustment to their work situation (working remotely, working part time, taking a leave of absence) due to life events (having a baby, illness in family, moving, etc) and I have always found management to be open to accommodating the needs of our team. HR (a dept that often doesn't have individual employee's best interests in mind) has always been supportive and helpful when I've had to approach them about these kinds of things.

    I also really appreciate summer hours and having the flexibility of being able to work from home on Fridays during the summer months. I'm a mother with young children and so being able to spend extra time with my kids is a real special perk for me.

    Cons

    I've read a lot of the negative reviews here on Glassdoor and while I think that some of the criticism is warranted, I think that much of it it not.

    Having worked at other agencies and in different corporate organizations, I can honestly say that some of the challenges we experience here at Russ Reid (and that people seem to complain about) are par for the course.

    I find that a lot of people here, especially younger employees who don't have a lot of work experience, complain about pretty much everything. I understand that there are things that are frustrating - believe me, I share in many of the frustrations...things like antiquated technology, an uninspiring office space, not being able to get everyone on my team laptops so they can do their jobs easier, having to pay for most of our team outings out of my own pocket, etc.

    BUT, I made the decision to come here to Russ Reid to do meaningful work. And I willingly made the trade offs to do so.

    I do think that the agency needs to bring in more senior talent with more relevant experience. Direct mail is not going be sustainable forever and I fear that we will be left behind. I also find it challenging that most of our senior leadership has been here FOREVER and appears to be very resistant to trying new things or changing in any way.

    There are days when I think that the good we are helping our client do isn't enough to outweigh the crap I have to constantly deal with. But those days are few and while every day does have its share of challenges, I find ways to make it manageable because I love the work that we do here.

    Advice to Management

    Please bring in more senior leaders who have a true vision for the agency and who can support our CEO. Please bring in talented creative leaders who can help us do better creative work.

    My main advice to our CEO is this - you need to surround yourself with people who share your vision and who believe in it the way you do. Many of the leaders at our agency are doing the exact opposite - they are bringing you (and the agency) down.

    Also, please do not think that ideas and contributions can only come from a select few. Empower more people at the agency to have a bigger voice.

  3. Helpful (2)

    "The end of RR is near"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Pasadena, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Pasadena, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Russ Reid full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Many amazing, pleasant and interesting people from all walks of life that you will meet. Some departments are close knit, fun and promote a positive culture despite the chaotic culture that envelops the entire agency.

    Cons

    Bumbling senior management always forces a new, futile initiative that is absolutely a detriment to the culture and morale of its talent. The initiatives this year: seek the help of a process improvement group who never fully understood what RR is all about, merge with a failing, micro managing culture of a sister agency and with the recommendation of the process improvement group, adopt all of the failing company’s business practices by cutting corners and running processes on the cheap and calling it a technological advancement. There is a reason why merging agency has been failing for years!!!!

    Weak Account Management teams all around. They mostly know nothing and leave it up to the Production teams to fix their messes.

    Clicky production teams that can be difficult to work with because they look down on Account Management. They think they know it all.

    Advice to Management

    Stop with all the initiatives already, it’s very frustrating and annoying.

    Progress into the future can be achieved without the idiotic initiatives and the merger with a company who hasn’t turned a profit in years.

    Production has never been the problem so stop trying to “fix” what’s not broken.

    Bite the bullet and actually pay to hire experienced Account Managers instead of hiring straight out of college entitled kids who know absolutely nothing about fundraising in an agency atmosphere.


  4. Helpful (4)

    "Good people, good mission, bad senior leadership"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Account Executive in Pasadena, CA
    Former Employee - Account Executive in Pasadena, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Russ Reid full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The people you work with are amazing and truly feel like family. There's a good mix of fun & work. Easy to grow and be promoted. Many learning opportunities.

    Cons

    Team structures, client loads and processes are ever changing. As soon as one thing starts to make sense - it changes again. There were two major departmental restructures while I was there.

    Advice to Management

    Every time there's a huge change, it affects morale severely. Find a way to assure your employees and provide them with new opportunities in the new reality.


  5. Helpful (4)

    "Could've been a great career"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous in Pasadena, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous in Pasadena, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Russ Reid full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Some of the people you work with are extremely talented, and many are kind and fun people to get to know. Clients on the books are satisfying to work with, too.

    Cons

    Zero stability, low pay, chaotic working environments, unrealistic expectations for those who do stick around or aren't laid off. Expected to pick up slack and do multiple people's jobs for no additional pay. You will be made to do the work of the position above you without the title or pay, and your boss will take credit for your work and ideas. Good times.

    Advice to Management

    Adjust pay so it's fair. Don't overwork the talented people while others just fly below the radar and collect a paycheck.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Account Executive"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Account Executive in Pasadena, CA
    Former Employee - Account Executive in Pasadena, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Russ Reid full-time

    Pros

    They have a good mission and some of the people are fantastic.

    Cons

    This is literally the worst place I have ever worked. Don't do what I did and try to give them the benefit of the doubt, read the rest of the reviews and take them into full consideration before accepting an offer. Management treats employees awful, yelling, talking down, trying to make you feel small. There are very few opportunities for growth, they under pay, there is a TON of work, with zero perks (except wine, if you like wine on the job and thats the minimum you require, this is a great place to be).

    Advice to Management

    Listen to the employees that leave. Stop promoting people that are cheap and milking them for all they are worth.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "A great place to work for most"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Pasadena, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Pasadena, CA
    Recommends

    I worked at Russ Reid full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Really cares deeply about the success of the client
    Great sense of camaraderie at most levels
    Work with genuinely kind and caring people
    Truly wonderful feeling knowing that your hard work benefits the great work that clients do

    Cons

    Senior decision making is opaque
    Can feel like just waiting for the next shoe to drop
    office politics at the higher levels can be paralyzing

  8. Helpful (5)

    "Account Director"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Account Director in Pasadena, CA
    Former Employee - Account Director in Pasadena, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Russ Reid full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Strong reputation. Leader in many areas of nonprofit marketing and historically an innovative company. Competitive benefits package and many collegial competent colleagues.

    Cons

    Weak leadership. This agency never overcame the retirement of the founder who was a brilliant and kind man. Current leadership not in the same league.

    Advice to Management

    Hire a strong competent leader with the intellect and kindness of the founder.


  9. Helpful (6)

    "Layoffs abundant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Account Coordinator in Pasadena, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Account Coordinator in Pasadena, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Russ Reid full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Smart and experienced employees, the best in the business (especially creative, digital and analytics teams.) Made great contacts during my time there.

    Cons

    Favoritism towards Christians and APU alumni. It's high school mean girls mentality- very clicky. And low pay for the hours they expect of you. They will work you to the bone.

    Advice to Management

    Stop laying off good, hardworking employees.


  10. Helpful (8)

    "The Writing's on the Wall"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Pasadena, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Pasadena, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Russ Reid full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The few decent people left at the agency.

    Cons

    There is no future in the fundraising world for a full-service agency, especially one located in LA where overhead is so high.

    The coming years will be marked by a constant decline in revenue and reduction of staff until it eventually dies. Success will be measured by the amount of ground lost rather than the ground gained. At this point it's a matter of limiting the hemorrhaging.

    Working there is increasingly stressful as teams get smaller and smaller. And job security is non-existent

    The future is bleak for RR and its peers. Giving behaviors are changing. Clients results are down in traditional channels, which results in more and more turnover year-over-year.

    Avoid at all costs, as this will be a joyless place to work until it inevitably goes under. Plus it's led by incredibly deceitful people, who embody untrustworthiness.


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