What It’s Like to be a Newbie at TJA

What we do isn’t about following the rules. It’s not about playing it safe. It’s about who we are – and you don’t need auto-tune when you’ve got genuine, rock star talent (but without the attitude, infighting and bad fashion sense). Every person at The James Agency brings his or her own unique genius and personality to every project we do. When you put us all together, you have a virtual planetoid of awesomeness.

Take a look at what it’s like to be a newbie at TJA from the perspective of our five newest team members.

Justie Lim

Junior Production Manager

TJAer for 5 months

Aside from re-watching Dawson’s Creek from start to finish (don’t judge me, you know you’ve done it too or at least wanted to), I never thought I would hear so much of Paula Cole’s “I Don’t Want to Wait”. And yet, I’ve somehow found myself spending 40 hours a week in a room where that’s a regular in the rotation. I couldn’t be happier or more grateful that I get to spend my days surrounded by this stone-cold pack of weirdos in what’s lovingly referred to as the “Creative Bullpen.” These amazing people spontaneously buy hula hoops for the office; hold bubble-blowing competitions when Double Bubble comes flying out of a Cinco De Mayo piñata; and build portraits of team members out of paint swatches, leaving them for passersby to admire in the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

Coming into TJA, you’ve gotta learn pretty quickly to roll with the punches and embrace the weird, because you never know what shenanigans are gonna happen in any given day. One thing is guaranteed though: we will never stop debating over the age old question of “Cake or Pie?”

Kirsten Haberer

Junior Web Developer

TJAer for 3 Months

This is my first creative job and my first agency job, so I was a mix of nervous and excited energy coming to work on my first day. To my surprise, I was instantly welcomed, everyone knew my name and I became part of the TJA family pretty much immediately. There is a unique family feeling here – from the loud, opinionated uncle and the big brother that likes to tease you, to the sweet, yet firmly rule-following mom (and everything in between). I have worked at several “family-like” companies, but this is the first that truly fits that label. We eat together, work through issues together, have fun together, talk about really weird things together (see Justie’s perspective for more information on our quirky Creative Team shenanigans) and do our best work together. So, if you can imagine working with a group of funny, passionate people who care about you and your work – like really, truly care –that is what it’s like to work at TJA (even when you’re new).

Michele Carter

Executive Assistant

TJAer for 3 Months

Joining the team at TJA marked the beginning of a major shift in my life.   From a young age, I had dedicated all of my time and energy into training for a professional dance career.  Following a year and a half on the road for performance tours, I was ready to trade the lifestyle of constant planes, trains and automobiles for a more balanced one.  I wanted to plant my roots somewhere and the stars aligned here in Scottsdale.  I didn’t know what working at The James Agency would be like, but I was ready to make the leap.  It was the best leap I have made in years (and let me tell you, dancers leap at least fifty times daily). 

On my first day at TJA, I assumed it would be nothing like the work days I was used to as a performer, but boy, was I wrong!  We work together much like an ensemble of well-trained performers, each individual elevating the quality of the performance with their unique talents.  When the steps get difficult, we focus in and find a way to keep moving.  We feel the ebb and flow of the work day and keep in rhythm with one another.  We know that in order to keep our audience wanting more, we must deliver excitement and passion. Working at TJA is like dancing an elaborate piece of choreography on opening night.  Our clients are our audience and we are going to give them one hell of a show.

Keller Perry

Junior PR Account Manager

TJAer for 2 Months 

My first few weeks at the The James Agency were a whirlwind, and it was awesome. On the first day, I experienced my first company icebreaker: newspaper bocce ball.  Everyone competed to roll a wad of newspaper as close to a bowl across the room as possible. I wasn’t even close, but all that laughing and cheering first thing on a Monday morning was enough to make me realize this wasn’t going to be a conventional office job.

Fast forward a month and I’ve been up in a hot air balloon, beat a piñata and won a pack of shot glasses – and that’s just the team building side to TJA. The work is collaborative, well-organized and fearless. So far, I’ve helped manage a hotel grand opening event, networked with members of the media and facilitated multiple TV segments.

Every day is different and every day I have the privilege to work with the most compelling, constructive and creative group of people. What more could you ask for?

Ina Lee

Graphic Designer

TJAer for 2 Months

The phrase work hard, play hard didn’t really resonate with me until I joined TJA. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always worked hard in the past, but didn’t quite grasp the play hard part. People here at TJA are the epitome of work hard, play hard; all the raw creative works and accomplishments that TJA has achieved are the results of this. As a culture, we know what it means to play hard to generate new ideas and creativity; it helps us understand each other’s talents and personality, and as a result brings us together as a team. But more importantly, we know what it means to work hard as well; bringing the creative ideas and fun together to create something beautiful and exciting by staying focused and driven.The leadership here always encourages everyone to have fun, and even the smallest conversations aren’t ignored but are turned into interesting topics for us to laugh and share. Since working at TJA, I’ve come to realize how precious time can be during work, whether it is spent on collaborating and executing the tasks given, or spent on making small to grand memories here with everyone.


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