You might think that Courtney Casey was destined to work at Accent Computer Solutions since she’s the daughter of Accent’s founder, Marty Kaufman, but when she went to college she was on a path to a career in Fashion Merchandising. During her sophomore year, however, her dad asked her to step in to take care of the monthly email newsletter. When Courtney said yes, it was because she needed a job -- little did she know that the job would turn into a fulfilling career in Marketing.
Courtney was working for Accent a few days a week while taking classes and approaching graduation. It had been two years since she took over responsibility for the newsletter and her duties had increased. There was no pressure from her dad or anyone else to stay. It was totally her decision.
Courtney recalls, “I was sitting in my dad’s office and he said, ‘So do you think you’re going to look for a job?’ and I said, ‘well I was hoping I had one.’ And he said, ‘Good’.”
Marty also recalls that conversation. While he never pushed Courtney into a role at Accent, she didn’t get the job because she was his daughter, but because he had confidence in her abilities.
“It was really, really clear from the beginning that Courtney was great at marketing,” said Marty. “She learned fast. She puts her head down and she’s really studious. She reads more than anybody else.”
Professional Development Fed by Curiosity and Appetite for Learning
Today, Courtney is the Director of Marketing with a decade of experience under her belt, and a small team to assist her. They implement a marketing strategy that includes sophisticated tactics and close alignment with Sales objectives.
During the years, she’s grown her expertise through her insatiable curiosity and appetite for learning, combined with the support that she gets from the Accent team.
“Courtney is definitely an expert in her field. She brought the missing piece of the puzzle here, not only because she has expertise in what she does, but because of how she interacts with the leadership team,” said Derek Woolf, Chief Operating Officer at Accent. “She’s able to be candid, and openly share her thoughts. She’s not one to hold back on her opinions.”
Bringing a Different Perspective to the Leadership Team
As a member of Accent’s leadership team, Courtney feels that her contributions as a non-operations role is an asset and Marty agrees.
“Courtney’s advantage on the leadership team is her outside opinion,” said Marty. “She’s just enough removed from operations to have insights that no one else thought of.”
Her input carries a different perspective about what clients need or want. Many of her ideas are accepted but there are naturally times when it takes a little more effort for the team to come to a consensus.
“We have different opinions on things as a leadership team but we all have to come together and decide the best approach,” said Courtney. “It’s not adversarial like you hear in a lot of family businesses.”
Together as Family and as Colleagues
In addition to working with her dad, Marty, Courtney’s brother Corey leads the Sales team. Her mom, Debbie, was involved in the Accounting department until she recently retired. Their at-the-office conduct is 100% professional, and they go by first names at work. You’d think they see enough of each other throughout the workday, but they are a close family and enjoy spending time together.
“I’ll go over to my brother’s house for dinner after work, and since I don’t live in the area anymore, I stay at my parents’ house when I’m in town. I’ll walk in the door and Dad will say ‘How was your day?’ even though we could have been talking in his office a few hours before,” said Courtney. “We try to do a good job of turning off the work part when we’re at home. At the same time, I feel like we are really blessed that it works because I don’t think it has for a lot of families.”
Growing up, Courtney didn’t always understand the kind of work that her dad was doing, but she had a sense that he was building something. When she was in high school, she worked at Accent during the summers – cleaning the office, answering the phone, and filing endless paperwork. She started to learn more about what the company did.
Looking back, Courtney sees how her dad’s role as the leader of the company has influenced her, both in instilling an owner’s mentality in her, and in recognizing that marketing is absolutely integral to meeting growth goals.
“My dad has been a marketing-minded owner from the beginning,” recalls Courtney. “He has always recognized that marketing was going to be very important and that’s how the business was going to grow. He focused on it long before it became a necessity in the IT industry, which set us up to be in the position we're in today.”
Marketing Expert in a Competitive Industry
Marketing in today’s IT industry is extremely competitive and Courtney spends a lot of time keeping up with trends and learning new tactics. She’s been encouraged to keep learning and bring new ideas to the leadership team, but that doesn’t mean that she gets to do everything she wants without educating the team about why it’s important and what the expected outcome will be.
“I don’t ask for things we don’t need so if I bring it up, it’s because I feel it’s important,” said Courtney. “It’s not like everything I ask for is an automatic yes. For some things, it's just not the right time, or we realize in discussions that it's not the right fit.”
The give and take that happens in leadership discussions, however, in no way signals that Courtney isn’t respected or that her opinions aren’t valued. She’s definitely the marketing expert and her ability to create and implement a marketing strategy that will bring the company success is not doubted.
“I’ve seen her expertise in the field of marketing grow by ten times. She’s very specialized in what she does with the marketing team, but she’s technical at the same time,” said Derek. “We’ve got digital marketing figured out at Accent, and it’s totally because of Courtney.”
Career Satisfaction and the Thrill of Results
While Courtney loves the changing and always learning aspects of marketing, getting the outcome that she’s after is always a thrill. Whether it’s creating a flyer that helps the sales team describe something better, or drafting a blog post that captures top keyword ranking on Google, getting traction and moving forward to completion is satisfying.
She may not have started out with her sights set on a job at Accent, but Courtney has found a place where she can build a stimulating career.
“My work challenges me regularly. I get to try new things and work with incredible people,” said Courtney. “I just can’t imagine being anywhere else at this point.”