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How StrawberryFrog’s chief exec learned to believe in his own ideas

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StrawberryFrog look back at how its CEO and co-founder led the company through the pandemic

Scott Goodson has been on a mission to activate purpose brands, through movements that transform organizations and grow brands. Coronavirus put this passion to the test. I witnessed this first hand. Something happens here that wouldn’t happen at other organizations. Why?

As company leader, Goodson combines a deep humanity, sharp intellect and deep knowledge of business, and recognizes that we have a higher purpose in life than simply generating profit.

Personal experience as well as advisers from the world of business, academia and his management team, inspire Goodson to be ambitious about movement thinking. These lessons came in handy when the coronavirus pandemic upended his company.

Goodson said a guiding thought came to mind as he led StrawberryFrog through the coronavirus epidemic: “Create good.”

I’ve been working as chief of staff at StrawberryFrog for almost a decade and have seen how this single-minded purpose drives him. In fact, the full purpose he wrote when he started the company is, “Creativity for good: to create good results, good work, good impacts for our clients and among our teammates.”

We’re constantly looking for ways to do good in society, by activating purpose based brands with movement thinking.

Goodson founded StrawberryFrog with his co-founder Karin Drakenberg and it quickly became a world leading creative powerhouse. He then evolved StrawberryFrog into a movement marketing agency for some of the world’s most admired companies, and then into a movement thinking firm focused on activating purpose to the people that matter to a company inside and out – through marketing and transformation.

In February 2020, as Covid-19 skyrocketed in New York and his team was working hard inside the Empire State Building, Goodson started thinking through how the firm would navigate the storm. He was working closely with Ramon Soto, senior vice-president, chief marketing and communications officer at Northwell, the largest health services organization in New York State.

Northwell was at the forefront of the health crisis. This remarkable partnership and his guiding purpose helped Goodson think through the challenges and chart a path through the epidemic. Goodson presented his strategy and framework to the company management team, and together they charted a path through the chaos. In the first week of March, StrawberryFrog began training all staff to work remotely, and by the second week, all members of the organization were working remotely from their homes.

His priority through it all was to avoid layoffs or furloughs — the firm had none in 2020.

Instead, he focused the company on capitalizing on the intense demand for activating purpose strategies internally to employees and externally to consumers and other stakeholders. Despite some setbacks, StrawberryFrog has remained solid and grown its business. Goodson maintained a close-knit workforce that is willing to go above and beyond for every client and colleague. When difficult times hit, it’s the foundation, strength, and commitment of our employees that allow us to survive.

Being a CEO requires passion, drive, and a good deal of trial and error. Over the years at StrawberryFrog, I have seen how Goodson combines business acumen with a focus on running the company in a humane way.

Throughout the pandemic, Goodson has encouraged the company’s leadership team to ensure that our teammate’s physical, emotional, and financial wellbeing remained a priority. Programs and task forces were developed. Investments in tools, education and communication coaching were made. Talent was hired and trained. Through it all, he has encouraged the leadership team to remain calm and resilient, to over-communicate and be visible to ensure employees feel connected in these uncertain and stressful times.

Without fail, Goodson leads a weekly company meeting where he captures the successes and accomplishments of the week. Goodsonhas demonstrated a hero mentality and leadership through the most challenging times.

Operating a company during normal times is challenging, leading it through the global pandemic has been a remarkable exercise in calm and thoughtful leadership – something I have witnessed myself and have learned from.

Goodson’s trusted advisers have included Pauline Brown, Kylie Wright-Ford, Maryam Banikarim, Matt McGowan, Becky Schmitt, Suzanne Tosolini, Anne Ward and Ranjay Gulati.

Nicola Conneally, chief of staff at StrawberryFrog.

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