Big things are happening fast at Camarillo, California-based distributor TAG! The Creative Source, LLC (UPIC: TAGTEAM). Last year, it landed the Supplier of the Year award from the Women’s Business Enterprise Council-West after being nominated by The Walt Disney Company, and it was awarded nationwide Greek licenses for fraternities and sororities. Another honor to its name? A PPAI Pyramid Award for exceptional creativity in consumer promotions.
After racking up these accolades and more, you’d think CEO Tonia Allen Gould would be breathless. Well, she’s not, and she’s charging forward with an enviable client list that includes Dell Kace, Walt Disney Studios and ESPN Zone. Read along as she breezes through a typically eventful day.
Time to wake up. Our in-home childcare provider is on maternity leave, but I’m fortunate to have my in-laws in town for a couple weeks. As I wake up, I can hear my mother-in-law already in the kitchen packing lunches for the kids.
My daughter is 16 and can drive my son to school. I peck them both on the cheek on their way out the door. I take my coffee and iPad outside into my Zen garden off the master bath and review PDFs of client presentations.
I finally jump in the shower. I already feel like I’m running late.
I hear the home phone ringing off the wall. I see I also just missed a call on my mobile. The calls were from my daughter, Whitney. I call her back and learn she’s still in the school’s parking lot. She’s feeling ill and wants to come home. We discuss her symptoms at length, and I give her permission to miss school. (She did look a bit peaked before she left.)
I call the attendance office at my daughter’s school to let them know she’ll be out sick.
I begin the 12-minute commute to our offices in Old Town Camarillo. My daughter calls to remind me that we need to pick up her senior pictures. We hang up, and I call a client to confirm a meeting. I decide to jet into Starbucks to grab a Venti, no sugar, iced green tea, but the line is literally out the door. Not deterred, I drive to McDonald’s for a McCafé no sugar, iced vanilla latte and marvel at how much less it costs. This could become a habit.
I park in front of our offices. When I reach our second-story suites, I notice four old mugs filled with coffee that were left on the balcony. I unlock my office door and head back downstairs to clean the mugs. The contents inside look like someone’s failed science experiment. Then I realize that at least three of the mugs are my own. Whoops.
I head over to the other suite and greet the gang. Today, it’s Teri Reichman, Stephanie Reichman, Alex Gomez and Cory Davis. While I’m there, Kristine Journey calls in to let me know she’ll be out in the field all day.
I check e-mails, sign checks and call our payroll company about some missing paperwork. Then a client calls to discuss a large project we are bidding on and to let me know that our presentation looked great.
It’s time for our TAG! brainstorming session. We’re working on a Disney movie called Wreck it Ralph, which is about a computer-animated, arcade-game bad guy. There aren’t any assets available yet for the film, and we are all feeling a bit stuck.
Stephanie and I meet to discuss a new marketing plan for TAG! and to review and discuss our new website rollout. Neither of us is perfectly happy with it, but we like what it’s evolved into. We agree it still needs some work. The last half of our meeting is spent focusing on some new branding possibilities for TAG!
Alex’s friend, Noah, pops in for a visit. The guy literally shows up every day during his break since he works down the street. I tell him, again, that if he keeps showing up, I’m going to have to put him to work.
Stephanie and I walk down to a great little café called Bella Victorian. The chef, Gael, cooks our meals right in front of us. I order a wedge salad, and Stephanie has an ahi tuna salad. I check us both into the restaurant on Facebook and quickly peruse my inbox. While we’re eating, Gael insists we have some wine. I normally don’t drink during the day, but how can we refuse the joyful French chef who cooked our meal right in front us? We can’t.
I order the Bella Victorian vineyard pinot noir and don’t notice when Gael refills our glasses. Gael snaps pictures of us for this article, which lead to marketing discussions and opportunities with Gael and his businesses. Turns out, there’s a Bella Victorian vineyard. That, with the restaurant and a new food and wine show Gael is working on, equals future opportunities. Note to self: Drinking wine at lunch may be a good thing.
Stephanie and I agree that Gael pours a tall glass of wine, and we walk back to the office.
I connect with the team and then give Alex some high-level accounting privileges in QuickBooks Enterprise. I review a couple of formal estimates and handle some other pressing accounting matters.
Back to responding to client e-mails.
Head to Terra Linda School in Camarillo for a meeting for my son.
In the meeting, I read e-mails and respond to some while I sit through 150 slides of smart kids doing smart things. The purpose of the meeting? To fill out paperwork that could have been sent home with my smart son in his smart new backpack.
On the way home, I call my husband, who is in San Diego for the night. I have to hang up with him because my daughter is calling. I realize I haven’t checked in with her all day. She informs me that she became an ordained minister online today, and she asks if I want to renew my marriage vows.
I’m home earlier than normal. I hug the kids and simultaneously get tackled by my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and chocolate Labrador. I wash up and prepare dinner. Tonight, it’s homemade pesto over whole-grain farfalle pasta and grilled chicken.
Dinner with the kids and the in-laws is quite pleasant.
My son, Miles, and I go into my bedroom so he can read away from the hustle and bustle of the household for his upcoming book report. He can’t find his book even though he looked everywhere. He finally found it in the backseat of my car, wrapped in his jacket.
Miles reads while I respond to a few straggling e-mails and read the TAG! End-Of-Day Report from Alex and Cory. Alex always begins with: “What got done today.”
Miles introduces me to a new kids show called “Destroy, Build, Destroy.”
I enjoy a lavender aromatherapy steam shower.
A quick chat with my mother-in-law, and then I check on my sick, newly ordained minister teenage daughter.
Catch up on “Bachelor Pad” while on Twitter, Facebook and Words With Friends. Fall asleep with the TV on because I forgot to set the sleep timer.
Hey, Tonia! Tell Us More.
I’m a huge fan of … Reading celebrated literature from authors such as Dante, Brontë, Steinbeck and Fitzgerald. I’m also currently writing a piece of narrative fiction. I love to read, but I’m happiest when I’m writing something of my own.
Thanksgiving at my house includes … The full fanfare. I prepare an elaborate menu and stand in my kitchen for hours inventing and cooking for the family. I always set the Thanksgiving table with our wedding china and silver or heirloom pieces that have been passed down to us. My daughter’s birthday falls on Thanksgiving every six years, so it’s an extra special holiday because it reminds me of her birth.
What I love most about my job … Every day is different. I don’t feel like I’m stuck, day-in and day-out doing the same thing. I also love the people I work with. Since we are together at least 40 hours a week, I think of us as a little family.
The promotional products industry is … Changing. It has everyone confused. I think clients today are looking for strong leadership and not necessarily a partnership. They no longer need someone to hold their hands because they see how the supply chain works. They need our creativity and ingenuity to help them take their products to an equally enlightened consumer in a rapidly changing media environment. The distributor of tomorrow will be creative-centric and, promotional products peddlers will have a tough time thriving.