Note from Jenn: This week’s spotlight is such a great example of teammwork. It was cool to hear how the three women of Athena Communications Inc. collaborate in their business and how they co-created their Right-Brain Business Plan after a day of strategic planning. I loved hearing how each person brought a different style and process to the table. I’m sure you’ll be inspired by their shared vision, collaboration, and ambition. (All photos courtesy of Meghan Untershultz.)
What is your business and what makes your business unique?
Athena Communications is a translation and editing services company owned and operated by a trio of smart, dedicated, energetic women. In a nutshell, we are all about the written word, in any language.
Words are our artistry. Painters have their brushes, sculptors their chisels, and architects their drafting pencils. We have our dictionaries. With our tools, we create ideas. We reveal solutions. We build bridges of understanding.
Athena Communications was born out of a love of words and language, and a dedication to exceptional customer service. We are a small team with over 18 years experience between us in the language and communications fields. We know what we’re doing, and we apply that expertise to our clients’ projects.
How has the Right-Brain Business Plan helped you? What is different for you and your business after approaching planning in a creative, visual way?
We began putting our RBBP together quite late in the evening after a long day of strategic planning. We were tired and wanted to get it accomplished as quickly as possible. After we started, it became impossible to rush the process, but we found that we didn’t need to. Even though our bodies were exhausted, our minds were energized by the creative exercise.
Having our business plan hanging on our office wall, brightly coloured and visually engaging, keeps us focused on our goals and motivated to push forward through any daily drudgery or difficult obstacles we face.
How do you use your creative intuition in your work?
We do our planning with mind maps, organizing ideas and tasks together based on similarity rather than by timelines or other linear categories. We keep a ‘parking lot’ document of ideas and long-term plans and goals that crop up in meetings, in discussions, or random moments so that nothing is lost and we can revisit them and put them into action when the time is right.
Is there anything you’d like to share about your Right-Brain Business Plan in terms of what it’s made out of or how you made it?
As three women operating a business as partners, we know the importance of communicating in ways that make sense to a variety of ‘brain’ styles. We created our RBBP as a collage on a large poster board so we could hang it in our office. As we laid out the images we selected, it became clear that we were each visualizing the end result in a different way. Michelle naturally organized the images into logical categories with labels, Imelda laid out the images in clusters with spaces between them, and Meghan wanted to fill all the blank spaces. Meghan finalized this plan, and the background is filled since this is what her brain comfortably likes to look at. Next year, Michelle or Imelda will finalize the visual plan, and it will look entirely different.
What’s your vision for your business?
It may sound grandiose, but we dream of creating a new kind of company that offers our clients all the communication solutions they need, allows employees the freedom, flexibility, and autonomy needed to excel, and gives back to our community. Our business is built upon relationships, and we want to manage it in a holistic and organic way.
We are ambitious and driven to succeed, and we are equally determined to achieve that success on our own terms. In our minds and hearts, our business is intertwined with our commitment to our families and our communities. Imelda envisions a business her children look to with pride, wondering if they may work there one day. Michelle believes in people and she aspires to create a living legacy, a manifestation of how a company that focuses on relationships with staff, clients, suppliers and partners can be an inspiration and a role model. Meghan dreams of a company that gives back and creates prosperity not only for its stakeholders but for our local and global communities. Our business is inherently personal-and we would have it no other way. Athena Communications is an extension of ourselves, and as such it is a living entity that will evolve as we do. We imagine ourselves twenty years from today, looking back in awe at all we have accomplished and looking forward with purpose to the opportunities peeking over the horizon.
We will build a company that enables the global exchange of ideas and information, and offers straightforward communication solutions for our clients. We recognize that play and happiness are integral to business success, and we interlace the qualities of autonomy, gratitude, sharing, learning, and innovation to build a company that acts with integrity, leads with passion, and earns the trust and respect of team members, partners, and clients. We listen to ensure clarity, we are responsive to generate energy and momentum, and we use our values to make sound business decisions and to build long-lasting trust relationships. We make no assumptions and we reserve the right to change our own rules to act in the best interests of our team, our partners and our clients.
We help businesses and organizations communicate clearly to their customers, business partners and stakeholders by providing expert and start-to-finish translation and editing solutions.
What advice do you have for other creative entrepreneurs?
Listen to your hopes, not your fears.
Trust your dreams, and do not shy away from greatness.
Think big, but take it one small step at a time.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Even if you do not operate a creative business, starting any business is an act of creation. And starting your own business is worth it, even if it feels scary and overwhelming. To borrow from Nike, just do it!
Click here for more information about Meghan Unterschultz.