For anyone not familiar with the history of Eighty-Eight, we started as an accidental agency – a business unit that was a part of real estate software firm BuzzBuzzHome, launched after clients started asking how they could use social media tools as effectively as the startup’s founders were. They assigned team members internally, and soon found themselves with a small team working on multiple clients in need of a leader and its own identity. Enter me. I joined Eighty-Eight almost six years ago to achieve three goals: to build a brand around the agency, to build an amazing team, and to build a roster of clients we were proud to work with. While it took a few years to find our groove, I can proudly say that we’ve achieved those goals – and now it’s time for me to welcome a new GM to the agency who can lead the firm into its next chapter of growth.
Today we welcome Wendy Bairos as Eighty-Eight’s new GM. Wendy is a seasoned communications professional who was at Google Canada for 12 years, leading their PR team for almost a decade, and who most recently led communications and PR at retail platform Hubba. She has a wealth of experience working in-house and with clients to build a profile, and she has a stellar network and reputation in the Canadian technology space. Wendy brings such a wealth of experience, expertise, and creativity, and she has a big vision for the company’s growth. As a part of this transition, as of the end of this week I will be shifting into an advisory role at the agency, assisting with the transition and continuing to be a champion for the firm. I’ve left my mark on the agency, growing it into new services and new industries like technology and startups, now our core focus, and now I’m excited to see how Wendy will leave a mark on the agency in the years to come.
This was not an easy decision to make, since while I didn’t start Eighty-Eight, from day one I’ve thought of it as my company. The team has become like family, so much so that I got legally married in the office (true story), and I’m lucky to call many of the team members not only colleagues, but friends. I’m so proud of everything we’ve achieved over the years – we’ve worked with clients that ranged from solo entrepreneurs just starting up, to growth-stage startups like inkbox and Drop Loyalty, to startup accelerators like NEXT Canada, to big companies like TELUS, Sony Pictures Television, and PayPal, to non-profits like Girls Who Code and The Upside Foundation. We’ve launched agency branding campaigns like Agency or Porn and Agency Side Hustle, which were covered in publications all around the world like AdWeek and AdAge. We’ve grown to 14 team members across brand strategy, PR, and design, and we’ve had so many talented people walk through our doors, who have all worked hard every day to do amazing work for clients. I’m also proud of the entrepreneurial spirit our clients – and hopefully I – have imbued into the team. We have team members who have started ice cream empires (iHalo Krunch), drop shipping companies, party planning side hustles, and bike wine tours companies (me!). I have so many amazing memories of the team at our annual retreats, monthly outings, and weekly demo days, of us hustling to meet a client deadline and celebrating successful campaigns, and I’ll miss those moments – and them – while also knowing they’re in great hands.
The journey is just beginning for the 88 team. We’re already one of the top boutique agencies in the tech and innovation space in Canada, and under this new leadership I have no doubt we’ll only continue to grow. Thanks to everyone who’s been a part of my journey at Eighty-Eight, and cheers to the next chapter – and stay tuned for a post from Wendy introducing herself and outlining more about her vision for the agency.