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While trying to get to know Seth Getz, the best way he could summarize his journey was, “There are many strange and diverse things in my background. When I tell some of them, I typically get looks of disbelief.” It may not have been a traditional career (or life) path, but it sure is an interesting one. Get to know Seth:

Tell us a little about your background. 
I’m the youngest of five and grew up in the mountains of Vermont. We were homeschooled, before homeschooling actually existed, but eventually moved to Chicago at the age of 13 after my father died. The move was the end of my organized education.

I started working full-time at 15 years old and realized that if I wanted to learn more I would have to educate myself. I have many years of experience under my belt. Each time I felt like I had mastered skills in a certain position, I would ask to move up and on.

I have worked in software development, doing things like programming the communications systems between large store chains and banks for credit and debit card transactions. I taught programming classes, have preached in over a dozen churches, started 8 companies (most of which have failed), was awarded the Top 40 Business Leaders Under 40 three different times, have raised cattle and sheep, dipped the wings of a fully loaded Airbus 380 mid Atlantic Ocean, and I have been to all 48 contiguous states and about 20 countries.

I am a business coach helping hundreds of businesses grow and improve.

What makes you excited about the work you do?
The team of people are what make me excited and feel challenged. I’m always asking, how can this team be the best, how can we grow both as a team and individually?

What challenges have you had to overcome in your field?
One of the most common challenges I have had to overcome is the idea that I am always too young to do what I’m doing. I have simply outgrown that insecurity, though. At other times, I have to overcome my lack of education and massive gaps in my education. But I also have to work around my insecurities, both by positioning myself so they aren’t a factor and by stepping up to do things even when I’m scared.

What is important to you about the culture at Symposia Labs?
I love being part of a team that is working together to be the best it can be. I love seeing growth in people and the team as a whole.

When you’re not killing it at digital, what do you like to do?
My biggest priorities are my kids. I enjoy spending time with them, teaching them, giving them opportunities, helping them along the way, reading to them, and introducing them to the wonders of the world. And just as importantly, I convinced an amazing woman to marry me!

I also love to read, be outdoors, play sports, go on hikes, mountain climbing, and sailing.  I enjoy making movies, work on improving the house, investing in small publicly traded companies, music (playing and singing), creating things, and organizations. I’m also on the board of a few non profit organizations.

Our “Why Marketing?” series gives industry leaders a chance to speak about the importance of marketing.

Hillary Hovinga has been a marketing professional in many different industries. She has worked in banking, travel, non-profit, and for herself as an entrepreneur. With her experience, Hillary understands the importance of marketing across industries.

Marketing helps organizations deliver the right message to the right audience to drive business growth. It’s an integral part of connecting with your customers. Whether it’s using digital marketing tools like Sprout for social media, Google Analytics to track and report, or the user-friendly email marketing platform Constant Contact, each offers the ability to provide more targeted messages.

Hillary enjoys utilizing digital marketing in her current non-profit role, as it gives her the ability to reach a broader audience to further their mission. Whether they’re in need of volunteers or advocates for a cause, marketing creates an impact in so many ways.

Our “Why Marketing?” series gives industry leaders a chance to speak about the importance of marketing.

Bennett Ryckman knew that a career in marketing would be his future from the moment he stepped into a marketing class in high school. In a discipline that continues to grow and evolve, he finds something new and exciting every single day.

After high school, Bennett attended Central Michigan University, promptly joined the advertising student development forum, and became an active member of the American Marketing Association. He jumped into the industry at an advertising and digital marketing agency and is currently working as the Marketing & Operations Specialist at Uccello’s Hospitality Group. 

He loves the way marketing allows organizations to convey a message to guests and consumers in such a convenient and easy way. Bennett believes digital marketing is an important tool that can be used to do so many things.

Erin joined the team while Symposia’s Lead Copywriter is out on maternity leave. Get to know Erin!

Tell us a little about your background. 

I began my career as a marketing assistant for an analytics company. At the time, marketing meant sales support and events. After a few months, I realized there were a few gaps in their marketing strategy. Content marketing was becoming a big thing, social media was being utilized in new ways, and emails could be segmented like never before. I took to writing, using customer intent as a way to focus my words to elicit action. I was able to implement content in my current role but I also started freelance writing and was eventually able to turn that into my sole focus. I have been focusing on content for many organizations over the past 10 years, and have recently added Symposia to my list.

What makes you excited about the work you do?

There is something new every day. It’s exciting to adopt the voice of someone else and find new ways to say things. Whether it’s writing for an email campaign or spending hours developing a client story, writing is never boring.

What challenges have you had to overcome in your field?

Learning to write as another person or as an entity was a skill I had to develop over time. It’s easy to write as Erin. It’s more difficult to become someone/thing else entirely.

What is important to you about the culture at Symposia Labs?

As someone who was thrown in to projects and had to quickly catch up, project managers are very open and collaborative. It can be tough to fill a role and ensure you’re not the wrench in the workflow. There is nothing better than working in an atmosphere that allows you to ask questions, make suggestions, and immediately feel like part of the team.

When you’re not killing it at digital, what do you like to do?

You’ll likely find me at a hockey arena being a supportive wife, raising wolves (I have two kids), reading a good book, or getting lost in the gym. But for a couple of months each year, I’ll be at the lake in Tennessee, avoiding all responsibility.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (October 9, 2019) – Symposia Labs of Grand Rapids and Holland, Michigan, has moved into a larger office at 601 5th St. NW, Suite 100 in the Widdicomb Building in Grand Rapids’ northwest side to accommodate their growing needs. As the company expands its staff of 11 with 2-3 more employees expected to be hired in the final quarter of 2019, Symposia Labs was looking for and found a space in an area of the city burgeoning for the digitally-focused business community.

A growing client base across industries including manufacturing and automation, SaaS, e-commerce, nonprofits and more, has fueled the need for Symposia to grow their staff, resulting in the need for the office move. Simultaneously, some of their first clients, such as Freightliner of Grand Rapids & Kalamazoo, have remained partners with Symposia through their journey since founding in 2012. “This kind of ongoing, long-term partnership is part of the strength Symposia has to continue to grow,” says founder and director Timothy Haines. “Cutting-edge organizations help create more cutting-edge organizations.”

Haines, along with Symposia’s full-time staff which includes project managers, strategists, automation specialists, a creative team with designers and media specialists, and copywriters, works to not only strategize, execute and monitor digital marketing campaigns but to empower organizations through what is known as digital transformation. Large and midsize businesses benefit from digital experts who advocate for their long-term success in an evolving digital landscape.

The northwest side of Grand Rapids was the perfect place for Symposia to land. “This side of GR is blowing up,” says Haines. “We’re glad to be in a building that is truly a tech hub.” With neighbors such as Mindscape, TBX, Digital Limelight Media, and OST, Symposia is glad to be near other companies focused on digital, technology, and marketing.

Visit Symposia Labs in their new office during their open house on Friday, October 25. Drop in anytime between noon and 6:00 PM to meet their team, enjoy refreshments, and see the new space in this budding tech hub in Grand Rapids at 601 5th St. NW, Suite 100 (Widdicomb Building).

Symposia’s founder is fueled by his hunger for knowledge and passion for education. Get to know Tim Haines!

Tell us a little about your background. 
Marketing and strategy had me hooked early in life. I opened Tim’s Candy Store at age 11 in my hometown of Rochester, New York.

After graduating from Hope College, I started Symposia in 2012 with a laptop and a lot of caffeine, working mostly out of local coffee shops. My background studying sociology and psychology still keeps me eager to help people.

What makes you excited about the work you do?
Digital marketing is the perfect combination of my three favorite things: technology, people, education. Our digital landscape is constantly growing and this keeps me excited for what’s next and motivated to stay ahead of the curve.

What challenges have you had to overcome in your field?
Building our agency from a one-man operation to an incredible team of digital marketing specialists is a remarkable goal we’ve achieved together.

What is important to you about the culture at Symposia Labs?
The people. People are why we do what we do.

Our clients are entrepreneurs who want to succeed in an evolving landscape, and our team is a great group of specialists who are passionate about helping make this happen. Working as a team to help these organizations thrive is hugely rewarding. We care deeply about our work, our clients, and each other.

When you’re not killing it at digital, what do you like to do?
Attending UM football games with my amazing wife, Anne, and spending time at Lake Michigan with friends.

Kara joined the Symposia team in 2019 as our all-around administrative guru. Get to know Kara!

Tell us a little about your background. 
I have administrative experience and I worked as a marketing intern for the Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce. After graduating from Hope College with a degree in Communications and a minor in Business, I joined the Symposia team.

What makes you excited about the work you do?
I’m obsessed with little details and I love seeing final products, whether that’s an event, project, or really anything that ends up looking good as a result of hard work. I get excited when I see the impact that my work has on people both internally and externally, no matter how small the task is.

I’ve definitely grown to love copywriting and social media marketing, but I’m excited to branch out to other areas as well!

What challenges have you had to overcome in your field?
It can be easy in a job search to find something that aligns with your interests, but at the same time, I think it can be really difficult to find something that aligns with your skills. [As a recent college graduate], it’s hard to find a job without experience, and it’s hard to get experience without first having a job or internship that teaches those skills.

What is important to you about the culture at Symposia Labs?
I think it’s important to work in a culture like Symposia’s that encourages personal motivation and success while also thriving off of collaboration. It’s a fun group of people to work with, and no two days are the same in our office.

When you’re not killing it at digital, what do you like to do?
I love sports! I was a competitive/sideline cheerleader for almost 10 years and also used to play volleyball. Gymnastics and football are my favorite sports to watch. I also enjoy spending time with family and friends, playing board games, riding roller coasters, or doing anything that involves food.

Copywriter Kristen Haveman has been with Symposia since 2014. Get to know Kristen!

Tell us a little about your background. 
I’ve always been interested in some form of content creation (whether or not that’s what it was called at the time) by way of writing. I started working in digital marketing in 2011 in everything from small business retail to local government and tourism. I joined the Symposia team as a project manager in 2014 before turning my focus full-time to copywriting.

What makes you excited about the work you do?
I find writing to be a rewarding challenge. With every ad, every email, every landing page, I’m eager to jump in and learn about how to speak for our clients and best serve the campaign’s needs.

What challenges have you had to overcome in your field?
It is always interesting to learn to effectively speak as a brand and to tell that client’s story through a variety of digital platforms with specific constraints.

What is important to you about the culture at Symposia Labs?
Internal education and dialog, as well as the genuine care for each other and for our work. We encourage and support one another, and that is an invaluable quality.

When you’re not killing it at digital, what do you like to do?
I love to travel, geek out over music, and spend time with my husband, particularly at Lake Michigan.

Having started out as an intern, Baylee is a digital marketing project manager, overseeing many facets of our client work and internal processes. Get to know Baylee!

Tell us a little about your background. 
I am from Momence, Illinois. In 2019, I became a graduate of Olivet Nazarene University, earning a Bachelors of Science with a major in Public Relations and minor in Business. While at Olivet, I participated in Public Relations Student Society of America. I began my journey in digital marketing by interning with the Manteno Chamber of Commerce. During summer 2018 I participated in an internship with the Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce in Holland where I worked in social media and digital marketing. Through this internship I met Tim Haines and became interested in Symposia Labs. I then started interning with Symposia Labs which later turned into a full-time role.

What makes you excited about the work you do?
I am enthusiastic about digital marketing because it is a diverse field with so many different avenues to learn. I am passionate about continuing my education and always expanding my learning. My favorite part of social media is the ability to be creative and analytical at the same time. I enjoy the process of content curation and watching how people interact with social posts.

What challenges have you had to overcome in your field?
Transitioning from student to graduate in 2019, I had to overcome the learning curve of learning about digital marketing in class, to utilizing that knowledge in the professional world.

What is important to you about the culture at Symposia Labs?
The most important thing to me is the complete transparency. When I began interning with Symposia, I was told the mission of this company is to create unique solutions for clients but only as long as it is a benefit of the client.

When you’re not killing it at digital, what do you like to do?
I am a coffee enthusiast who enjoys yoga and binge-watching Criminal Minds.