As an integral part of our Finance and Operations team, Kira has been instrumental in the growth of Fingerpaint since she joined our team five years ago. Kira’s achievements haven’t gone unnoticed, either. Two years ago, Kira was awarded Albany Business Review’s 40 Under 40 award for her commitment to business growth and professional excellence, and just last year she was awarded SmartCEO’s New York Brava Award. As our Founder Ed Mitzen once said, we would not have reached upwards of $30 million in annual revenue without Kira.
Kira, it’s safe to say Fingerpaint wouldn’t be the agency it is today without you!
Learn more about Kira’s five wonderful years with Fingerpaint below.
Name: Kira Karbocus
Office: Saratoga Springs, New York
Team: Finance and Operations
Role: Finance and Operations
- What do you remember about your first day at Fingerpaint?
I shared my first day at Fingerpaint with seven other Fingerpainters. Coming from the corporate world of insurance and banking, I remember how progressive the culture was. The office was respectfully loud and filled with spontaneous collaboration, compared to being able to hear a pin drop at my previous company. I also remember how vastly the dress code varied from my days spent in blazers and pencil skirts. Employees wore jeans and open-toed shoes, which was something I had never experienced before. There was even a dog running around the office (gasp!).
- Are you in the same role? What has changed about your role?
Although my role at Fingerpaint remains predominantly Finance/Accounting, it has expanded exponentially since joining as Fingerpainter number 40 in 2012. In addition to Finance/Accounting, I now help lead most of Fingerpaint’s core operations, including People and Culture, IT, and Philanthropy. Fingerpaint’s Finance team of one has grown to five. One office location has grown to four nationally. Last but not least, instead of serving a company of 40 employees and clients totaling $7.5 million in revenue, my teams serve a company of 160+ employees and clients with over $30 million in revenue. I guess you could say a lot has changed, but thankfully, our culture and core values have not.
- Tell us what an average day at Fingerpaint looks like for you:
There is no such thing as an average day at Fingerpaint, which is one of the many reasons I love coming to work each day. In the past month, I have had days dedicated to analyzing quarterly financials, reviewing our recently revamped employee handbook, client meetings, interviews, travel days, and everything in between.
- Tell us one of your favorite early memories from your office:
One of my favorite early memories was witnessing my first new business pitch from start to finish. The energy I witnessed between the Account, Creative, Strategy, etc. teams was electric. The whole agency (we were much smaller then) waited on pins and needles to learn how the pitch went, and we celebrated like heck when we found out we won. At the time, it meant increasing our staff by almost 10% and adding some key hires that are still with us today!
- What advice do you have for someone who is about to finger paint for the first time since their childhood?
Don’t think, just paint.
- Favorite thing about your office:
My favorite thing about my office is the open floor plan and that we have no offices. No matter what our position in the company, we all have the same work space. This setup truly fosters a collaborative environment, less the egos you may experience in other agencies with corner offices.
- What do you love most about the entire agency?
The people, hands down. We have the most forward-thinking, brilliant, and, not to mention, fun group of employees I’ve ever experienced. I continue to learn from my colleagues, no matter what their level in the organization. When we say “no titles, no offices, no egos,” we mean it. Last week, Ed Mitzen (our Founder and CEO) and I had meetings in our Conshohocken office. For our drive back to our headquarters in Saratoga Springs, we rented a U-Haul and packed it with office furniture Conshohocken no longer needed. Ed, dripping in sweat from loading furniture in 90-degree weather, joked that no one can ever say we’ve gotten too big for our britches.
- How many unread emails do you have in your inbox?
At 3:40 pm, I have 80 unread emails after being in meetings for the past few hours. I will not leave the office until I have answered all of them!
- Are you planning to read them or should you just batch delete?
Batch delete?! That’s horrible. I would love to keep track of who batch deletes emails.
- What advice would you give yourself on day 1 of working at Fingerpaint?
Dive in, without hesitation. This was a sink-or-swim opportunity for me, and I learned how to swim very quickly.
- What advice do you want to give yourself now working at the agency for 5 years?
Self-preserve. This industry, coupled with an exponentially growing company, can make work-life balance challenging to achieve. Don’t let meetings run your days. Delegate, even when it seems easier to complete a task yourself. Set standards. Block your calendar off when you need “work time.” When you’re out of the office, stay out of the office. Be present. Don’t take your health or your family for granted.
- What are you hoping to see happen at Fingerpaint? (Keg in the kitchen, trampoline in the parking lot, 4-day work weeks, etc. – any ideas are welcome)
I am hoping and betting on Fingerpaint to continue to attract the best talent in our industry. In recent years and months, we have had employees relocate from top agencies in Manhattan, Philadelphia, and even San Francisco to our office locations. In my eyes, that is the biggest compliment we can receive, even more so than winning a prestigious award within the industry.
- Have you already taken your sabbatical? If yes, what did you do with your time off? If no, what do you want to do with your time off?
I have not taken my sabbatical, but I have been daydreaming of how I may spend it. First things first, I want to go for many long runs, cook my soon-to-be husband dinner, and spend time riding my horse. I’ve thought about volunteering in Sausalito, California, at The Marine Mammal Center. The MMC rescues seals, sea lions, and other marine mammals along the California coast. During rehabilitation, their research team learns about conditions affecting the health of marine mammal populations and the conservation of oceans—conditions that can affect humans as well. I’ve also thought about galloping racehorses during morning workouts for one of the trainers at the famous Saratoga Racetrack. That was a summer job I had to regretfully turn down when I was in high school because it didn’t pay the bills.