In 1999, ECHO Storytelling Agency was founded after our president, Samantha Reynolds, missed the chance to get her grandmother’s life on record. What started as a personal mission to capture the stories of her remaining family members turned into a professional passion for deepening relationships with the people who matter most. Our team members and partners are an elite group of journalists, authors, designers, and filmmakers who craft stories that people remember forever.
Since 1999, as a result of clients coming back and asking us to do more for them, we have grown beyond our roots of producing personal memoirs and corporate histories to now offering a wide range of story-driven services, including brand story consulting, story-driven content strategy, and storytelling training.
Our award-winning company has produced nearly 300 story projects for individuals, families, and companies across North America such as lululemon, Microsoft, adidas, Grupo Bimbo, Taco John’s, Goldcorp, California Casualty, London Drugs, and Science World. These projects include personal memoirs, commemorative books, digital campaigns, videos, storytelling training, and brand storytelling for companies that need to engage customers and employees, and for those who want to leave a legacy.
“ECHO is a great place to work for a lot of reasons, but over the last two years the most significant one for me has been how the team has navigated (and continues to navigate) working through the pandemic. When things were at their most scary and unstable, the company kept an even keel. Management was super communicative, and everyone was so supportive of each other as we each muddled through in our way.”
We have a saying here at ECHO: Relationship trumps transaction. It drives our storytelling philosophy, which centres on the power of story to deepen relationships between people. It’s how we try to treat each other, our freelance family, and our cherished clients. In practice this means many things, including a daily check-in huddle and, when we can, wine/beer sessions (in the park during the pandemic!). However we can, we strive to make every interaction an opportunity to deepen the bond a little more. Storytelling is intimate work, which is just how we like it.
“The people and the flexibility. It’s a real gift to get to work with really smart people who care about their work and help you create great things. And given the pandemic reality we live in, being able to choose a hybrid work week is a big bonus.”
We are a values-driven company, firmly grounded in Positive Energy, Creative Rigour, and Unconventional Caring. We bring these 3 values to every project we take on, and use them to guide our decisions and actions every day.
As a storytelling agency, we at ECHO have the responsibility and joy of sharing a wide range of stories. We strive to collect those stories by developing deep relationships that help us understand our clients’ unique values systems. Across our broad client base, we are then able to share a diverse range of perspectives. And in hiring staff, freelancers, and contractors, we are again able to elevate voices from diverse backgrounds.
Our approach is rooted in the respectful acceptance of where our clients are in their journeys and the passionate belief that every human has a unique story worth telling. We aim to be responsive to the needs of both our clients and our staff; this agility and compassion help to keep ECHO an open and inclusive workplace.
ECHO Storytelling is an equal opportunity employer and we employ personnel without regard to race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, language, citizenship, creed, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, physical and/or mental challenge, or financial ability, while remaining alert and sensitive to the issue of fair and equitable treatment for all.
On any given day there are 8 of us in our peaceful, open-concept studio, though we do work remotely as well. We also work closely with a large roster of partners in the ECHO-verse (designers, writers, editors, proofreaders, and other specialists).
“This team has a ton of journalistic, design, and publishing experience and wisdom. These are uncommon areas of expertise, and we’ve got a lot of them.”
While we are generally a quiet bunch when we’re on the job, we love hanging out with each other, whether it’s over lunch, a coffee, or after work. We have lots of laughs, eat cake, and do jigsaw puzzles on the regular. We play music while we work (80s hits are our favourite!), and we always make time for a chat. In addition to work-related updates, our Slack channel is a great place to share tidbits like news articles, books, podcasts, recipes, and comedy. We also love giving kudos when they’re due — celebrating work anniversaries, life events, and project wins.
“A lot of the work we do for companies includes consideration of their corporate values. Some of our clients really get how values and culture can (and should) intersect; others are only at the start of that challenging climb. ECHO (just to brag for a moment) has really figured out values. We all know them, we can all name them, we all live them every minute we’re at work … and outside work, too, since there isn’t a bad time in life to be caring, creative, precise, and happy. Is there?”
Developed during the pandemic to keep everyone on track, our ECHOmunications Plan has become our bible. In it, we outline the many ways we get our internal messages across. We thrive on Google Suite, but we also have a variety of tools at our disposal, such as Slack and Zoom for everyday correspondence, particularly for the days we work remotely. Additionally, we use tools like Monday and Airtable for task management and collaborative work. When there’s something urgent at play, we often get in touch via phone or text. And if we are in the studio, chatting in person is the way to go if it’s quicker and more helpful (as long as we’re not interrupting anything). We like each other, and as a small studio, we strive to communicate with respect, clarity, kindness, and humour.
“We are unique because of our ability to see each other and connect with each other as human beings first. We are an incredibly hard-working team, but our rigour is never at the expense of our empathy.”
We work Monday to Friday, usually from 9-5, including a lunch break. The exact hours differ for each of us depending on our preferences and schedules. As we’ve embraced a more hybrid workweek, team members have full flexibility to choose which days they prefer to work at the studio. Some days, we’ll have a full complement, while other days will be quieter. One thing is non-negotiable: whoever is in the studio attends an in-person huddle at 11:50am every day to stand up, stretch our legs and backs, and check in with each other. Fridays are virtual.
We have a peaceful and cozy open-concept studio located on West 3rd Ave. The office space includes a shared kitchen space, several comfy reading corners, and two back rooms for meetings or calls. Our studio is on the second floor with no elevator access.
“The physical space is comfortable, bright, and open. We each have our own workspaces, but there’s also lots of common space and big tables for collaboration. We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and milestones. We eat a lot of cake and have a lot of toasts. Pre-pandemic we’d always have a communal puzzle in the works, which was a great place to chat with coworkers or just step away from work for a minute.”
Granville Island – The studio is very close to the Public Market, and many of us head there on a sunny day. In particular, some of our team are obsessed with Chau Veggie (okay, it’s Sam). If you want to make like the boss, grab a Coconut Shake and Red Sand Dunes Soup for lunch.
Beaucoup Bakery (6th Ave and Fir) – Try the Cardamom Kouign Amann or a great classic croissant.
Hoké Poké (4th Ave and Burrard) – Customizable and delicious poke; we recommend the Yuzu Ponzu sauce.
Patisserie Lebeau (2nd Ave and Pine) – Waffles for a treat or a good sandwich for lunch.
Prado Cafe (2nd Ave and Fir) – Great for an afternoon pick-me-up.
Tractor (4th Ave and Cypress) – Can’t go wrong with their bowls. Try the Mushroom Ditalini or Curried Cauliflower as a side.
We meet at quarterly Town Halls to talk about where we’re at and where we’re going, and set goals for ourselves. In the summer, we usually travel as a group (pandemic permitting) to Keats Island for a company retreat complete with strategizing, swimming, and bonding. We also have an annual holiday party that changes shape each year. Fun fact: our president met her spouse at the first big ECHO holiday party in 2004.
“Because one of our values is Creative Rigour, and we hire based in part on values fit, we can count on the fact that everyone is working hard incredibly hard. This allows for flexibility, autonomy, transparency, and — ultimately— trust.”
“It’s a very supportive and flexible place to work. We have high standards, but that includes how we take care of ourselves as people and friends first.”
“A brewery tasting room is opening downstairs in a space that used to detail cars. UPGRADE!”
“Yes, we’re focused on creating products like books and videos and websites, but we’re really a people business. Lots of companies make that claim, and they’re all probably right to do so. But for us, it’s everything. Every single thing we do hinges on people. We can’t tell stories that don’t star people. We can’t create our work unless we anticipate the people who will experience it. We can’t succeed in all the projects we work on without the freelancers in our extended family. The best thing about ECHO, I think, is that I like all these people. My coworkers in the studio, our clients, the freelancers — all of them. Telling happy stories and sad stories and hard stories and strange stories is so much easier when you enjoy and respect everyone who’s along for the ride!”