A Ten Year Ride on the Most Amazing Roller Coaster Ever

Jul 15, 2022

Kelly Pyper Reminisces on Her “Top 10” Milestones at PY

I’ve spent the past 10 years of my life establishing, growing, and leading our agency—the longest tenure and biggest privilege I’ve had in my 30+ year career. I’ve always enjoyed the roller coaster more than the merry-go-round, and I’m lucky enough to have experienced far more “ups” than “downs” during this time. We established the moniker, “Focused, Fresh & Fierce” in the early days, and it certainly rings as true today to describe the journey, the people, and our work over the past decade.

In celebration of our 10th anniversary, the team asked me to choose my “top 10” moments over the past decade. And, while there have been quite a lot of noteworthy clients, occasions, and campaigns, I'll be sharing the ten that stand out in my mind.

1. May 2012: Opening PY

While it had been in the works for a few months, on May 1, 2012, Tracy Young and I announced to the world that we had teamed up to form a new agency. Unlike starting my prior agency, there were no fears or doubts as this was an opportunity to get things right. How I wish I had that proverbial crystal ball at this point in my life, yet I doubt I would have believed everything that laid ahead for us!

A photo of the original "Pyper Young" logo displayed on a billboard

2. 2013: Ceviche Fundraiser for MFA

We met our soon-to-be client Ceviche while we were working with the Museum of Fine Arts—providing award winning creative and result-driven media executions. Ceviche wanted to host a special community-focused event at their St. Pete location to connect with the right local non-profit. This was a first-class event that led to an amazing relationship working on the Ceviche brand, launching Che Underground Lounge, and eventually their Rococo Steak business.

The poster design for the C

3. 2014: Mall at UTC Grand Opening

I had worked with International Plaza for several years at my prior agency, so when Taubman called me to ask us to work with them again to help open their new center in Sarasota, I was thrilled! There’s nothing better than working with smart, savvy marketers who offer a much-desired, premium product.

The ribbon cutting ceremony at the Mall at UTC featuring a large team of people cutting a giant pink bow

4. 2014: WellCare Rebrand

This account was a huge win for our team as we defeated larger agencies for the opportunity to work with the field marketing team of a huge national company to advance their efforts to attract a new audience. Research, boots on the ground, and teamwork made this project a success with additional work to come for many years until their sale. Seeing our work live in the subway car in NYC made our day!

A Pyper branded graphic that says "Top 10 Milestones" with a photo of the WellCare ad in a subway

5. 2015: University of South Florida - University Communications & Marketing RFP

A former client of mine became CMO at USF, and one of his first efforts was to consolidate the University’s media buying power. After a required RFP process, we were chosen as Media Agency of Record and were lucky to work with multiple programs across two campuses—and we still do today. In hindsight, it wasn’t the USF business that would be our reward, it was the people. Through this agreement, I had the opportunity to meet and work with Lindsay Petty and Cat Lim—keep reading!

A Pyper branded graphic that says "Top 10 Milestones" with a photo of the entrance to USF Tampa

6. 2016: Speed Bump

I believe that you have to accept the bad in order to appreciate all of the good—and, unfortunately, this was how the year started off. New business slowed down, key employees moved on for other opportunities, and Tracy decided to take a personal leave of absence that summer, which eventually became permanent. Personally, it couldn’t get much worse as I lost my Mom, my mentor and biggest supporter, that spring. But if I’ve learned anything in my career, it’s the ability to adapt and persevere, which is why I’ve labeled this milestone as a “speed bump”. It slowed us down, but certainly didn’t stop or derail the journey. And something really amazing happened this year…USF faced some dramatic changes, which led Lindsay and Cat to reach out for advice. After checking our contract, I discovered that the client took out the non-solicit of employees (something standard in our agreements). Happy to say, six years later, the rest is history!

A Pyper branded graphic that says "Top 10 Milestones" with a photo of Kelly, Lindsay, and Cat

7. 2018: Preserve the ‘Burg 40th Anniversary Party

In 2017, we were selected as Agency of Record for the non-profit to create a strategic marketing plan as part of their development of an overall business plan. In order to achieve this, we had to back way up in the process and first develop a branding foundation to build on. This ultimately led to the renaming of the beloved organization, all new brand identity, and finally a plan in order to grow the organization and attract some younger demographics.

A Pyper branded graphic that says "Top 10 Milestones" with a photo of the team and a PTB representative holding a sign that says "1,000th Member"

8. 2018: 1st Skyway 10K Race

Time to admit, I’m not a morning person. But there’s nothing like getting up in the wee hours of the morning to help support this amazing event! From the very beginning, we’ve been part of the race team managing all marketing including live social media coverage on race weekend. I’ve waved at thousands of runners, learned to cover my ears when the Howitzer goes off, and driven in the emergency exit lane of the Skyway Bridge. (I’m also not a fan of heights!)

A Pyper branded graphic that says "Top 10 Milestones" with a photo of Kelly and our client on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge during the 2018 race

9. May 2018: We Became Pyper, Inc.

The only thing constant is change, and so this was the year we made that change official by formally changing our name. We also took the opportunity to rebrand the rest of our identity, which is how we now completely sympathize with our clients who go through this same process! As we are firm believers that the best marketing comes from a good business plan, we simultaneously implemented a three-year strategic plan to grow both business and staff, which has led us to our current day success.

A Pyper branded graphic that says "Top 10 Milestones" with a photo of our "PY" sign hanging outside our front door

10. June 2020: Reopening Office after Quarantine

If COVID-19 showed us anything, it was how our team could rally during the most trying times. As if quarantining and working remotely wasn’t difficult enough, the uncertainty of marketing budgets loomed. But difficult times will often reveal true colors—and our resolve was rooted in all five of our core values of caring, learning, strength, enjoyment, and results.

A Pyper branded graphic that says "Top 10 Milestones" with a photo of the masked leadership team at the office front door holding the Chamber of Commerce's "Open... the St. Pete Way" poster.

#CheersToTenYears

I have a million more memories I could share—coworkers, clients, former clients who are now felons, front porch parties, champagne, the charms of a historic building, moonshine, Jannus concerts, why we encourage guests to close the bathroom door, First Fridays, and one ghost named Teddy. I’m sure the roller coaster will be just as exciting in the next decade! Cheers to 10 Years!