Pups of Portfolio Creative || Take Your Dog to Work Day 2019

This year we celebrated Take Your Dog to Work Day on Wednesday, June 19—check out some of our favorite photos from the day, and some recent photos of Scarlett and Luna who were not in the office to play with us this year.

In honor of Take Your Dog to Work Day we interviewed our favorite four-legged pals! Check out what they had to say!


My name is Crew!

I am 11 months old Terrier Chihuahua mix.

My favorite snack is pupperoni.

When my my Mom or Dad comes home I run as fast as I can to get a hug!

I get along well with others.

My favorite toys are animals but the moose is my favorite!

My parents think I’m sassy but I’m actually pretty playful and friendly to others.


Hello I’m Pippy!

I am 4 years old Cavachon.

My favorite snacks are kettle corn, eggs and watermelon.

When my Mom and Dad come home I’m ready to play!

I kind of like to stay to myself.

My favorite toy is an everlasting treat ball.

I am sassy.


My name is Rusty!

I am an 8 year old Lab mix.

My favorite snacks are my Mom’s homemade dog biscuits.

When my Mom or Dad come home I love to ask for food!

I get along with others.

My favorite toys are shoes, even though I’m not supposed to chew on them!

I am friendly.


Hello I’m Moon!

I am 2 years old.

My favorite snacks are greenies, carrots and turkey jerky.

When my owner comes home I like to wag my tail and give her a big hug !

I get along well with others.

My favorite toy is my squirrel.

I am friendly.


Hello, I’m Scarlett!

I am 9 years old Viszla/Lab mix.

My favorite snack is all of them.  I don’t really have a favorite, I love all snacks! I will help myself to your snacks to if you aren’t paying attention!

When my Mom or Dad come home I like to bark and jump around because I know it’s time to eat and go for a walk.

I get along well with others, even cats.  

My favorite toy is…….I don’t really go in for toys. My parents buy them for me but I am more interested in napping.

I am friendly and lazy.

How to Market Yourself at Networking Events

By Catherine Lang-Cline

It seems like there are networking events every day of the week. After you have decided which one to attend, you need to figure out how to get the most out of your time, something beyond, “what do you do?” and “can I have your card?”  Everyone is there for the same thing, to shake hands and maybe make some sales. With that in mind, you should not be afraid to start a conversation. You should also be doing more then just collecting cards too. Here are a few things you can do to not only meet people, but market to them, too.

  1. Be happy to meet someone. As you are introducing yourself, do it in a way that is friendly and warm. Seem obvious? Apparently it is not, as many people can treat you like just another handshake with no eye contact or no real interest in their voice. You never know who you are going to meet, so display an attitude of what it would be like if they are your customer. People like working with people they like and people that will take care of them. The first impression you give markets your business as a place that is friendly and can help them.

  2. Everyone is talking business and sales, so throw a curveball and talk about the food at the event, ask if this is their hometown, maybe ask what they like to do when they are not working. The idea is, you want your conversation to stand out. It will really stand out if you discover that you both have something in common. People like to do business with people that they share common interests. Dig for that and they will remember you as someone that they can relate to.

  3. Ask them about their business first, people love to talk about what they do. It is giving them the opportunity to make the first pitch. You then get to talk about you and your business. Since they went first, you can make your pitch to directly address their needs, you can customize your pitch to fit their business. Target your products or services based on what you heard and connect the dots for them! Plus, once they see how you can actually help them, you will stick in their mind the next time they have a struggle.

  4. Ask how you can specifically help. If you can’t help them, is there someone that they know that they can connect you with that does need what your business offers? Warm lead! Is there someone you can introduce them to at this event that they would like to meet or can help them in some way? Connect them! They will not forget your helpfulness and they will love to know that they helped you. You are marketing yourself as a connector and a partner in the community.

  5. Think about how your social media is set up, what information are you pushing out, what articles have you written, or what information are you sharing with the world? All of these things are great marketing talking points and conversation starters to show others how you are the expert in your area. People love hearing from an expert and you can think of this conversation as you hand-delivering your social media marketing. Sometimes people don’t need your business right away, but if you can help them right now in another way that shows off your expert thinking, they will first be grateful, and then remember you as the expert when they do have a need.

None of this can guarantee business of course, but what it does do is allow you to market yourself through conversations that will be remembered. It takes a number of events and meetings with people more to get your message out. There is an unwritten rule in marketing that people need to see a message seven times before recognizing it or acting upon it. Be patient, be present, and market yourself as you go.

A Day in the Life: Q+A with João Carvalho


My name is João Carvalho and I am the new summer intern for Portfolio Creative. Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, I moved to Columbus, OH about a year ago to pursue my MBA at The Ohio State University.

Besides family and friends, the one thing I miss the most from home is Ipanema Beach – I used to live just across the street from it. Although Brazilians are well known for their soccer skills, I played basketball in college and later on created my own non-profit to support underprivileged children through sports and education. My favorite hobby is traveling around the world – 16 countries, 13 U.S. states and counting!



My morning routine starts with a cup of coffee and some music, as I get ready to go to class/work – AC/DC’s “It’s a Long Way To The Top” is a personal favorite.  The Fisher MBA program can be pretty intense, so on the weekends, I like to sleep in and relax a little bit.


Although the job search process has been an essential part of my routine for the past year, the recruiting/staffing industry is somewhat new to me. Since I joined Portfolio Creative, every afternoon has been a great opportunity to learn from an amazing team and apply the business concepts I have learned throughout the first year of my MBA. I really enjoy the people and the organizational culture here.



One of the benefits of living close to OSU is that I get to use the RPAC, a massive gym complex on campus. Besides trying to stay in shape, I usually spend my evenings trying to find the balance between having my own personal time and hanging out with friends. Some of my classmates live in the same apartment complex as I do, so we often meet up to share our internship experiences and ambitious goals for our final year in grad school.

What Inspires You?

By Catherine Lang-Cline

What inspires you? It is a tough question sometimes because when asked the question, we tend to state what other people think we should say. Typical answers can be my parents, my spouse, my children, etc. All of these are really good answers because you see them and you want to do better, work harder, and provide more but the word “inspire” is really much more.

Dictionary.com tells us that “inspire = fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.” So yes, people can inspire us but let’s think differently as there are a lot more things that can inspire us in more creative ways.

For me, I find delight in any form of the arts. Seeing actors in plays or dancers on stage make by heart and soul swell. When music plays I can feel it in my heart and it sometimes it gives me goosebumps. It generates a genuine physical reaction that is again, delight, it “makes me feel something.”

What inspires me the most are things that I believe that I am capable of doing. For example, I go to an art gallery and see the paintings and because I paint, I am inspired to apply their techniques, work on larger canvases, try mixing mediums, and altering my style. Granted this is WAY more elevated than where I am, but it gets me excited to try something different, to push myself.

In my career, it works the same way. I see how others are achieving their goals, I study their techniques, their style, and try to up my game. People that have worked hard to achieve their dream inspires me. People that build a great marketing message, a solid brand inspire me. People that develop great cultures in their business or do things that really matter inspire me. Building a business was uncharted waters but we surround ourselves with people that could help us, would push us, and inspire us.

Being inspired is seeing something amazing and wanting to reach that high, too. So now, what inspires you?

The Importance of Having a Mentor

By Catherine Lang-Cline

Lots of people start a business or begin their career thinking that they are all alone on their adventure. Or find themselves surrounded by people that are just like them; recent grad, laid-off employee, or a recent start-up trying to forge their way through the next day. It is at times like these that having a mentor is so important but really anytime is a great time to have a mentor if you want to grow in your career.

We can’t possibly know everything that is going to happen on the road ahead, so there is nothing better than to have someone with experience on our side to be our cheerleader and our guide. A mentor can help you plan your path, break things down into steps, introduce you to key people, have serious conversations about your choices, and hold you accountable. In a panic about something? Contact your mentor. Need a pep-talk? Contact your mentor. Not sure how to handle the call that you just got from an inspector? Call your mentor. See the pattern?

You can have one mentor or you can have a few people. With one mentor, meetings should be scheduled monthly or quarterly and have an agenda covering what you would like to discuss and what the status is of everything you have discussed prior. Stick to this schedule because their time is very important. Also, listen to what they are telling you. If they feel like you are wasting their time they might bail. Even if you don’t agree, listen and discuss why you disagree. You have to do what is best for you but also don’t be afraid to try something new. Discuss to think things through.

It can be a lot more casual if you choose to meet with a few mentoring people that can offer you different things. They could be in different places in their career, have a lifestyle similar to yours, be the person you want to emulate, or be an expert in something that you are not. Just plan an occasional meeting, could be breakfast or lunch, and catch them up on what you have been doing and ask them for their experiences in the areas that you are needing help. Again, keeping in touch will keep you accountable.

Where can you find a mentor? Mentors can be found anywhere but ideally, a good mentor is someone that knows you, at least a little. Tell your family and people that you know that you are looking to find a mentor. Hopefully they can recommend someone that they know fairly well and can introduce you. It doesn’t have to be someone in a completely related field, but close is good.

If someone in your close circle doesn’t know anyone, try networking events in the area of your interest. Start a conversation, see if you have a personality “click” and then set up a time for coffee to talk more to see if this person could be a good mentor for you. Stepping even further out of your circle, is there someone in your field that you would like to emulate? Research how they got to where they are today and come up with your own strategy to do the same. There are also organizations that can offer you a mentor or career coach for a fee. Don’t let a fee make or break your decision because quality it typically achieved when there is “skin in the game.”

Still not convinced that you need a mentor? Let me put it this way, I am sure that you are awesome at what you do, but you are not going to be good at everything, and you are not going to know everyone. I have been in business for 14 years and I still meet with mentors and people that I admire all of the time. The higher level conversations are amazing and all outside of your daily circle. It is great to be challenged and it is great to get answers for things that concern us.

Having a mentor is having a real pro on your team. Most importantly, when you are ready, always reach back and mentor someone else coming up through the ranks or in need of help. You can be a game-changer for them.

Goal Setting Isn’t Just For The New Year

By Catherine Lang-Cline

Did you set goals when it was the New Year that you have achieved? How about goals that you have started?

The thing about goals is that they sound fantastic at the time but when attempted, you realized they might have been harder than you expected. This is perfectly okay as we sometimes get swept up in the idea of achieving something in the New Year with all of the cheering and festivities happening. But it doesn’t mean that they aren’t obtainable and it doesn’t mean you have to wait until next year to set a goal.

No matter what time of year it is, set goals:

  1. Keep a journal, make a dream board, or just write it on the wall, but create something visual that contains your goals.

  2. Revisit those quarterly. Add or subtract to the list. Think about what you can do this quarter to move the needle closer to your goal. Is there something you can add or is there something that no longer makes sense?

  3. Share your goals with at least one person to help you with accountability.

What is great about this is that it is a “living list”. You can take things off that are no longer making sense for you, you can leave things on the list because you need more time, you can add new things to the list because new and cool ideas pop-up all of the time.

If your goal is something big like a vacation, getting a new job, losing weight, plan those quarterly check-ins to check your own status. Are you saving money, did you rewrite your resume, did you start an exercise or diet plan? The entire goal does not have to be achieved, just progress if you are truly committed. Add another goal, something simpler, or something harder as you move through your year.

You might have a goal in the Spring to clean out your basement. Want to get it done? Maybe just delegate it. Do not be afraid to ask for help on any goal and the people that can help you with those goals can make an appearance in your life at any time.

The “magic” just doesn’t happen once a year to set goals. Set goals and be accountable, all year long. Five...four...three...two...one...Happy Goal Setting!

More Jobs Than Workers: Where’s the Talent?

By Kristen Harris

In the U.S. there are officially more open jobs than people to fill them.

Periodically we read some exciting stuff, like the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (snappily nicknamed JOLTS).

Wait...before you give up on me, check out Chart 5:

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See that brown line crossing over the blue line, and then dramatically spiking upwards? This never happens. The report states “For most of the JOLTS history, the number of hires...has exceeded the number of job openings... Since January 2015, however, this relationship has reversed with job openings outnumbering hires in all months.” Job hires have steadily increased since 2009, but job openings have increased even faster.

What. Is. Happening?!

A combination of factors are contributing to this unprecedented shift, including a very large Baby Boomer generation retiring in droves; skills mismatch between available workers and jobs that need to be filled; less people participating in the traditional workforce for reasons ranging from disability to opting into gig economy roles; and candidates being confident enough to wait for a better offer.

If one of those 7.5 million open jobs is on your team, how can you still find that great person you need?

  1. Keep the people you have. You know the saying that “it costs more to attract a new customer than to retain a current one”? It’s the same with your talent. Make sure you are offering a great workplace, an engaging culture, the kind of benefits or flexibility that your team members want, compensation appropriate for the role, and opportunities for growth and development. When you retain current employees, of course, you don't’ have to replace them, but also their positive energy can attract others to join your team.

  2. Look in new places. If you look somewhere different, you might find something new. Instead of posting your description to the same job boards everyone else is using, think about other places to find or attract candidates to your business. Are there industry-focused platforms or organizations you can tap into? Groups focused on more diverse populations? How about asking your current team who they know that might be a fit?

  3. Maximize relationships. Who do you know? And who do THEY know? For example, as a staffing and recruiting firm, we have relationships with thousands of talented creative people; we’re constantly building that network and utilizing it to find great people for our clients. How can you tap into a network larger than your own? People trust the opinions of their friends (and even strangers) more than what a company posts on their website. Find ways to leverage real human connections and relationships.

  4. (Re)consider your criteria. When hiring, companies often create lengthy job descriptions focused on required skills and experience, rather than behaviors and expectations. As it turns out, the only qualified candidates work for a competitor, so it becomes a bidding war with companies hiring the same few people back and forth. What if you could find and hire someone your competitor doesn’t even know exists? Focus your job description and hiring process on what’s required to succeed in the role. By considering different backgrounds or experiences, less restrictive educational requirements, more flexible schedules, maybe even a blemished record, you could find amazing candidates your competitor doesn’t even know exist! And, when you give someone a chance, you earn their trust and loyalty.

The balance between open jobs and available workers has been flipped upside down. It’s time to get creative about how and where to find your next great hire! If that next great hire is in a creative role, let us know–we’re here to help.

Small Businesses, This is Your Week!

By Catherine Lang Cline

The head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Linda McMahan, announced that National Small Business Week will be held from May 5-11, 2019. So, let’s celebrate what makes small businesses so great!

If you have ever shopped at a small business you probably already know that the customer service is great. The owners take every customer, everything they sell, every dollar, very personally. This business is something that feeds their family, pays their mortgage, and keeps the electric on in their home and business. It also builds a strong community. But according to Forbes, did you also know that:

  • Currently, there are 28 million American small businesses, which account for 54% of all U.S. sales. (That is some serious impact.)

  • A strong network of local funds enables individuals and businesses within a community to support each other and build the community.

  • Small business owners are experts in their industries. They sacrificed time, money, and more to build businesses out of their passions.

  • Small businesses can provide one-on-one service that is often impossible for large corporations.

Now as one of those people who owns a small business I can tell you that we are not only aware of the above numbers, we try and improve those every day. For us, we are trying to make a difference every day; for our community, our families, and for ourselves. Small businesses were the first to offer gluten-free foods in our small bakeries, offer you services for coaching, organizing, and taking the hand-off for things you needed to delegate. We fix phones, wash cars, offer you your own personal expertise in so many areas.

Some people prefer the convenience of a large box store, maybe they prefer the price. It is a choice. But during the week of May 5, try shopping at a few small businesses. Then keep on shopping with small businesses.  What you will find is that you are ultimately investing in your community, investing in a personal experience, investing in someone’s dream.

Everything is good about that.

Employment Law: This Year’s Smokin’ Hot Topics

By Kristen Harris

The laws and legislative issues related to hiring, employment, and human resources management are constantly changing. Attending the American Staffing Association’s Staffing Law Conference helps us stay on top of these issues for ourselves, our clients, and our talent.

We’ve provided this quick overview of the hottest topics that may be of concern to our clients. Please keep in mind that we are not attorneys, and are only providing this as an informational resource. If you have questions or concerns about any of these issues, please consult with your legal counsel.

Top Four Employment Law Issues:

  1. Medical Marijuana. While it remains illegal under federal law, cannabis is currently legal for doctor-prescribed medical use in 30+ states, including Ohio. In addition, several states (not Ohio) have passed laws expressly prohibiting employment discrimination for medical marijuana use. The medically prescribed version does not get you “high” but what if an employee has a positive result on their drug test and explains it with a medical card? The ADA does not directly require medical marijuana accommodation because the drug is still federally illegal; however, it’s assumed that there is an underlying medical condition that may require accommodation. Maybe it’s no different than any other medical condition that requires medication? In addition, when there is a workplace accident it’s often standard practice for the employee(s) involved to tested for drug and alcohol impairment. With marijuana, unlike alcohol, a positive result does not necessarily mean the employee is impaired at that time; residue can remain in the body for several days or more. If you are in a state where cannabis is legal for medical use, consult with your attorney to establish best practices, policies, and procedures.

  2. Recreational Marijuana. Currently, there are nine states where cannabis is legal recreationally (and yes, this is the kind that gets you “high”). In these states, companies are looking at the impact on their employment policies and hiring practices. In many cases, it falls under the same policy as alcohol–employees cannot be under the influence while at work. In more dangerous occupations there can be concern about the impact on work performance, even when employees are only partaking off-the-clock. Some companies continue to have a zero-tolerance policy; others test only for certain jobs where safety is a factor; others have removed marijuana from their drug testing protocol. Recreational marijuana users are not a protected class (less tricky than when it’s prescribed to treat a medical condition), but businesses need to weigh their company needs against the available workforce in this tight hiring market. As always, consult your legal counsel to create policies and practices that fit your business needs.

  3. Immigration. With continuing emphasis on enforcement of immigration policies, it’s important to have properly completed I-9 forms ready for inspection. Even if you are a small company, keep in mind that when a large company is audited then often all of their suppliers and vendors are audited within the year. A best practice is to do your own self-audit annually. Create a process and have a team member who does not typically fill out I9s do the audit; when there is an I-9 inspection most frequently they find one or two mistakes that were made repeatedly. If someone on your team fills out I-9s every day, they believe they’re doing it right. With an audit, you can catch mistakes, follow the USCIS rules on making corrections, and retrain to prevent future mistakes. There is also new attention being paid to how I-9s are being completed electronically. I am not qualified to explain this but we can send you a very thorough ASA Issue paper on the topic, just send us a note. And, of course, consult your attorney.

  4. Background Checks. There continues to be attention focused on the use of arrest or conviction reports in employment decisions. These concerns are related to how the broad use of background checks may have a disparate impact on minorities. Even when a company is following consistent screening practices (e.g. every employee has to pass X, Y, Z background check), the question is being raised whether that level of background check is necessary and appropriate for every job. Is the reason that person has been denied employment related to that job or a business necessity? Factors to consider are the nature of the crime, time elapsed, conviction vs arrest, and the nature of the job they are applying for. Does the applicant’s criminal record prevent them from doing the essential functions of the job? Some states and municipalities require that an employer inform an applicant of the job-related reason they are not qualified. Consult your attorney and guidance documents available from the EEOC.

The best way to protect yourself is to stay informed and proactive. Review policies, ask questions, and resolve concerns before they become an issue.

If you are a Portfolio Creative client and have questions about these topics, or anything else related to our dual responsibilities of hiring and employing talent, please contact us at HR@portfoliocreative.com.

If you are not a client and would like more information on how these topics may apply to your creative staffing or recruiting processes, connect with us at kristen@portfoliocreative.com.

For more information related to hiring, staffing and employment, the American Staffing Association has valuable resources for both employers and employees.

A Day in the Life: Q+A with Greg Topps

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I am the Business Development Associate for Portfolio Creative! I am originally from New Jersey, though Columbus has been home for over half my life. I am a very active person, from working out daily to playing sports on the weekends. I call Upper Arlington home.


I like to start my day with the weather report and some daily world news, to stay in the know! Otherwise, I enjoy listening to The Loper and Randi Show on 99.7 The Blitz as I prepare for my day, which includes a protein shake that consists of a banana, peanut butter powder and chocolate almond milk...it's healthy and tastes like a Reese’s Cup! On the weekends, I enjoy cooking up some bacon and eggs or the occasional pancake!

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My afternoons are typically filled with meetings, so depending on who I am meeting with, no two days will be the same. If I do not have meetings, there will be research for new opportunities. I am also consistently learning, from trends within the creative industry, to organizational changes and improvements. Knowledge is power!


With the exception of hitting the gym immediately after work, my evening is anything but routine! One night I may be enjoying dinner with friends, going to a concert/sporting event, practicing for my Sunday baseball game, exploring Columbus during a bike ride, or just vegging out on the sofa binging on Netflix!