12 Apr Two years with TimelyText!Home » TimelyText Events + Info »
By Brant Wilkerson-New
If you thought TimelyText’s 20-year anniversary celebration back in February was the biggest milestone we’d celebrate this year, you’d be absolutely correct — but hey, two years on the team is nothing to sneeze at, either!
Ronnie Duncan first reached out to me in Feb. 2021, as the world was starting to regain some normalcy after the worst of COVID. Dr. Sarah Glova, a UNCW classmate, had passed my info along to Ronnie after I made an impassioned plea on Facebook (of all places!) as I reached the one-year mark of unemployment.
It was a rainy, gloomy day as I stepped out on my porch to take that first call in Feb. 2021. Of course, I told Ronnie, I would love to recruit instructional designers and technical writers! Next, I hopped on Google and discovered that instructional designers, in fact, did more than design instructional manuals. How about that?!
Ronnie and I hit it off pretty quickly because, well, Ronnie hits it off with everyone. Certainly, it didn’t hurt that we shared a love of college basketball and sports in general, but thankfully, Ronnie could also see how my skills from working in media might translate into creating content and bringing a new touch to TimelyText’s marketing efforts. Given my past experience in recruiting, I’d hit the ground running, and since I too was a writer, I’d speak the same language as our associates and candidates.
Two years later, I can confidently say that Ronnie was exactly right about everything he told me during the interview process, and he’s kept every promise, too.
A few of my favorite things from my past two years with TimelyText…
The 20th Anniversary Party!
One of the most challenging + rewarding things I’ve been a part of, professionally.
I’ve always enjoyed playing host for gatherings, dating back to filling a fish tank with cheap vodka in our Wilmington college apartment and ordering a ton of Bojangles. Turns out, planning a company party for 75-100 people takes a bit more planning and coordination.
Many calls and emails later, we made it to that day in February at The Boxyard. I was drenched in sweat from hanging decorations when the first guests started to arrive — 20 minutes early. On one hand, I was relieved that *someone* had shown up, but on the other, our decorations were only 90 percent complete.
And that was only the beginning, as the crowd continued to grow, even into the last 20 minutes of the time we’d booked.
There were plenty of familiar faces and some that I had only heard stories about, with clients from the first few years of TimelyText coming out to celebrate. I met people just getting started in their careers, and others that had recently retired, while a few people came out that had only heard of our company and wanted to find out more.
For more than a year, I’d heard all about how Ronnie and Adrian West had made such a positive impression on everyone they’ve encountered, and I’d heard how TimelyText had helped change lives.
That night, I saw it and I certainly felt it, with one person after another coming up to share their story of how they came to know us. Several guests that night had worked with Ronnie and Adrian back when they were just getting the company off the ground in 2003, and had remained close personal friends, even though they hadn’t done any business in years.
At one point that evening, I went downstairs and just took a moment to appreciate the view of our company banner hanging over this massive, joyous gathering set against a beautiful sunset. In that moment, I realized how lucky I am to be a part of this and the responsibility I have to meet the standard they’ve set.
Teachers in Transition
A few years back, I was clinging to my career in journalism despite being drastically underpaid — I had my dream job, but that dream job was destroying my mental health and financial stability.
When I started receiving resumes from K-12 teachers for our job openings, I could empathize with many of them.
Time after time, teacher after teacher told me a story similar to my own: they had dreamed of becoming a teacher, and although they had their dream jobs, teaching was changing and it was untenable to remain in the business. Sometimes there were financial reasons, but mainly, it was their mental health that suffered — they no longer felt respected by students or appreciated by administrators, and because of that, it was no longer worth giving them a discount.
Working with several teachers, I learned which questions to ask and how to best position their skills for a transition into corporate instructional design.
Now, I’ve helped place several in jobs outside of K-12 education and I’ve heard how life has changed for them and their families — they’re more present for their children, they’re able to take that vacation and they’re feeling fully appreciated by their employers.
Hearing that from someone never gets old, but it means even more from the teachers given my path.
“Don’t you have a game to go to?”
My main hobby is following + blogging about UNCW basketball — yes, UNC Wilmington. I love mid-major college basketball, whether it’s the Big South or the Big West.
Back in March 2022, I was on the fence about making the trip up to Washington, D.C. for a CAA semifinal game, but I also needed to get some work done. Watching the game on television would have been totally fine.
That morning, Ronnie poked his head into my office and asked me about our previous game, and then wondered aloud why I wasn’t already on the way up north to watch the Seahawks.
I can’t explain how awesome it is to work in a place where your boss + colleagues value your interests beyond the office, and totally allow you the space to pursue things that make you happy. We’re so programmed by the hustle culture to feel bad about taking time away from the office, and thankfully, I’ve felt free to experience the world alongside my work.
I’m a storyteller!
Exactly how I’ve told stories has changed through the years, going from writing college basketball analysis in the pages of a newspaper to now, telling the stories of the people of TimelyText. Nowadays, that means helping a talented technical writer land a new gig by laying out their skills, or even a quick blog post about a neat project one of our instructional designers is finishing in pharma.