I started my career in retail marketing where I not only honed my design and art direction skills, but also learned about the principles of customer service. It was at Nordstrom where I witnessed small gestures that made their customers happy. I appreciated seeing the simple act of employees walking around the sales counter to hand the customer their shopping bag as they were addressed by name. It’s because of these small details and care for the customer that Nordstrom became synonymous with the term “customer service”.

Another influential time for me was working for Mario Bisio as Mario’s Brand Director. I observed how he led his people with undeniable passion and purpose. This is where I experienced service on a different level. It wasn’t just about the sales, it was about building relationships, inspiring his people, and creating a special place where their customers felt warm and welcomed. Mario wasn’t just providing great service, he was instilling hospitality. A book he frequently referenced was Setting the Table by renowned restauranteur Danny Meyer. Since then, this book has come up in other conversations I’ve had with leaders and mentors I’ve admired. It’s become my handbook—one that has helped me set my own goals around customer service and client relations.

I’ve always aspired to make both the clients and the people I work with happy. Doing great work and exceeding expectations is the standard in our line of work. But it’s not always enough if you want to have a meaningful experience that has a lasting impression—an experience that makes you and the people you work with feel good.

It’s this guiding purpose that lead me to Phinney Bischoff and the practice of People First.


Your vibe attracts your tribe.

They say happiness comes from within. That is true in my personal life, and also true in the context of Phinney Bischoff’s culture. From the start, Leslie made it a priority to create a place that feels like home. She’s created a welcoming environment. She listens and empowers her team to do what’s right, to creatively solve problems, and to work respectfully and collaboratively—leveraging each other’s unique expertise. Her thoughtfulness and generosity sets an empathic tone that shapes the Phinney Bischoff culture and team. It provides an environment where we care and support each other, giving us the ability to do great work.

Building relationships to last. 

Getting to know our clients and their businesses in a deep and lasting way is part of what drives and inspires us. The more we learn about them, the more interesting and rewarding the relationship becomes. Our innate curiosity leads us to understand what matters to them and sparks a dialogue that reveals their unique stories. It’s in our pursuit of making our clients happy that we find joy. Because it’s not just about the work, it’s about building lasting relationships.

It’s through the lens of People First that we’re able to create these important human connections and create meaningful and lasting experiences—the same level of service described in Danny Meyer’s inspiring book. It’s a core value I’ve sought in every place I’ve worked. And with each experience, the value placed on relationships and connection has become more and more important to me. I feel lucky to have found a place where it’s so deeply ingrained in the culture here at Phinney Bischoff.