Best Places to Work 2010

Enter Red Door, Where All Paths Lead to Happiness

From 'Idea Factory' to 'Jerk-Free' Working Environment, Company's Core Values Sit Well With Employees

By Published on .

NEW YORK ( -- Employees at Red Door Interactive have the choice of working in the city, by the beach or in the mountains. The company has established offices in downtown San Diego and Denver and has recently opened a third in Carlsbad, a beach area in North County San Diego.

One of the ways Red Door keeps staff happy is through its 'Mad Props' program, where staffers are encouraged to sing each other's praises.
One of the ways Red Door keeps staff happy is through its 'Mad Props' program, where staffers are encouraged to sing each other's praises.
LOCATION: Headquarters in downtown San Diego; smaller offices in Carlsbad, Calif., and Denver


GIVING BACK: Red Door does pro-bono work for nonprofit organization New Leaders for New Schools. The company has a philanthropy committee that organizes events for staff such as fundraising for the MS Walk or volunteering at beach cleanups. The company has gone paperless in its accounting office and with all internal documents.

Michelle Peck, art director at Red Door, said the new office improved the quality of life for several San Diego employees, including herself. "Quite a few of us live up in North County. It's cut my commute from 40 minutes to 10 minutes, so I really appreciate it."

Ms. Peck sits on the "culture and morale" employee committee, which is charged with finding ways to keep staff happy. One of the ways the company does this is via its "Mad Props" program, where employees are encouraged to sing each other's praises. The most recognized employees in a given period will enjoy an extra day of leave. Red Door's core values also include a commitment to a "100% jerk-free" working environment and the company has even let go of a major client in order to deliver on that promise.

Other employee groups include the philanthropy committee and the "learning and growth" committee. One of the key education initiatives are the regular "brown bagger" sessions where staff bring their own lunch to work and watch while their colleagues share their expertise.

Jeannie Fratoni, creative director and one of the company founders, said the agency recognizes that ideas can come from anywhere. One of the ways it strives to tap into the creativity of all employees is via the "Idea Factory" on the company intranet. "You may be sitting at your desk and come up with an idea for a client that you don't even work on. You can upload that on the Idea Factory and then meet with the business manager to see if it fits the client's goals and eventually present it to the client."

The company doesn't just pay lip service to the notion of work-life balance. Natalie Martin, a senior accountant in the Carlsbad office, said the flexibility of her working hours has allowed her to complete a masters in accountancy while working at Red Door, and the company has also given her financial support for her education.

Truman Esmond, a quality architect in the Denver office, came to Red Door through the acquisition of his company Breckenbridge Communications more than two years ago. He said the cultural fit was the biggest reason why he and his business partner decided to sell to Red Door.

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