Chief Executive

By: Nicolette Dane

One





With her hands together on her desk, Nadia Marek stared blankly at the open door to her office. It was Monday morning, and the meeting with her company’s new CEO would soon begin. Everything was happening so fast, and it was making Nadia’s head spin. But she knew this buy-out was ultimately a good thing. It was the move that could take Color Wheel, the advertising agency she worked for, to the next level.

Nadia had begun her time at Color Wheel as a graphic designer. But her skills and dedication brought her to the next stage of her career, account manager for one of the company’s largest clients. Polly was a huge smartphone brand, known all over the world, and Color Wheel was in charge of their North American marketing and advertisement. And Nadia was in charge of that. What had begun as just a small, boutique firm in Chicago had grown to something massive.

Which is how they drew the attention of Scheffler & Vonn, the storied and venerated agency that handled many of the largest brands in the country. It was Scheffler & Vonn that had bought out Color Wheel, and it was today that they were installing a new CEO.

“Nadia,” said a smiling woman who was now standing at the door. She gave the door a few light knocks to try to wake Nadia from her reverie. “You there, babe?”

“Huh?” said Nadia. She blinked a few times and then saw Laurie standing there waiting, still smiling. Laurie was an account manager like Nadia, and they had come up in the company together. They were both in their mid-thirties, both brunettes, and had been friends now for a number of years. “Oh, hey there.”

Laurie stepped into Nadia’s office and delicately sat down in a chair in front of the desk.

“It’s going to be okay,” said Laurie. “They’re not going to change much, if anything. Frances told me so.”

“Frances is only going to stick around for as long as they made her in the buy-out agreement,” said Nadia. “Then she’s going to take all her money and go live on an island.” Laurie laughed.

“I don’t know,” she said. “Frances is pretty type-A. I bet she’ll just start another business.”

“If I just sold a company for twenty million dollars, I think I’d give myself a little bit of rest,” said Nadia.

“Well, you’re not Frances,” countered Laurie.

“Well, yeah,” Nadia replied. “And anyway, how are things not going to change? This is Scheffler & Vonn we’re talking about. They have a way of doing things. They’ve been in business like seventy years. I can just picture them storming in here, holding tumblers of whiskey, smoking cigars, and asking me to pick up their dry cleaning.”

“So you’re worried that the historically very male dominated institution of Scheffler & Vonn is going to come into our very female agency and tell us to get back into the kitchen?” Laurie asked, lifting a brow. “Is that what’s bugging you?”

“I mean, when you put it that way,” said Nadia. “No, I don’t really think that. But I do worry that we might be treated as though we’re not all that serious or important.”

“Are you worried that they’re going to come in here and just pluck our big clients away?” said Laurie. “Because that thought has actually crossed my mind.”

“I’ve worked so hard on Polly,” said Nadia. “I would just be angry as hell if they took them away from me and gave them to one of their own teams. I can’t even entertain that thought right now or I’ll just be fuming.”

“Frances assured me that we didn’t have anything to worry about,” said Laurie. “Keeping things more or less how they are, at least for the time being, was part of the deal.”

“Things can change,” said Nadia. “This is a competitive business. And you know they only bought us so that they no longer needed to compete with us.”

“We’re going to be okay,” Laurie said with a refreshed smile. “Let’s not worry about things that haven’t yet come to pass.”

“You’re right,” Nadia acquiesced. “It might be just fine. We’ll get a new Frances, and maybe she’ll be just like the old Frances.”

“Maybe better,” Laurie said, trying to remain positive. “Maybe she won’t call you just as you’re laying down for the night to ask about some mundane detail that could have waited until morning.” Nadia laughed softly.

“She’s a bit crazy,” mused Nadia. “But she’s been a good boss. I’ll miss her.”

“She’s not gone yet,” said Laurie.

“But probably soon,” said Nadia.