Written by Katie Wallace
In 1990 I started Katie Wallace Design, a graphic design services company that became the first iteration of what is now Wallace 360. I was 29 at the time and just beginning to understand what it meant to create more “freedom” in my career. Back then it meant having autonomy, creating my own business, my own space, my own clients and my own schedule (although I quickly realized it didn’t necessarily mean morefree time).
Over the years, I’ve realized it’s not so much freedom I crave as much as it is stimulation and inspiration. Whether it’s creating new space like the renovation of 106 Mountain Ave. in Roanoke’s Old Southwest (home to The Wallace Agency for nearly 20 years), or community projects like the Art Project, Inc. (exploring affordable live-work space for artists in Roanoke), or purchasing the old Heironimous warehouse (renamed The Can Company) with the desire to create an art-centered development in Roanoke – these are the sorts of projects that fuel me to keep moving forward, finding better ways, new space, dynamic collaborations, new blood, whatever it might be.
This drive I have starts with inspiration and vision, and it has not always been an easy road for me or for those around me. Some visions have succeeded in becoming reality, some haven’t. But they’ve all been a blessing, leading to a lot of engagement with a variety of people – from business associations, arts and cultural organizations, local government contacts, non-profit interest, etc. I’ve been blessed to meet and work with many talented people who have contributed to my understanding of business, finance and what it means to be involved in community.
Expanding this vision has become the basis of everything we do at Wallace360. We approach our clients and business associations with the same drive and passion. Whether it’s advocating for the arts, sustainable environmental initiatives, senior care or community banks, it’s easy to catch the enthusiasm and see the vision and opportunities with each new client. It’s what fuels me and the team at Wallace360.
From building new client relationships to launching new community initiatives, our work is about the vision we have. It’s evolved with a growing understanding of how elements that may seem disparate to others begin to connect to each other in wonderful ways, moving beyond marketing challenges and into a much larger whole picture. It’s something we’ve noticed for several years now, and why we decided it was time to reflect this larger perspective in our new name. A new Wallace brand.
That’s why, after almost 30 years, we have changed our name to Wallace360, a name we think reflects our holistic approach to the work we offer our clients. Our vision, with a 360 degree view, is an approach that moves beyond marketing departments to all aspects of an organization, to the board room, all levels of employees, across departments, to customers and eventually to the people in the communities they serve. It considers the whole landscape, 360 degrees.
We know what can happen when businesses come from a more inclusive place, to consider all the people who are touched by their organization – and then take the time to meet them where they are – in the office, the board room, online, wherever that may be, and really talk to them, engage in authentic and meaningful ways–to make an effort to understand who they are and what they care about and what’s in their 360 degree vision.
We’ve seen the impact that is possible when companies look beyond their products and services, and take the time to articulate their value and how that can have a profound effect on the entire community.
And so this is what we’ve been thinking about. How we are all connected, all part of whole system. Beyond business to neighbors, families and friends. Inclusion. Considering the whole. 360 degrees. It’s our vision, the vision of Wallace360, to foster more and more connections with like-minded people and work with each other to create win-wins to bring greater good and strength to our community.
Founder, CEO, Fearless Leader, Chief Inspiration Officer, and Head Dog Wrangler
Since 1990, Katie has been leading and inspiring Wallace360 with insight, skill, honesty, passion, and boundless energy. Her never-ending passion for community development has led her to be heavily involved in arts and cultural organizations, local economic development, and environmental education initiatives.
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