Tricia Barrett is Crowley Webb’s new CEO.
I mean, what more do you have to read after that? That’s like the biggest news out of our agency since John Webb landed on the moon and did a backflip (never happened). But, of course, there is so much to tell about this seminal moment in our agency’s history. How did we get here after 20 years of Tricia Barrett setting example after example and creating success upon success? Well, go ahead and get comfortable and maybe grab a tissue or two. We might all get misty by the end of this thing.
Yes, 20 years. Tricia came to us on September 22 of 2003, three years after graduating from John Carroll University (her idol Tim Russert’s alma mater). She worked at a few agencies in Cleveland and Rochester before deciding it was time to return home to her family in Buffalo.
When deciding which agency she wanted to work at, we were lucky that Crowley Webb made the short list. A friend of her parents, John Webb (the guy who didn’t land on the moon and do a backflip) referred Tricia to James Hettich (our first CEO). John thought Tricia would be a good fit for our agency and, boy oh boy, was that man right.
The first few years were rocky ones, to say the least. And not because Tricia wasn’t impressing us – quite the contrary. We were actually having a hard time keeping her engaged and making the most of her talents. There was a series of miserable projects that I won’t name here before we had a shot with the Buffalo Sabres – Tricia’s dream client. And this too became a nightmare with one of the worst, okay the absolute worst, client interactions she’s ever had. But she learned from it, grew from it, and was better for it. And with a little coaxing from Hettich, she decided to stick it out with us, eventually hitting her stride working with a little startup company called Praxis.
In 2010, we made the risky move of purchasing our client Praxis – with no clients of record and no active projects to speak of – and we put Tricia in charge. Who else? Who else would be up for the challenge? (As long as it wasn’t the Sabres.) And holy hell did this all pay off. With the team she helped build and then lead, Praxis thrived in the early years and continues today – largely responsible for the growth of our agency and inception of our UX, analytics, video, and PR departments. Not a bad bet. Not a bad bet at all.
Tricia, being the superstar that she is, actually became a vice president and the youngest member of the Crowley Webb management team back in 2008 – a mere five years after being with our agency. In 2016, she was named SVP, at which time Praxis was humming along and we needed her to refocus her efforts to include management of Crowley Webb’s account service department. Three years later, she was named a shareholder alongside two knuckleheads lucky enough to call her partner. And in 2021, amid a global pandemic she was so fearlessly leading our agency through, she was named chief operating officer.
Quite the impressive path that has led us here. To CEO. Chief executive officer. The second in our agency’s history. And the first female. You could say it’s storybook, but stories are rarely this perfect.
I’ll quote Hettich now.
“Her passion for our industry, endless energy, hardworking attitude, and her conviction to achieving and maintaining high standards, have earned Tricia the respect and the admiration of clients, employees, and community leaders alike.”
He said this when he introduced Tricia as our COO in 2021 and these words are as meaningful as ever today.
“As our company continues to grow and expand, we’re extremely fortunate to have Tricia’s talent, her skill set, and her passion on our leadership team.”
We will be forever grateful to John for sending Tricia our way (in addition to the whole starting the agency thing with Joe). And forever grateful to Tricia for not hiding under a desk like she so wanted to in that fateful Sabres meeting. She stood there with poise and calmly explained our position. Like the amazing woman and true leader she was then and is now. She never flinched. And here we are today. Storybook stuff.
Spend two more minutes with us as we all deliver a message to our beloved Tricia Barrett. Our CEO.
Congrats. Go Sabres.