Chapter 6–Winner Takes All

This is super helpful in motivating me to get this book finished. Feeling the pressure every time I post a chapter.

Chapter 6 – No Introduction Needed

All the employees had assembled in the large conference room for the meeting. Ben had told the crew at the small firm that Javier was joining them. Mark, the other partner in the firm, a tall, serious, African American man, was there. As Javier glanced at the other 18 people in the room, he was glad for its size. It would be a cozy environment where people could be friendly, not just cut-throat and vindictive.

Javier had had enough of the cut-throats in New York. He smiled, tried to look personable. As Ben relinquished control of the meeting, asking Javier to say a couple of words, the conference room door slipped open and in she walked. Tina. His eyes locked on hers and she had the same look he probably did: one that said, Is it really you?

He smiled wider. This was shaping up to be a good day, he told himself. He wouldn’t even have to wait to see her until tonight. She was here. She was a co-worker.

A co-worker. Shit. That was bad. He didn’t want another New York.

“Javier,” Ben said, the verbal nudge for attention clear. “You were going to say a few words.”

“Oh, yes,” Javier said, standing. “Like Ben said, I’m Javier and I’ve been in this business for almost 9 years, and I’m coming back from working in New York. I wanted to get back to the D.C. area, and enjoy what this market has to offer. I am excited to be here, and I plan to work hard to keep Taylor & Thompson on top. I may have questions about how specific things work here, and I hope you’ll lend me a hand as I get fully acquainted with how we do things. I’m looking forward to digging in and getting to work.” He sat back down.

Tina stared at him, still, as if she was still trying to process his presence.

“Alright,” Ben said. “Thanks for those words. We’ll go ahead and start our Monday meeting now. Javier, this is where we all discuss what we’re working on for clients and see if there’s any crossover or cross-promotional opportunities. Keeps us all on the same page.”

Ben smiled as he scanned the conference room. “Today though,” he added. “Everyone introduce yourself, including how long you’ve been with the company and what kind of accounts you handle.”

The meeting went smoothly, with Javier taking notes on each person. Any accounts that sounded interesting, or that he’d had previous experience with, he noted. He’d try to be helpful to anyone he could. He was jotting down a note about the previous person — Elizabeth — when Tina spoke.

“I’m Tina Jackson,” she said. “I’ve been with Taylor & Thompson for eight years. I handle grassroots campaigns for urban enterprises. I’ve done everything from nonprofits to tech startups. I’ve got a network of people who I know can churn out results for the right client.  This week, I’ll primarily be working Boys on Banneker, a nonprofit that’s helping teenage youths stay out of trouble. They’ve got a small marketing budget, but we’re going to get them some serious news coverage so they’re out there everywhere for two weeks solid. Then, we’ll dive in with the major part of our marketing strategy, which is specifically aimed at the donor community, so they can get some more cash to do good in the community. If you’ll recall, Ben,” she said, looking directly at Javier’s uncle, a laser stare, but a sweet smile. “You weren’t sure their budget was really what we were looking for, but through my initial marketing phase, they secured funding to pay our normal fee for the remaining campaign.”

She closed her mouth and sat but continued eyeing Ben.

“Well,” Mark said. “Anyone got cross-promo for Tina?”

The gentleman sitting two down from Javier spoke up. Javier hadn’t really paid much attention to Alan before, but he was a tall man, very pasty, with brown hair and a slight build. He chimed in with something that sounded like complete bullshit to Javier, but Tina thanked him kindly and said she’d consider it. Though, given how she looked, she didn’t seem like she’d consider it very long.

The rest of the meeting went smoothly and within an hour they were done.