Why I Left a Great Job at RootsRated Media

As some of you may know, I joined RootsRated as employee number 1.

I joined as an outdoorsman, graphic designer, and photographer fresh out of college and from the forests of East Tennessee. I was inexperienced and will be the first to admit that I was absolutely not the right first hire for a technology startup.

But nevertheless, Fynn, Founder/CEO, took a risk on me, and I showed up, kept showing up, and things very slowly started to move in a good direction. We got some press, some early brands to buy-in, and begun building a loyal community and a badass brand.

And, for almost 6 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a talented team to: build one of the most trusted outdoor recreation discovery platforms in the space, design and execute nation-wide road tours and marketing campaigns, and support our company-wide transition to a software as a service focused business model.

Along the way, RootsRated has given me the opportunity to develop marketing and sales experience, visit the country’s most beautiful places, work with some of the best outdoor brands, retailers, non-profits, and create both a personal and professional life-long goal to make the Outdoor Industry the most sustainable, inclusive, diverse, and profitable industry it can be.

Looking back, I remember our first sale closing in the upstairs of Rock/Creek with Trail Runner Magazine (Fynn was dancing of course), starting our Instagram in my dad’s basement (I think I posted a picture of my dog as our first post….), driving across the country (while Ry juggled the soccer ball and ate sunflower seeds) to tell anyone that would listen about RootsRated, and of course that day Bryson danced across the office when we had our first 100 people live on our website for the first time.

As some of you may know, our company has taken a funding round from a technology VC in Atlanta, which requires the majority of our team to relocate. While this is GREAT news for many reasons, I’ve decided to not join RootsRated in Atlanta, and pursue new opportunities in the Outdoor Industry.

And, I would like you to know that I’ve made my decision on three main factors. The factors are not related to the team, company culture, or product direction, but rather the following:

  • Location→ I don't want to move to Atlanta and my heart is in the west right now.

  • Career → My professional mission, I’ve come to recognize is more aligned with brand building, marketing, and design than it is with sales.

  • Industry → I want to work in the Outdoor Industry for my career, and want to take this opportunity to take a next professional step within the Industry that I’ve grown up in and that I love.

I couldn’t be more thankful for the time I spent at RootsRated, the relationships I developed, the opportunities I was provided, and the team I worked with. And I’m confident to say, that the company is headed in the right direction and I can’t wait to follow-along and see what’s next for them.