We love an opportunity to promote RPA’s “People First” approach to our work, culture, and client partnerships. It’s the reason we’re thrilled to celebrate our recent wins in the Digiday WorkLife Awards.


“People First” in Everything

Winner: Employer of the Year – Large Agency

Maintaining a culture that values and supports its people can be tough, especially for a company of our size (over 700 and counting). As an independently led and owned agency, we aren’t beholden to anyone but ourselves in how we work, operate, and empower our employees.

“We believe that our people are stronger when they’re stronger in all aspects of their lives. They’re stronger when they have a happy family life and an opportunity to pursue their passions,” said SVP/Chief Marketing Officer Tim Leake. “We put a lot of effort into promoting a healthy work-life balance here.”

Our culture influences the relationships we have with our clients, too. We don’t just practice “People First” among ourselves. We apply “People First” in the partnerships we’ve built with clients and our role within the community. It’s an ethic that permeates every facet of how we do business.

The commitment to our associates includes, but isn’t limited to, four core programs:

  • The 6F program encourages associates to bring a project they’re passionate about to life with the support of RPA
  • Beyond RPA celebrates our associates’ lives and accomplishments outside the office
  • Be Well RPA promotes health and wellness services, resources, and programs to help RPA associates be their best with meditation, yoga, and pilates classes
  • RPA Cares plans and executes philanthropic initiatives run by a committee of associates. Most recently, we held a bake sale with proceeds going to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. For Mother’s Day, we created gift bags for Harvest Home residents, a local charity offering housing and resources to homeless and pregnant women.

We also celebrate other opportunities to promote diversity, gender, and equality in the workplace throughout the year with events held during Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and Pride Month.


The Embodiment of “People First”

HR Leader of the Year
Winner: Laura Small, VP/Associate Human Resources Director

We could never foster the culture of “People First” at RPA without our people. And VP/Associate Human Resources Director Laura Small deserves special recognition for creating the robust training, mentoring, and wellness programs that set up our associates for success.

Her training programs include topics on communication, leadership and management skills as well as diversity and unconscious bias. Laura also piloted a mentoring program pairing junior associates with experienced ones and started a monthly business book club.

Laura plays a vital role in many of the events that helped us win the Employer of the Year award, including Be Well RPA and our fundraising, environmental, and diversity efforts.

“Laura’s the embodiment of our ‘People First’ mentality,” said EVP/Chief Operating Officer Pete Imwalle. “She’s an example of how one person can have a positive and profound impact on an entire organization.”

Laura also shares her talents outside of RPA as the co-chair of the ThinkLA Diversity Committee and a panelist at Thrive in Advertising’s “Women of Wisdom” initiative in June.

To know Laura is to know an inspiring, positive female leader making RPA better every day.