Stepping into the role of Chief Technology Officer
In 2016, Rabil Events was formed and our first property, Paul Rabil Live! The Rabil Tour, was born. The Rabil Tour is a lacrosse instructional event taken under the creative breath of musical acts touring the country to perform in various major market cities. In our case, bringing a one-of-a-kind lacrosse experience to youth players across the country is something that’s never been done before. With the biggest and most public-facing personality the game has ever seen, our goal was to build a marketing plan that ran parallel to our events for 2017. At each stop, Paul leads players through stickwork drills, performs shooting demonstrations, and judges several competitions, including a freestyle contest, which showcases the best stick tricks and skill work at the event. To wrap each event, attendees get the opportunity to take photos and receive autographs from Paul.
As part of our marketing initiative, we decided to use album art to alternatively promote our concept. By doing this, we’re able to achieve two things: create marketing materials that are recognizable by fans of the bands and effectively resonating with both the players and their parents (we think album art is generationally agnostic). Marketing a youth event, product or service must appeal to both the kids (desire to attend) and their parents (desire to spend). Typically, our marketing initiatives differ for both, but in this case, they were interconnected. Here are some of our favorites:
My name is Neil Savage and I’m the creator behind the artwork, graphics, websites and video animations for Rabil Events and Rabil Companies. I joined Rabil Companies in a full-time capacity in October of 2016 (previously part-time), and Rabil Events was my first project that involved soup-to-nuts creative, website development, logo creation, branding, merchandise design, video animation, and media deliverables.
I’ve been working with Paul since 2010, building his personal website, designing assets for Project 9 Lacrosse, and partnering with him to launch the Paul Rabil Experience. In my new role, I’ve completed several other projects including a Lacrossemoji keyboard (in partnership with the GNAR Company), website and creative work for our Suiting Up Podcast, concept to commerce for the Defensive Academy, a merchandise store dubbed Rabil’s Yardsale, a Goalie Training program featuring Scotty Rodgers, and our blogging platform that runs tangential to PaulRabil.com.
I’m a self-learner. In high school, I taught myself how to develop websites and manage databases, then went to Towson University where I earned a BFA in graphic design. After graduating, I continued independent contracting work, then secured a job at US Lacrosse as their lead front-end web developer.
The transition from a corporate setting to a startup was a fairly large change for me. I had previous experience managing multiple projects as a contractor, but I had never been wholly responsible for our business’s digital grounds. Where a startup will typically operate in lean form, sitting at a desk with Rabil Companies Chief of Staff, Andrew Manning, across from CEO and pro athlete, Paul Rabil, and remotely with Rabil Events co-founder, Mick Davis, I’ve learned two major things:
- A startup culture brings a sense of belonging, ownership, and empowerment. Our team is incredibly passionate and hardworking. We co-ideate and build an open forum where feedback is treated as a gift, rather than considered critical. Our plates are full, but we’re always hungry and fit. With my independent contracting roots, I decided I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart. Just now, it became official.
- Defining your role within the team is an ever-evolving, journey of self-discovery. Designers are often looking for a special formula for productivity, creativity, effortless acclaim and success. So far, I haven’t found that secret formula nor do I think it even exists. Instead, I focus on hard work, determination, and most importantly, the willingness to make mistakes.
If you’re like me, I’d like to invite you to the conversation to share your experiences in the comments below. My hope is that the next time you’re uncertain, you can let your creative journey redirect you to greatness.