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News / November 17, 2015

Shine United Named One of America's Best Places to Work by OUTSIDE Magazine for Third Consecutive Year

Wisconsin-based advertising agency strives to advocate a balanced mix of work and play to fuel a creative workspace.

Shine United has been selected as one of OUTSIDE's Best Places to Work for the third year in a row. Each year, OUTSIDE recognizes the top 100 companies in the United States that help their employees strike the ideal balance between work and play. These companies encourage employees to lead an active lifestyle, are eco-conscious and prioritize giving back to the community. The entire list of winners appears online at

“Making OUTSIDE magazine's Top 100 for the third year in row is a wonderful acknowledgment that we've really accomplished something here at Shine,” said Mike Kriefski, co-founder and executive creative director at Shine United in Madison, Wisconsin. “Fifteen years ago we set out to create an ad agency unlike any other — an agency where employee satisfaction trumps agency profit margins. In the long run our employee-centric culture has paid off in spades. We have a workforce as committed to Shine as Shine is to them. The result — award-winning work that works.”

“The companies recognized in this year's Best Places to Work list are the gold standard for stellar work environments that seek to empower their employees both in and out of the office,” said OUTSIDE Online Editor Scott Rosenfield. “The new categories in this year's list serve to highlight outstanding workplaces in distinctive fields — making it all the easier for our readers to find their dream jobs.”

To find the best places to work in the United States in 2015, OUTSIDE started by creating five company categories that reflect the magazine's values and focus: Adventure/Travel, Wellness, Culture, Gear and Media. OUTSIDE then conducted a rigorous vetting process in partnership with the Best Companies Group to assess the policies, practices and demographics of hundreds of companies. OUTSIDE's Best Places to Work 2015 was driven by employee reviews of their workplaces, taking into account factors such as corporate culture, role satisfaction, work environment and overall employee engagement. The Best Places to Work list represents the cream of the crop: companies that are empowering their employees to live bigger, better lives.

At Shine United, establishing and maintaining a creative culture is what fuels the work that comes out of the agency. Located in a recently renovated historic downtown building, the Madison agency's space features an open floor plan with several communal spaces that accommodate Shine's collaborative work style. Being located in a central part of the Madison community is fitting, as Shine actively supports UW Health and the American Family Children's Hospital, University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, and the Overture Center for the Arts, as well as Outreach for World Hope.

Culturally, Shine boasts half-day summer Fridays, weekly happy hours, and a host of other extracurricular activities to feed the work-play balance — and ultimately help fuel the creative process. Employees are treated as partners through a profit-sharing program, paid parking and home Internet service, as well as an arts initiative in which employees get $400 a year to explore the arts. As for benefit packages, Shine offers one of the best in the country. In addition to competitive salaries, Shine pays for 100 percent of its employees' health, dental and disability insurance premiums — for both single individuals and families. And for those reaching their 10-year work anniversary — a $10,000 bonus and an extra week of vacation.