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  • Writer's pictureJody Knowles

The Accidental CEO: Scribe Summit in Seattle



Jody Knowles, The Accidental CEO Blog #1

If you know me, you know my story. I wear my life on my sleeve, and because I do, I draw people into my orbit. Together, we gain new experiences and knowledge. And now I'm writing a blog, encouraged by a reacquainted friend from decades ago and the ScribeConcepts marketing team. In this space, I intend to share concepts, ideas, principles, and thoughts about learning to manage the 20-year educational publishing business my husband founded and operated until he died in 2023. 


Managing a business with such a profound legacy presents both challenges and opportunities. Through this blog, I hope to inspire and educate—because if there’s one thing this lifelong learner embraces, it’s the ongoing pursuit of knowledge, even when it is discovered accidentally.


ScribeConcepts team selfie taken by CEO Jody Knowles


ScribeConcepts blog kicks off after key summit in Seattle


The ScribeConcepts team is growing. Since its start in 2002, staff and consultants have incrementally joined the organization. Last year, we saw a tremendous increase in both groups due to the magnitude of projects we took on. Yet we are a remote company.


ScribeConcepts has worked remotely since 2002. (I like to say that Scribe was working remotely before working remotely was cool.) A small group of six to eight team members would often work throughout the day (and night) on camera, side-by-side in Brady Bunch boxes onscreen, collaborating on a single project or area that required focus.


Cut to 2023. The team lost its North Star—the founder, the chief strategist, the central cog of the business wheel. Projects didn’t stop, deadlines didn’t wait, and new team members were hired. Because the new CEO (me) insisted on a life/work balance and knew the team needed a chance to grieve, we had to come together. 


That’s how Scribe Summits were born. The loss of a founder and central figure can be a significant shock to any organization, and I wanted to maintain as much team cohesion as possible. In 2023, we held three summits: one just before his death, one immediately as I took over the CEO role, and one in the fall of that year. Creating opportunities for remote teams to come together is invaluable for building relationships and reinforcing company culture. These gatherings are essential to foster Scribe’s team unity and understanding, and I’ve committed time and money to team summits at least twice a year. 


I’ve heard that this April’s summit in Seattle was one of the best. Six of the 15 who attended had never met the other team members, so there were a lot of personal exchanges. The agenda included downtime, happy hours, group dinners, mindfulness activities, and the chance to explore the Emerald City. We had T-shirts and swag bags and took lots of photos. We set ground rules so folks could feel comfortable engaging and participating. We discussed how (and if) we practice our mission, vision, and values. Do we need to revise them? What does it look like to practice them? An outside speaker conducted a session called “Liked/Loved, Learned, Lacked, and Longed For” centered around our most recent body of work.


And then the summit came to a halt.


A demanding project that had been pulling on us for six months required immediate attention, and the Scribe team went to work. Instead of sitting around the conference table, they cranked up their laptops and became a well-oiled machine, collaborating with one another and off-site consultants in real time, poised and ready to complete the work. 


It was almost as if it were 2002 again as team members worked side-by-side on a project that required focus, team unity, and understanding. The team’s seamless transition from the summit to addressing the project’s needs speaks volumes about their dedication and ability to collaborate effectively, even under pressure. 


I could not have been more proud to be Scribe's CEO that day.


Enjoy the pictures! 



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Deedra Anderson
Deedra Anderson
May 13

I love this Jody! So fun to see pictures of you all together!

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mivfarley
May 06

LOVE THIS JODY! thank you for sharing, and here's to your wisdom in gathering your ScribeConcepts team together IN PERSON to grow, learn, create, and enjoy. Here's to you, a wonderful "Accidental CEO"

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