Grant, Co-Founder & CEO
Spirit Animal: Grizzly Bear
Grant is the big boss bear. He’s the big bear in charge of the Parkbench cave. His number one duty is to protect his family. In sheer stature, Grant is intimidating, looking every bit the part of a ferocious Grizzly ready to attack and turn your flesh into his lunch. But quite the contrary, Grant doesn’t have a single ferocious bone in his giant, jolly, bear body. Even if he has big bear claws and a big bear growl, he’s never taken advantage of them. Imagine a Grizzly bear that has never roared? That’s Grant — a big cuddly teddy bear that you can toss around like a rag doll without him wavering from his friendly, calm demeanor. Rather than taking advantage of his big bear physical gifts to assert force and dominance, he chooses to use his big body in helpful ways rather than hurtful ways — like using his body as a heating blanket for the smaller and the colder, or using his height to grab fruits from high branches or staples from shelves, or even donating his entire body as a log bridge when his team is trying to cross treacherous river passages. Much like that of Baloo in the Jungle Book, Grant is singing them ‘Parkbench necessities’ at all times to motivate his team and get them feeling the groove!
Amanda Newman, Co-Founder & CMO
Spirit Animal: Monkey
Co-Founder & CMO Amanda’s spirit animal is the playful monkey. Amanda’s spirit in the office perfectly embodies that of a monkey. She’s always at the center of the laughter, always up for a good time, and is more than willing to participate in some good ole mischief if it’s all in good humor. Amanda is the office party planner and always standing or sitting on the branch where all the office laughter and shenanigans are taking place. Youthful and playful, Amanda is a social creature and has a hard time staying put in the office, she’s often seen swinging from branch-to-branch, desk-to-desk, and office-to-office, as her restless and playful nature can’t seem to sit, lie, or stand still as she’s constantly circulating the office looking to find the ripest banana she can peel.
Cam Baldwin, Client Success
Spirit Animal: Versatile Bear
Cam joins CEO Grant in the bear kingdom. While Grant is more of a winter hibernation bear who looks like he ate one too many blackberries, Cam is a lean, versatile spring bear. Think of those active bears in the spring time after they’ve shed the hibernation weight and are now rolling around playfully in grassy meadows, eating fresh spring leaves, bark, and licking syrupy sap off of trees, and scurrying into shallow river beds to catch salmon and trout with their claws. Yup, that’s Cam — youthful, playful, animated, just basking in the fresh spring sunlight.
Cam is much more than just a versatile, springtime black bear. From an early age, he knew he was a specially gifted black bear. As his first winter hibernation season was approaching as a young cub, Cam was petrified to go into his family’s bear cave and sleep for the winter, so he rubbed his claws together 10 times and prayed to Bear Jesus to allow him to stay awake for the winter season. Bear Jesus must have been listening to Cam’s prayers because he turned Cam into a Polar Bear so he could make winter his b*tch.
From that point forward Cam had the super bear powers to transform into different types of bears depending on his environment. He’s a Black Bear when he’s playing. A Grizzly Bear when he gets mad. A Polar Bear in the winter season. A Koala Bear when he’s just hanging out. A Teddy Bear when he needs to be very still. A Care Bear when one of his friends needs cheering up. And last year, when he was lost in a Bamboo forest into China, he turned into a Panda Bear for the first time so he could survive and live off the forest until he was rescued. Thank you Bear Jesus.
Ferryial Malik, Client Success
Spirit Animal: Unicorn
Ferrryial Malik’s spirit animal is a unicorn because she grew up always being told she was a “pretty little princess” and a unicorn is the princess of the animal kingdom, right? Yeah…well…she stood on top of her office chair and started pulling her hair out and throwing a massive temper tantrum when I told her she wasn’t aloud to be a legit princess for this exercise because it was spirit ANIMAL not spirit WHAT YOU WISHED YOU WERE. She calmed down and complied with the exercise after I told her that princesses transform into unicorns when they run at top speed. Only problem is she won’t stop sprinting around the office now. And sadly, yes, she’s still just a human.
But really….on a serious note.
Ferryial is a combination of a Wild Black Stallion and a unicorn. Imagine if Black Beauty and Lancelot did it? Yeah, they would make Ferriyal. The mixture of a Wild Black Stallion galloping through the Spanish grasslands and a majestic Icelandic unicorn flying through a bunch of happy and carefree clouds. Ferriyal’s black hair blows in the winds of new frontiers. Her gypsy soul cannot be contained or tied down. If you try and catch her, she’ll be galloping onto the next plain riding into the horizon. She’s the ferociousness of the stallion mixed with the wonderment and sparkle of the unicorn.
Darren Ly, Client Support
Spirit Animal: Hyena
Darren Ly is the hyena of the Parkbench family. Much like hyenas, Darren is always on the scene. He mans the Facebook group and responds to all client questions to make sure everyone knows what’s happening. Hyenas are nocturnal animals, and Darren considers himself a man of the night. He’s out by night, and back by light. Shifting, squeezing, sliding, and gliding underneath the stars, Darren and his spiky dance moves are extremely unpredictable. One minute he’s standing still and the next he’s sifting through a thick crowd of night crawlers, feasting his loins on the music as he jib jabs his spiky fingers through the night. Just like his trusty spirit friends, Darren is extremely loyal to his work pack and is happiest when he’s having a good crackle with his friends. Good vibes only for this little Hyena!
Tom Fraser, Research Analyst
Spirit Animal: Wolf
Tom is the only person in the office who identifies with a wolf who isn’t a sales team lead. That’s because Tom wasn’t always a wolf. He was actually born a sheep…raised by sheep farmers in the country highlands. Spending his afternoons being herded by sheep herders and struggling to keep up with the rest of the herd, Tom was picked on by his sheep herding master and the rest of his woolly friends for being such a scrawny, weak little sheep. Tom’s frustration hit fever pitch during a miserable rainstorm — he and his herd were being herded through the rain, and Tom as always, was lagging at the back of the herd. His sheep herder master was lashing his Sheppard’s stick into the back of his legs to try and speed him up. He kept doing it until Tom started bleeding from his back legs, his face in agonizing pain as his legs were starting to give out on him. His sheep herd master gave one final blow to Tom’s left back leg, which caused Tom to collapse face first in a giant puddle. His sheep herd master just kept on moving, leaving Tom to drown in the muddle puddle.
With wounded legs, and his body in tremendous pain, Tom lifted his body out of the puddle. Then something happened — Tom staring down at his reflection in the puddle he’d just been immersed in, with sweat, blood, and water pouring down his face, Tom’s anger erupted like a volcano, “I am not weak!!!! I am not a sheep!!!! Baaaahhh!”, he yelled at himself. Just as Tom angrily Baaaah’d at his own reflection in the puddle, a bright flash of lighting broke through the rain clouds and lit up the sky and struck Tom like an electric shock. Tom’s body lit up and vibrated like a lightbulb during an earthquake, “Baaaaahhh!!! Baaaaah!!!” Tom was going completely spastic as the lightning continued to penetrate his entire woolly body.
Tom later woke passed out beside the puddle, birds were chirping and the sun came back for vengeance. Tom raised himself to his feet and looked at his reflection in the puddle one more time, EXCEPT NOW, to Tom’s complete and utter astonishment he had turned into a wolf. He then started licking his fur and he noticed how strong and powerful his body felt. Tom was ecstatic. He looked at himself and let out a giant wolf roar!!! With a stroke of luck and lightning, Tom had transformed from a weak, little sheep into a powerful wolf who could now roam the wild forest and intimidate all the other animals. Tom said goodbye to his sheep farm and joined Parkbench where he could grow and develop his full wolf potential.
Unzish Siddiqui, Research Analyst
Spirit Animal: Monkey
Unzish is another Parkbench monkey sitting in the tree. Smart, honest, energetic, and highly sociable, Unzish is always coiled in her chair with her legs wrapped underneath her like a gymnast just monkeying around. Unzish is always smiling and enjoying life, which gives her that fun-loving monkey spirit. But her spirts were put into jeopardy recently when she was kidnapped by monkey poachers from the Middle East who locked her away for several months in their secret torture chambers locked inside of a mountain. There Unzish was tortured by being forced to eat bruised bananas and dressed in clown outfits and forced to dance around and entertain her captors who would get wasted off rubbing alcohol every evening around the fire. Unzish’s disappearance was heartbreaking to the Parkbench family. Particularly to her work buddy, wolf boy Tom who would constantly cry wolf and binge out on protein shakes and work out a ridiculous amount to cope with the loss of Unzish. Tom tried to fill the hole in his heart with a bigger bicep, the strategy did not work.
Thankfully Parkbench employs their very own Secret Neighbourhood Agent…John Park, born from a long lineage of parks. While John Park’s speciality is merely saving small-mid size neighbourhoods, Grant assigned John the mission on Asana to save Unzish from her torture chamber in the Middle East, knowing full well that John would be able to rise to the occasion and branch beyond merely saving neighborhoods to take his Secret Agent talents to a global scale. John was up for the idea of expanding beyond saving neighborhoods and agreed. Tom then tracked Unzish’s torture chamber coordinates by creating a fake Parbench neighborhood website that would give them a reason to interview local businesses in the area to track down the secret torture chamber.
John travelled to the Middle East, with Tom manning the secret mission back at home base in Liberty Village, where he interviewed local business owners to slowly get clues on where Unzish might be being kept in hiding. After a few days of searching, John was tipped off by a fellow realtor about some area of land that was not on the market and might be the location of the torture chamber. The helpful realtor was right. John found the secret torture chamber and snuck in after dark when all the men were all drunk and passed out by the fire, and he grabbed Unzish from the cage and leaped into the night.
John Park returned to Liberty Village with Unzish where Tom broke down to tears and sobbed like a little sheep.
John Park, Secret Neighborhood Agent Goes Global!
Rahul Ghosh, Digital Marketer
Spirit Animal: 3,000-year-old Billy Goat
Rahul Ghosh. The Buddha of the office. The prophet. The Prodigal Son. The Sensei. The master. The King. Rahul is the digital strategist and marketing genius at Parkbench who builds landing pages that would make Yoda drool. No, but seriously. Rahul has been spotted after hours at Parkbench levitating and having a conversation with his mentor, Yoda, while he was designing multiple landing pages with his 8 mythical limbs. Yoda started drooling profusely over Rahul’s Jedi-like work and lashed out at Rahul because he didn’t bring an extra space robe to change into. You know your landing pages are good when they can make Yoda lose his composure.
Rahul’s recruitment process to Parkbench was extremely unique. When Grant & Amanda were looking hire a full-time digital marketer to join the Parkbench family they had been reading about this ancient, 3,000 year-old digital prophet Billy Goat who was living amongst the pyramids in Egypt. Intent on getting the best of the best, Grant and Amanda made it their mission to track down Rahul and bring him to Canada.
Rahul was not easy to find. With every little shop Grant and Amanda entered in the streets of Cairo, each shop keeper seemed to have broken information on Rahul’s whereabouts. One blacksmith said that Rahul spent around 500 years as the special collaborator and consultant to the Dahli Lama. While a stolen watch salesman heard through conversation at the local Mosque that Rahul was the “Chosen Goat” to watch over the Holy Fountain atop Billy Mountain deep in the Himalayas where Billy Goats make their annual pilgrimage to bathe themselves in sacred fountain water.
Finally, they got a clue! They ran into a street snake charmer with one eye who claimed that Rahul had spent 96 years as his special snake trainer. And that Rahul had trekked into the desert to seek peace and solace by the Nile after thousands of years of multi-tasking. Grant & Amanda hot with anticipation ravaged all the wondrous pyramids by torchlight…and to their amazement…they stumbled across ancient Hieroglyphics on the wall of Rahul’s thousands of years of multi-tasking. The building of the Great Wall of China, the Apocalypse, the crowning of the first Pharaoh, Rahul was there through it all…playing a part with one of his many hooves. Grant & Amanda knew they had found their special Goat to take their company to the next level!
Upon exiting the Great Pyramids, they headed towards the Nile River. And in the distance, they saw Rahul drinking the Nile river water and smoking Marlboro lights, drunk off sour goat milk, making random, misconstrued goat noises. Grant immediately grabbed Rahul by his fur, while Amanda hailed a raft, and they said, “Rahul you’re coming with us to Canada to design our landing pages!” and Rahul responded in his simple Goat way, “Okay.” And off Grant, Amanda, and Rahul went…travelling by raft along the Nile eating squid sandwiches and discussing Parkbench’s forthcoming digital marketing strategy that would take ancient civilization by storm and put shame to any of Rahul’s 3,000 years of accomplishments.
Silas Poole, Sales Team Lead
Spirit Animal: Wolf
Silas Poole is one of the three Sales Team leads at Parkbench. Go figure his spirt animal is a wolf, right? He was born to be a wolf pack leader and lead his pack of wolves calmly into the dead of night. A grey wolf with a long, lean body…Silas makes such a great pack leader because he doesn’t talk-the-talk…he just prefers to walk-the-walk…full of swagger on all four of his legs. He’s subtle, calm, and slick in his own wolf way. He leads by action: he doesn’t need bedazzled fur and gold capped wolf fangs for his pack to take notice. It’s through his lead-by-action mentality that he’s managed to assemble such a strong, self-motivated group of baby wolves. His pack is so strong that even Zack Galifinakis is trying to hit up Silas to join his wolf pack. But what really embodies Silas as a wolf: his adaptability…he can roll with the pack, socialize, and share the meat of his prey, or he can be a lone wolf and roll along on his own into the cool, crisp, dead of night.
Andrew Hendry, Sales Team Lead
Spirit Animal: Wolf
Andrew is another Sales Team leader at Parkbench. And his spirit animal is coincidentally also a wolf. Or is it really a coincidence? I think it gives you a little insight into Grant and Amanda’s recruitment process. In other words: when they ask you what your spirit animal is doing your interview…chances are if you say wolf…they will think you have sales team lead potential.
Back to Andrew’s spirit animal! Much different than Silas. While Silas is a long, sleek grey wolf who can camouflage into the brush, Andrew is a majestic, vibrant, white artic wolf. His fur is bedazzled in cashmere while his paws are padded with smooth silk. His wolf pack has taken to his charisma and charm, following suit on his quest to rule the forest. Andrew is a hunter, and is extremely loyal, always wanting to protect those around him, much like his wolf counterpart. Only issue is that Andrew is very obsessive about keeping his white artic fur perfectly pristine white at all times. He’ll often neatly wrap his silk paws with plastic when the forest terrain is muddy. Or if his white fur gets dirty — even as much as a dingle berry on his fur — he turns into a bad little wolf. The kind of wolf that pretends to be Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother…yeah that kind of bad wolf.
Ray Recek, Market Specialist
Spirit Animal: Beaver
Ray Recek, Parkbench’s resident handyman. Always mounting TV’s, fixing the fridge, and putting up dart boards, it’s only fitting that his animal counterpart, the beaver, also happens to build badass damns in the wild. Ray is always hiking, climbing, chopping, and creating with nature’s natural building blocks, trees, feeling most at home when he’s roaming in the wild. He doesn’t fit in much with those living in urban civilizations — they’re far into things like Snapchat and social media, which don’t align with Ray’s desire to be one with his dog and nature, and just build things all day. So Ray made the decision to abandon formalized society and headed out into the wild for some real Chris Mccandless ‘Into The Wild’ type shit. While in the wild, Ray and his dog immersed themselves amongst the smell of fresh pine leaves, twigs at their feet, and a couple of tools to build with.
While out in nature, Ray and his dog came across some resourceful beavers who were building dams with such precision that Ray and his dog were captivated. They’d established these intricate tunnels and passageways through the forest by simply crafting and weaving sticks together. Ray was star struck by the craftsmanship of these talented beavers, and so Ray had a heated discussion with his dog about staying with the beavers to learn new building skills. Ray’s dog wanted to keep moving, but Ray really saw potential mentors with these beavers and convinced his dog that it would be of their best career benefit to stay with the beavers. Over the next year, Ray and his dog developed the building skills no dog or human had ever known. Spending their days building with sticks, listening to the birds, lying on their backs and watching the clouds pass over, like was peaceful and blissful for Ray and his dog.
After a year of working day and night building dams with the beavers, all Ray’s hard work paid off — he received a telegram that was dropped from the sky by a Blue Jay flying overhead. It was an official job offer from Grant to come work for him at Parkbench…and you know…mainly just build things around the office. Apparently the dams and little beaver city Ray had been building in the forest were photographed by some hikers passing by who marvelled at how well they’d been built and sent the photos of the dams to the local paper. The story picked up traction in the news. Grant spotted the story while looking up at the TV during one of his deadlifts at Parkbench’s Tuesday CrossFit, and immediately hired a Blue jay to fly an official job offer to Ray.
Kunaal Chopra, Market Specialist
Spirit Animal: Monkey
Kunaal’s spirit animal is a mature teenage monkey. While he might be the youngest in his monkey family, he does quite a bit less monkeying around than his elder monkeys. After putting up with enough monkey business to last a monkey lifetime, Kunaal started to get tired of monkeys all together. So he said “F U” monkeys and decided to play on his own branch for a while.
Then one day while swinging to a low-hanging branch while simultaneously peeling his morning banana, Kunaal noticed something unusual walking along the jungle path. It was a cunning, slender, red fox cruising along the path in Adidas sneakers. Kunaal had heard about these red foxes but never seen one in real life. He swung right down to the path to greet the red fox. The red fox said, “Oh ello,” to which Kunaal was taken aback, “You talk funny! Do all foxes talk funny!” The red fox was disgruntled at Kunaal’s ignorance and retorted, “Yes mate. All foxes talk funny!”
Eventually, the fox and the monkey became best of friends. They would spend their days cruising through the monkey jungle, Kunaal saddled on top of the red fox, teaching him the ways of the monkey jungle as the fox told interesting and hilarious stories of his home back in England. The story of their unusual friendship outrivaled that of their closest competitor, “The Fox and the Hound”.
Pauly Fernandez, Market Specialist
Spirit Animal: Honey Badger
Pauly’s spirt animal is a honey badger because he’s a sh*t disturber and gives zero f*cks, so the honey badger is perect for him, the biggest sh*t disturber animal in the entire animal kingdom. He doesn’t care if you’re faster than him, stronger than him, or younger than him, he’ll take you down…and your entire family if you don’t look out. And he especially doesn’t care if you’re poisonous and full of lethal venom, he will saddle right up next to you and grin and shriek his way to your friendship. For some crazy, ungodly reason, he kind of digs that stuff. The more venom and dirt there is, the bigger Paul’s smile gets. Just wiggling and waddling his way through mud, dirt, and gravel, this old honey badger is always up for mischief and a whole lotta ruckus. Only issue is this honey badger kind of sneezes like a newborn Chihuahua. For this reason, he doesn’t get taken seriously by the rest of the honey badger brats and has chosen to live in a family of monkeys…where he can finally live being feared in the way he’s always dreamed of.
John Park, Market Specialist
Spirit Animal: British Red Fox
John Park, Parkbench’s British Import, coincidentally has the spirit animal of a British Red Fox. Growing up in the English countryside, John grew up hunting red foxes with his father, grandfather, and great grandfather (who was such an avid hunter that he continued to hunt, even after his legs gave out and he was retired to an electric scooter). The Park men set out into the Yorkshire hunting grounds early in the morning, wearing Elmer Fudd style hats, flannel red jackets (in honour of their prey), and would hunt the prestigious red fox with their muskets, just in time to meet the ladies for late morning crumpets and tea at their favourite Bed & Breakfast Inn along the dirt path.
One day everything changed for John, though…as he was instructed by his great grand daddy, all crusty in his electric scooter, to raise his musket to eye level and demolish a baby red fox playing off in the brush, but John made eye contact with those beady red eyes, and couldn’t do it. He saw right into that fox’s poor, little ginger soul. He instantly threw the musket at his great grand daddy and ran home crying to his mommy. From that point forward, John gave up hunting and decided to spread awareness about the slowly-going extinct British Red Fox animal cruelty. John’s devotion to the red fox started to take effect in his life, as out of nowhere, his own beard began to turn ginger. John took this as a sign that he was slowly becoming one with red fox and it was his duty to continue his life’s work to protect and serve the British Red Fox.
Mamun Sahak, Market Specialist
Spirit Animal: The Great Chinese Panda
Mamun’s spirit animal is the Great Chinese Panda Bear.
Really wanting to get to the bottom of Mamun’s connection with this rare bear, I started watching Mamun’s behaviour in the office. During his sales calls, he would always have his far right screen open to Panda YouTube videos. The pandas in the videos weren’t doing anything particularly interesting either…they were just sitting there, eating bamboo and slowly trying to mount small trees. But any time a sales call got stressful or he felt nervous or uneasy in the call, he would turn to his right screen where his friendly friends…the panda bears were playing with each other and brushing bark off one another, and gathering little sticks of bamboo in their little mitten-like paws. Every time, immediately after Mamun focuses his attention on the Pandas, he drops right into the zone and gets the deal done.
Curious to what affect these Pandas have on Mamun, I had a conversation with him by the snack jars recently, and this is what he had to say, “Jamie, I don’t know what it is about these pandas…they really help me with my anxiety…they just relax me, man. Like a stress ball, a water fountain, or a slow burning candle or fire, they give me my Chi, bro. They’re the perfect combination of cute and cuddly, but with low key ferociousness…you know. Like they’re damn cute…but if you touch their bamboo you know they will come at you. And they’re going extinct, so they’re unique cats. I don’t know. I just love Pandas. I owe a lot of my success to them.”