When Stephanie Shaver was working as the Marketing, Design and Production manager for the Bend Chamber of Commerce in 2020 as the pandemic unfolded, she rolled up her sleeves and got busy fervently trying to help the local businesses. Altruistic by nature, Shaver wanted to do all she could to help Central Oregon companies survive.
“It was March of 2020, while working on the Central Oregon SOS and COVID resource efforts with local chambers, the OSU Innovation Co-Lab and Deschutes County, that I happened to also be in direct contact with local businesses and organizations suffering with the shutdown,” she says. “There was the obvious need for financial help, but also, anyone in business had to pivot marketing and brand efforts to create a strong digital presence and examine what their strategies would be moving forward with so many unknowns happening.”
Shaver had inadvertently become a marketing resource and advisor to struggling businesses, which gave her the idea to go full-time with her efforts and launch a marketing agency. “I wanted to help businesses and organizations with their marketing and brand efforts during an incredibly crazy time in history. Consumer behaviors evolving, brick-and-mortar shutdowns, questionable revenues, events cancelled… I mean, it was nuts, and I wanted nothing more than to help generate innovative thinking and offer peace of mind,” she says. “Where there is a problem, there is also a solution, and I wanted to be on the front-line helping businesses stay in business.”
With that, Shaver launched Project 4, a marketing, branding and design business, to help pivot marketing strategies, amplify websites, reconfigure brand missions and get creative on how to execute changes that were happening in a moment’s notice. “Oddly enough, it was the pandemic that sparked the creation of Project 4. I have a personal drive to help and serve my community, so when I saw so many businesses struggling, that is what lit my flame to launch an end-to-end marketing agency. It was a wild ride,” she says with a laugh. “I mean, who launches a company during a global pandemic? Me, that’s who.”
Shaver has been in the marketing industry for close to two decades, she says, leading creatives in print, digital, radio and TV campaigns, building and executing brand and marketing strategies and leading major community campaign efforts across the country for an array of projects. “My most recent full-time position with the Bend Chamber of Commerce was from 2013-2020. There was never a dull moment with our efforts, from social events to business development and advocacy work. To this day, I’m in awe of all that the Bend Chamber does for our business community.”
So far, Project 4, which is based out of Shaver’s home office in Redmond, is going strong. She has clients in seven states, has ten contractors she works with and continues to be inspired by every project, she says. “The name ‘Project 4’ is set up with the intention to be here for ‘4’ my clients. I have a passion and purpose to be creative, problem solve and to generate quality work, all while being of service to elevate the visions of those who hire Project 4. The pandemic elevated my drive to new heights.”
As CEO of Project 4, Shaver says she hires locally when she can, with 80 percent of the contractors she hires living here in Central Oregon. “I have had to work with contractors across the nation, depending upon what expertise I’m looking for on any given project.” She adds, “I have not yet had an issue finding help, and I count my lucky stars on that fact. I do have clients who really struggle to find employees. I am very aware of the negative impacts of Central Oregon’s workforce shortage. It is frustrating to see business growth hindered by lack of staffing.”
When she’s not working, Shaver says she enjoys spending time with her husband of 20 years, Billy, their 17-year-old son and their dog, cat and rabbit. “Knowing when to stop working and call it a day has always been a struggle for me. Working from my home office allows me to work until 10pm or start at 4am,” she says. “My personal struggle is the work-life balance, but I’m getting there.” Shaver went to school to study art, and still enjoys drawing, basket weaving and hand-made crafts, she says. She also made a promise to herself to cook at least one homemade thing a day, whether it’s salad dressing, bread or an entire four-course French meal. “I’m not kidding. I did that one day. With the pandemic, we came up with different fun things to do together as a family,” she explains. “Each month, we chose a different country to study and learn about, the culture, cuisine, etc. Last month, we did France, hence the four-course meal.” Shaver and her husband are also musical: He plays the banjo, and she plays the mandolin, fiddle, guitar, squeeze box and spoons. “There is always music,” she says.
Shaver, whose vivacious personality bubbles over with enthusiasm, says every project is a huge triumph to her. “Whether we are launching a startup company, building a new website or designing an ad campaign or blog series, it’s all so rewarding! I’m not just saying that; when a client’s joy and dream comes to the material world, that is a feeling I cannot explain,” she says. “It’s huge and humbling to be part of creating and offering services to help dreams and ideas come to life.” Shaver has a client that is a small-business owner in Los Angeles who was brought to tears with Project 4’s deliverables, she says. “She had made mention of a few things important to her and her family, things mentioned in casual conversation, and we worked those in subtly. When I revealed the deliverables, she cried such tears of joy. That is why I do what I do, that right there.”
To schedule a free 30-minute consultation phone call with Shaver, please call 541-306-9979 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.