The Story of
1. How We Started
Long before Noodlehead Marketing Jason Scott Montoya had his curls, he was a fun-loving, energetic teenage boy. People loved him for his uncanny ability to weave together fun, and adventure where anyone could participate. The name 'Noodlehead' stemmed from his fun-loving nature as he called anyone he thought was silly or goofy a Noodlehead. When he finally grew his hair out and discovered his natural curls, the name turned back on him, and though not the original Noodlehead, he became the most memorable.
Attracted to his fun-loving nature and his love of Jesus, Caitlyn, became a part of his makeshift short film production team. Their friendship blossomed into love and, in 2005, the two married. They moved from their hometown in Arizona to Atlanta in hopes of pursuing their dreams of telling stories through feature films.
2. The Years of Heartache
Many were hurt as we struggled to find our voice and identity. Some were run over by us as we rushed towards a goal, and others were left behind confused as we got distracted by the busyness that surrounded us.
After two years of being newlyweds full-time students, the pair succeeded in growing Noodlehead Studios (Its first name). Their focus shifted full-time into launching this company and generating revenue to support the films the couple hoped to create. Their goals and aspirations seemed noble enough on the surface; they wanted to weave CS Lewis style stories and spread the love of Jesus through the film medium.
However, they soon discovered, as many young entrepreneurs do, that unless you are highly focused and intentional, you can quickly become a slave to your dreams.
Noodlehead Studios was a full-service creative company offering a wide range of products and services. We successfully generated a living for the pair as well as a team of talented people.
Through all this “success” they became distracted from their original goal, to share the love of Jesus through thought-provoking stories. Their entire lives were a slave to the company in the early years, with the offices taking up all but one small room in the couples 1,100 square foot condo home.
Had this company been their dream, had they set out to create a creative service marketing company, perhaps the tight quarters wouldn't have taken such a toll on them. This business wasn't their dream though, Noodlehead Marketing was just a means to an end, and also a marital wedge.
As teens, Jason and Caitlyn had both valued friendships and relationships. Quality time spent with people getting to know them on a deeper level is at the core of who the pair is. The breakneck pace they kept, and the rapid unstructured growth they experienced, made for less than excellent communication and no accountability. This approach led to many failed relationships. In a visceral way, they hurt and were hurt by people they loved and cared for beyond the business they were doing with them. These hurts hardened many hearts.
3. A Call to Change
We sought out clarity and understanding and began to redeem some broken patterns and relationships from our past.
Shortly after the birth of their first child, and Caitlyn's exit from the company, Jason began to look at where they were and what they had become. He didn't like what he saw. He didn't like the direction the company was heading or the message it was portraying to the world. Jason didn't like the dynamics or the culture he had cultivated. Together with a great team at his side, he began working on changing Noodlehead Studios into Noodlehead Marketing.
Having always had friends that were practically family growing up, Jason wanted to create a culture of family, a workplace and environment from which the employees wanted to work. He desired a place where the staff of highly talented artists could come and feel safe to be creative. He wanted his team to know that relationships were more important than getting another dollar to fund a feature film.
The Noodlehead team came up with a code by which we would all operate. Structures and systems that allowed for creativity and individual voices to be a part of the everyday. Knowing that intentional organizations reflect excellence, our purpose shifted to being an example of excellence and accountability to inspire others. We committed to be passionate, to love, to respect, to serve, to actively change to become better and always listen and share ideas.
In 2012, we implemented our vision and were pushing forward in our mission. We had finally become a great company, the kind of company where us Noodleheads could proudly share. While it seemed great, there were still undercurrents of resentment floating through it all. Resentment between Jason and Caitlyn and the stress the company had put on their marriage, resentment between Jason and the company because it just wasn't his dream or his passion.
4. A Leap Of Faith
After operating with intentionality and being an excellent company, we thought to redeem our past errors was the end of the story, but this stage taught us, there was more. The communication flowed excellently, and employees and clients were held accountable leading to great work. We began to get a fuller picture of the reconciliation God had in store for us as a company.
Amid this heyday, we found ourselves homeless. We had to move out of the space we had been occupying and into a smaller transitional office space. While we searched for a new home, we lost our largest client due to the change in our business model. It felt as though we were being ushered into another season of transition, so the team called for prayer and direction as to our next step.
After discussing the situation, Jason encouraged his wife to pray for guidance. The answers she gave them directed the team to a Levitical text concerning the Sabbath year (Shemitah), a year of rest and release. The team did a small Bible study on the text and set up guidelines and boundaries concerning the year. They then paused to think about it some more, and finally unanimously came to the agreement that the company would take a Sabbath year.
If things were going great, why would we decide to suddenly stop everything, change, and take a leap of faith?
Because we trusted God to do more with less, after turning our wheels full speed for six years, we learned that God’s timing is perfect. We could run the race full-speed, or we could walk it, but God’s timing is perfect and can’t be changed.
At first, we hoped it would only be a year of rest and release from the past resentments and hurts formed after years of operating poorly with no intentionality. Many of us hoped and expected that with the release from these past mistakes a new Noodlehead business would emerge, one more financially diversified able to launch into our next season with ease and comfort.
However, in the final months, it became apparent this company, while great, was not anyone’s dream or vision for serving God. As much as Jason had changed the company, it could never remove the pain and hardships that it had caused his marriage early on.
The Noodlehead team will always be family, but it was time for the team to leave the nest, taking what they have learned and launching into new heights and more focused purpose and vision in the next phase of their lives.
5. Moving Forward
The decision to shut down did not mean we failed or that we no longer believed in the systems and processes we created. Quite the contrary, we believed in them very much. These tools we created were an integral part of the next stage of our journey, helping us integrate with new companies and teams. They were our parting gift to our family, our followers, our clients, and now you.
In all that you do, be intentional. Following this model equips us and our projects to be great. They help us weed through the distractions that come along.
It is a process Caitlyn and Jason wish they had when they started Noodlehead Studios.
This process would have saved them many follies and distractions along the road.
We have so many to thank for this journey, let's get started!
Thank you, God, for being with us in every step of this journey.
Thank you, Jason Montoya, Len Wikberg, Wayne Dugdale and Beth Coetzee for being a part of our transformation team and being willing to stick it out until the end.
Thank you, Caitlyn Montoya!
Thank you Greg D'Abate, Brad Niksa, Vera Ivaniskaya, Daisy Allen, Beca Burke, Italia Metts, and Donna Zeidan for being great team members!
Thank you Leaders Lyceum, Precision Pain Relief Center, Capital Ideas, Dario Associates, Ecotech Machinery, Lisa Ethridge, Donald Baggett, Kauffman Design, Key Music Center, Sterling Planet, Attention to Detail, and Joe Kissack (The Fourth Fisherman) for being awesome clients!
Thank you, David Haun and our friends at HADCO, the Viking Cooking School and Builder Specialties. We appreciate all of the work you sent our way :)
Thank you, Ryan Smith and our friends at ReachLocal. We appreciate your friendship and the business you referred our way.
Thank you, Norman Plunkett and Leonard Wikberg we appreciate your support and involvement along the way.
Thank you, Clarice, from Cooper Quarters Horse. By hiring us, you helped launch our company.
Thank you Craig Haynie, Joe Kaufman, David Johnson, John Lehmberg, Don Neder, James Altamirano, Kassi Hyde, Scott Dios, Phillip Robider, Benson Martin, Travis Dommert (& irunurun), Jean Vallee, Bob Burden, Andy Lowe, Sam Rasmussen, Christy Montoya, James Rowell (Generations Norcross), Jonathan Galucki, Rayann Larsen, Kim Jones, April Farlow, our friends at Waterbrook Multnomah, Dennis & Colleen Rouse (Victory World Church) and Tom Biondolillo for being a awesome friends and supporters.
Thank you Win Without Pitching. You helped us think differently.
Thank you to anyone else we missed!