Photos & Video by Ryan Stopera
Meet Boriana Strzok, the leader behind 5IVE — one of the 12 purpose-driven businesses that have come together in support of Pollen’s mission to change our collective story for the better. Together, they challenge Pollenites to raise $20,000 by Give to the Max Day on November 14, which they will match dollar for dollar.
All About 5IVE
5IVE is a woman-owned, independent, brand experience agency that seeks to partner with visionaries, disruptors, startups, leaders, and innovators who share a common goal: creating a world that embraces diversity, technological success, business opportunity, and human progress.
“Our agency business model is different,” says creative director, founder & CEO Boriana Strzok. “We retain a clientele of 50% cause-driven businesses and organizations. This provides us with unique opportunities to partner with clients on issues like climate change, sustainability, intergenerational poverty, gender and racial equity, health and wellness, entrepreneurship, education and corporate responsibility.” And what about the name? “It’s derived from the idea that, just like life, brands should be experiential — utilizing all five senses,” says Boriana. “There are more than five people who work here!”
POLLEN: What’s your origin story? What brought you to this work?
I founded the agency nine years ago. As a female creative, immigrant, social entrepreneur, and mother of a child with complex medical needs, I simply didn’t fit any of the industry boxes that were accessible to me. I wanted to work with other curious, humble and non-conforming creatives who weren’t just looking for the next cool gig, but instead wanted to build something they believe in. My personal experiences made it easy for me to reject the traditional ad agency model and put my efforts into projects and brands that mattered to me and our team. 5IVE was my solution to create an environment that allows people to be themselves, thrive, develop new skills, grow professionally, and apply their own diverse backgrounds to projects that reflect their personal values system.
POLLEN: What are your favorite questions to ask when you are preparing to help share someone’s story?
For me, authenticity is everything. When it comes to the clients we work with or the stories we tell, having a powerful mission is always a must. Once this is established, the question we always look forward to answering together with our clients is, “What is your purpose? Why do you exist?” The answer to this question is not a vision statement, but a serious examination of your brand’s relevancy, differentiation, appeal, expertise, and growth-benefits to society. Every organization has a unique value proposition — when you work on complex issues, the answer to this question can be hard to articulate. As partners, we know that going through the process of defining your purpose can help us tell a more cohesive and powerful story to more people. It can transform your organization, bring clarity to what you do, and find better ways to communicate how your team, products, services and mission drive change.
POLLEN: Where do you look for inspiration?
People and their lived experiences. All of our work is centered around people and what unites us as human beings on this planet. It’s our job to ensure that our team and our clients never lose sight of that.
POLLEN: How do you find support from peers to stay inspired and motivated?
We partner with those who operate in a state of WE. We are a team of people who come from different places, backgrounds and points of view, but who ultimately seek to create, challenge and complement each other both creatively and intellectually — all in the name of common good. Our success is built on collaboration, transparency and a strong sense of community — acknowledging that it is the collective power of all parts that make a stronger whole. At 5IVE, we pride ourselves on being team players in a holistic system of moving parts. Our approach is to welcome and treat every person involved in a project as an integral part of the team, rather than separate entities. Over the years, we’ve built an incredible network of clients, partners, team members, and friends whose work and efforts inspire and challenge us every day. We couldn’t do what we do without the strengths of all the people that are part of our work and we feel very fortunate to live in such a supportive community.
Join Boriana: DONATE TO MATCH THE HIVE TODAY
Find 5IVE and give them an online hug for supporting Pollen.