Tina Reynolds is the founder and president of Uptown Studios. (Photo by Rachel Valley)

Follow Her Lead: Tina Reynolds

As the country celebrates the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, we profile 19 leaders in the Capital Region

Back Article Mar 23, 2020 By Jessica Laskey

Tina Reynolds

Founder and President, Uptown Studios

Tina Reynolds has a mantra for life and work: “How can I help you?” Reynolds owns Uptown Studios, a multimedia design firm that does website design; graphic design; video production; and social media and marketing campaigns for nonprofits, government entities and other organizations dedicated to social change. She lives by that mantra to keep her own and her 19 employees’ work-life dynamics as balanced as possible.

This story is part of our 2020 Women in Leadership issue. To explore the issue, click here.

“When I opened Uptown in 1992, I realized that I was responsible for my own work as well as the health and wellness of my whole team,” Reynolds says, which led to her current business model of open space and open work ethic. “Everyone is self-managed. We have no titles, and we work on teams — the web team, design team, video team, marketing team or focus group team. Each team has a project leader, but they aren’t a boss; they’re in service to the team.”

Click here to see the list of honorees in this year’s Women in Leadership issue

If this method sounds utopian, that’s intentional. Uptown is Reynolds’ second business venture; she founded a graphic design firm in Sacramento in 1976 that worked mainly on corporate accounts. As a single mom with three children at home, Reynolds realized the long hours and high pressure weren’t working for her, so she shut the business in 1992 and opened Uptown as its antithesis. With no time clock to punch, employees pick up kids for soccer games when they need to, bring babies or dogs into the office, and enjoy a work environment where they’re treated like responsible adults.

When she opened Uptown, Reynolds decided to focus on working with organizations working to make Sacramento better. “I was born with a core that needs to do good,” she says. “I want to be involved and create change.”

Reynolds, left, with other Women in Leadership honorees. (Photo by Rachel Valley)

Reynolds says she’s especially proud of the work her team did for Life Looks Good on You, a campaign for Sacramento County Parks and Recreation that raises awareness about the importance of wearing a life jacket. “We were brought on in 2015 because there were 16 drowning deaths in our rivers that summer, so we dug in and created a fun campaign that was also working to save lives,” she says. “In 2016, there were zero drowning deaths, and we have done the campaign each year since, and the average drowning deaths over the life of the campaign is only two per year. Our team feels like we are actually saving lives with this campaign. It is wonderful to feel like we are doing so much good.”

Reynolds also donates her time for speaking engagements to share her hard-won wisdom in the hopes it will help others achieve their goals. “I like to say, ‘Here’s what I did. It took me 28 years to get here, but maybe you can do it in eight,’” she says. “You can rise up, build your business, do what brings you passion if you always move forward with intention.”

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Visitor Judy Robinson (not verified)March 27, 2020 - 11:50am

Tina and her team are awesome! Uptown is also working with Sacramento County and cities, Sac Region Community Foundation and hundreds of Community based organizations on the 2020 Census Complete Count Campaign! We never anticipated COVID right when the critical census count was starting. We're fortunate to have their talent and creativity to push out weekly social media eblasts and support all the incredible work our partners are doing. KEY MESSAGE: Everyone Counts! Be Counted! Fill out the census as soon as you receive it in the mail! Be Counted Sacramento! #2020census #icount

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