What would you do if you had a week of vacation and $1,500 in your pocket to become a better employee?

At Brighton, this is a question we’re happy to answer — and one that comes to fruition twice each year for two lucky Brightonians.

What is a Brighton Sabbatical?

We enjoy a number of perks at Brighton, from weekly happy hours to a dry-cleaning service to summer hours. But one of the agency favorites is the Brighton sabbatical program, for which all Brightonians with at least three years’ tenure are invited to submit an essay explaining how they would use an extra week of paid time off and a $1,500 stipend to “become a better Brightonian.”

The Experience

“I feel that a trip to Italy would reinvigorate me as an artist and foster the growth that one can only experience through solo, cultural immersion,” read part of an essay that Alicia “Kip” Kueper, an associate creative director at Brighton, submitted last year. “When traveling independently, you have no one to rely on. Nothing familiar around you. And a completely open itinerary. This causes you to become a more decisive, creative and better problem-solver. Exploring rural footpaths and taking in the scenery around the coast of Naples would surely inspire every fiber of my inner artist.”

Kip’s inner artist was indeed awakened by a weeklong Italian adventure that took her to the likes of Rome, Naples, Pompeii, Capri and Amalfi. She explored famous landmarks but also took time to go off the beaten path to hike, draw, sightsee and immerse herself in local culture, including learning photography, painting and sketching skills from local artists. The only requirement? She was asked to share highlights with the rest of the agency upon her return —  which left us all with a case of wanderlust, a few practical tips for traveling alone and a craving for authentic Italian pizza.

The True Prize

“I truly believe that these moments have caused me to grow immensely as a person and as a Brightonian,” says Kip. “Being on the other side of the world by yourself is so humbling and frightening. I have learned so much about myself and have grown my confidence in my ability to lead.”