Gratitude is a value that we practice every single day at Reach Partners. Work -- and life, frankly -- is more enjoyable when we are thankful for all things, big and small.
November is the perfect time to reflect on all we've been grateful for over the past year. Here are just a few of those moments (and there are oh-so-many-more that you can check out on Twitter at #ReachGratitude):
Every day of the year, we are grateful for our partners and the work we do with them. This time of year, however, gives us even more excuses to reflect on what brings meaning to our work.
Over the years, we’ve been fortunate to help amazing organizations host events and complete special projects. We are grateful for the relationships we’ve built and honored to use our skills to bring value to those who connect with us.
This Thanksgiving we’d like to share a few projects that we are particularly grateful for being involved with. (And we certainly had many wonderful ones to choose from.)
Thank you, all, for being a part of Reach Partners!
Training for Better Communication
Mental Health America of North Dakota wanted to change how sensitive stories about suicide are shared. We helped plan and oversee a conference for news media and organizational spokespeople so they could learn the best way to present information on suicide.
More about the North Dakota Suicide Communications Summit.
Guiding Strategy for Event Planning
Organizations often reach out to us when they want to plan an event to market their brand. Here’s how we worked with two organizations – and how they came to different conclusions after we guided them through the planning process. Spoiler alert: Sometimes NOT hosting an event is the best way forward.
More about strategic event planning.
Partnering with The Fargo Project
When the City of Fargo partnered with a renowned artist to turn a stormwater basin into an ecological commons, the public entity needed someone to coordinate communication among its stakeholders and help with events and volunteer coordination. We stepped into this role.
More about our role with The Fargo Project.
Scouting Locations for a Commercial
We are always eager to tap our connections and networks. That’s what we did when a local marketing agency needed to identify locations for a team of out-of-town videographers to film backdrops for a commercial – fast!
More about how we found the locations.
And so many more wonderful projects and partnerships.
We have some news to share: our team will soon be a little smaller.
Sean Kelly resigned his position at Reach Partners. His last day with us is October 5.
Sean joined our team more than a year ago. During that time, he has been a passionate advocate for our work. He connected us to new partners in the community and kept our technical skills sharp. He also constantly filled an office candy jar full of good chocolate.
Never underestimate the pick-me-up power of a good piece of chocolate.
In all seriousness, we are grateful for the gifts Sean has brought to our team. He shares our values and supported our mission endlessly. We are sad to see him go.
Sean is taking his many talents (and chocolate!) to Click Content Studios, a part of Forum Communications Company. There he will oversee a team of videographers and coordinate the creation of video projects.
We wish Sean the best as he steps into this role. We know he will do well.
Thanks, Sean, for the good memories and the good work. We look forward to connecting for coffee soon!
There are times when gratitude overwhelms you, when it covers you like a warm, fuzzy blanket.
Last week was one of those times.
On Friday, we attended the ChamberChoice Awards for the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo Chamber of Commerce. The program recognizes businesses, organizations, and entrepreneurs that make significant contributions to our community.
We were one of the candidates for Small Business of the Year.
We didn’t win.
And yet, we had been encouraged. Somebody (thank you, anonymous angel!) nominated us to become a candidate. A team of enthusiastic clients/vendors/friends encouraged us to fill out the application. They wrote reference letters and helped us navigate the application questions.
There’s something both humbling and gratifying about summarizing your work into a few short pages. Applying for the ChamberChoice Award gave us an opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going.
So, no, we didn’t win. But we are grateful for the process and for those who served as cheerleaders along the way. We felt valued.
Congrats to the organizations and individuals that won in their respective categories: Emergency Food Pantry, Great Plains Food Bank, Prairie Winds Veterinary Center, Eide Bailly, Office Sign Company, Tyrone Leslie, and Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley.
Well-deserved! It was fun to celebrate your success.
And for everyone else: take a moment to nominate a favorite business or nonprofit next year. It may be the nudge they need to become a candidate. It’s one more way to encourage and support the wonderful business community we have in Fargo-Moorhead.
—Anita, Rachel, and Sean
In case you hadn’t noticed, we LOVE the color purple.
Since we began, our Reach Partners identity has been represented by shades of the color. We think purple perfectly represents our values of gratitude, integrity, beauty, possibility, and empathy. Plus, it makes a powerful, but accessible statement.
Which is why we were super excited when Pantone revealed its color of the year for 2018: Ultra Violet.
Each year color experts from the Pantone Color Institute comb the world looking for the color influences that best define our times. This year, those experts chose Ultra Violet because it “communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us to the future.”
It joins previous Colors of the Year: Greenery, Serenity, Marsala, Tangerine Tango, and Radiant Orchid.
A color may not seem all that important, but it evokes emotions.
What sets Ultra Violet apart from its colorful peers is that it is simultaneously rebellious and calming (or so we hear).
Enigmatic purples have long been symbolic of counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance, Pantone says. (Think Prince, Claude Monet). The color also has been closely associated with royalty and spirituality (Think Queen Elizabeth II and meditation rooms).
Ultra Violet also symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity while it inspires connection.
Granted, those are deep messages to attach to one color. But at Reach Partners we’re thrilled to be associated with a color that seems so aptly descriptive of the work we strive to do every day.
We’re certainly no Prince or Queen Elizabeth II, but we make every effort to make sure the work we do is individualized and creative, that it opens paths of possibility for our clients. We believe in the power of connections, that together we’re stronger.
On lighter notes, we’re anticipating that there will be lots of ultra-violet-inspired items in stores this year. We suspect we’ll be adding to our décor and wardrobe.
In addition, as lifelong residents of the upper Midwest, we also have to wonder if Pantone was making predictions about our region’s purple-clad football team: the Vikings. Could it be their year?
Either way, go purple!
PHOTO CREDIT: Art by Dean Johnson, Fargo. His work can be found online at Fargo Stuff.
It’s no secret that gratitude is part of our DNA at Reach Partners. That said, the holidays bring new emphasis to something I feel strongly about even when it’s not the season of gifts: the thank you note.
The most important thing about a thank you note is that you send one. Did somebody go out of their way to help you? Send a thank you note. Was somebody a pleasure to work with? Send a thank you note. Did somebody bake you special treats? Send a thank you note.
Nobody can argue with the ease of sending a thank you note by email. And we believe there is value in quick shout-outs of gratitude via Twitter and Facebook.
Yet when it comes to saying thanks, email can’t replace the personal touch or lasting impression left by a handwritten note. It takes time to address an envelope, find a stamp, and deliver it to the mailbox. I believe that effort is noticed and appreciated by the recipient.
Here are some additional tips for writing a meaningful thank you note:
For us, Thanksgiving is more than a once-a-year celebration. It’s something we practice every single day.
Gratitude is an integral part of who we are at Reach Partners. Collectively and individually, we are thankful for the work we do, the clients we partner with, and the communities we serve.
The past year has been packed with new opportunities and new relationships. It’s been filled with occasions to deepen the partnerships we’ve already made. In the process, we have been blessed and have had a lot of fun along the way.
Here is a sampling of the things we are grateful for in 2017!
What are you grateful for?
It's always fun to be part of something big, which is why we were so grateful to put our project management skills to work on some grand opening events for the new Sanford Medical Center Fargo earlier this month. (Congrats to Sanford Health on this amazing milestone!)
We assisted the Sanford marketing team with some of the activities that took place during the three-day celebration. Of course, considerable planning and coordination happened beforehand, but here's a glimpse of what the actual week looked like from our perspective.
It’s hard to believe that the time has come when I am approaching the end of my internship with Reach Partners and the end of my college career. I am very thankful for my time at Reach Partners in many ways. I have learned an abundance of new knowledge from Anita and Rachel, and this experience is one I will always have and be able to look back on as I start my career.
There were many lessons taught and learned during my time at Reach Partners that helped me learn not only about project management, but also about myself and what I want to do with my chosen career path. I learned the ins and outs of project management and got to witness first-hand the behind-the-scenes work that goes into planning and executing an event. Interning at Reach Partners has also taught me lessons that have helped me along in my job search. Because of skills learned during my internship, I am able to elaborate on this new set of skills on my resume and in interviews for full-time positions.
During my time at Reach Partners, I sat in on committee planning meetings, drafted communication plans, and helped out during events that Reach Partners executed. It was a great experience for me to be able to see the different stages of the event planning process from committee discussions to the wrap-up.
All of my experiences at Reach Partners have been very rewarding for me. The skills I have learned and developed during my months at Reach Partners will help me in my future career, whether it is planning staff events, creating communication plans, or even sitting in and coordinating meetings. This new set of skills will help me to feel confident in my abilities after graduation and as I start out in my career.
—Olivia, Event Strategy Intern
Hearts. Flowers. Candy. Romantic dinners over candlelight. These are the symbols we typically associate with Valentine’s Day.
But building and maintaining relationships requires more than a card and a bouquet of flowers. Relationships thrive when everyone involved feels important and valued. When somebody takes the time to express appreciation, our spirits are boosted.
Showing appreciation may come second-nature as we reach out to our romantic interests, our friends and family members. But we should extend this sentiment to those people we love to work with – our clients and customers.
With a bit of consideration and thoughtfulness, anyone can create good will and a bond that goes well beyond a project or a paycheck.
And the beauty of heart-felt appreciation? It can be shown on any day of the year.
We find that people constantly share clues about things they need or want, something they love or want to do. Our job is to pay attention.
In meetings, does someone always drink flavored water or diet Coke? Do they crack jokes about their love of chocolate or mention the yoga class they go to every Thursday night?
In a professional setting most of the conversation will circulate around a project. But don’t be afraid to pay attention to the personal side of life, too. Go ahead and share your own personal (and always appropriate!) details first. Some people need to hear from others before they share.
Above all, be kind.
One afternoon we had a brief phone call with a client who shared that she had worked through lunch. We also knew that the remainder of this person’s day was packed with meetings and obligations. So, we decided to order lunch and have it delivered to her.
It was fun playing “secret cupid” even though she eventually figured out it was us.
Do the Unexpected
We are big believers in surprising people. If most people expect gifts around Christmas, consider sending your company gift at a different time of year. It’s common to write thank-you notes after the completion of a big project, but maybe you do it when the project’s in the murky middle.
One of our contractors recently started her own business. She struggled with what to name it, but had shared a couple of ideas with us. One of the names, Whistle Editorial, struck Anita right away. So when she found a whistle necklace on Etsy, she purchased it and waited for the perfect time to deliver it.
Good thing the name stuck!
Hand Write a Note
It’s relatively easy to “like” a post on Facebook or Twitter. Email is handy. But nothing replaces the time it takes to grab an actual pen and write a short note on paper (gasp!). We know, it can be a hassle to find an address and attach a stamp, but in today’s tech-heavy world there’s still a soft spot in our hearts for a handwritten note. Say “thanks” or “thinking of you” or just share the latest reason you enjoy working with this person.
Give a Compliment
Your mom was on to something when she told you that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say it all. We like to give that phrase a new spin. If you have something nice to say, say it – loudly! Whether it’s through a note or a verbal “hooray!” be specific about what you like about a person or their contribution. Instead of a generic “I enjoy working with you” message, you can shine a light on how a client’s gentle honesty inspires you or how someone’s organizational skills really helped keep the project on task.
Keep an eye on social media channels and use those ears (see earlier tip). When someone posts about a job promotion, send them a note. When someone mentions they’re meeting their goal to exercise four times a week, congratulate them. It doesn’t matter how big the achievement is, those endorphins flow when other people celebrate our successes.
When Anita’s grandma found an article in the newspaper that she thought a family member or friend might enjoy, she’d pull out her well-worn scissors, clip the article and mail it. Today, it’s easy to share an article or blog that someone might find interesting or is pertinent to their work. Email it. Post it on their social media channels. Include a short note about why you think they might like it.
Introduce your clients and customers to other people you work with. By taking the time to connect two people, you send the message that you have great respect and admiration for both parties. People will automatically feel valued and important – and that’s the best feeling you can leave with any of your professional relationships.