Today, as I write this blog post, our latest Incept Employee Of the Month sits at her work booth making phone calls, like today is just another day at work.
Truthfully I think it’s that quality that makes Stephanie Smith one of my favorite people to spend time with at work. I’d like to give you a glimpse into why I think Steph is such a complete example of what we call “Living the Brand.”
Stephanie and I have had the pleasure of working closely (oftentimes referred to as Mr. & Mrs. Smith – there’s no relation) for a few years now. Over that time, I’ve had the chance to get to know her well, both professionally and personally. She is the proud mother of two brilliant daughters, Elizabeth and Samantha, who are just as much a part of the Incept family as Stephanie. In fact, they are so connected to our circle of friends that when the Incept Gives Foundation decided to take our Conversational Marketing Experts (CMEs) shopping for 38 children who were unlikely to have Christmas this year, the girls proudly came along.
The 38 kids we shopped for were part of the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program. Children from less fortunate families write their names on cards, along with their wishlist, and selfless strangers (like the amazing people we have here at Incept) offer their time and money to purchase gifts for them, in order to brighten the holidays for these kids.
While we were waiting in a long line to check out, Stephanie and her daughters told me that they actually volunteered to do the “back-end” of the shopping we were doing. This meant that Stephanie and her daughters spent a fair amount of their time (8 hours per day for a full week) organizing, sorting and packing the gifts that came in to the Salvation Army location in Massillon, OH. They made sure that all children in multi-child homes received similar numbers of gifts, so as to prevent any negative feelings and ensure a fair and merry Christmas. After organizing the gifts for each of the families, they transported them by hand to the church across the street where they added boxes of food with the gifts. They did all of this for complete strangers.
Stephanie shared this story with me, about how the experience touched her daughter Elizabeth:
“One of the kids in Elizabeth’s class at school had said to her that Santa wasn’t coming to their house that year. Instead, they were going to go get gifts from the Salvation Army. She was so touched after volunteering at the Salvation Army that she took presents she and her sister had received at a Christmas party, delivered them to the captain at the Salvation Army and asked that they be donated to kids who were less fortunate.
I was very proud of her… It wasn’t something I told her to do. She took it on all on her own. She has a very big heart.”
Stephanie also asked that I include this short message from her:
“If anyone gets the chance to volunteer down there (at the Salvation Army), it’s a great opportunity! They do so many great things for the community.”
At first, the compassion demonstrated by Stephanie and her daughters left me at a loss for words to describe how I felt. However, after watching the video of our Incept family shopping for the Angel Tree children a few times, I think I found the proper word to describe them: angels.
I’d like to share with you one more example of how our employees (like Stephanie) “Live the Brand.” While waiting to check out at that night, Stephanie and her daughters encouraged me to ask Billie Johnson, one of my fellow members on the Incept Gives board, if it would be permissible for them to purchase some additional items (with their own money) and add them to the gifts for the child for whom they were shopping. Billie’s response still rings clearly in my mind, “Tell them to put the items in the cart and to not worry about it. Then tell them there is a special place in heaven for them.”
The holidays at Incept are unlike the holidays at any other company, because we understand that in giving we receive.