Community Outreach, Company Culture and The Thread That Connects Them
Communities, both online and off, serve as the connective tissue that bring together those with similar values, customs, identities and characteristics; a corner of the world reserved for belonging.
For us, as a mid-sized, local agency, engaging with our community and connecting our clients to theirs, is a practice we weave into most everything we do.
To understand the impact of turning neighbors into friends, we spoke with our President and CEO, Ron Perine, and Human Resources Manager, Christine Millette, on taking pause, giving back and paying it forward.
Q: What are the best parts about giving back to the communities in which we live and work, and how does this impact our internal culture?
Ron: Building and supporting the community is an important factor to keeping that ecosystem thriving. Communities in bloom drive economic growth, which helps our CT population and businesses prosper. Mintz + Hoke gets to see how our efforts play into the bigger picture. We promote participation with not-for-profits and giving back whenever we can. This type of “give back” is integral to our culture, and stimulates a giving environment.
Christine: Seeing our impact firsthand. Volunteering and giving back so close to home widens our viewpoint to the issues and areas in need of a helping hand that exist right here in our backyard. This only strengthens and elevates our internal sense of community.
Q: Over the years, through various forms of community outreach, what are some of the greatest takeaways that the agency has adopted in-house as a result?
Ron: The way we structure any type of volunteering event is always from a team approach. We try to partner those that don’t usually work together on a day-to-day basis. This provides great comradery, trust, friendship and overall team building. Often, we hear; “I didn’t know that person was so creative!” To me, that is the ultimate win. It lets our employees try something different, offering up new viewpoints and strengths that their co-workers don’t get to see within their immediate disciplines. Oftentimes, this forces people to step outside of their comfort zones which strengthens us as a small company.
Christine: Teamwork. We try to collaborate across departments as much as possible, but participating in extracurricular activities such as our annual playhouse build for Habitat for Humanity, allow us to work with our peers from different departments, on a different level, toward a much different goal. We learn so much more about one another (like who is great with a drill and who should stick to painting – that’s me!) that we would never know if we only stuck to working inside our four walls. As a result, I think we’re more accepting of these differences and understand that it takes all of us with different strengths to get things done well – this immediately translates to the work we do in-house as an agency.
Q: What have you found to be Mintz + Hoke’s greatest strength when building and sustaining partnerships?
Ron: Our honesty and openness. We truly care about the partnerships that we create. We treat everyone with the same amount of respect. We are sincere about our involvement and we get involved because we care! Our partnerships tend to be deep and long-term. They are built on mutual trust, respect and admiration.
Christine: I think Mintz + Hoke has managed to stay extremely humble as a direct result of our partnership with Habitat for Humanity, along with other similar partnerships. We all know from afar why we show up and give back, but seeing the impacts of our volunteer efforts first-hand brings an entirely new perspective; it legitimizes why we champion giving back as instrumental across our organization.
Q: How can those who run similar businesses – client and partner-based – work to create and, eventually foster relationships, from both a local and global perspective?
Ron: Follow your heart and your passion. Share knowledge and expertise with those both in and out of your immediate orbit. Be honest, and work with those that align with your core beliefs. There are so many who are not as fortunate as we are, and the awareness of that privilege is what guides why and how often we work to help those around us. There are so many ways to help that will organically come back to you, tenfold, further strengthening the partnerships you forge.
Christine: By finding something that they’re passionate about and helping in any and all ways. Speaking specifically to Habitat – in addition to building houses, we donate our time internally to help create videos and other tools that arm their team with ways to help spread the word to other organizations. We participate in home dedications - which make this all very real for us - and donate monetarily whenever we can. Something we prioritize in-house is using our agency holiday card to collect funds from other partners and raise awareness for a specific charity. Decisions like these, though seemingly minute, are all ways in which companies can add a charity aspect to something they’re already doing. Giving back does not need to be neon and italicized so that others can see all of the good you’re doing— showing up with the intent to lend a hand, expecting nothing in return, is how you tend to your communities.