Ode to an Exceptional Teammate Who Helped Us Grow Alongside Her

I met a creative, shy young woman 25 years ago who became my first key team member. Who could have guessed the twisted road we would travel together, navigating many milestones that continually shaped and reshaped both of us? Tami blossomed from the person who hand-painted children’s products into a skilled, innovative and clever problem solver for all things artistic, creative and personalized.

Now our journey is taking a major turn. My talented co-worker, my confidant, my hand-painted artistic muse, and my good friend Tami will retire at the end of this year.

Although Tami prefers the background vs. the limelight, her artistic talents and efforts have touched literally thousands of people. She’s made them and those around them smile on the outside as well as on the inside.

In part, Tami’s success comes from a deep and natural understanding of the design development process and her intuitive thinking. She has always used her skills to authentically research the important background information before beginning a project. And she’s a true artist. Now working alongside an artist is not always an easy task for a process thinker like myself. Left-brain and right-brain thinking do not mesh naturally.

Tami’s results speak for themselves: her ability to create meaningful gifts that celebrate a new birth or a retirement, honor a job well done, recognized a promotion, brighten someone’s day, mark a project launch or completion, commemorate key milestones and more are second to none. Her ability to create a spectacular design from a plain sheet of paper is uncanny, and we’ve been proud to accept loads of compliments about her stellar work.

She has embraced the opportunity to grow professionally which has given her confidence. Today she contributes in every aspect of creativity from creative thinking to hand-crafted creativity, graphic arts, photography and more. The shy woman I met 25 years ago is moving into her next phase of life as a confident artist who embraced her role and left fond memories for her co-workers and thousands of clients.

Personally, I’ve enjoyed our relationship, which has expanded from employer/employee to caring for each other professionally and personally. Sharing the joys and pains of the birth of children, graduations, marriages, grandchildren, and loss has forged a tremendous bond between us.

Tami’s tenure is an exception to today’s statistics. The Department of Labor and Statistics report that the average tenure of an employee in the U.S. is 4.1 years. Why did Tami stay the course. Here are few thoughts:

  • Fit. Tami is passionate about her work and deeply compassionate to the “why” behind her work. She was the right fit not just a warm body.
  • Environment. Our culture welcomes ideas and encourages people to speak their mind and always be heard. Tami added her voice and was heard.
  • Collaboration. We operate on the premise that the sum is greater than the whole of the parts. Tami has been a key contributor who made us all better.
  • Opportunity to own one’s work. We provide the resources and tools for the work, set expectations, and get out of the way. Tami was not micromanaged.
  • Learning moments vs. perfection. We empower our team to take ownership and grow skills. Tami, grew over 25 years. And we all grew alongside her.

Tami, our amazing journey together is reaching a turning point.  We shared a lot. We learned a lot. And we we’ll miss you a lot as we keep your attributes in our hearts and minds: Empathy, clever caring, creativity, intuition, compassion, and right brain thinking.

Hillary’s Takeaway: An employee’s growth is strengthened or weakened by the degree of compatibility between their own work ethic and the values for which the company stands.

The company values we created some time ago as a team are just as important to each of us today. Living those values from how we work with clients and suppliers to how we work with each other propels are individual and collective successes.

If you’d like to know more about creating and living values that help your team and your business grow, let’s start a conversation. Email me.