On Gratitude and Gorillas

I’m fond of quoting noted 20th-century philosopher Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around every once in a while, you could miss it.”

Last week, our team gave our agency’s partners – Jen Bellmont, Shelli Lissick and me – a refresher course in just how important, and how effective, it is to embrace that mindset.

Our whole team was looking forward to our much-delayed holiday party on Thursday evening, but the partners didn’t expect what else the others had up their collective sleeve. After ensuring we’d be in the office bright and early by scheduling fake meetings (some clients acted as accessories to cement the ruse), our team surprised us in a huge way by scheduling an entire day – “Partners Day,” as it’s now newly dubbed – of celebrating, balloons, food, thank-you notes, laughter and even a few tears. Oh, and a singing telegram led by a gorilla. In our business, we often help our clients surprise and delight their customers – suffice it to say we were both surprised and delighted.

It was an incredible day – capped off with one more big surprise that evening during our annual Bellies award ceremony (modeled after the Dundies from “The Office.”) at our belated holiday party. Our team had recruited a half-dozen clients and strategic partners to record heartfelt video messages, which they screened at the party. Cue the waterworks.

In an industry where we’re often bouncing from fire to fire, all of it (OK, maybe not the gorilla) was a wonderful reminder of the importance of taking a minute to reflect on the journey we’ve taken, including:

  • Building a company where people feel valued. In 2019, for the first time, Bellmont Partners was named – along with just six other Minnesota companies – one of Inc’s Best Workplaces, as voted on by our employees.
  • Jen being named one of Ragan’s and PR Daily’s 2020 Top Women in Communications.
  • Continuing to cultivate strong and often long-term relationships with our clients, thanks in no small part to Shelli’s client-centric leadership.
  • Starting work with more new clients than ever before.
  • Being there for our team. We’re exceptionally proud of how everybody at Bellmont Partners jumps in to help and support our colleagues, particularly when they’re going through tough times in their personal lives.
  • Staying committed to our community. Last year alone, as part of our formalized Bellmont Gives Back program, we were able to devote 665 collective hours to nonprofit organizations that are important to us.

We received a lot of thank-yous for the sacrifices we’ve made along the way to get to where we are. And without humblebragging, that tends to be a part of the puzzle we don’t usually think about. We just put our heads down and do what needs to be done. But Partners Day did allow us to step back a bit and reflect on those sacrifices – and how we’ve been able to stay true to what’s important to us while moving on to the next phase. Bellmont Partners is no longer a crying infant that requires sleepless nights, or an unruly toddler in need of structure, or even a teenager learning to drive on their own for the first time – it’s a fully realized being. We three partners have been able to take actual recent vacations, where we’ve (more or less) unplugged. We’re moving into the next phase of our business – and that feels amazing.

We’re extremely proud of the business we’ve built, the people we’ve partnered with and the work we’ve done. And we’re very, very grateful for our phenomenal team.

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