Professional Development Forum

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  • 1.  First class plane tickets and $10,000?!? What was your most memorable recognition for hard work?

    Posted 11-05-2021 15:01
    Last week, news hit that Sara Blakely, the founder/CEO of Spanx (and the world's youngest self-made billionaire!) celebrated the sale of the majority stake of her company with all of her employees. In a packed room of staff holding celebratory champagne flutes, she announced that she was thanking every employee for their hard work by buying them 2 first class plane tickets anywhere in the world and giving them $10,000. And then the place went (understandably) nuts. You can enjoy her comments and her shocked/excited team on her Instagram post.  

    Obviously, this is a pretty extraordinary gift of recognition, but it got me thinking-- what was the most memorable recognition I've received? 

    I've been lucky to work with and for really generous people my entire career. I've been on the receiving end of kind words and everyday recognition, gotten bonuses, and been promoted. In addition to being stepping stones in my career, these were important to building my confidence. Recognition comes in all forms and in all shapes and sizes, but the one thing that really sticks out in my mind as special recognition is not first class tickets + $10,000-- it was a dinner out. 

    After winning a piece of business that the three of us had worked really hard for, my boss invited my colleague and I out for a celebratory evening at a very nice restaurant. She recognized the long hours and late nights that went into our proposal and how they contributed its success. Our partners were invited to join us, so it felt less like a business dinner and more like a celebration. The whole evening was filled with warmth and joy, and that's how I remember it years later. 

    What stands out as a meaningful recognition for you? @Alison Randall @Amanda Gose @Beth Power @Colette Martin-Wilde @Nicole Daines @Mauricio Gonzales @Maria Liccardo @Quinn Drew @Maria Mooshil @Stacy Graham


  • 2.  RE: First class plane tickets and $10,000?!? What was your most memorable recognition for hard work?

    Posted 11-08-2021 08:58
    @Brianne Haxton What a lovely story.  Sounds more like a fairy tale! 

    The greatest recognition I've ever received for my work was being elected an "Associate" at the architectural-interior design firm I worked for in the past.  In a partnership structure, there are principals, partners and associates, like a law firm.  When the firm when through a management buyout, I was part of the A team, taking care of the facilities, legal and administrative side of things, and I worked very hard to design and implement a variety of large initiatives that helped to transform the company into one of the first digitally based (CAD) design firms in Chicago . I was the first Associate in the firm's history who was not an architect or designer.   It was doubly important because I was a part time employee at the time, working a hybrid schedule because I had three kids and had to attend to them, too​. That meant a lot to me. Free parking downtown and a few extra expenses  in particular, but more it was an extraordinary recognition from a really wonderful company that understood administrative support plays an equal part in a company's success. 

    Thanks for asking.

    Colette Martin-Wilde

  • 3.  RE: First class plane tickets and $10,000?!? What was your most memorable recognition for hard work?

    Posted 11-08-2021 09:22
    Ah, if only we were all so lucky to have billionaires for bosses! I come from a journalism background where the only reliable reward for reporters and copy editors is pizza on election night. ;)  The only time I received a perk for doing a good job was when I worked for a business wire service in New York. Our company had a sky box at Madison Square Garden and our managing editor gave me two tickets to sit there (with some other colleagues) for an Eric Clapton concert. That was pretty cool at the time and it felt good to be appreciated in that way. I went on to have a great career in Chicago with a major daily newspaper where I did receive the most meaningful recognition of my career: I was a sports copy editor at the time and 5 months pregnant with my first child when I was promoted (out of the blue) to a source editor position.  The promotion, which I didn't seek, was a pure recognition (and appreciation) of my abilities. And as a pregnant woman working amid a sports department staff of mostly men, it was a real "wow!" moment for me. Thanks, @Brianne Haxton, for extracting these two memories for me!     ​

    Maria Mooshil

  • 4.  RE: First class plane tickets and $10,000?!? What was your most memorable recognition for hard work?

    Posted 11-11-2021 16:25
    @Maria Mooshil I used to love free pizza on election night! One of the few rewards of working as an editor till 1 a.m. in the morning every election. the first few elections after I came to Rotary, I actually bought pizza on election night to watch returns. I didn't know what else to eat!!
    The most memorable recognition I received at Rotary (besides an occasional extra day off for filling out a survey or an early dismissal day -- but those really weren't for good work) was also a meal @Brianne Haxton. During my first year at Rotary many years ago, I was  "running" news for At that time, we were very much a "news" website, and I was tasked with covering the International Assembly (annual training event) and devising a lineup of over a dozen stories. After the event, my boss and her boss, the web department manager, took me out for lunch for a  job well done. They said it was the most extensive coverage we had ever done of the event. It's stuck with me because it was welcome positive feedback for what had been a significant career change for me. But I also agree with @Quinn Drew. Sometimes it's just the thought that counts. I've received "job well done" comments from future bosses, and free Mountain Dews from one former editor, which meant way more than the monetary value.​​

    Arnie Grahl

  • 5.  RE: First class plane tickets and $10,000?!? What was your most memorable recognition for hard work?

    Posted 11-09-2021 10:42
    @Brianne Haxton what an incredible story! Holy moly!

    When I think about the best recognition I've ever received, it's less about the thing, and more about the thought behind it. For instance, a former boss bought me a 4 pack of my favorite beer and hid them around my desk for me to find throughout the day. I also love really small things that feel really big - like my boss saying, "you've worked really hard this week. Take off early today and don't worry about it."

    Sure... big, grandiose gestures are great! But when people know me and what I like (a good combination of fun and practical) is what makes my heart happy, makes me feel seen, and makes me want to keep doing my best.  ​

    And here's a reminder for all of us today:

    Stay awesome,