It has long been a part of RuffleButts foundation to pay our blessings forward, but I've never wanted to toot our own horn. Mark and I have made these decisions pretty quietly for the most part, often not even telling our own team members. Following a sermon from my pastor at Gateway Church here in Texas, I knew I was doing everyone a disservice. I realized this Sunday that giving people the opportunity to bless others and sharing the joy of giving is an amazing thing. So this is my 1st step to sharing our charitable initiatives with you, our incredible customers!
As some of you may know, neuroblastoma touched our lives in a life-changing way back in 2009. It was not until 2010 that we shared this publicly and it turned our life and business upside down. I was blessed to have an amazing little girl by the name of Layla Grace touch the lives of my family and we will never be the same. This little lady is no longer here on Earth, but she is in my heart forever. It is because of her that childhood cancer has become a passion of our company.
Now 6 years later, we have relocated to the great state of Texas (which happens to be the home state of little Layla Grace), and have become involved with Cook's Children's Hospital here in Fort Worth. When I learned of a local event called The Blast, which was started to honor the promise one young friend made to another, to help find a cure for children suffering from this disease, I knew we had to be a part of it. The little girl that started the event was only a child herself at the time and started the the run/walk as a part of this promise to her friend, who passed away at the age of 7 from the disease. Last year the event passed the $1 Million mark in funds raised to help Cook Children's Medical Center with neuroblastoma clinical research. I am determined to help her in this cause!
I am so very proud of the RuffleButts team for rallying behind us with this event, many of them committed to showing up very early Saturday morning to participate in the run! If you are here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, we would LOVE to have you join us at The Blast, Saturday March 26th. If you are not in the area, but would like to contribute to this initiative, we would love to share with you the joy of giving!
We are truly honored to have been a part of this event, and as the leader of our business, I am extremely proud to see my team rallying behind a cause so near and dear to my heart. ~Amber
Most people read me as fairly non-emotional at 1st interaction. I'm not super social, but consider myself to be friendly. It is certainly rare that I get emotional in front of others. I want to say it is because I have spent the last 8 years as a CEO that has to pull it together and put on a brave face while we conquer goals bigger than ourselves. In an honest retrospect, I guess I've really always been this way, just mostly even keel, and ready for a challenge. When my closest friend heard that I started RuffleButts, her response was "of course you did." At the time, her response caught me a little off guard, but after a short explanation, I knew exactly what she meant. In a way, my life path prepared and led me right to this journey. In a way, I always knew what I wanted to do, without having any idea what that was...if that makes any sense to anyone!
Anyhow, there are many things about this journey that I completely expected and many more that I did not. One of the things I didn't really see coming was how much I would be impacted by those that signed up to walk along side me in this RuffleButt journey. They affect and impact me more than I ever knew possible. Back to my non-emotional statement earlier, while I may come across fairly non-emotional, I am actually affected quite deeply by those closest to me. As an only child, I don't have a large family, so in a lot of ways, this company has become my family. They are certainly the people that I spend the vast majority of my time with.
Today, these people truly made my day! I had no idea it was bosses day and quite frankly, what is "bosses day" anyway?! While I may technically fall under that definition in some ways, I don't ever considerate it my title in any way. While I may come across as bossy...let me try that again...while I do come across as bossy in many ways, I never think of myself as "the boss". I mostly think of myself as the captain, but a ship without mates would certainly not be a successful one. I carry the responsibility of captain quite seriously, considering that more than 25 people have trusted me enough to put their career in my hands. And, it goes without saying, that I absolutely could not do it without my co-captain (and hubby).
So, this morning our team told me that something was serious and we were needed in the conference room. When we arrived, this incredibly creative creation awaited on the table. As I looked up, our team joined us in the conference room to celebrate "bosses day". I was not only touched by the kind words, but also by the obvious effort that went into such a gift. I have to say I have never seen anything like this candy bar poster before, but what a great idea!!
To my team, THANK YOU!! Thank you for making this dream possible. Thank you for your loyalty to our vision. Thank you for your commitment to helping make it happen. Thank you for your forgiveness that I am far from perfect. Thank you for your understanding when we make mistakes. Thank you for your determination when our goals seem out of reach. Thank you for making us laugh with your clever slack commentaries. Thank you for the in-office entertainment. Thank you for your positive attitudes. Thank you for your lack of drama (seriously, this is a big one!). Thank you for all that you do!
I must admit, I was SUPER indecisive this year when it came to our office holiday party. Mark and I went back and forth trying to figure out what would be rewarding, bonding, and fun for everyone here at the RBOffices. First it was bowling (so team-ish), then it was a restaurant/bar (so typical), then zip-lining (so cold!!). Then, one night (yes, I do most of my good thinking in the middle of the night), I realized that we are not a typical company and don't have to follow the typical office holiday rules. So, right before we all headed home for the holidays, we shared the news...
This Christmas at RuffleButts, I followed my heart and in doing so, my team was right there beside me. I work with the best people ever!! Instead of spending money on a party, I wanted to do something a little different. First, we rewarded each of our team members for their incredible commitment and contributions by treating the gals to the Spa and the guys to an Amazon shopping spree. I wanted to give them each something that they typically would not give themselves. So, that was part 1.
For part 2, I wanted to do something that was in line with our company philosophy. The best gift ever...the gift of giving. Every RB team member received $50. The catch - they had to spend it on someone in need. There were no other rules.
I didn't realize that this was a selfishly unselfish gift, because in the end, it was the best gift for me!! It was so cool as we went around the table at our morning meeting this week and everyone shared what they did with their $50. It was awesome for me to see my dream coming to life, for RuffleButts to be spreading smiles in more ways than one. And honestly, because our team is made up of such incredible people, I think they truly would have chosen this holiday gift over any other.
So, my lessons learned this week:
- Follow your heart
- Giving is just as much, if not more fun than getting
- I work with a bunch of awesome people
- Sometimes, but only sometimes, indecisiveness leads to good things
To wrap it up, I'm sharing our "Bad Christmas Sweater Day" picture. Organized by Laura, the lovely lady that packs your website orders with love, it was a fun and festive day here at RuffleButts. And yes, that is me looking like a turtle about to be hit by a car!! Oh, and Cameron looking at me like I'm a nut! I think Kiki (on the far left) should win the award for best (or worst) Christmas sweater...we never did take a vote!