By Suzanne McNamara, Vice President of Business Development
During dinner this week, my family and I were planning our holiday activities when I was reminded of the importance of giving from the heart during the holiday season. As we merrily chatted about times ahead, my daughter asked me and my husband to instead reflect on our favorite holiday memories. As we went around the table, I noted that each of us had a story to share which involved how happy we felt giving a gift of love that made someone smile. At the end of our conversation, I felt so blessed to be with two people who truly understood the gift of giving that the holiday season brings.
It has been another great year working at Insitu and I can proudly share that people within our company and community continue to amaze me with their own giving, caring culture. Not only is it important that we as employees take time to give ourselves so we can help each other be successful, but that we also help our community through the value of giving back to those in need.
There are few things more magical for a child than waking up during the holiday season and running to the living room to enjoy presents waiting in all their resplendent glory. To make sure families in need are able to provide a bit of this magic throughout our community, Insitu has participated in the annual Tree of Joy campaign for the last several years. This campaign allows families to make a wish list of items their child either wants or needs, which is then transferred to a tag and hung on the trees set up in several of our facilities. After a few days, the tags are all gone and in their place are dozens of presents waiting to be tucked under the tree of a child who is about to receive some unexpected magic this holiday season.
During our Tree of Joy campaign, many families request that their children be given a coat or sweatshirt as a gift. No child should have to go through the winter months without a warm coat to wear, so Insitu also participates in the annual Coats for Kids drive. Given that our headquarters and many of our facilities are located in the Pacific Northwest where winters can be on the frigid and wet side, many of our employees gladly donate new or gently used coats to help local families in need keep kids warm and dry.
Beyond the holiday season, Insitu continues to perpetuate a culture of caring and giving through various initiatives that promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in our communities. I’ve previously written about our annual RoboFlight Academy where students get to build and fly unmanned aircraft while being mentored by professionals in the aerospace industry. We also work closely with the Gorge Technology Alliance to take advantage of other opportunities to boost STEM education in our community, like giving our employees the chance to coach students on local Lego League teams or guide high school students on tours of our production facilities. In the end, sharing a little bit of Insitu culture with schools and education programs not only provides students with an opportunity to explore an interest in STEM fields, but also benefits our company in the long run by providing a foundation for inspiring future Insitu talent.
The donation of time, coats, and gifts that our employees so heartily support reminds me not only of the conversation my family had about our best memories of the holidays, but also of the values we have embedded in our Insitu culture. In reflecting on my year at Insitu, I continue to be amazed and appreciative of how much people care and continue to support each other in both small ways and large.