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In 2021, Choose Kind

With 2020 finally behind us, we find ourselves reflecting on what is important or what we want to work on improving. I have many things on my list, but one topic I am constantly perplexed by is how we treat one another… and 2020 seemed to highlight both the best and the worst examples. 

Back in 2019, I wrote about my son’s elementary school adopting the slogan “Choose Kind.” I was touched seeing signs with this slogan throughout the school and the simple reminder that we can choose. While the past year has brought forth unique (and strenuous) circumstances for many of us, this still rings true: we can choose to be kind or mean, we can choose to give great service or bad service, we can choose to set a positive or negative example for others. 

If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s the importance of bringing our best self to everything we do and of treating one another with kindness, one interaction - one choice - at a time...

Smile – even from behind a mask, positive energy can make a great impact
Treat others as you’d like to be treated – the opposite of this just doesn’t make any sense
Listen – really care about what is being said... you can learn so much
Do what you say – be honest with yourself and the people you make commitments to
No problem is too big to solve (really) – even 2020 sized mountains can be climbed
Have fun – laughter can boost anyone’s spirits and build post-holiday (or quarantine) stomach muscles 
Be humble – the world is changing now more than ever; you can always learn more
It is okay to disagree – just be agreeable in the approach and respect other opinions
Say thank you – the world needs your appreciation
Have empathy – put yourself in someone else’s shoes and attempt to understand
Progress, not perfection – As 2020 has shown us, it’s about the journey
Go the extra mile – do the thing that isn’t being asked to really make someone’s day

As the Vice President of Client Services at Foundant Technologies, I find Choosing Kind to be particularly important in work life as well. As I write this, the Foundant Team has been working remote for nine and a half months. While we were in a better position to go fully remote than many organizations, we have still faced many challenges. We had some teams that had never had remote members before. Many teams added brand-new members… navigating the onboarding process and training via all virtual processes. Not to mention intern graduates, virtual college recruiting, and shifting to a fully virtual support team. Choosing Kind was not just important, but necessary when our only connections were through a computer screen. 

I am truly blessed to be part of an organization that makes space for its team members to do what they need to do for themselves and their families; that gives grace to those who need support and understanding; and embodies the type of culture where team members support one another through empathy and compassion. 2020 showed me no shortage of perplexing and sometimes heartbreaking situations, but I find comfort and understanding as part of an organization that holds such a high standard in sharing these values with others, one interaction at a time.

“If you have a choice between being right and being kind, choose kind."
-Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

About the Author

As Foundant’s VP of Client Services, I thrive on seeing my team bring successful clients onboard with Foundant and then strengthen those relationships through a commitment to exceptional service. Originally from Minnesota, I made Montana home with my family over 13 years ago. I have a technical background focused on customer service delivery with a degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Central Florida. I have successfully performed roles in support, project management, consulting, and leading and managing teams in both professional services and customer success. I am excited to share my experiences to help further drive improvements to support the philanthropic community as well as the entire Foundant team.

Profile Photo of Heather Fust