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At Thanksgiving, gratitude begins at home and extends to our work life


We’re just over a week away from our annual Thanksgiving Day gatherings when friends and families across America assemble for a few hours or a few days and (hopefully) put politics, protests, and pressures aside in favor of time spent among those we cherish the most. (It’s also the one day a year when everyone seems to get a free pass to gorge at a table overflowing with enough food to feed an army of teen-aged boys.)

Beyond the obvious and timeless points of gratitude – family, friends, freedom, good health and prosperity – there are many, many other seemingly pedestrian but still significant things in today’s world that make our day-to-day lives a little more manageable and fulfilling. Julie and I put our heads together and came up with a dozen things which make our work lives a little more productive, efficient and satisfying.

In no particular order, here they are …

Julie Thompson-Whelan

  • The nature of the global meetings and events industry that has allowed me to venture to parts of the world I might never have otherwise visited. Specifically, I am grateful for having had the chance to visit Phuket, Thailand (spectacular!), Cartegena, Columbia (so much history) and, a little closer to home, Santa Barbara, CA (the best of everything Cali has to offer). Work has taken me to more countries that I can even tally up, and to five of the seven continents. Heads up, Africa and Antarctica, I’ll see you one day!
  • I am thankful that international cellular plans have evolved. These days, talking, texting and even video-conferencing from somewhere on the globe are very easy to do and don’t cost an arm and a leg (maybe two legs) like they did a few short years ago.
  • Delta Air Lines’ new IM offering. It’s now possible to stay connected with friends, family and colleagues while onboard a plane with free Instant Messaging without getting dinged with costly inflight wi-fi fees.
  • My hotspot on my phone. I know, I know, I’m starting to sound like a certified, UL-tested, 100% USDA-approved techno-geek but my smart devices are my lifelines. Since I’m always on the go, it’s nice to know I can be productive wherever work or life demands find me.
  • My flexible work schedule. Some days, I’m sharper in the morning, other days later at night. And some days I just have some personal middle-of-the-afternoon errands to run and I can do that, knowing I can start earlier or play catch-up later. There is indeed much to be said for work-life balance and its positive impact on productivity and stress reduction.
  • The ability to work from home. Piggybacking on my previous item, do you know how much time we gain back when we don’t have to endure the daily grind of morning-noon-mid-afternoon-evening rush hour …? Not to mention time spent getting presentable to walk into the workplace, running to the dry cleaner to pick up business attire, etc. Plus, look at what you save on gas, general wear and tear on your vehicle, and eating lunch out Monday to Friday. When you’re focused and self-disciplined (most would agree), you’re far more productive working from the comfy confines of your own casa.
  • My awesome team. I am truly grateful to be surrounded by outstanding, super-professional work colleagues and vendor-partners. It reminds me of the old line: “I stand tall among men (actually, women and men) because I rest on the shoulders of many.” None of us in this biz can do it all by ourselves. It takes a team … and mine rocks!
  • Clients that are friends, and friends that are clients. Some feel it unwise to mix business and pleasure. In some cases, that may be true but for me, I am thankful for those wonderful people that I file under the heading “Friend and Client”.

Back to you, Kenneth …

Kenneth Jones

  • I am thankful for the GPS in my car. True confessions here: My map-reading skills were never great even though I was a Boy Scout. I’m telling you, leave me behind in the woods without my GPS and I might just morph into a bear before I’m able to find my way home. My GPS has saved me on many occasions when my sense of direction remained on hiatus.
  • The evolution of technology. Like Julie, I am so grateful for today’s technology and excited about what tomorrow will bring. So many tech tools – smart devices, mobile apps, internet-based services, etc. – have helped us raise the bar for our clients, and helped me become more productive and efficient.
  • Partners who deliver. While the world around us changes at mach-lightning-warp speed (that’s fast!), some things remain constant. Among them, the fact that successful relationships – personal and professional – are built on a bedrock of reliability, respect and trust. I am here to serve my partners and my partners feel the same way about me. In the end, we all win – but most importantly, our clients win. Speaking of clients …
  • I am grateful for the respectful and thoughtful clients in my life. Among the greatest of my many blessings are the wonderful men and women who connect and operate on a humane level in the business world. Amid today’s craziness, that means a lot. My team and I consider ourselves privileged to have the opportunity to co-author our clients’ success.

So, as you ready to go over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house, the beach, the mountains, down the street, or simply into your own dining room on Thanksgiving Day, remember we all have so much to be grateful for.


This Thanksgiving, look beyond the obvious and consider those things in your day-to-day work life that make things a little easier, and that make you less stressed, more productive and truly grateful!

Happy turkey, y’all!