Our First and (hopefully) Last Virtual Holiday Party
Never in a million years would I have imagined a day that our annual Abelson/Taylor office holiday party would be a virtual event. But as the new saying goes, this is 2020. A year of unprecedented times.
It was great seeing many faces we hadn’t seen in a long, long time! Many dressed for the occasion. We shared our pets, children, homes and holiday decorations. There was a birthday celebration, the first night of Hanukkah, and many new employees hired this year.
Once several hundred employees were tuned in our leader Dale Taylor announced, “this is the last virtual party we’re going to have.” After some observations about the impact of the pandemic, and acknowledgement that “many have been burdened with full time work during a busy time while being educator, parent, caregiver,” he complimented the staff for showing how efficiently they haven been working at home.
President Jeff Berg followed with a series of both humorous and touching employee videos about how they were doing at home during the pandemic.
Our firm has an annual tradition of donating alcohol for a booze raffle benefiting a particular charity. This year, the proceeds of our raffle are going to Southern Smoke, a relief organization for workers in the food and beverage industries, and the Chicago Restaurant Worker Relief Fund, which was created by Southern Smoke specifically to help Chicago restaurant, bar and coffee shop workers who have lost their jobs or had their wages drastically reduced because of the pandemic. This fund will provide emergency need-based relief grants to these workers. Abelson/Taylor staff raised more than $5,000 for this organization.
Our guest speaker, Dr. James Doty, a clinical professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford University and director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, an affiliate of the Stanford Neurosciences Institute. He is also the author of “Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart.”
Dr. Doty shared with us his personal experience of growing up in poverty and neglect, and how he found comfort and direction in a total stranger who taught him about the extraordinary things that can happen when we harness the power of both our brains and our hearts. In a much-needed message for the times, he reminded us that we always have the power to control how we respond to external events. People often attribute their suffering to outside events and other people, but once we accept that we can’t control those things, only our own responses, we create a new path to healing and can change our perceptions of the world. Dr. Doty offered motivation and inspiration during times when we need more of both. It was the perfect way to wrap up this crazy year of 2020.
Thanks to our IT department, Facilities, Senior leaders and Dose who helped make it our first and last holiday virtual party – hopefully.
Cheers to 2021 and to seeing friends and family again. Happy Holidays and let’s plan on being together in person next year!