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Roasts, Toasts, Cooking Competitions, and Community Service – Reflecting on 2010

Submitted by on December 7, 2010 – 10:06 am6 Comments

Three healthcentral employees posing As the year closes out, everyone is finishing up year-end tasks, frantically holiday shopping to find that perfect gift, or making plans for parties and family gatherings – and we, at HealthCentral, decided to celebrate 2010 with our annual holiday party.  Our peers from around the country gathered together this past Thursday in Arlington at our headquarters and partook in a slew of activities.  We also held our first annual Day-of-Service, which I will say moved me to tears.  More on that in a minute…

So let me start from the top – We spend the beginning of each month as a company to meet and go over the previous month’s revenue #s, accomplishments, events, and important company information.  This month was no different, but we did have all of our employees under one roof verses the video conferencing that normally takes place.  We spent a few minutes going over the important stuff but jumped right into a roast for a very influential co-worker who has been called by the administration to serve our country.  While we are all extremely excited for him, we couldn’t let him go without a proper send-off…and P.S. Ted, I will get a blog post from you one day!  Managers followed with toasts to their teams - it was a great way to end a company meeting.  What could be better than champagne and a sorority-esque poem to me from my manager telling me how awesome I am??

Within the hour we were all heading to our venue for our company holiday party.  We booked CulinAerie, a recreational cooking school – and what a fab place this was!  The owners, Susan Holt and Susan Watterson, were amazing in helping us coordinate our 80-person team.  We started out with drinks and a demo of what we would be cooking.  I’m amazed at how they kept our attention through the demo, drinks, and fondue they provided for us – fondue?  Yup, you read that right…  It was a delicious way to kick things off.  Then the fun began!  We were divided into groups of 6 or 7 and began working on our list of foods.  My group was responsible for Exotic Mushroom and Chevre Tart, Salad of Frisee, Bacon, Crouton and Poached Egg, and Butterscotch Pudding.  Hungry yet?  I had my reservations about the recipes – they all seemed pretty fancy and with drinks flowing and 80 people, the attention spans were at a minimum.  But each group got through all the recipes successfully, no “incidents”, even as our CEO, Chris, used a blow torch – yikes!  And the food was amazing… See pix if you want to see what I’m talking about!  (Oh and thanks to the Susans and CulinAerie for a great night!)

It was really great to have everyone together, having fun, and enjoying each other’s company.  Competition quickly ensued as groups raced around the tables trying each other’s dishes – I’m pretty sure my table had the best poached egg around, thanks Dan!  The night continued next door at The Donovan House, where we arranged to have a night cap in their bar-equipped lobby – did I mention their ceiling-hanging chairs?  Big shout out to Chris, the maitre d’, who was fabulous.  We had a great time and the night cap became, well, quite the after party….

As I said in the beginning, we ended all the festivities with a Day-of-Service on Friday.  This year we wanted to take a step back and think about how what we do every day goes back to what our mission is – empowering people to improve and take control of their health and well-being.  With our mission and values in mind, we wanted to take time and thank those around us for what they do every day. We had three different service activities that we felt spanned across a wide array of areas – and in their own way, make us all remember what others are doing for us, whether it be our service men and women serving overseas, or those that ensure our community is safe and clean or those that help educate and nurture our children.

I chose sending care packages to the troops.  Like a lot of people, I know quite a few serving our country overseas so I can be safe.  No matter your political affiliation, these people are mothers/fathers, brothers/sisters, daughters/sons, husbands/wives, cousins, aunts/uncles, friends, etc.  These are people and they need our support.  I was so moved when a co-worker brought in pictures of her husband and his unit.  She educated us on where they are stationed and gave us background stories of who these people are; who their wives and children are.  We put faces to the names we were sending supplies to and that was just amazing.  We were able send 45 boxes spread across 8 men, one of which I’ve known for almost 10 years.  The post office was, as you can imagine, quite surprised when a group of us walked in with these boxes, ready to get shipped!  In the meantime, other folks went out to help clean up a stream in our area (and found a slew of surprising items!), while others hosted a winter-themed pizza party for local students at an elementary school – and came back with quite a spread of glitter!

This whirlwind of events has been pretty amazing.  I am so thankful to be a part of a team who not only works hard for the mission and values of our company but in each other as well.  Through our roasts, toasts, competitions, and service activities, everyone came together as a team.  I look forward to what 2011 brings for this company and it really does make my 2+ hour round trip commute each day worthwhile.

Happy Holidays everyone!  ‘Til next year…
Our HealthCentral Festivus Recap

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