We have a lot to be thankful for, so we’re just going to get right to it.
Kim Bode, owner
Narrowing down what I am thankful for is tough – I am beyond blessed to live this life. Let me give it a go. I have an amazing support system between my husband, my brother and a ton of kick-ass women. This past year has seen a lot of growth for 834 and we have an incredibly talented staff. Although there will be several changes, we have the right foundation to continue to build an exceptional team and portfolio of work. Also, coffee. I am so thankful for coffee. When that alarm goes off at 5 a.m. every morning, it is the only thing that gets me out of bed. Thank you, Keurig, for always being there for me.
Adrienne Wallace, director
Technology – how in the hell else would I get all this shit done?! We tend to take for granted the simple things, like free or fast Wi-Fi. Slow it down people and try to remember the time that you had to be plugged in. Even before that … remember AOL DIAL UP? Now thank you lucky stars that you can use your Google Pixel phone with 128GB of memory (which is approximately 20x what my first desktop computer had inside) to communicate pretty much anywhere; you know … like whenever you need to leave a bad restaurant review, send a poop emoji to your brother or shop during the once-a-year Sephora sale. Isn’t progress amazing?
Local nonprofits – post election I felt pretty helpless. My “team” was on the losing side and I knew I had to pour some money / energy into something bigger than just my lonesome disgust. So, I looked up my local nonprofit activist friends and started moving my extra resources their way. There is nothing more fulfilling than giving to your own community through a larger group with a national presence like Planned Parenthood or the ACLU. I know my time and money is being used here in my community, but is also attached to larger initiatives and lobbying to make sure that my friends have access to proper health care and their personal freedoms are protected.
Rebecca Dutcher, web director
I’m thankful for so many things. My family and friends, first and foremost. But as I look back on this year with the team of amazing women I work with, and the election with the first woman presidential candidate, I am truly thankful for the many strong women who have influenced my life. There have been several women who have influenced me personally and professionally, from teachers in grade school, professors in college, my Mom and both of my Grandmothers to the exceptional women I’ve met throughout my career.
I’m thankful for the courage they demonstrated. I’m thankful for the strength and influence they provided to me. And, most of all, the inspiration and support that have impacted my life in ways I never thought possible. When we truly support each other, amazing things will happen.
Grace Johnson-Connor, project manager
I am most thankful for my family. We might not be your traditional nuclear family, but we are totally crazy, fight to be unique and I love it. My daughter’s authenticity and curiosity is the most refreshing thing in my life. To see things through the eyes of a five-year-old girl is fun, insightful and sometimes a little scary. My husband is amazing to put up with me and I am truly grateful to find someone that both challenges and supports me. And finally, our dog Bianca fits right in, she is high energy and always up to play.
Julie Sheeran, creative director
In an effort to keep things light and avoid the sap (which we all know I’m incapable of), here we go: I’m super thankful to live in a community that embraces the arts the way it does. Grand Rapids is so open to creative ways of doing and seeing things and I am very proud to be a part of it. I am very lucky to have been able to pursue a creative career in an area that appreciates the value of design. Having a career that I enjoy getting up and going to every day makes work feel less like a job and life a little more fun.
…and if I didn’t say how thankful I am for my cats, Blaze and Fluffz and snacks every 2 hours, you would think someone wrote this post;)
Lindsay Patton-Carson, content director
Obviously, I’m always thankful for loved ones and my two turnt-AF dogs. But we can all agree that 2016 has been an interesting (to say the least) year for everyone. What it’s showed me, however, is the power that smart, passionate women hold. I’ve never been more supported, encouraged and empowered by fellow women than I have this year. At 834, I’m not only surrounded by intelligent, ambitious women, but I’ve met so many inspiring career women and female entrepreneurs outside of my closest colleagues. The election results especially showed how appreciative I am for the women in my life. In the weeks since Trump’s win, I’ve seen women fight, speak out, volunteer and donate to show how committed they are to their own rights, as well as the rights of their marginalized friends and loved ones. More than ever, I’m proud to be a woman and thankful for the women I surround myself with.
Jessica Krysinska, digital media lead
This year was quite eventful for me and has given me many things to be thankful for. I’m thankful for the experiences I gained when competing in an educational student competition for advertising and winning third place in our region. I’m thankful for the team-building skills and friendships I’ve made throughout that experience. Shortly after, I graduated and am so thankful for my education and the amazing professors who have mentored me. I am thankful for the warm summer and great sights I got to see while roaming around West Michigan, as well as my summer internship in downtown Grand Rapids. I realized then that I never want to leave this town. I am thankful for my career opportunity and friendships found at 834. And of course, I’m thankful for those closest to me for dealing with me and being by my side throughout.
Nicole Winter, associate
I’m thankful for the Humane Society and other animal shelter organizations. My family adopted our tabby cat, Sunny, seventeen years ago during the holidays. He’s been a staple of our lives ever since and is still as healthy as ever. I think animal shelters are incredible organizations. They rescue hurt, abused and abandoned animals and work hard to find them a new forever home. As an expression of our thankfulness, my family spends a day every holiday season delivering food, treats and toys to our local Humane Society – before spending some time playing with the cats and dogs, of course!
Sarah Pontbriand, associate
I am thankful that I have such a loving support system filled with family and friends, amazing opportunities everywhere I look as I pursue a college degree, and that I am currently living a happy and healthy life. As I think about this year, I am thankful for the many people that have influenced my experiences, that I stood alongside my sister in our cousin’s wedding, and that I voted for my first time in the 2016 presidential election. Among the many things that I am thankful for, I am most appreciative that I can celebrate them all while being in college, yet close enough to my family.
Ali Gillman, associate
I’m thankful for coffee, mostly because it prepares me for my day and is what keeps me going. Also, it’s a huge connection tool, both personal and professional. Walking into 834 on my first day, seeing how coffee played a huge role in the office, as much as my personal life, is what made me feel like I belong at here. Coffee has also been a part of my personal time. It’s nice to take time to myself to have a few sips before the daily madness begins. Coffee has also been a connecting factor for my mother and I (who I’m also thankful for). Coffee didn’t become a factor in my life until I became an adult, and as my love for coffee grew, so did my connection with her. Our similar coffee addiction is what was the first step into our relationship today. Coffee has helped me build so many relationships with professors and peers throughout my college career. It’s helped me get through all-nighters at Calder to early morning classes. I’m thankful for everyone in my life, but I owe it to coffee for keeping me sane.