“When it comes to human dignity, we cannot make compromises”– Angela Merkel
TRG spends a lot of time traveling all over the country to produce corporate meetings. When we have a moment between shows to take a breath, we take time to give back to our communities at home. TRG teammate Amy Darbyshire has dedicated time volunteering for IDignity over the past year. IDignity is a Central Florida organization that was established to help those that may be disadvantaged gather the legal documentation necessary to obtain an identification. Having an ID enables the clients to apply for a job or school, open a bank account, access shelter, vote, and seek help from social services.
Here is Amy’s story of her experience as a volunteer:
One reason I was drawn to iDignity and chose to volunteer for the organization was their motto: “Restoring dignity & hope by providing identification.” Dignity is a basic human emotion and one that we tend not to think about unless we are put into a situation where we are seeking it or feel it’s absence. I was assigned to be a shepherd at both IDiginity events that I have participated in over the past year. The function of that role is to make sure the clients feel welcomed, comfortable, and at ease with the process as they go to different stations to obtain the pieces of information they need. Clients may have to “travel” to as many as four or more stations during the event including intake, legal, social security, in-state or out-of-state birth certificates and the Florida Licensing on Wheels (FLOW) mobile unit. It seemed like the job was too basic and one I was hesitant to take on the first time I was assigned to the role. It meant making small talk with over 100 individuals – which is painful and exhausting for an introvert.
It turned out to be the most rewarding assignment for the event and one I was excited to be assigned to again last week. What an opportunity to bring a smile to someone’s day. Unlike the volunteers assigned to the stations, the shepherds interact with every single person that walks in the door – usually more than once. Many clients had spent the prior night in a shelter, in their car, in jail, or on the streets. You don’t know when they had their last meal or what their last interaction with another person felt like. The most honest instruction we were given was to look each person in the eye and show them they matter. And in turn just about every client was friendly and grateful for the services that were being provided.
I was surprised to realize the similarities between my work as a meeting producer and my chosen volunteer activity. I have three very specific goals for every live event I produce:
- Technical excellence (which is why I hire amazing technical partners to rely upon to make this possible)
- Seamless execution (things will go wrong but it’s how you react to the issue that is important)
- An extraordinary experience for everyone involved in the event. This applies to attendees, the meeting planning team, company leaders, the venue and my production team. In my eyes, no one group is more important than the other.
Any interaction with those involved in the meeting deserves the same intense dedication to making the experience a good one. Even though TRG is “the production team,” we make sure any attendee that looks lost is directed to the correct place and escorted there in person. Every executive that needs attention is given ours fully. Any time we can jump in and help the meeting team with any task, no matter how minor or how far out of our wheelhouse, we do it. The same held true for each client that walked through the door at the IDiginity event.
It doesn’t matter what your position is in a company or your station is in life. Everyone deserves to feel like they are being treated with dignity.