The holidays provide a special time to count our blessings and express thanks. But it is important to remember that gratitude is more than giving thanks once. Gratitude is the act of living in a constant state of thankfulness, and being always ready to return the kindness you witness and receive.
At TOMS, we are so grateful for the work our Giving Partners do each and every day. During the Season of Thanks, they are on the top of our list. But I believe the best way to truly thank them is to reflect on our relationship; to think about the shared values that make us stronger together and to consider the ways we can lift each other up in the coming year.
Last month, TOMS headed to New York City to rally our community around the Global Goals during UN Week. The Global Goals for Sustainable Development are a set of 17 goals that outline a vision of a better tomorrow. Throughout the week, we convened business and cultural leaders at our New York store to educate and inspire our community to take action on these goals.
The TOMS Store in NYC served as the Global Citizen + TOMS Community Action Hub that hosted several panels on the Global Goals during UN Week.
It comes as no surprise that one of the most compelling conversations was about the Power of Partnership. Our new Chief Giving Officer, Amy Smith, led five of our Giving Partners in a candid, inspiring discussion about what is working in partnerships, and how we must evolve the ways we work together to solve the world’s biggest challenges.
Global Citizen Panel on the Power of Partnership (left to right) Kathy Spahn (CEO, Helen Keller International), Nancy Lublin (CEO, Crisis Text Line), Carolyn Miles (CEO, Save the Children), Nancy Aossey (President, International Medical Corp), Zubaida Bai (Founder and CEO, ayzh) and Amy Smith (Chief Giving Officer, TOMS).
Global Goal 17, Partnering for the Goals, calls for organizations everywhere – in the public and private sector – to come together and collaborate to create the world we want to live in. Partnership is both core to TOMS and part of the DNA of each organization we work with. As each of our Giving Partners talked about the life saving work they are able to accomplish through collaboration, it became increasingly apparent that the only way forward is together.
At the beginning of the discussion, Amy asked the entire room, “How many of you are married, have a partner, or have been married? How many of you played on a sports team? How many of you managed a relationship that was outside of your organization, but critical to the success of your organization?” Every hand in the room went up.
“So you’ve all been part of a partnership, in some way, shape or form – as part of your career or part of your life,” she said, “So you understand that Partnerships have to have mutual benefit. They have to have a shared set of goals. They have to bring complementary skills together. There has to be passion in a partnership, and everyone has to have a little skin in the game.”
This idea – that the values we have in our personal relationships should translate to our professional lives – is at the core of everything we do at TOMS. Our Giving Partners make the TOMS story possible. But they also inspire us to think differently, push us to do better, and make us incredibly hopeful of the future we can all build together.