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| Written by Anne Zambrano

Developing a Culture Where Employees Thrive in Gratitude

Being grateful for your place of employment involves more than just a work-life balance. Our employees are passionate about how we serve our clients. And, as a result, they work hard; sometimes traveling for up to 10 days at a time, maintaining long onsite hours and conscientiously problem-solving while continuously looking for improvement opportunities. For those who are not onsite producing meetings or events, they are working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure every detail is accounted for or they are diligently supporting our clients, their team members, or client program.

Event management is nonstop. Once one program concludes another one begins – and that is if you are lucky to be only working on one event at a time [insert chuckle]. In fact, event management is continually named one of the most stressful careers in popular publications such as CBS New’s recent story.

Taking all of this into consideration, it’s sometimes challenging to know what your employees are going to value most. In true M&IW style, a couple of employees, Dan Filar, Strategic Account Manager, and Maggie Phillips-Duran, Assistant Manager, Program Management, recognized this and saw an opportunity to up-level M&IW’s employee well-being, and most importantly, decided to speak up.  

Hence, M&IW’s Community Action Council (CAC) was born. The CAC is a council of employees committed to enhancing our culture building initiatives, including employee engagement, inclusiveness, satisfaction, and wellness. This council will be focused on positive, productive solutions.  The CAC works as a conduit with leadership to help identify and qualify work challenges and opportunities that are important to the employees and work collectively toward creating and implementing actionable solutions.  

Although members will rotate as time goes by our founding council members include Dan Filar, Strategic Account Manager; Maggie Phillips-Duran, Assistant Manager, Program Management; Pamala Wuest, Account Lead; David Bergdorf, Senior Designer, Event Technology; Shana Schwarz, Assistant Manager, Reconciliation & Compliance Reporting; and Kristie Rogers, Manager, Recruiting & Training, Talent Engagement.  

We caught up with our new council members to better understand the story behind the story and the following is what we discovered: 

Q. What motivated you to form the CAC?  

A. Our employees were our motivation. Too often, during periods of rapid growth, organizations don’t spend enough time focusing on their people and internal process. The focus generally falls on fulfilling client service standards and maintain the overall wellness of the business. At M&IW, our employees are so committed to going above and beyond for our clients every day that it was important to us to create a group focused on giving our employees the same commitment and service we give to our clients, regardless of the business environment.  

Q.  What are you most excited about with regards to the CAC?  

A.  We are most excited about the support we’ve received from leadership to start the CAC and how they’ve aligned the CAC to other initiatives focused on talent engagement. We’re ready to tackle the concept of employee wellness and promote positive change for our employees, across the organization. 

Q: What is in store for the next 6 months for CAC?  

A.  Over the next 6 months, we are focused on laying the foundation for the CAC and analyzing the current state of our employee satisfaction. Our goal is to understand what our employees value most at M&IW and also, what they’d like to see change. To start, some of the core areas we’re exploring are employee growth/development and improving overall work-life balance. 

M&IW’s CAC is committed to flipping the script on the common idiom of “work-life” balance and introducing the concept of “LIFE-work” balance to the M&IW workplace. By rethinking how employees work, the CAC will develop programs that are truly employee-centric and create efficiencies that allow employees to live more and work less. The CAC members are the employees’ advocates and are there to ensure employees maximize their experience at M&IW in return leaving, the employee filled with gratitude for their place of employment.   

If you are interested in learning more about the story behind the story, contact M&IW’s Community Action Council at