2022 word of the year: CARE

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Each year at YMC we choose a word for the following year. We never throw away the word(s) from previous years, rather we choose a word to build upon for the upcoming year. In the past our words of the year have been:

  • Expert
  • Quality, Consistency, Calm (we chose three in 2019)
  • Strategic
  • Collaborative

For 2022, we’re choosing the word care. As a verb, the word care means to look after and provide for the needs of. As I shared with our team a few weeks ago, I want to look after and care for the needs of my team members and their families. If my team is cared for, I know my clients will be cared for. Likewise, each team member is charged with caring for our clients and their members.

I chose the word care as I reflected on several interviews with potential YMC team members throughout the year. When asked what I was looking for in our next hire, I kept coming back to the word care. “If you care about the work you do and care about your team members, everything else will take care of itself.” If you care about the work you do, I know you’re going to do the right thing and produce quality work beyond just checking a box. If you care about your team members, I know that everyone is collaborating to make each other successful, and therefore our clients successful.

It wasn’t a few days later that an email from Chip Filson hit my inbox with the story of businessman Aaron Feuerstein who gained fame when a fire destroyed the textile mill he owned. Facing the decision of whether to rebuild and whether to continue to pay his 1,400 workers who were left destitute in the dead of winter, he chose to take the road less traveled and continued to pay his workers after the fire. Chip summed this story up by saying this: “As a business leader, he captured the hearts of his employees and the imagination of Americans everywhere. What made Aaron Feuerstein famous was not success but his attitude in the face of catastrophe. He became a model of how employers should treat their workers.”

As a “high D” on the DISC charts, I often forget to choose empathy. I’m so task-focused, I forget there are people involved in the day-to-day. People who have families going through tough times, who want to be celebrated and enjoy a life well-lived. I chose the word “care” for my team, but more so as a reminder for me to be mindful to care.

Now I ask, how will you be seen in 2022? Will your actions show your members that you care? Will your actions show your employees that you care? My hope is that my team, my clients, and my community will know that I care through my actions rather than words. I’ll be mindful to let my actions speak louder than my words.

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Alex VanHaasteren

Senior Web Developer

Alex is YMC’s Senior Web Developer and, as the title suggests, she is an absolute pro! While she initially started in graphic design – working long and hard to expertly bring concepts to life – she also felt drawn to technology and applying her natural ability to problem solve. Web Development proved the perfect blend of her creative passion and technical savvy.

When Alex is out with friends – including her YMC colleagues – she’s up for Greek cuisine or some good pulled pork BBQ washed down with Diet Coke. Or an Old Fashioned, if the occasion demands. Someday, she hopes to go to Africa on a safari. Hopefully she’ll see a giraffe in the wild, because – as she’s pointed out – its neck is too short to reach the ground!

When she isn’t jamming out to T-Swift, she’s happy to impart some marketing words of wisdom, “Aim to create something unforgettable.” For day-to-day inspiration, she would remind you of two fundamental truths: You decide your happiness, and Ice cream is its own food group—not just a dessert.

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