TEN YEARS OF ROASTING AND TOASTING! Where did the time go?
We recently had our 10th annual Roast and Toast. When we started the tradition, there were just 10 of us. The goal — to say lovely, complimentary things to each other and, in doing so, boost morale and bond as a team. What we weren’t expecting? That hilarity would ensue! Along with all of the nice and lovely flattery, were some knee-slapping jabs and rib-tickling burns. And so we added a little roast to our toast, and a tradition was born.
In the days leading up to this year’s Roast and Toast, I wondered if the tradition had run its course. Should we end it on a high at the 10-year mark? With 23 team members and everyone so busy, had Roast and Toast become too much of a logistical challenge and just another obligatory Zoom call? But then we all got together and immediately I remembered why we started doing it in the first place. Per usual, there was lots of laughter and warm fuzzy feelings. But what really tickled me this year was that no one wanted to leave at the end of the call. We kind of all just sat there for a moment. It was like high school crushes talking to each other on the phone saying, “no, you hang up first.”
So there you have it. As long as I’m around, Roast and Toast is here to stay. Even though there’s usually some chatter about the growing number of “thank you notes” to be churned out each year, when we all get together for this annual tradition, magic happens. For me, it’s an important reminder of how lucky we are to work together. The fact is, everyone at Foster Made brings something unique and special to the table. And the fact that we take the time to acknowledge and celebrate that is also what makes Foster Made such a great place to work.
But enough mushy stuff! Here are the greatest hits from our 2023 Roast & Toast:
Alan: I appreciate Alan’s willingness to take a look at something and give his opinion. Alan comes off as a genuinely nice guy. Although Alan was a professional soccer player for a season, I’ve been delighted to learn he is, in fact, a nerd like me. Alan’s only been here a short while, but he’s rocketed to the top of the list of my favorite FM colleagues.
Arielle: Arielle has already proven she’s happy to jump in and help. Arielle dove absolutely head-first into everything she could at Foster Made. She’s engaging, eager to grow, and excited for what she does and it shows. She has a thing for donuts and tacos.
Brigid: Brigid brings an impressive amount of calm to all of her work. She’s always willing to give me a designer's eyeballs in a pinch. Color wizard, UI extraordinaire. Her voice is like the fine mist on a spring meadow at dawn. Her designs are the sparkle emoji personified.
Katie: She’s attentive, communicative and stays on top of things. She’s positivity embodied. Katie combines heart-felt, honest compassion with determination and accountability. Katie could make even the meanest grouch smile. I’m thankful for her unholy (yet somehow still fabulous) taste in crocs.
Justin: He’s so talented and kind and reminds me that I need to share more adorable baby pictures with others. He has the best radio voice at Foster Made and has a great Lego collection. Justin has a clear way of explaining things and a welcoming personality that helps people feel comfortable. No one else will bash macs with me like Justin.
Lakshami: Lucky casts a warm yet direct sunshine onto all of her work. She is wild, untamed and cares so much about people – all in a refreshingly raw way. She is a bright light and real-life care bear! Lucky keeps it real 100% of the time. A potty mouth dev with a project manager’s brain! What’s not to love?
Patty: She has a firm determination to keep the boat steady on course and a friendly demeanor which keeps it from tipping. She is the client call conversation queen. Her desire to want to know how something works or why it is the way it is, helps us grow. Her surprise singing solos are always perfectly timed.
Brian: He is the silliest of all gooses. Brian is always ready with a thoughtful opinion or a cat pic. Or both. He’s a deeply thoughtful dude who cares so much about building things in a totally unbreakable way. I am grateful for Brian’s positive nature, which can make not-so-positive circumstances feel more positive by the fact of his being there.
Jamara: Collaborating with you is like slowly sipping my morning cup of coffee wrapped in a blanket. Jamara retains an air of mystery. She is a calm capable juggernaut of scheduling and task-making. She keeps us on our toes and pushing in the right direction!
Kim: Kim’s bright enthusiasm coupled with her limitless ability create a force to be reckoned with. I’m thankful for her advice on kid’s TV shows. She’s so very thoughtful and thorough and on top of everything all at once without breaking a sweat. Kim is a crazy smart gem.
Haley: Haley is zen doodle calm. And just so damn smart. She’s the wholeeeeeeee burrito bowl with guac and chips on the side. She takes a messed up, brain dump of word vomit and makes a logical, clear as crystal summation. She’s a master of presentation and working with clients. She is a wealth of knowledge, an inspiration, and a force to be reckoned with.
Jill: Jill is the type of leader you’d want to follow wherever. Peanut butter couldn’t be more nutty or more on top of sh*t than Jill. She’s the bossiest of bosses in the best way possible. She is hilarious, cool as a cucumber, and she slays at her job. She knows all the best reality shows.
Adrian: He’s the most helpful helper that ever did help anyone. He’s insightful, witty, and really, really funny. He’s thoughtful yet hilarious. Every slack conversation starts with “G’day,” and that makes me happy. I love Adrian’s colorful hair and personality.
Listwella: Listwella is the engine that keeps this train running. In a room full of screaming, angry, and confused toddlers, Listwella, is the calm, patient, and understanding parent who manages to ensure none of us kills ourselves. She’s the most adulty adult I know and super capable. She’s an Earth angel and incredible writer.
Adam W.: Adam is an intimidatingly intelligent person with a heart of gold. He’s just so very himself, and understated, and soft spoken while also having really great and thoughtful opinions. He’s super helpful…just a joy to be around. He has a great laugh. And he wields one hell of a replica sword.
Adam T.: Such a good person. Adam has the ability to come into work he hasn’t been a part of for a while and be a centering rational voice to help guide next steps. He’s a boss. He is the eye of a hurricane all the time and just as calm. Adam has a talent for turning frustration into humor.
Kelly: Kelly has the special ability to think of every possible question there is for any given scenario. She’s an incredibly talented and super smart powerhouse of knowledge and no nonsensery. She’s probably hands down the best of us. She has amazing hair.
Jonathan: I’ve never seen cynicism used for so much good. Jonathan’s work is always to the highest standard. He helps us figure out what isn’t working and how to make it better. Jonathan is truly one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. He finally put the November Rain to rest this year. He’s ACTUALLY a cat.
Nina: Nina is the glue that holds FM together. She’s basically an entire creative agency behind the shop. She’s got so much heart, and she’s so caring and real. She’s been working some kind of fairy magic this year…bringing in more work than we know what to do with, making the team feel celebrated and cherished in her own cheeky way. Her selections in eyewear are top notch.
Mike: Nothing ever seems to rattle Mike and he’s very good at explaining things. He’s such a super positive, solid dude overall. Mike is just pleasant and capable and his presence is very weirdly calming. He’s always smiling and willing to help where needed. He’s the undisputed king of dad jokes.
Andrew: Andrew ‘Magic’ Westerhouse is both a legend and creature of comfort and predictability. Andrew’s so honest while still being super kind. He’s wildly knowledgeable and has gone out of his way to provide helpful insights. His answers to the dev standup questions are never what you’d expect. And hilarious. He keeps his iphone in a sock.
Paul: Paul is the OG noteworthy bringer of cheer. He is so genuine in caring for people on this team. He’s always there and always willing to lend a hand. He’s wonderful and silly in the best of ways. His “HAIII GUYZZZ!!!!” will ALWAYS elicit smiles across the Zoom checkerboard. If you’ve got some sort of a problem with Paul then, well, you’re the problem.
Shawn: Shawn is steady through the ups and downs and always keeping an eye (and a heart) out for the team. Shawn wants to figure it out and make it better, for all of us. I can’t even imagine all the tabs that have to be open in his brain all at once. He’s never afraid to grow and evolve. It’s about 1 out of every 10 conversations where I DON’T have a nice laugh with Shawn.
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