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A Tradition of Being Thankful

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we raise our cans of LaCroix at lunch to toast and roast each team member

by Listwella Donaldson

Each year during Thanksgiving dinner, my family has a tradition that each person around the table says what he or she is thankful for. Most of the children love it because of the personal attention and focus from everyone. Some of the littlest ones can barely speak but still want to participate. I love getting to hear what people are thankful for, which ranges from getting through hardship, a new relationship, good grades, family, etc. As one can imagine, areas and levels of thankfulness can run the gamut. Everything goes!

Here at Foster Made, instead of just verbally going around the table during our annual Thanksgiving team lunch, we take it a step further by asking everyone in the company to participate in what we call "Roast & Toast Notes.” It's a Foster Made tradition that we all write one or two lines or a phrase about each person on the team and why we are thankful for them. We compile the notes and during lunch, someone will read a few written about each person. It's hilarious, enlightening, and heartwarming.

This was my first Foster Made “Roast & Toast.” When I learned of this company tradition, I immediately thought of it as a daunting task. Not only that, but I said to myself, "O my, what will people possibly say about me!?" As I tried not to procrastinate and started to think about completing the task, I can honestly say, my thankfulness for each person came with ease. As you can see in the notes below, my co-workers are truly amazing! Not only do they have brilliant minds, but they are diverse in every way, creative, funny, caring and even stylish.

Shawn Maida: His ability to embrace and welcome change, whether it be small or large. He adapts to feedback and pushes forward with conviction, driving us to be greater.

Paul Santos: His jovial persona means that all serious conversations with him leave a sense of purpose and drive, not defeat.

Lina Calin: Thank you for your awesome project management skills, your wonderful looking food creations in the kitchen, and for always putting up with all of us.

Alex Glover: Every time I see her name written out, the song “Dreamlover” by Mariah Carey pops into my head, but the titular “Dreamlover” line is replaced with “G-Lover come rescue me.” Anyway, Alex is a damn wizard.

Leo Caldas: He’s super cool, positive, and wears cool hats. His creativity is shockingly awesome.

Adrian Calton: At first, he had a ponytail. Then one day he just rolls in, no ponytail, all acting like nothing happened. I don’t know about that, you guys. I don’t know about him. (Just kidding, he’s cool).

Adam Tsai: As always, we appreciate your humor and the conversations that you bring to the office. He plays the vibraphone in a band. Like, for real. That’s about as legit as you can get in terms of “indie cred,” right?

Steven Hernandez: Thank you for bringing youthful nerdy energy into the office with a thirst for knowledge and crazy electronics.

Listwella Donaldson: While we are all working on this and that, she’s helping weave the net below us, bringing security and togetherness to the table.

Adam Winfree: In addition to his great development work, I enjoy our conversations about podcasts and the proper technique to make an optimal chocolate chip cookie. I just wish I could hear some of that Britney coming from your headphones.

Nina Rogers: Her impressive collection of scarves, cowls, stoles, and shawls would be the envy of even scarf-toting greats like Leonard Kravitz. Also, I can’t prove it yet, but I think there are actually 2 Ninas doing the work of 4 people, otherwise, I don’t know how she would be able to do everything she does.

Yannick Yeboue: He knows all the things. He goes above and beyond to deliver quality code to our clients.

Jun Kim: He has the greatest and most uplifting laugh ever. He’s always sneakily hiding downstairs even if I expected I was the first one in the office.

Steve Bishop: He’s the kinda guy that makes you say things like “Ohhh great look what the cat dragged in” when you see him, but you mean it in a good way. Like the cat dragged in a really cool guy.

Alex Mejias: He runs up and down the stairs like little kid, which I like to imagine him doing while wearing a suit and working in a law office. For real though, you gotta respect that he is an active member of the community and trying hard to make a difference in the world.

Kelly Packer: She’s pretty much a rockstar. We are so lucky to have her. Her talent, her work ethic, her kindness, and her artwork are such an addition to Foster Made.

Jonathan Cox: Thank you for your PHP expertise, being willing to help out whenever we have questions, and for your witty comments on Slack. Even his jokes are poetically intellectual.

Matt Zador: If it weren’t for him, I think the office would both implode and explode at the same time. He’s always been a great friend and teammate and I am excited to see where he goes in 2018.

Mike Smith: He’ll apologize even after helping you solve your problem. Now that’s just a nice guy! I get a kick out of his jokes and leading questions that are low key savage sometimes.

Andrew Westerhouse: That dude is really smart and is always willing to help if I have an issue. He inspires me to challenge myself and be better.

We all have so much to be thankful for here at Foster Made. I'm thankful for our team and our beautiful workspace that supports an environment of interaction, communication, and togetherness. I'm also grateful for the FM leaders who are not only looking out for the best interest of the company and clients but also for the best interests of each and every employee, vocationally and personally. And last but not least, we're thankful for our wonderful clients who make our work possible and meaningful.

Although Thanksgiving has come and gone, I have my sheet of Roast & Toast Notes to look back on and smile. Thank you everyone!

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