2020 — what a year! Whatever is going on in your life, if it’s on planet earth, I’ll bet you’ve had enough lows to make this year feel like a complete dumpster fire at times. While it can be difficult to exercise gratitude in the midst of challenging circumstances, it’s so important, and laughter is good for the soul.
Cue the Foster Made Thanksgiving Roast & Toast. It’s our annual, seasonal tradition where we all take a moment to express our gratitude for each member on the team. And make fun of them. But in a fun way! This was our 8th year going strong, and I think we needed it more than we realized.
Sure, it wasn’t perfect. It’s still 2020 afterall. We wound up doing the roast and toasts a week and a half after Thanksgiving because we lost track of time (I mean, it happens), and we had to make some adaptations to the “ceremony” (ceremony = when we read some of our favorite notes aloud for each person), taking turns reading over Zoom instead of reveling in the sounds of joyous laughter, together, at the table over a potluck lunch. Alas, we made do because that’s how we roll!
We hope you enjoy a selected mashup of some of the roasts and toasts from this year. As you’ll see, we have much to laugh about and be thankful for, namely our work and clients, the wonderfully talented and quirky people on our team, and so much more.
Patty: I am genuinely looking forward to getting to know Patty better! She brings a level of competence and expertise that is a huge gift to the company, and it’s already evident that she’s a kind and caring person. What more could you ask for?
Bryn: Bryn is inventive and collaborative with both projects and personal endeavors and I’m looking forward to when we can actually meet in-person! Also, I sometimes find myself staring at the giant cat tower behind you on Zoom calls, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen your cat. I hope you have a cat.
Brian: He is the combined personality of all of the happy care bears stuffed into the skin bag of an adult male. Also, did you start this year or have you been here for a while? I often forget! Thankful for the ways in which you’ve embraced Foster Made and helped live our culture through your work and interactions from the get go.
Jamara: It’s amazing to me how easily Jamara slid in and assumed all the responsibilities of a project manager — and I hope that’s because she also feels at home and not because we were easy to tame. She also reacts to a lot of Slack messages with heart emojis, and I appreciate that. It’s like, “Hey, someone cares!”
Kim: She does everything perfectly. Have you seen her pies and other baked goods? Her slide decks and presentations are meticulous. Even her hair and makeup are flawless, in the middle of a pandemic! Most importantly, she can make a modal look GORGEOUS. That is a lot of power.
Haley: Cat pictures. I think I’ve seen more of her cat than I have of Haley this year. And who doesn’t love cat pictures? Haley is also the most humble, thoughtful, and talented human I know. She’s on a mission to never stop improving Foster Made’s creative efforts and I am HERE FOR IT!!!
Phil: Regardless of what other vital body parts each other member of the office may represent Phil is undoubtedly the heart, and a strong heart at that. The man is a solid moral compass of compassion and understanding and every conversation with him is heartfelt and genuine. I don’t think I can express it any better than Rod Stewart when he sings: “You ‘Phil’ my heart with gladness, take away all my sadness, ease my troubles, that’s what you do.”
Jill: She’s the most real person I know. Like 100% Jill 100% of the time. And I’m not even sure how to really explain what that means to me. Maybe it’s that she’s multidimensional? Like she’s professional and competent, but she’ll also dress up like Hulk Hogan for Halloween and stay in character the. entire. day. Instantly incredibly likable, fun, funny and like Wonder Woman’s truth lasso has an astonishing ability to build trust with anyone immediately. Don’t fight it. It’s futile.
Adrian: Behind that Miracle Gro® hair and Aussie accented façade, there’s a deep pool of wisdom, insight, and emotions that grows with life’s living, loving, and learning. Don’t be fooled by Adrian’s ability to splash on the surface in a Batman styled inner tube, sipping on a piña colada while hosting a raucous pool party. He can dive deep, my friends, then emerge serenely with a fine string of pearls he strung himself, having received the pearls as a gift of gratitude from an angry water lord that he made a connection with one night over some beers as they discussed life’s philosophical questions and the beauty that can happen after loss, discovering together the true meaning of friendship.
Listwella: Listwella is a sweet and kind person who chews gum with the confidence and swagger of a young Burt Reynolds. I also think I’ve said this before, but in these interesting times, it’s been something that’s helped me personally this year so I’m going to mention it again. Listwella’s laugh is the most wonderful thing, if I can manage to be funny enough to get her laughing a lot it’s the greatest thing to hear.
Adam W: He is forever immortalized in my mind at the kitchen island in the office, wearing a blue plaid shirt with the sleeves rolled up, light denim jeans, leather flip flops, and an easy smile. While having a shared moment over cookies and coffee, you’ll say something dumb that warrants no response, but Adam will kindly shrug and bestow upon you a gentle, rumbling laugh that would at first startle but then soothe a baby, lulling you back to sleep and forgetting what you were just about to do as you’re left with the thought, “that Adam Winfree is a nice guy.”
Adam T: One time Adam told me he stayed in his pjs all day until evening when he changed into new pjs. He qualified his actions with the statement, “I mean, I’m not an animal.” And you know what? I have a lot of respect for that kind of dedication to coziness. No need to mess with perfection.
Kelly: Kelly is cool, calm, and collected and I’m not-so-secretly jealous that she’s a real artist. You also know when you have a conversation with her you are getting the real deal, with no smoke and mirrors. I mean, anyone willing to share THOSE details about their cat . . . yeah, she’s 100% the genuine article!
Jonathan: I’m thankful for Jonathan's constant cleverness and willingness to ask intricate questions I’d never have thought to ask. Also, do you ever wonder if he is the reincarnated spirit of some bygone literary genius? Like, the kind who probably has 27 novels written and stashed away somewhere, because—were they to be published—readers would simply lack the necessary intellectual capacity to properly grasp the giftless weight of the journey’s burden?
Nina: She made a child with the biggest, happiest head and the most perfect wrist rolls. She also has a ridiculously broad range of talents and somehow, in some way, like a superhuman knocks socks off on all accounts. Just the combo of design and writing alone is enough Nina. This is madness!
Mike: Mike’s one of the most approachable and genuinely nice people I’ve met who demonstrates an authentic investment in his friends and peers. I’ve also found myself admiring how his lighting is always on point. While it’s easy to look like flat, shapeless potato heads on Zoom, Mike knows his angles and finds his light. A wonder! Behold!
Andrew: Andrew shall be eternal, of this I am certain. He is the silent inevitable success of all things. He is the very antithesis of zombies. Where they are the inescapable march of doom, Andrew is the unyielding force of victory. No matter the obstacles and challenges laid before him the man just won’t fail. I sometimes wonder if he isn’t given tasks just to test his mettle, but let this be known: Thus far no task made of man has brought him down.
Paul: What a year, Paul! I think you’ve made this pandemic transition as seamless as it could be. Thank you for your commitment to order, ease, and big smiles. Really, you can tell the sheer strength of character Paul wields when he’s able to get that much smile through that much beard. It’s incredible! You’d think such a lush forest like that would dim a little of the light, but no! The full force of his joy breaks through each time!
Shawn: He continues to shape a company focused on transparency, growth, and relationships. He makes the team laugh and is honest about not only how we can all improve but how he’d like to improve as well. He also reminds me that travel with kids is still possible. It’s just very different.