Tis the Season for Charitable Giving

The other night, I participated in one of the most rewarding evenings since I started at SingleHop back in April. Regardless of what I celebrate, to me December is the season of giving, and it’s my favorite time of year. So, what was this magical experience I had?

A group of Hoppers, including our two founders, Zak and Dan, and a number of our senior leaders from around the firm, went on a shopping trip to buy for classrooms, families, students, and children’s hospitals, among other organizations. Reading the wish lists and “Dear Santa” letters really got me thinking. I actually had to stop and catch my breath to hold back tears as I read one letter out loud. A 13-year-old girl simply requested blankets and sheets for her family. Another second grader asked for toys only for her little brother. It was really moving and impressive to see so many of us take time away from our busy day to shop for all the people we’re sponsoring this year.

Each person had a different style of shopping that really represented their personality. I would like to share some of those so you can get to know our team a little better.

Dan Ushman, our CMO, is a marketing genius and creative guru. He couldn’t wait to blow through the budget he was given to buy toys for the local children’s hospital. That being said, he doesn’t know much about children, especially girls. He ran over to show a few of us what a great shopper he is because he found “Barbie dolls” for only $7. Please note the quotations I used there - unfortunately, they were not real Barbie dolls. I almost started crying at the thought of a little girl getting a knock-off doll with hard plastic hair whose arms and legs don’t move. Luckily, he took that as constructive criticism and found the real thing.

Mark Cravotta, our head of sales, shopped for a specific family with teenage boys. Mark is very hands-on and a get-things-done kind of guy. Within a half hour, he finished shopping and had already checked out with a cart full of everything a teenage boy could want. Not only was he the first person finished with his shopping, he also came within $1.97 of his budget. I like to think that means he knows how to please the customer and understands what they’re really asking for, but maybe he’s just been stuck at Target for hours during the holiday season and learned how to get in and out in record time.

Zak Boca, our CEO, makes decisions after reviewing the options and doesn’t get distracted from the goal. Zak was definitely the one who asked for help when he couldn’t decipher the second grade handwriting (what is it with these names for toys?!) and bought everything on the wish lists, including a Santa-themed red dress.

Deanna Swanson, our Director of HR, arranged the charity events for SingleHop this year. She made sure everyone had what they needed, didn’t buy fake Barbie dolls (after she witness my almost meltdown), and gave us other suggestions when the kids asked Santa for an iPhone 5 or new tablet (me too, kid, me too).

I’m really impressed with the generosity of SingleHop. This is the second big charity event we’ve had since I joined; the first was a food drive where we blew past our donation goal six times over. I’m really glad I’ve been able to participate.

The season of giving is upon us and it feels good to join in the spirit with my colleagues.