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Eulogy for Bridget

Eulogy for Bridget

Bridget Spence, a long-time Event 360 team member and committed soldier in the war against cancer, lost her fight late last week. I was incredibly humbled to be ask to speak at her funeral. Several of you have asked that I post my words. Here they are.

I'm humbled to address you on behalf of the hundreds of team members who worked with Bridget and the thousands of participants who were changed by their relationship with her. 

Danny told us that he thought we might have a unique perspective to offer the family. But we'd venture to guess that we knew the same person that you did. Take the humor and kindness and strength and sass you knew and put it in an event fundraising firm. That was how Bridget lived. She was real. Authentic. She was the same person to us as she was to you, and we mean that as the deepest compliment. 

But we’re sure you’d appreciate more detail than that. So we want to share three main thoughts.

The first is that although Bridget died of cancer, and dedicated her professional life to fighting cancer in all its forms, that is not how she was defined by us nor how we will remember her. Nor will she be remembered for her volunteer work with Susan G. Komen or Dana-Farber.

She will be remembered as a friend with an infectious laugh and a warm, easy way. She will be remembered as a thoughtful speaker and a brilliant writer. She will be remembered as someone willing to challenge her managers and her peers. That is, as a leader. She will be remembered, as Event 360’s Teri Yoder has said, as a wise soul. And we will forever be grateful, as Event 360's Molly Fast has said, that for someone who was given so little time, she chose to spend so much of that time with us. 

The second thing we'd like to share is not what we know about Bridget, but what knowing Bridget has taught us about all of you.

We say in our family that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, so we know Dottie that you are loving and kind, the way Bridget was. We know Billy was caring and committed. We know you both possess a deep reservoir of strength. 

Danny, Patrick, and John, we know you helped shape the person Bridget became, and we know she shaped you. Maybe more than you would have liked! So we know you three are energetic and driven the way that Bridget was. We know you are strong and passionate.

We know Bridget wouldn't have chosen to marry someone who wasn't exceptional in every fiber of his being. And so Alex, we know you are warm and patient, imbued with quiet confidence and resolute fearlessness. 

Finally, as most of you know, Bridget worked primarily on our 3-Day project, a three-day, sixty mile walk that raises money for breast cancer. Some of you have probably participated in the event yourselves. Knowing Bridget, most of you were probably approached to donate to her at some point. 

Like many things in life, walking sixty miles is a lot harder than it sounds. And when you are walking the event there comes a point – usually in the middle of the second day, when your bones are starting to creak, and your feet are fighting back at you, and you realize that you still have more than halfway to go – that you are faced with your biggest obstacle: Your own willpower. 

And at that point, you have a conversation with yourself – about why you didn't make more time to train; about how ashamed you'd really feel if you stopped; about what you'd say to your donors if you quit and took the bus to camp.

And then, you have a choice. You have to decide if you're going to get up and start moving again.

The most important thing we can share about Bridget is that throughout our time with her, Bridget never stopped walking. 

Bridget, you made it to the end of the day. You finished your route; you fought the good fight; you kept the faith. 

Now, the rest of us have a choice. How can we know the way? We can hear you telling us to get up and start walking again. We'll meet you at camp. 

Nationwide Impact

Camp at the San Diego Komen 3-Day for the Cure.

I'm really proud of the Event Fundraising team at Event 360 making an impact all over the country yesterday -- Los Angeles with United Way, Washington D.C. with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and San Diego with Susan G. Komen 3-Day. Not to mention around the White House in spirit with Invisible Children. Go mighty 360!

Ready for walkers at the Washington, D.C. St. Jude Give Thanks. Walk.

On the Mall with Move:DC.

Thoughts from Impact 360!

The kick-butt Event 360 team!I just returned from Valencia, California, where I spent two very full days with our entire Event 360 team at Impact 360, our once-every-18-months-or-so all-team meeting. I’m finding it hard to describe the many thoughts I have rolling around in my head right now, but I thought I’d take a shot at a few of them. 

Here’s what I’m taking away.

  • Show is better than tell, and do is better than show. Even as the leader of an event fundraising company, I sometimes forget how powerful experiences can be. We spent a lot of time in activities and very little time in lectures. There’s just no substitute for something that is immersive and engaging. There’s no substitute for face-to-face interaction. How can you engage someone in a powerful conversation today?
  • “We” is more powerful than “I” or “you.” Our content was developed by a very large group of our team and our core activities involved literally everyone. There’s no doubt in my mind that this made our curriculum much more compelling. What are you doing that would be improved by someone else’s input? (Probably everything.) What can you do to involve them?
  • Your clients and partners can discuss your impact better than you can. It sounds risky to hand over your most important messages to people outside of your organization, but that is exactly what we did. Rather than talk about our accomplishments, we asked clients and partners to discuss it. In what had to be some of the best sessions we’ve ever conducted, we heard unscripted presentations and discussions about our role in other people’s growth. What could you ask your clients to do for you?
  • Not everything works, but trying everything is worth it. We wanted to create a comfortable and unique environment for our team, so among other things, we augmented the normal “chairs and table rounds” you find at a conference with yoga mats and medicine balls. The first day, the medicine balls were completely taken; by the last day, the thrill had worn off and almost every single ball rolled around empty. Still, it was a fun thing to try and a neat thing to do. What silly ideas have you been putting off? Could you implement one today?

I know I’ll have many more thoughts over the next few weeks, but I wanted to write a few today while the meeting was fresh in my mind. 

By far my biggest takeaway is that the Event 360 team absolutely rocks, and I’m nothing but proud and inspired to spend my time with a group of fun, driven, and idealistic world changers. How can we help you?

Happy Ninth Birthday Event 360!

A quick post to share that today is an important day in our E360 family. Yesterday was Event 360’s ninth birthday, meaning that today is the first day of our tenth year

If you put your future on the flip of a coin you’d still get much better odds than if you banked on your company surviving into its tenth year. Fewer than one-third make it that far.

The fact that we’ve turned nine and are ending one of our busiest, most exciting, and most successful years – with a growing number of exciting projects, in the most difficult economy of the last three generations – says volumes about the vision, values, and commitment of our team. I’m continually amazed at what a great group of people we have here.  

Together with our clients and partners, we’re building an exciting future. Our mission continues to be simple: We help nonprofits use experiences to create a better world. There’s a lot of need out there, but we’re helping to make a difference.

And the best is yet to come. Onwards and upwards!

San Francisco 3-Day

A wonderful weekend last week with friends raising money for the fight against cancer on the San Francisco Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. Pictures here.