Another Trip Around the Sun
2023 was a memorable year for the Small Giants Team and the Community as a whole. The last twelve months offered a lot for us to reflect on both personally and professionally. As a Community, we walked with and supported one another through some lows, and we celebrated many highs together that we’ll cherish as we journey into the new year.
While the Small Giants team loves supporting leaders through content & programming, our favorite thing is the connections and relationships we build together.
Developing Leaders, Building Bondings
With five years under our belt, we knew that the Leadership Academy Class of 2023 would bring our best and brightest learnings yet.
For the first time, we ran three cohorts, and we were able to bring the Small Giants' way of leadership and business to even more people and organizations. We saw beautiful relationships formed between cohort mates, and our in-person gatherings allowed for all three cohorts to mingle and bond with one another. Sparks were flying with buddy pairings and lifelong friendships were made.
Those are exciting numbers for our team to see, but our personal favorite has to be the countless songs the Class of 2023 just can’t help but get up and groove to. If you ever need to get a Small Giants crowd up and movin’, our best advice is to put on My Humps or Hips’ Don’t Lie.
Great Leaders Got Together
After a long midwest winter, the Summit is quick to bring the Small Giants team out of our winter blues. Spending three days in a room filled with compassionate, energetic, and thoughtful leaders makes all of the hard work worth it. If you’ve experienced the Small Giants Summit yourself, you know the feeling it creates and the passion stirring about. The 2023 Summit brought many new friendships where strangers transitioned into friends, and moments into memories.
After a few long years of leaning back into in-person gatherings, it was extra special to be in one room together at the 13th Small Giants Community Summit. No matter the time or place, the people are what make the experience all that it is. And there were many faces new and familiar in attendance.
There’s nothing quite like spending quality time with Small Giants leaders, but we always enjoy connecting in our Zoom room, too. So to no surprise, the Small Giants Team had nearly 500 virtual coffee chats this year. With the energy and passion in each of those calls, coffee wasn’t always necessary!
While face-to-face is our favorite form of communication, you can always catch us on socials, too, for Community announcements and happenings. To make it even easier, we launched the Small Giants Community Purpose Driven LinkedIn newsletter where we’ll share some extra content, take deep dives into topics at hand, and keep the Community up to date on all of the Small Giants happenings.
Loving Farewells and Exciting Hellos
In a small team of three, we get to know one another well and we rely on each other often. We said a loving farewell to our team member and Chief Storyteller, Annie Gough, as she ventured into her writing career. You have Annie to thank for years of insightful and thought provoking blog content. We’re grateful for Annie’s hard work, friendship, and her continued support.
As ⅓ of the trio left the team, we soon said hello and welcomed a new team member to complete the triangle. Our Program Director, Katie Sowa, jumped right in and has already been a great addition to the team and Community. We’re already beginning to see the sprouts of what will blossom with Katie on board, and we’re excited for the work and laughter to be shared as she helps our programming thrive.
We Couldn’t Do it Without Your Help!
The relationships found within the Community are one-of-a-kind, and so many great ideas come as a result of them. All of our content comes to life through collaboration with our members and there was a lot of great content shared. To name a few fan favorites of the year…
💻 Virtual Events
- We hung out with Heidi Baumgart and Lisa Whealon on Zoom to learn some of their favorite and freshest tools for team building and bonding. Ever considered having team members create their very own user manual? Or hosting a celebratory “signing day” for new hires? If not, you should!
- Amber Johnson introduced us to the art of asking better questions and how the questions we ask impact relationships and results. Consider ditching your next “How are you?” with “What are you celebrating today?” and watch the magic happen!
🎧 The Growing with Purpose Podcast
- Carl Erickson shared the importance of giving a sh*t and how his dislike for sticking to the status quo in academia led him to founding a company where culture is the strategy.
- More important than out-spending your competition, is out-teaching it. That’s why Jason Fried chose to be public with company decisions and thought processes, despite a little controversy.
- Back by popular demand…was the Small Giants Book List! Browse through again to add to your reading list for the new year. It's filled with some favorites of Community members and many are written by Small Giants Community members.
- We also shared some guest blogs with the help of long time friends of the Community. And they were well loved! Revisit A Small Giants Company’s Story of Revamping their Client Experience Practices, and Out-of-the-Box Benefits: Culture-enhancing perks that go beyond the office and period of employment.
Thank you to our contributors for sharing your stories, tools, and expertise to help other leaders in the Small Giants Community learn and grow!
The Best is Yet to Come!
While 2023 may have been one of the most memorable years for the Small Giants Community, we know there’s still a lot in store. There’s just as much to look forward to in 2024!
We’re already counting down the days until we’re back together at the 2024 Small Giants Community Summit where we'll dive into the year’s theme, Enduring, and build more relationships with like-hearted leaders. While in Detroit, we’re also thrilled to introduce the Small Giants Hall of Fame, where we’ll honor and recognize Community leaders for their extraordinary leadership.
The Leadership Academy Class of 2024 is filled with faces of friends new and old, and we’re ready to see the growth of participants and all that they take back to their teams.
Our next Sounding Board mentorship program enrollment period will open up in Q1 of 2024. We're ready to pair leaders with aligned mentors to work through challenges and new adventures.
But most of all, we’re excited to spend more time with you, our wonderful Community members. We can’t wait to continue learning from each of you and to keep our passion for purpose at the forefront of all we do together.
We’re wishing you a very happy holiday season and a purpose-filled new year,
The Small Giants Team