I’m dirty. I’m sweaty I stink and I’m probably a little hungry. Most of all, I’m tired, so very tired. My hands and feet are calloused while my back aches.
I want nothing more than to shower and rest. Just when I feel like I’m done, a child pulls me into a game of soccer and I realize that I’ve only just begun. This is what I imagine my week in Haiti will feel like; I can hardly wait!
When we created Roma Wish in 2013, a lot of people thought, “that’s nice, you’ll raise some money and cut a cheque to a local charity every couple of months.” They weren’t wrong but we soon realized that we had the necessary ingredients to achieve much more.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others,” Mahatma Gandhi.
This quote inspires me because it directly relates to our latest Roma Wish initiative and supports my purpose in life to enrich people’s lives, drive happiness and to challenge the status quo.
Next week, from November 5th to 10th, I will travel to Haiti as part of an incredible team to help at a local orphanage. A group of seven amazing people will join me in Deschappelles, at the Hands Across the Sea – Haiti (HATS-Haiti) orphanage and school. Through its’ programs, HATS provides a safe and nurturing environment that allows more than 200 children to flourish. For the team going, it represents the opportunity of a lifetime.
Creating Roma Wish was a dream of mine and together with the incredible team that runs our Roma Wish programing, we all dream big. This speaks so much about our culture. It’s the living embodiment of when you bring together great people, a leading brand and an insanely great culture; magical things happen. We got a great deal of satisfaction from supporting charities within our communities but quickly realized we had the ingredients needed to make our efforts positively affect more people.
Want to know if your company can do it? Here are three must have ingredients:
Does your company have a mission statement? If so, what does your company stand for? Do you have core values or principles that guide your day-to-day business decisions? At Roma, we’re fortunate to have a mission, to Move, Inspire and WOW, that is specific enough to be meaningful yet open enough to allow us to pursue our passions. When planning our Haitian mission, we constantly referred to our Roma Family Core Values to gauge if this is something that our people support. We’re proud to say that every one of our Core Values is aligned with our upcoming Roma Wish mission.
When I think about the diverse team going to Haiti, I’m simply amazed. Within the group we have a mother and fathers, folks that barely travel outside of their hometown, deeply religious people and those who have never performed any kind of charity work. The collective courage and trust of the group is outstanding. I wouldn’t do this on my own and being part of a courageous and trusting team makes it real and possible.
Even if you have a company culture that supports your altruistic pursuits and a team courageous enough to step outside of their comfort zone, you need passion and purpose to get the most of the experience. Those coming with me are ultra passionate and are purpose driven with the ability to lose themselves through giving. After they’ve said goodbye to their loved ones, after the adrenaline has worn off and they’re covered in dirt, passion will keep them going. The unwavering desire to help others will keep them positive and helpful. We simply have insanely passionate people with us in Haiti. We’ll all benefit because of it.
While in Haiti our job titles and positions in life are meaningless. The children don’t care who’s a CEO and who isn’t. They only want to feel safe and to play. I want to look in their eyes and show them that I truly care. It doesn’t matter to them that we’re doing something so radically different from anyone else in our industry.
We haven’t done anything yet and I look forward to providing you all with updates along the way. Even when we get back we won’t be satisfied. This is truly just the beginning; I envision the day when we bring 100 courageous and passionate people with us to enrich the lives of others. Our industry is filled with incredible people with big hearts. We are artists and framers, designers and extremely creative and caring people. Someday we’ll include more team members, partners and other stakeholders who share our vision of spreading happiness. It’ll happen sooner than any of us can imagine – will you be ready?