The Art of Giving: WE’s Zimbabwe Artists Exhibition Empowers Women

Posted on January 11, 2012 by 2 Comments

For the third consecutive year, Waggener Edstrom hosted an art exhibition for the nonprofit Zimbabwe Artists Project (ZAP) in our Portland, Ore. office. During the month of December, WE’s walls were graced with beautiful artwork for employees to enjoy and consider purchasing while giving financially to a worthy cause.

ZAP’s mission is to empower female artists in Weya, Zimbabwe to become economically self-sufficient through education, sale of their art in the U.S., and special projects. The organization’s approach is based on the belief that self-respect comes through people’s own accomplishments, with a goal to foster self-respect and self-reliance through collaborative projects.

The idea of exhibiting ZAP’s art in-house first came about during a WE employee volunteer event at ZAP in 2009. WE was home of ZAP’s first corporate office exhibit. Year over year, employees have enjoyed the colorful displays and opportunity to do some holiday shopping while supporting the mission of this unique nonprofit. WE’s December exhibition raised more than $1,500 for ZAP and three pieces of artwork found a permanent home in our office.

ZAP’s art is for sale at their Portland gallery located here or online here.

WE Employees Report on Behalf of Net Impact: Behind the Scenes at Net Impact 2011

Posted on November 23, 2011 by Comments Off

Holly Roe, Account Coordinator (and Rhian Rotz, Manager WE Citizenship)

This year, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE) partnered with Net Impact, a nonprofit organization that inspires a new generation of leaders to use their careers to tackle the world’s toughest problems, to support its annual conference in Portland, Ore., with pro-bono services. Net Impact believes it’s possible to make a net impact that benefits not just the bottom line but people and planet too. I found this truly inspiring and wanted to share some wisdom that resonated with me throughout the conference: 

1)      Occupy Wall Street From the Inside: In a keynote kicking off the conference, Liz Maw, executive director of Net Impact, challenged everyone to “occupy Wall Street from the inside” by leveraging their careers to drive real change.

2)      Overcome Cynicism: Lord Hastings, KPMG‘s global head of Citizenship and Diversity, shared that the single most effective way to change the world is overcoming cynicism — not a product or a business model, but by changing an attitude.

3)      Take the First Step: Speaker Vail Horton, CEO of Keen Mobility and chairman of Incight Foundation, was born with improper bone growth in his arms and without legs but lives a life defined by his passion to make the world a better place — not his disability. He stressed the importance of taking the first step and “staying pleasantly persistent” no matter the task.

Elisia Choi, Amy Dunn, Rachel Coussens, Anna Friedges and I had the privilege of representing WE as volunteer reporters at the conference, covering sessions on topics ranging from sustainability and microfinance to healthcare reform. As communications professionals, it isn’t every day that we receive a press badge (which was definitely an exciting perk) and asked to report stories, but it definitely made for a unique opportunity and allowed us to experience our jobs from the other side of our industry. This experience reinforced the fact that although anyone has the ability to tell a story, by truly listening to your audience and understanding the reason for telling the story, we can help others strengthen their business in new and creative ways. Read our coverage here.

My colleagues Erica Hubby and Katy Hagert, members of the WE Studio D® and Insight & Analytics teams, also brought their expertise to bear after the conference. They delivered a report to Net Impact designed to provide analysis of the key influencers, online discussions and themes about the Net Impact conference using some of the coolest tools and services that we offer. Check it out!  

Being able to take a step back from my day-to-day activities and apply my professional skills to benefit a nonprofit was truly rewarding. I look forward to participating in similar events in the future.

Taking steps to end cancer: I finished my first marathon with help from my friends!

Posted on November 18, 2011 by Comments Off

Jessica Hastings, Account Executive, WE Portland

As I wrote in my October Blog post; when I started training, the goal of finishing my first marathon seemed impossible. Even after having completed the training, I was struck at the Top of the Rock just a couple of days before the race by the incredible distance I’d be running. Still, with a lot of help and encouragement on the way, I managed to do it, finishing all 26.2 miles of the ING NYC Marathon with my sister and father on behalf of Fred’s Team on November 6 with a time of 5:26:37.

As if running a marathon weren’t enough of a challenge, I gained entry by signing up to raise $5,000 in support of pioneering cancer research with Fred’s Team, a charity affiliated with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York. After giving them my credit card number so they could charge the balance of my goal if I don’t raise all of the funds by November 21, I was able to officially register for the Marathon.

I have put a lot of time and emotional energy into both the training and fundraising since then. There were many times, particularly in the middle of my longer training runs, when I would wonder what I was thinking. I discovered in these moments, however, that running’s all about the mental game. Sure, you have a lot of physical challenges, but those are easily put to rest at any moment by walking or hopping on a bus. You keep going because you need to reach the goals you set for yourself.

And now, I know I CAN run a marathon. Having achieved this year’s goal of finishing, I am beginning to think about what’s next. I caught “the bug” and am trying to determine when I’ll run my next marathon and what goal would be just enough of a stretch. That will help me set my goals for races at more sane distances along the way, and the goals collectively will help keep me heading out the door, even very early on cold, rainy mornings.

I transitioned from our WE Insights & Analytics team to a WE Microsoft account team in August, giving me a whole new set of personal goals and insecurities to think about during my longest training runs. I discovered that, at least for me, the mental game of running is a lot like work. You put one step in front of the other, hoping to gradually be able to do so faster and better, setting milestones along the way for what turns out to be a greater journey with no single finish line.

Most importantly, though I’m ultimately the one in control of keeping those feet moving, I can’t do it without the support of family, friends and others along the way (thank YOU!). I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we have a lot of runners here at WE – we are mentally disciplined, goal-oriented people with inner strength but also the humility and intelligence required to come together in support of both individual and collective goals. WE has been incredibly supportive of my running and fundraising goals so far, and I look forward to seeing one more round of support as I race to my fundraising deadline on November 21.

With just over $1,000 left to raise in a few short days, it will truly take a village but every donation counts – even $5! The donations mean a lot to me personally, as I not only am extremely proud of the fact that I finished a marathon and am not sure I would have made it without the commitment to the charity this year, but MSKCC’s research also saved the life of a close friend of mine this year, and helps to bring us closer to a world without cancer – a disease that has affected a large number of my friends and family members over time, most recently a loved one who was diagnosed just days before the marathon.

WE joins Net Impact’s Global Gathering in Portland

Posted on October 27, 2011 by Comments Off

This week, 10 Waggener Edstrom Worldwide employees are gearing up for a one-of-a-kind volunteer opportunity to support Net Impact, an amazing, international nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire, educate and equip individuals to use the power of business to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world. This topic is at the heart of WE’s sweet spot and is a passion for many employees at our company. This year’s Net Impact Conference will be in Portland, Ore., home to one of our largest offices. WE is donating time and in-kind services to the organization. The enthusiastic team of volunteers will be gathering content and reporting on behalf of Net Impact from the conference sessions.

I’m particularly excited about the Portland Impact sessions. These are workshops in which attendees will serve as business consultants to a group of Portland-area nonprofits and social innovators. I envision this as a scenario that brings out the best of speed dating and crowd sourcing in a spirit of open innovation. Organizations under the spotlight include The Bus Project, Focus the Nation and GO Box, a new service providing reusable to-go containers for food carts and their customers. In Portland, food carts are monumental symbols of the city’s cuisine culture.

Portland will welcome more than 2,500 Net Impact visitors from across the U.S. and overseas. The conference will feature more than 300 leading speakers, 100 sessions and four keynote speakers including Sally Jewell, president and CEO of REI, and  Hannah Jones, vice president of Sustainable Business & Innovation at Nike. The program covers a wide variety of topics, including corporate impact, energy and clean tech, environment and natural resources, social innovation, international development, finance and investing, and career and professional development.

Follow and engage in lively conversations via Twitter #NI11, and follow the Waggener Edstrom team @WE_Citizen. Let us know if you’re planning to attend!

A Full Circle of Giving

Posted on May 27, 2011 by 1 Comment

Carmen (Ballard) Mantalas, Microsoft Windows/MSE Team, WE-Portland

Five years ago, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE) hosted a bone marrow drive at WE-Portland in honor of my brother Gabe Ballard, who was battling Leukemia and in search of a marrow donor at the time. The event raised $1,500, and more than 50 people from WE, and a couple of other local companies, became registered marrow donors through the National Marrow Donor Program

My brother received a successful marrow transplant from a male donor in Germany and has been in remission since 2006. This year commemorates the 5-year anniversary of Gabe’s marrow transplant. This year also celebrates a full circle of giving — after being on the receiving end of the years of cancer research and support services from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), Gabe has accepted a nomination for the LLS ‘Man/Woman of the Year’ in an effort to give back.

The LLS MWOTY — for the Oregon, southwest Washington, Idaho and Montana chapter — campaign runs through June 9, where the Man or Woman of the Year will be selected at a final Gala at the Governor Hotel Ballroom in Portland, Ore. As part of the Gabe Ballard campaign, we are driving awareness through social media and hosting two local PDX events (see details below) in an effort to reach his fundraising goal of $20,000 for the LLS.

A note from Gabe

“Knowing that my own survival depended on years of medical research, caring nurses and doctors, along with strong support from family, friends and co-workers, I am committed to helping organizations that put funding and resources toward cancer research and to helping the lives of those impacted by a cancer diagnosis. Each dollar I raise counts as one vote, and the candidate who receives the most donations is named the local Man or Woman of the Year. I am raising money in honor of The Boy and Girl of the year, local children who are battling blood cancers and survivors. I truly hope to help find cures for blood cancers.” 
Portland Fundraising Events
To support my brother’s campaign, I am using my WE Volunteer Hours Benefit to organize several fundraising activities, such as “Rock the Dock,” an outdoor block party event featuring live music from local Portland bands in the Pearl District and a wine & appetizer evening at Grochau Cellars in Northwest Portland. All donations support LLS programs, including research, patient services, advocacy, public and professional education, and community services. If you are interested in attending or volunteering at one of these events, please email me at

Rock the Dock
This event took place on Friday, May 20 and was a huge success; 150+ people attended and we raised over $4,500 for LLS!

Grochau Cellers – Wine & Appetizers
Thursday, June 2
6–9 p.m.
2621 Northwest 30th Avenue
Portland, OR 97210

Please come out to support this cause and help continue the full circle of giving! If you are not in the Portland area, you may visit Gabe’s donation page to help this cause and make a difference. Like this campaign on Facebook!

Thank you,

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