Our Giving Toad sourronded with donations for our winter charity drive

The Giving Toad: Living Our Values During the Holidays

One of my favorite parts of working at Metal Toad is the spirit of generosity here. Everyone is always eager to help others—whether responding to a fellow Toad’s question in our Slack #help channel, offering clients an idea for optimizing their business, or volunteering in the community. I’ve spent most of my career in the nonprofit sector, so seeing all the Toads really live our core value of helping others makes me feel right at home.

So as the holiday season neared, I wasn’t surprised that the Toads wanted to continue our tradition of a contributing to a charity drive. But I also knew that, in the spirit of innovation, the Toads would be up for a challenge: how can we make our tradition of giving feel even more inclusive?

I presented this challenge to our Diversity & Inclusion SIG (Special Interest Group), and suggested that we could be more universal by replacing the usual Christmas tree with something new. After all, many Toads celebrate a different winter holiday (or don’t celebrate at all). But one thing we all have in common is that we’re Toads, so why not replace the Christmas tree with a giant orange toad?

The idea resonated throughout the office, and soon I’d ordered a huge 3D cut-out of our company logo—which a fellow Toad swiftly dubbed “The Giving Toad.” We chose a secular local nonprofit to support: Central City Concern, an organization that supports those struggling with poverty and homelessness. 

Soon, gifts to support their holiday drive for children began piling up under the Giving Toad. The office was decked out in new-year’s-themed decorations, and many Toads decorated their desks with symbols of whatever winter holiday was important to them: Diwali, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa in addition to Christmas. Walking through the office, I could see the spirit of generosity, inclusiveness, and festiveness represented at every turn. And another core Toad value was on display: respect. There was space for every culture to be celebrated equitably, and every tradition (or lack of tradition!) was welcome. 

December can be an especially fraught time for anyone concerned about diversity and inclusion. It’s so easy to fall back on our own personal customs without noticing what other perspectives aren’t represented. For me, the best way to disrupt this habit is to constantly look for our commonality. The Giving Toad is a great example of that approach, and the tremendous participation in our charity drive is a testament both to the generosity of the Toads and to an atmosphere that feels comfortable and welcoming for everyone. 

The Giving Toad was also an opportunity to explore another of the Metal Toad core values: curiosity. This project asked us all to be curious about each other’s varied backgrounds, to seek inventive ways to reimagine our culture, and to try new approaches. 

Of course, help, curiosity, and respect are values we live all year long—and that means the Giving Toad will have many more adventures this year! We’ll be seeking more opportunities to do good in the community, and the Toads have gotten excited about dressing up our Giving Toad for different seasons. Because we’re all Toads, we’re all living these principles, and we all care about generosity. Celebrating that common ground is what the Giving Toad is all about.
 

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About the Author

Lauren Shey, HR Generalist

 

Lauren has been a Portlander for 8 years by way of the Mid-West and Southeast. In work and life, she enjoys bringing a collaborative spirit with her. Lauren comes from a background in non-profit and has worn many hats, including community outreach, volunteer management, event management, and operations. She is an active volunteer in the Portland BCorp community and advocates whenever she can for businesses leading the charge as a force for good.  When she's not wrangling Toads, she can be found knitting, cooking, gardening, or adventuring on long dog walks with her adorable pup (pictured above).

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