Monthly Archives: July 2015

    • How to Survive Working With Your Spouse

      People ask me how Jeff and I are able to work together without killing each other.  Patience, my friends, lots of patience!  No really, it actually pretty easy.  After being married for 20 years, Jeff and I have consistently worked together for about the last 5 years. It has taken some adjustment and finessing, but collaborating with my husband brings me great joy in my work.  Jeff and I have different strengths that complement each other, so we bring out the best in one another.

      Jeff and I at the ARA meeting in Florida. Jeff and I at the ARA meeting in Florida.

      Below I share my experiences of working with my spouse.  But every marriage/partnership is different, so what works for us, may or may not work for you. If you are thinking about working with your spouse, I hope my experiences can help make it a win-win for your marriage and your business!

      1. Have fun. That's a key ingredient in our marriage, so we bring this to our work. We meet over lunch, check in over coffee, and make each other laugh at our desks. Outside of work we spend quality time together - my favorites are our neighborhood walks, where we have shoulder to shoulder time to connect.

      2. Set boundaries. It has taken practice, but we try our best to keep home at home and work at work.  Of course this doesn't always happen, but we both try to honor this mantra as much as possible.  For example, if we are at the office and one of us starts to discuss the kids' schedule for the week, we will remind the other one to pause the conversation until later that night.  Same with work topics at home - if we need to discuss something work-related at home, we will ask "hey, can we talk about xyz work topic for a minute" and get the other person's permission.  Usually once the topic is complete, the work talk is over.

      3.  Respect the CEO.  Jeff is the President and CEO of our company, and he makes the ultimate decision on the big stuff around here.  However, as a partner in our business, he respects my opinion and if I have strong feelings about something, he will take those into account. As an opinionated person, I may not always agree with what he decides, but I trust him to do what is in the best interest of the company, our staff, our customers and our family.

      Vegas 2014 Working together at the ARA Vegas Tradeshow.

      4.  Be either all-in or all-out. I have experience with being an equal partner in our business, working part-time in the business without the partnership, and having my own career separate from the business.  I have found that problems came when I worked in the business without being an equal partner. I saw Jeff making decisions I didn't agree with, but I didn't have the authority to do anything about it (other than nag him!).

      When I partner in our business, I have a better context and understanding of all moving parts and can make effective arguments to support my position.  And when I wasn't involved in the business at all, that was good too, because I could be a fresh mind for brainstorming,  listening, and encouraging.

      5. Ask when you need a spouse.  Sometimes if I have struggles at work, I need Jeff to listen as my husband, not as my business partner.  This is hard to do, as we are both "all in" the biz. When this occurs, I usually ask "I have this problem, but I need you to listen as my husband, not my work partner." That usually does the trick to have him listen in a supportive, helpful way.

      6.  It's a little financially risky.  Depending on our company for 100% of our livelihood is risky.  All of our eggs are literally in one basket. Growing a business the past few years in an unstable economy has been a challenge. I think it's good to know that and plan accordingly, as this can put a strain on a marriage.

      7. Take Vacations. Having down time away from the business re-energizes us when we return.  It also gives us to a chance to connect as a couple away from work.

      Working together has been a lifesaver the past two years while we redesigned and launched our new website. I don't think we could have gotten through this key transition without celebrating the highs together and supporting one another through the lows. Overall, working together has strengthened our marriage by having us focus our energy towards a common goal.  And sure, there are days when we drive each other crazy, but most of the time, we happily work together to execute the mission and vision of our company.

      Cheers! Jessica

    • 2015 STAR 101.5 Wiener Dog Races

      Wiener Dogs
      Meet the contestants at Sunday's race!

      Join the Trophies2Go team for the most anticipated event of the summer - the 19th Annual STAR 101.5 Wiener Dog Races! Come to Emerald Downs in Auburn, WA this Sunday, July 12th to view the action! Gates open at 9am, horse racing begins at 2:15pm, and the first Wiener Dog Heat will take place at approximately 3:30pm.

      Two dozen dogs compete, but only one will win the coveted Wiener Trophy!  Once again, we are proud to be the Official Awards Sponsor of the event. The ultimate wiener dog trophy and cute doggie-sized medal will be going home to a deserving 4-legged athlete.

      Only purebred dachshunds can enter the race. The two preliminary races are first, followed by the final heat, which decides the top dog. The action is complete in the blink of an eye, with local celebrities Kent and Allen announcing which dachshund comes out on top.

      Wiener Dogs 2014 Vote for your favorite now!

      Back again this year is the Fan Favorite! Click HERE to vote for your favorite dog, with the winner featured at Sunday's race.

      Bring your whole family! Kids under 17 get in free and there are plenty of activities for the entire family to enjoy, including free cupcakes at the STAR 101.5 tent, face painting, bouncy houses, pony rides and more!

      This event guarantees lots of laughs in a family-friendly atmosphere. Hope to see you there – we’ll be the ones with the trophies!

      Cheers! Jessica

    • Customer Story - Education Through Music

      At today's blog I would like to share a customer story about how our awards are used for their organization. This comes from Quin T. at Education Through Music in California.  They are a small non-profit group of educators whose mission statement includes the phrase: "Fosters the development and well-being of children through song, play and the study of artful teaching.”  Here is what Quin says about giving the Shining Star Paperweight award:

      Shining Star Paperweight Twinkle twinkle little star is the inspiration for giving this award. The engraving says "EMT and children everywhere Thank You!"

      "Our Board of Directors serves to guide our group.  As a board member rotates off their years of service, they are honored with the Star Paperweight such as the ones I just ordered.

      As we serve teachers and try to keep our tuition costs low, we are a very low-budget group without a physical headquarters.  We lovingly call ourselves a “just add water” Institute of Education and Research since members of our teaching staff arrive at a course site and launch a course of study for that particular group of educators.

      We currently sponsor courses in Michigan, Illinois, Texas and California.  This July we gather in Chicago for our annual week of summer study.

      The star paperweight is significant to our group since one of the 130 or so songs we use in our study includes, “Twinkle, twinkle little star.”  While I used to think of this song as just simply child’s play, I have come to know that given the right setting, Twinkle can become a lovely work of art.

      Thank you for your prompt service."

      It's an honor for us to create awards for an organization making a positive difference in children's lives!  We are humbled to be making awards for the special people serving on their board.

      To find out more about Education Through Music and the work they do for teachers and students, visit their website.  Thank you Quin for sharing your story!

      Cheers! Jessica

    3 Item(s)

    Trophies Awards