I am a wife and mother of two beautiful children….
I’m from the Midwest – a small, connected community
Here’s an actual newspaper clipping from when I got my first job. I am not joking about this…they actually published this in the newspaper
I’ve had the privilege of working for Hallmark almost my entire adult life. I’ve been there for almost 18 years, starting as a product manager for our Keepsake Christmas ornaments. During my time with the company I’ve served in various roles supporting greeting cards and our home and gifts products before I was named Chief Marketing Officer for Greetings several years ago. Today, I get to work on some of the coolest products I’ve seen come out of Hallmark in my tenure with the company.
My friends, family and colleagues will tell you that I’ve always been a pretty, authentic, transparent person, but in 2013, something happened that changed my life forever This picture was taken on August 10, 2013. My husband and I were on vacation with friends when…<describe accident>
From that day forward, so many things about my life changed Because I had to rely on so many others, I was forced into a new vulnerable reality
And of course it wasn’t easy,. Before the accident, every day was busy, filled with independent activities, many of which I took for granted. Then instantly, I was snuggling with my kids from a hospital bed and crawling up stairs at home to sing them to sleep. My husband became an instant caregiver. My work was on hold. Even something as simple as brushing my teeth or taking a shower required assistance. I distinctly remember my mother-in-law washing my hair in my living room.
The sum of all of those experiences – from my uncomfortable vulnerable state, to the support I received, and even the experiences I had getting to know other people going through a similar experience as me – really enabled me to develop a new empathy for people…and appreciation for human connection… Perhaps most important for me were words. Words of encouragement, love, support, and even the occasional stern nudge to keep my head up… To be on the receiving end of words…sometimes they were the only the thing that got me through the day in the weeks after the accident. Serendipitously, I work in an industry that relies on the power of those very things…empathy, love, support, connection
Returning to work to Hallmark was no easy feat I was catching up on what I’d missed, navigating the ridiculously long Hallmark hallways on my new leg all while still adjusting to my new life Fortunately, I was lifted up by the colleagues who had followed along with my accident and recovery…and showering me with more words of encouragement. This photo is my door on my first day back.
When I was ready, I began to tell my story very publicly – both inside and outside of the company.
I was conscious about being more a more-present and empathetic leader One of the things I’ve done to help bring that authenticity and connection to my employees is something I call “Connect with Lindsey” sessions Once a month, I bring together a cross functional group of my employees. It’s truly a mix of job levels, titles, tenure – about 10-12 of us at one time. I spend an hour with that group doing exactly as the title suggests – connecting – by pulling questions from a fishbowl and then authentically answering them. Some of the questions are more light-hearted – what was your first job? What’s your favorite childhood memory? Others are more business focused – where do you seek inspiration for your work? If you ran Hallmark with unlimited funds, what’s the first decision you’d make? This hour tends to be one of my favorite work hours each month. Undoubtedly, I get to know the people on my team on a deeper level, but I truly get inspired buy what’s discussed, especially given the nature of our business. And while this was not the intent, the sessions get incredible feedback from the employees, and as a result, I’ve received some of the highest employee engagement scores I’ve ever received after we began doing these sessions.
Just Because was born out of a study we did called deprivation and inundation – a study that validated the relevancy of greeting cards to people that already love them, and affirmed that if we got non-greeting card buyers to use them, they’d see the value in them
Just Because was supported by a robust marketing and promotional plan
We have away or sold more than 2 million Just Because cards
75% of Free Card “purchases” included another item, so people we’re just coming to collect their free card, they were buying, too
Shoppers who participated in Free Card Fridays spent 25% more on greeting cards and…
bought 27% more cards
More validating for me are the stories we heard from people…
We are taking what we learned when we started this program last year and taking it a new places
The workplace, the retail landscape is increasingly competitive. Innovative ideas can come from anywhere. Tapping into your experiences, your beliefs, etc. is the competitive advantage you bring
As I close, I want to play a video…and as you hear it, I want you to think of your experiences, or the people in your life who have mattered…that have shaped who you are… May those people and those experiences serve to be your advantage in life and work
Your Competitive Advantage
Chief Marketing Officer, Hallmark Cards
Your Competitive Advantage
BRINGING TO MARKET
( S T O R E & N A T I O N A L )