That’s a conventional title for a new staff announcement, and I’ll tell you who I am: I’m Sara (aka Grace, or Gracie) Lingafelter, and I’m the new Director of Digital and Social Strategy at Verde PR.
And that’s where the convention ends.
I spent last week in Durango getting to know some of the Verde team. I’ll admit: I had some jitters coming into the office first thing on Monday. I’ve known KCO for years, but I hadn’t met many of the folks here in Durango, or Craig Randall from our Boulder office who was also in town for the week. My jitters were calmed when Simon, one of the office dogs, greeted me from the office doorway with a casual tail wag, and the week was off to the races from there — too busy to be nervous. After that first week I’m having a mix of feelings: partly, the deep satisfaction that I’m finally actually getting to do the work I think I was put on this earth to do; and partly just a sense of absolute excitement for what lies ahead. And partly, my abs still are recovering from laughing most of Thursday night, and here’s why.
We headed to happy hour at Ska Brewing, most of us transported by bikes (with one dedicated boarder). It was a beautiful Durango night and the Ska was hopping. After a long few days of intense work getting up to speed and coming together as a team, we were all ready for an evening of tacos and cold beverages sitting on the grass and enjoying each others’ company. After a leisurely dinner cheering on KCO’s daughter Bella who was practicing a few new tricks on her mountain bike, we headed for the bikes to ride out together.
To quote Jon, “And then things got weird.”My bike, a cute little orange loaner from the Rochester Hotel fleet named “Trixie,” had a pancake-flat front tire by the time we got back to the bike rack. After a quick triage — five grown-ups; four bikes; no spare tube for Trixie — Craig offered to try riding the flat and handed off his bike to me. He made it about a city block before the tire was off, and we all had to admit: Trixie was done for the night. After another quick triage, KCO gestured at her bike’s front rack as a seat (“I’ve done it before,” with characteristic KCO confidence) and Craig volunteered to pedal, and we left Trixie safely locked to a lovely tree to rest her injuries.
I wish I had video of the next leg of our journey, but I was too busy enjoying the cool evening breeze on my cheeks, trading smiles with my colleagues, and swapping remarks about how some companies would pay good money for this kind of “team building exercise” to pull out the camera. After about a mile we did another triage, and another bike shuffle, with Sarah moving to KCO’s bike, Jon moving to Sarah’s, and Craig taking the pedals and KCO taking the seat on Jon’s bike, with KCO’s kids making jokes about who signs the paychecks.After another mile or so, we did another triage, and another shuffle, and Craig (who’s a marathon runner) simplified the situation by strapping his laptop bag onto KCO’s son and starting to run: the same speed, it turns out, that the rest of us were moving by bike. Problem solved.
And that’s the point. Problems solved.
We worked together. We kept the mood light. We took turns leading and following. We got creative and tried new approaches when we hit roadblocks. We cracked jokes and laughed, a lot. We took a few pictures (not enough, of course) and we high-fived our successes. We cheered each other on, and gave credit where due (personally, I’d like to officially nominate Craig for Verde Durango’s Employee of the Month). And that’s what we’ve been doing all week in the office, too.
So the jitters have officially worn off. I am stoked beyond words to be a part of the Verde team, and look forward to many more adventures to come. Next time, perhaps, with a patch kit: but if not, we’ll still get where we’re going and enjoy the ride.