Give Thanks: Pay It Forward
Written by: | Posted Nov 25, 2015

The Nashville Technology Council and our We Build Tech teams have much to be thankful for – it’s been a great year. But I don’t want to spend time humble-bragging our accomplishments. For all the great moments this year, I simply want to offer our deepest thanks to each member, each event attendee, each Board member, each community partner, and all of the tech community for making our work something we look forward to every week.

Instead, I’d like to propose something else this Thanksgiving season.

Have you ever noticed that the things most of us are thankful for – people, big events, happy changes – are actually the stories and moments that make each of us unique? Taken together over time, those successes, relationships, and moments of perseverance are what combine to make us special.

One of those moments for me was my time working at LEADERSHIP Philadelphia and specifically lessons learned from Liz Dow, the heart and soul of that organization and a powerful influence on that city.

In a time of fear, hate, and violence holding the world captive, take a moment for gratitude. And then a second moment to do something positive with that gratitude. As Liz would say, have “presence over presents”. Share that gratitude through a random-act-of-kindness for no reason other than to increase the positivity floating around our world: with a loved one, with a stranger in the coffee shop, with someone experiencing homelessness, with a teacher, with a fellow airport traveler.

Liz instilled this lesson in me, our team, our classes, and people across the City. Each year the over 100 members of the LEADERSHIP class are given $20 and instructed to pay it forward. They then come together to share those stories with the group and the impact it had on them or their families. Those small acts of unexpected generosity have connected people that might never have been otherwise and breed a culture of giving and kindness.

Paying It Forward is also a key part of the way careers progress and businesses grow – trusting and collaborating without knowing exactly how that work will come back around to you. Personally, it’s a core value, and it is also the ethos of We Build Tech. Creating, collaborating, and investing in this community will drive yet-unknown connections and opportunity for all of us – students, companies, professionals, community leaders.

This holiday season I commit to Paying It Forward to someone new that crosses my path and learning their story. I invite each of you and your families to do the same.

If you need help finding ways to reach into the community, the NTC would be happy to talk to you about student or training programs that might need some help. Our newsletter has specific opportunities listed and we are excited to be expanding our programs for next semester with students. Contact Sandi Hoff if you want more information. Soon those opportunities to get involved will be highlighted on the We Build Tech site and we look forward to sharing that with you.

May you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful start to this holiday season.


PS: If you haven’t seen the movie Pay It Forward, grab a Kleenex and check it out!