Embracing the Spirit of Gratitude

In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy devastated communities along the U.S. eastern seaboard, including neighborhoods in New York and New Jersey. In the storm’s aftermath, Stacy Burdett and millions more endured days with no power. As everyone affected began to assess the damage, Stacy remained calm and grateful—even as her home’s thermostat hovered around 60 degrees and her family could venture out only so far because gas was being rationed. Stacy Burdett folding lotus flowers on agricultural tour in Thailand.JPG

How so calm in the midst of chaos? For one, Stacy knew her family had weathered the storm better than many others. She also embraced the spirit of gratitude she had observed and experienced more than a year earlier when she served as a Lilly Ambassador with Connecting Hearts Abroad in Thailand.

“The people we met in Thailand possess a phenomenal spirit and energy, even though they don’t have much. For them, connecting with people is more important than material things. It’s that spirit I have kept with me.”

Since serving with Lilly’s first team of Connecting Hearts Abroad ambassadors in April 2011, this Lilly manager and mother of two has discovered many ways to keep the spirit of giving alive in her professional and personal lives:

  • With a former sales colleague and Connecting Hearts Abroad ambassador, Stacy spearheaded a service project with the Women District Sales Manager (WDSM) group at Lilly to assemble prosthetic hands for victims of landmines in developing countries.
  • Every team meeting of her sales district now includes a giving component. For the first time, Stacy and her sales team participated in the Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service in 2013.
  • Stacy regularly involves her kids in her family’s volunteer work.

“I want my children to grow up knowing that giving back is something we do, not just around the holidays but all the time.” 

Stacy credits her team and her supervisor for helping to make her Connecting Hearts Abroad experience both possible and impactful. “My supervisor was beyond supportive before, during and after my trip. And my team was amazing, but I knew they would be. As leaders, it’s our job to teach and empower our teams to be self-sufficient and to provide leadership opportunities for them to grow and develop.”

As both an ambassador and a supervisor, Stacy offers this advice: “Connecting Hearts Abroad is one of the best ways to engage our employees, and engaged employees drive business results. If employees are interested in applying, talk with them about their work activities, especially those that are critical to the business. Then review all of the program options so together you can determine the best timing for a potential service opportunity.”