Saturday, January 21, 2012


Amy, Kim and Lori organize arts and craft supplies

It’s been a week of different communities for me.  

I just got home from working at a homeless shelter all morning.  We’re cleaning out their childcare room, reorganizing the donations they do have, repainting, asking for more donations of toys and educational materials and providing new rugs, furniture, storage.  In a few weeks we’ll put the entire 900 square foot room back together with what we gather and have a celebration with our preschool organization and the families living in the shelter.

I am helping lead this project and it has not been smooth sailing lately – as I think happens with any volunteer activity.  There were multiple misunderstandings and several hurt feelings and multiple threats to quit.  Part of that was our dependence on email to manage, which isn’t effective.  We’re all mothers to pre-school age children, so it’s rather difficult to get any decent amount of time to focus on anything, and we all lead busy lives in our own way.  But the madness in our method was creating a lot of team dysfunction, and worse, a lack of support for one another.  And if we can’t support each other in our own smaller community, how were we ever going to pull off a project to help children who have no choice of whether or not they are homeless? 

On the flip side of my week, I attended the Women’s Business Council Parade of Stars Gala, where awards were given to women business owners, and companies who are advocates of women-owned businesses.  Here was a grand example of women supporting and celebrating one another.  The energy of collaboration and genuine interest in helping women-owned businesses succeed was palpable.  Here was the energy my volunteer group needed.
The next morning we met face-to-face and I insisted we do some team building.  It seemed to help us focus and appreciate each other.  Today we launched the effort at the shelter and our volunteer turnout was fantastic.  We accomplished more than we expected to in the entire first day by noon.
Laurie lining the shelves

Making a difference is important to me.  Being a part of my community is too.  I truly believe being able to share the positive, forward-moving energy from my entrepreneur/business community with my volunteer/neighborhood community will eventually help some of these kids break the cycle of homelessness. 

It’s amazing how far a little positive energy can go.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Making a Difference

I started CM Productions in October 2000 because I knew I could do something great if given the chance to do it my way.  And there have been many great projects over the last 11 years on which I am proud to put my stamp.  But there are some that not only made me proud, but made a difference for someone else.

As a company, we’re evolving and growing.  In December, we sat down and decided what our core values are as a company.  We discovered they’ve always been there, but now we’ve said them out loud and will soon publish documents that formalize them into our culture and guide others who join us. 

Making a difference is one of our values.  We want to do something that has an impact in our community and makes life better for others.  Personally, it is important to each of us to volunteer and donate our time.  I am deeply involved in a project for Family Gateway, a Dallas homeless shelter that serves families with children. as well as Children’s Medical Center

As a company, we have talents in visual storytelling that not everyone can offer.  And we especially like telling stories about causes we believe in, like Family Gateway.  We produced a wonderful story that highlighted success stories of clients who turned their life around after getting help at Family Gateway.  It is an honor for us to meet the people and in turn tell their stories, like the single dad with 3 young kids who was suddenly homeless 20 years ago.  Family Gateway helped him.  Now he’s a successful entrepreneur and two of his children have graduated college.  

Today I edited a pro-bono commercial for my high school geometry teacher.  He’s retired now, but offers tutoring and wants to get the word out about his services. My hope in doing this spot is that we make a difference for someone who is struggling in math because they seek his help. Where the future takes them is up to them.  He is a terrific math teacher and could make a positive difference in someone’s life.  He has already for many -- see his fan club on Facebook: I was in Mr. Walter Dewar's class, and I survived.

Now that I recognize that Making a difference is a value for CM Productions it has truly given me guidance in what I choose to pursue.  Do you know what guides you?