Throughout my career at Amigos, I’ve often been asked how I first started working here. Like most of our team members, I enjoy sharing the story of how I was connected and took a few leaps of faith in the summer of 2005.
The better story, however, lies in the answer to this question: “Why stick around?”
Unlike what our parents were told, my generation was encouraged to change jobs every couple of years. Get all kinds of experience, move around, diversify your skills. In fact, I can’t think of a single friend who has had the same workplace since they graduated college. Only me, right here at Amigos.
So, why stay?
As I reflect on these past 16 years, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. What I am most thankful for is the deep connection and sense of family that exists within our team. I can’t help but think about how this exists. How, within a growing and highly driven organization, in which we’ve nearly doubled our team in the past five years, where it would be so easy for production, competition, and ego to be the drivers… How is it that the bonds that draw us together as family are greater than they’ve ever been?
I believe the answer lies in our culture. It’s a culture that gets fed every day. I relate it to how I build into my daughters. I don’t tell them just once a year how much I love them, how proud I am, how God has made them to be someone to share a unique light with the world. No, I tell them every day, often multiple times a day, knowing that it is shaping who they are and how they interact with the world around them.
The same goes for the culture of our team. When I say culture, I don’t refer to Nicaraguan or American culture, or even the beautiful mix of those cultures when brought together. What I am referring to is our organizational culture that is constantly being created and shared. United by a mission to make the hope, love, and example of Jesus more visible to everyone we come in contact with. This is our common ground. It’s our starting and ending. Our guidebook through the many unknowns.
You’d think that the unity and passion to carry out our shared mission is fostered most when we come together for big team events or meetings. Of course, we take every opportunity to build our culture in those settings. However, over all these years, what I’ve experienced first-hand is that our culture is best nurtured in one-on-one interactions. It is a choice that each team member makes in their daily interactions with each other. The choice to be real, to be vulnerable, to encourage, to genuinely care. These small, ordinary moments generally go unnoticed on the broader scale, but as we each contribute in our own way, we are building the most extraordinary foundation of trust. This trust opens the flood gates to big dreams and unending potential for each of us as individuals, but also as an organization.
This is why I’ve stuck around. I can’t imagine a greater group of people to be surrounded by, or a greater mission to guide us.