Meet Madeline (Maddy) Barbour, Program Manager for the MetroBusiness Center (MBC). Working alongside Executive Director Kyla Bryant as well as a team of business consultants, Maddy supports the growing needs of MBC’s clients (small and mid-size business owners and entrepreneurs) and manages program partnerships. In addition to her official role, Maddy also plays a major part in the office as the head of the Fun Committee. This extra special committee plays an important part in the office by making the staff at Metro Chamber feel connected and acknowledged beyond just the surface level.
As head of the committee, Maddy’s role includes helping plan fun events in the office such as staff birthdays, work anniversaries, holiday parties, quarterly team building, and other “just for fun” events! The events can be big or small and include anything from a team barbeque to a happy hour or even a Halloween scavenger hunt through Old Sacramento. Maddy believes the importance of the fun committee is in how it supports connecting with one another and how it creates space for team building and getting to know one another as our authentic selves. She finds this to be important since most of us spend a significant amount of our lives working and many of the people that we see every day and collaborate closely with are the people that we work with. By getting to know one another on a more personal level, Maddy believes that we are able to champion one another in our work, when necessary, from a much more authentic and real place. One of the staples of the committee is that during every Monday morning staff meeting, there is a question of the day or week. The questions can be as lighthearted as “What is your favorite scent?” as well as including other more serious and sentimental questions, depending on the atmosphere of the week. About 5-6 members of the staff are actively on the committee, however, the entire team is involved in the activities so everyone’s feedback is always welcome. Maddy adds, “The whole purpose of the fun committee is to create spaces, conversations, or events that serve what everyone likes to do. We are a small team, so everyone has input and it takes everyone’s active participation to create our “fun” environment!”
Where Maddy finds inspiration for the activities executed by the fun committee come by and large from her personal life and past experiences. Some of her ideas may come from a conversation with a friend, a podcast she is listening to, as well as getting inspiration from one of her favorite authors Brené Brown. Maddy also describes how in past roles such as when she worked for a sorority, she would regularly utilize icebreakers as an important facet of relationship building. To this day she still uses adapted versions of icebreakers as a way of cultivating connection between staff and getting to know one another better.
The Fun Committee certainly plays a role in building the connections felt between everyone in the office, but it primarily exists to build on the culture that the leadership at Metro Chamber have set. The Fun Committee works to support creating the space and the conversations that allows staff to know one another on a human level so that they can bring their full selves to work. This allows everyone to connect with one another and work together better.
Some of the team’s best moments included a Halloween scavenger hunt in ‘old sac’ paired with a costume competition and a Chipotle lunch in the conference room planned by the Fun Committee. Staff were able to travel and go to ‘old sac’ as well as take tons of festive photos together. Last year, the Fun Committee was instrumental in applying for and receiving Sacramento Business Journal’s “Best Place to Work” award. “Our team was able to attend the annual luncheon celebrating all the businesses recognized, and it was a really fun, celebratory moment for our team,” says Maddy.
For other businesses or organizations looking to start their own Fun Committees, Maddy advises that they do not have to be something super complicated. The Fun Committee represents connection to the people that you work with there are many ways in which people can connect. As Maddy has shown, you can do this simply by congratulating someone who feels proud about what they accomplished, encouraging someone who you think needs encouraging, and overall, just by creating a space to get to know each other’s lives so you can champion each other authentically. When it comes to events or activities, they do not need to be super organized and could take as little as five minutes such as asking simple, get-to-know-you questions to each other as an office. Her final thoughts on the topic were, “I feel very lucky to lead this committee and that we have been able to host events and have fun together as a team. “Fun” has been a priority for us as a staff and I think there are certainly many ways for companies or individuals to achieve the same result or to bring fun into their culture without it being some huge time-consuming or costly thing.” Keep up to date on all the “fun” happening at Sac Metro Chamber and see more team photos by following us on social media!