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Here We Go 2019  

Here We Go 2019  

I have long resisted the urge to use the phrase “huddle up everyone” in a team or staff meeting.  As a lover of all things sports and team building, I long for a good huddle.  There is something inspiring about a group of people with a common goal circling around each other, making a quick plan and ending with some sort of cheer or chant.  When my kids played sports in childhood, I had just as much fun watching them huddle up before the game as I did watching the game itself.

I am always looking for ways to encourage the team at the Foundation and have been known to try a variety of methods to connect with them in meetings.  A few years ago a new staff member had heard about my penchant for engaging team meetings and later admitted that she was worried I might try to get her to sing or do some sort of cheer.  She left her first staff meeting and let out a sigh of relief when she learned that was not part of our culture.

After years of observing meetings and teams of all sorts, I began to wonder why all the pumping up of the group happened at the start of events and nothing more than a Gatorade dousing happened at the end, and only if the sports team was successful.

I have been part of plenty of meetings in which the discussion ends and everyone slinks out the door or hangs around wondering what to do next.  We have the tendency to run out of steam just when we need it most. Why don’t we infuse our work teammates with energy when they head out of the meeting and on to their proverbial playing field?

With this goal in mind, a few years ago I began observing the ways groups ended their meetings in both formal and casual ways.  At my church they used a benediction, which translates into “a good word,” another team would all clap on the count of three ( of course I loved this one) and others would adjourn to mark the official end.  In the midst of my research I found that a consultant working with our team and others on organizational culture, strategy and ingenuity, would casually end meetings with the phrase, “here we go.” He didn’t make a big deal of it or try to get others to join in but would just use it as the cue that the meeting was over and it was time for all involved to take what we had discussed and put it into action.

And like most of ideas I really love, I stole it. I began using it slowly at first to see how it resonated when I used it, then I went more public and added it to speeches and presentations.  I have woven it into the Foundation’s culture as we consider ourselves change makers and that requires us to always be moving and taking action.  It is now so widely known by our team others often chime in when they know I am about to close a meeting.

Just last week a fellow team member texted it to me to fire me up about a piece of work.

There are so many opportunities and challenges ahead of us in this new year.  We all have so much potential to create the change we want to see in our community.

So huddle up Southwest Florida, Here We Go 2019!

About the Southwest Florida Community Foundation
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, founded in 1976, cultivates regional change for the common good through collective leadership, social innovation and philanthropy to address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Foundation partners with individuals, families and corporations who have created more than 400 philanthropic funds. Thanks to them, the Foundation invested $6.8 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of more than $126 million, it has provided $78.2 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception. The Foundation is the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan. The Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s regional headquarters are now located in the historic ACL Train Depot at Collaboratory in downtown Fort Myers, with a  satellite office located in LaBelle (Hendry County). For more information, call 239-274-5900 or visit

Sarah Owen
Sarah Owen

Sarah Owen, President & CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, leads a passionate and diverse team dedicated to driving regional change for the common good. The Foundation is committed to engaging the community in conversations and action that creates sustainable positive change and provides the funding to make those changes a reality. More