Fostering a Heart Centered Culture at Penny Lane

March 3, 2024

Staff Appreciation Month: Fostering a Heart Centered Culture

Over the last few years Penny Lane has worked intentionally to create and nurture a Heart Centered Culture. By recognizing and valuing each team member as an intricate part of our collective mission, we have been able to foster a thriving and cohesive organization. It would be an understatement to say we have an overwhelming gratitude for those doing the work.  We also know ensuring others feel welcome and included creates a sense of belonging and community which is paramount for the work we do. To formally celebrate and honor the incredible work our staff does, Penny Lane designated February as Staff Appreciate Month.

In our first week, we reflected on the powerful and profound impact of expressing gratitude and the importance of thanking those around us. At Penny Lane we know gratitude is a powerful force that not only lifts the spirits of those we thank, but also fosters a sense of unity and creates an environment where people feel seen, heard, and valued.  As managers wrote thank you cards to their team and others sent thank you gifts and emails to colleagues, it was clear these small gestures led to a greater interconnectedness. The significance of a genuine “thank you” often gets overshadowed but when gratitude is embedded in the organizational culture, it becomes a guiding force that strengthens relationships and creates a sense of warmth.

The next week, we acknowledged the importance of creating a welcoming community.  I am always overwhelmed when people that have been at Penny Lane for 15 plus years can still remember their first day and more importantly who was there to welcome them.  We met with staff who were able to name those who made them feel most welcomed when they started. These were the folks that made them feel like they were home.  Staff then were able to tell these people directly how they had impacted their experience at Penny Lane.  There was not a dry eye in the room. Even more heartwarming was the surprise on people’s faces when they realized they were the ones that made that little bit of difference. That they have given someone the gift of open heartedness.  At Penny Lane, welcoming each other with open hearts is not merely a formality, but a fundamental practice that nurtures a supportive and inclusive community. The act of welcoming goes beyond surface level interactions; it embodies our organization’s core values and principles of a Heart Centered Culture.  

Finally, in our last week, we focused on what I believe is the most important quality at Penny Lane. And that is the importance of community, belonging and in short “finding your people”. We reminded ourselves about the power and significance in relationships we build with one another. Our sense of community. Our belonging.  Our people.  It can be the difference between loving your work and going to a job.   Team members know what you have seen, heard and felt on a daily basis. They know the pain and the struggle. And they know the joy and sense of purpose.  But it’s when the worst happens and a colleague suffers a great loss that you see the true greatness of Penny Lane’s Heart Centered Culture.  People across the organization reach out, send love and pray for each other.  It is a reminder, at Penny Lane, you are not alone.  Staff belonging is not only about individuals feeling connected, but also about fostering a collective sense of unity. It creates meaning. There is a shared calling that inspires a deeper commitment to those we serve and support. As Maya Angelou reminds us: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”    

The importance of staff appreciation at Penny Lane cannot be overstated. It is the cohesive fabric that binds us together in a shared journey of service and a collective commitment to a higher purpose. It adds not only to the success of Penny Lane, but also to the healing and well-being of those we serve and support.

If you would like to learn more about our Heart Centered Culture and Principles, please click here.

-Wendy Carpenter, Penny Lane Centers

Check out a few more photos from our weekly appreciation events below!