Love Letters for Literacy – Great Night


Last night was the annual Love Letters for Literacy event hosted by The Washington Literacy Center. It’s the event where the center throws a beautiful gala to thank people, raise money, and allow some of their students to speak from the heart about how the center has impacted their lives.

integrateIT was selected this year by the WLC as a recipient of the annual Champion of Literacy Award Winner. As a result, the team at WLC hosted us for the event and boy did we have a good time. The event featured a cocktail hour, an auction, a delicious dinner, and an awards program. To me (and I am pretty sure everyone else) the highlight of the evening were listening to two students at the center READ about their experiences at the center and how it has changed their lives which always resulted in standing ovations from the entire crowd.

To me this evening was rewarding not just because we received an award. It was more rewarding having so many of the WLC volunteers and staff come up to us to thank us for the volunteer work integrateIT is doing. This was confirmation for me personally that getting involved with this organization was a great decision. To hear one of the staff thank Tim for working all weekend (and his wife, Allie, for letting him work all weekend) on a new screening tool that will automate a 100% manual process, made me smile. I was proud of Tim just as I am proud of every single one of our employees that took time out of their lives this past year to help a great organization.

As I have said before, it’s a great benefit that we offer each of our employees $1000 a year to donate to the charity of their choice and we will certainly continue to offer this benefit. This past year, I wanted our company to roll up our sleeves and donate some of our time/talents to a great cause. As I sat at the table last night, it was one of the most rewarding experiences for me personally just to look around our table and see our employees smiling, having a good time, and being recognized by countless members of the WLC team for the work they did.

My goal for 2014 is for us to not only increase our involvement at WLC but also to find another organization that we can also get involved with and donate more of our time and talents.

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CVS…No more smokes…Smart or Not?


Today we posted on our Facebook Page an article about how CVS has decided to stop sales of cigarettes in stores starting October 1 (http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-02-05/the-strategy-behind-cvss-no-smoking-campaign?google_editors_picks=true). I figured since we posted it on the site and since it’s been in the news the past day I’d weigh in with my opinion from a business perspective.

For starters let me say that I am not nor have I ever been a smoker. I am writing this opinion strictly from a business standpoint and I know there are people (specifically the management of CVS) that will disagree with me here. I believe this decision is a huge misstep on the part of CVS management. I admire them taking the stand and I think the fewer people that smoke the better we all are. But let’s be honest, CVS stopping the sale of cigarettes will not cause people to suddenly stop smoking. Therefore they will begin to go elsewhere to buy their cigarettes. CVS estimates they do about $2 billion in sales of cigarettes a year. Now while this seems like a huge number, it actually only equates to about 2% of their overall sales. My thought however is that when a person comes into a CVS to buy their cigarettes they more often than not pick up other items when they are there. Those lost sales need to be factored in here as well. Conversely, I find it hard to believe that they will gain many new customers that are willing to drive further (otherwise they would already be going there) to give CVS their business just because they don’t sell cigarettes. This isn’t like going to a bar or a restaurant that is smoke free when all others are not. For this decision to pay off, CVS needs to attract new people to their stores because they do not sell cigarettes there.

Essentially CVS just got a free ad campaign to advertise they are a health conscious company putting their money where their mouth is. The $2 billion question….did they make the right decision? Time will tell but I think this decision will hurt them on the bottom line even though it will definitely help them in the PR department and we are all better off if less people smoke.

What do you think?