It was a chilly evening in early December 2019, and I had no idea it was coming.

There I was, sitting with my co-workers at a few folding tables in the back of a brewery, as my boss started to announce an annual list of retirement milestones and awards that are customary at our office Christmas party.

I was clapping along with everyone else—then once he moved to the Spirit Award (someone who goes above and beyond), I surprisingly heard my name.

I was floored. Should I make a speech? I wondered.

Let’s all chuckle for a moment—because I’m fully aware a Spirit Award isn’t an Emmy. But this plaque came to me at a time when I really needed it. November and December are my busiest months (personally and professionally) and, quite frankly, I was burnt out. The Spirit Award was the boost I didn’t even know I needed.

Maybe you can reminisce about a similar pat on the back you have received during your career. It’s nice to be recognized once and awhile, isn’t it? Public recognition keeps you motivated, strengthens your determination and simply makes you feel valued.

That’s the backbone of our Best Of Business Issue—a way to give much needed praise to some incredible individuals and businesses in our region.

We took all of our successful award campaigns and put them into one publication: Millennials on the Move, Best Places to Work and Best Of Business Awards. From up-and-coming young professionals to businesses with impeccable company culture, there is lots of praise located within these pages.

Of course, we couldn’t avoid a not-so-positive topic: the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the economy, particularly our local tourism industry. The word “unprecedented” gets thrown around a lot, but there really is no other way to describe it.

When I started assembling this magazine, it seemed like two extremes: awards and pandemic. But as I took a step back, I realized the topics connect.

Now, more than ever, we need to be lifting each other up. We need to address defeats as we trek down the path to an economic rebound, but we also need to celebrate victories, however small they are—maybe even company-Christmas-party small.

As we move into the second half of the year, I challenge you to make praise, recognition, or shout outs a regular part of your business day.

You may just give someone the motivation they need to keep going.

All my best,
Shelley Basinger, Managing Editor