By Stephanie Heinatz, Founder & Managing Partner
READER WARNING: in the words of some of my old newspaper editors, I fully admit that I’m “burying the lead” in this post. But please bear with me. Please read on. There’s a big ask and announcement buried in this story.
ABOUT THE PHOTOS: every image in this post showcases our “home offices” over the years. You’ll understand why this is important as you read on!
The conversations started after long days working for other companies, while winding down and preparing for bed. Pillow-talk, if you will.
“I hate that so many small businesses have such powerful stories to tell and no time or resources to tell them,” I’d say to Rudy.
“Then offer to help,” he’d tell me.
The dreaming would continue for many months more over dinners in our dining room.
“All I really need to get started is get a good laptop,” I’d say. “Initial investment into this company, a hybrid PR and marketing firm, could be as little as $4,000.”
“I’ll support you all the way,” Rudy would emphasize.
By December 2011, the very first invoice to the very first client of Consociate Media had been sent out, all from the spare bedroom turned home office.
This year Consociate Media will turn 10-years-old.
Borrowing from the wise words of author Jim Collins (whom I am a huge fan-girl of), when we started Consociate Media, we didn’t want to just create a company that would survive year over year.
We wanted to build something that would last. Something that was, as Collins says, worthy of lasting.
We believed then, and continue to believe even more deeply now, that life is a story. When we tell it together, we can enact powerful and positive change in the world.
That holds true for businesses wanting to attract new customers (which then helps them create jobs), for organizations looking to raise needed money to support the required services needed to give families a hand up (not just a hand out), and for individuals and policy makers looking to have their voices heard.
In reflecting on the last decade, as that 10-year milestone anniversary gets closer and closer in the coming months, I found myself reflecting more and more on the roots of Consociate Media.
On the foundation from which we were built.
On the lessons and roller coaster-style ups and downs we’ve been through over the years (hello, 2020).
What I kept coming back to was … HOME.
HOME. It’s where Consociate Media started. It was where it was dreamed up. It was where all operations happened for the first couple of years.
For a short time, while the team was in between offices, the entire Consociate Media team even worked out of our actual home (our driveway at the time looked like a party was going on each and every day).
Having a place to call HOME is a gift.
While we are fortunate to have incredible office and studio spaces now, having a HOME to grow our company and work family from was and is a blessing.
The harsh reality of our world, however, is that HOME is not something everyone has.
Houses aren’t always affordable.
There are families – far too many families – who have to choose each and every day whether to pay their mortgage or medical bills, whether to buy groceries or pay their rent.
What does this all have to do with Consociate Media and our milestone anniversary?
HOME helped build Consociate Media and in honor of our 10th anniversary we want to build something worthy of lasting.
We want to help build a HOME – the “House that Small Business Built” – for Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg.
How will this all work and how can you get involved?
It takes about $100,000 for Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg to build a house for a family to purchase (emphasis on purchase…Habitat sells their homes to qualifying families…as a hand-up not a hand-out).
While we would love to be in a position to fund an entire house construction, we aren’t there – YET!
In fact, most small businesses aren’t.
If we connect up together (consociate means to connect, by the way) we could!
So here’s what we’re doing…and what we’re asking.
Consociate Media, to honor the community who helped build us up over the last 10 years, will kick off the fundraising for the “House that Small Business Built” with the first $10,000 donation.
If you are reading this and are a small business owner who can relate to starting your company from your own home, please join us. If you are a small business owner and would like to make an impact and build something, please join us.
Our goal is to raise the $100,000 before December 2021, the 10th anniversary of when Consociate Media sent off that first invoice to its first client for the first story told for a small business.
This isn’t the last time you will hear more about this effort for our anniversary celebration! We plan to keep you updated here on all the partners who join us on this journey. We plan to not only raise the money for this house, but also help build it. We hope to introduce you to the family who will move in and to all the people who make the mission of finding more affordable housing for everyone their number one priority.
Learn more about Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg at habitatpgw.org.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to join the effort.
And stay tuned. We’re just getting started!