Last week, I was able to be a part of a service project at my company's HQ. We partnered with Cheerodicals to pack delightful green boxes of fun and learning for children who are undergoing treatment at a children's hospital in St. Louis, MO. 

Prior to this service project, we had several wonderful sessions-- guest speakers, panel discussions, forward-looking presentations. We had intentional networking time to kick off the day. It was a well-planned agenda to a T.

What was unique about this gathering was that it was for the women in our company. Actually, the first time we had held a summit like this and the time frame was a couple of days. When it came time for the to wrap up the first day, a woman took the stage to share a story about her own son had been in a children's hospital for an accident. And how we all had the great privilege to pack a small box of fun for children who are facing battles in life at a nearby children's hospital. Immediately I saw women bounce out of their seats, cheerfully on to the next segment of the afternoon, all-in. Those boxes were packed with joy and speed, as we knew that leadership meant squat if we don't have our why behind what we do-- serving others for the betterment of lives. And in a small way, this project allowed us to package a small bit of betterment into the lives of families just a few miles away facing trials in their lives. 

Service projects are not for photo shoot opportunities. They are not meant for just those warm and fuzzy sentiments. This was about doing something real, tangible that meant something really significant for the people in the room. There was synergy, and relationships blossomed before our eyes. Gather people together for a meaningful project and they come alive.

I stepped away to go live on Instagram for this project and it was quite amazing. Strangers talking to strangers for the first time that day and women from all across North America finding commonality in something that made our hearts beat.

For young professionals leading in the marketplace and beyond, consider implementing something like this for your next team meeting or staff gathering. I would dare say that in 25 years when everyone has long forgotten about any workshop or panel session, we will all remember preparing those boxes of cheer for the hospital. What a meaningful project to be a part of.