A Fresh Perspective by Cara McDaniel

A native Richmonder, I’m still discovering that there is always something new to learn, especially when you are given the opportunity to engage with the city from a different perspective. In my first month working with Floricane, I have been given manyways to see Richmond differently.

So far, my interactions have involved working with an historic preservation organization (Historic Richmond Foundation), a non-profit law organization that helps low-income Vir ginians (Virginia Poverty Law Center) and an integrated health system (Bon Secours Virginia). While these organizations have very different missions, they share the same desire for excellence, customer service and retention of talented employees. Common themes from recent meetings include fully engaged employees, frank, open discussions about goals and action items, and seeing John’s facilitation techniques propel the groups forward.
At a recent staff meeting with the Historic Richmond Foundation, I met a group of highly motivated and knowledgeable individuals that are passionate about architecture, history and the community. On the heels of their 50th anniversary, the group is working with Floricane to discover new ways to remain relevant, collaborate with other local organizations, promote awareness, take on new projects, generate funding and continue to be a voice for Richmond.
My next adventure involved a retreat with the Virginia Poverty Law Center at the pastoral Roslyn Conference and Retreat Center in Richmond’s West End. This caring and inspiring group is working with Floricane to ensure their work continues to reflect the needs and interests of low-income Virginians. These individuals obviously care about helping others, and happen to have great energy, which made for a fun day! Throughout the day, Floricane used several facilitation techniques and exercises to help these folks learn to leverage their skills successfully, reshuffle responsibilities and accountability based on changing staff needs and improve collaboration and communication within the team. The group took a balanced approach of looking backward to acknowledge previous successes, while strategizing for the future. 
Another retreat, this time with the Service Excellence Directors at Bon Secours Virginia, was an opportunity for me to experience a larger group and the inspiring vistas of Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg. This motivated group is energized and eager to push Bon Secours Virginia to the next level of engagement excellence. John helped the group map out the behaviors, processes and actions that will drive a “perfect 5” score for employee, patient and physician engagement. The group also discussed ways to communicate their needs and goals to senior management and how to empower people to succeed in their roles.
All in all, it has been a very eventful (and scenic) first month with Floricane. I am enjoying meeting all of the people we are helping, in all types of organizations, and excited for what is coming up. Watching John facilitate these very different groups while bringing out similar themes of excellence, communication and planning has been, well, cool. (I am also creating a scorecard to keep track of how long it takes someone in a group to ask where the name “Floricane” comes from.)
Being a Richmonder, I have a lot of memories of the city. But I am discovering Richmond in new ways. I like meeting all of these people and finding common ground. I am excited to meet more clients and make more connections, all in the name of bearing new fruit for Richmond’s businesses and nonprofits.