Family Restaurant Night – Boys & Girls Club

TAG serving The Boys and Girls Club

TAG's Volunteers
Leaders, Servers, Philanthropists

On June 12, 2017, TAG and its army of volunteers gave a few families in Santa Ana an unforgettable evening.  The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Ana hosted the event lead by Lupita and her great staff.  The goal was to invite a handful of families that have children attending the Club to a wonderful evening of good food, good company, and some live entertainment (thrown together by TAG).  The thought was to encourage families to eat together, enjoy each other, and strengthen family bonds.  In today’s busy world, it’s easier said than done for families to be able to enjoy family meals together.

Restaurant at The Club

TAG showed up to the Club early to set up tables, chairs, flowers, cutlery, etc – and did their best to give the families a 5-Star experience.  Musical instruments were available and the TAG’s “gutsy volunteers” did their best to accommodate requests.  🙂

Volunteers were in the kitchen preparing the food (catered by local restaurants).  And of course as meals were finished, the crew did an excellent job cleaning up and preparing the B&G Club for another day of serving kids after school.

Kitchen Crew
06.12.2017

The highlight of the evening was to see the families enjoying their time together appreciating a great evening of food and entertainment.  Kids are always a pleasure to serve, and having fun is always easy at the Boys & Girls Club.

“Being able to help out at the Boys & Girls Club was a special experience.  Just doing something as simple as serving a meal goes such a long way to these families and being able to be a part of it was very rewarding.  I am so thankful for the staff for allowing us to be a part of it and thankful for the continuous work they put into the community on a daily basis.” – Kelsey Dieter (HR Manager of TAG)

The Kids

Easy to have fun at The Club with The Kids

We appreciate the Boys & Girls Club staff for always having hearts of gold serving their local communities.

We appreciate our volunteers for selflessly giving their time and energy.

And most of all, we appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the community and do our best to serve and give back.

A Little Warrior Needs Help

There are some things that happen in life that are difficult to understand.  Why do bad things happen to good people?

I was given some really bad news last week (September 14, 2012).  An old friend of mine (James) that I grew up with in Humboldt, Canada, let me know that his son (Tyler) was diagnosed with brain cancer.  Unfortunately the tumor cannot be removed by a surgeon; it can only be treated with radiation.  Tyler is 5 years old.

James, his wife (Kelly), and Tyler are about to engage in a very difficult war with cancer.  They are about to uproot their lives and temporarily live in another city to give Tyler the best treatment available.  It’s hard to imagine how difficult this will be for these young parents.

During this crazy time, the old gang from Humboldt started calling, texting, emailing, praying, and asking how we could all help.  It was certainly a proud moment for me to be part of a special group of compassionate friends.  We all live in different cities, and sometimes we don’t see each other as often as we’d like.  But make no mistake, everyone is stepping up for James in one way or another.

We all want James to put every ounce of his attention and energy on Tyler.  We don’t want James to be concerned about bills piling up at home, a temporary loss of income, and some increased expenses.  In the near future, we hope to put together some fundraising efforts.  I hope many of you will join our cause to help this family pour their love and focus on to their little warrior.

For now, please keep Tyler in your prayers.

Revlon Walk – May, 2012

I am so proud of the people that I work with.

When people walk in to Team TAG, they are empowered to grow personally and professionally.  One of the coolest initiatives that we have is “Spiritual Growth”. In simple terms, that means that we want to give back to our communities with our time, our money, and all available resources.

On May 12, 2012, several of our team members joined the Revlon Walk to raise money and awareness for women’s cancer.

Check out Stefanie’s testimony below.  Great job team!

 

“Team TAG participated in the 19th annual Revlon Run/Walk for Women fundraiser. We are all proud to contribute to this impressive charity event. So many families and friends have been directly affected by women’s cancers. It is a great inspiration knowing we helped toward the cure. The Revlon Run/Walk is one of the largest fundraisers in the country for women’s cancers and the event is backed by the Entertainment Industry Foundation.

We joined more than 30,000 participants on Saturday, May 12th for an awesome day of making a difference in the fight against women’s cancers. Revlon Ambassador Halle Berry, Mario Lopez, Matthew Morrison, and Stacy Keibler came out to support the cancer research event. At the starting line, they kicked off the beautiful morning with welcoming smiles and cheers. With the event being on a big family weekend (Mother’s Day) the office still had a great turn out. Nine walkers represented Team TAG with signs, ribbons and full of team spirit! We skipped, we power walked at times, and walked & talked the 5k race that led us through the amazing USC campus. It was a fun bonding time! The participants included Stefanie Tringham (Team Captain), Manilynn Disuanco, honorable mother, Evelyn Disuanco, Sam Chen, Andrew Barkman, Drew Easton, Sam Yu, Phi Duong, and Yesa Matvelieva. A shiny gold medal was given to each walker at the finish line inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with thousands united under the common goal of defeating women’s cancers; one step at a time.

This was an inspiring event, and the employees of Team TAG were proud to support it.” – Stefanie Tringham

Derek Fisher: Stud

My boy D-Fish.  For years, Fisher has been one of my favorite basketball players.  I viewed him as the “spiritual leader” of the Lakers.  He was the one that would pray with the team before games.  He was the one that made the clutch shots when they needed him.  If Kobe is Batman, then Derek is Robin.

I was sad to see Fisher traded, but I was disturbed to hear HOW he was traded.  I am a Laker fan.  The Lakers commitment to winning has been awesome.  I’d like to see the organization treat the people that make the organization with a ton of love and respect.

Enjoy the article below that I found on-line.  It sums up the feelings that many of us “Fisher Fans” have.

 

Virtually all my friends and fellow fans of the Los Angeles Lakers were content with this justification in response to my protest of the Lakers’ surprising decision to trade a much-loved 16-year-veteran player who had made a huge contribution to the team’s unity and success over the 13 years he’d been a member.

When I claimed it was unkind, disrespectful and disloyal, some just shrugged, satisfied that if it was a smart financial move to avoid or reduce the “luxury tax,” it was justified on its own.

Others believed (or wanted to believe) that the act was not a “salary dump,” but a justifiable move to improve the team, and that improving the team in a way that increases the chances of winning is the highest ethical obligation of management.

None were particularly concerned about the way the dismissal was done — without even a courtesy “heads up,”* nor thought that the impacts on Fisher, his family, friends, teammates, and fans were legitimate factors to hinder an otherwise smart business decision. After all, everyone knows pro basketball is just a business.

There are two things wrong with this reasoning.

First, the implication of the “it’s just a business” phrase is that business decisions should be judged only in terms of lawfulness and effectiveness. This is nonsense. There may be those who want to take the humanity factor out of business, but they can’t. When as a business action affects the lives of people it can and should be looked at through the lens of ethical and moral principles. Second, even if ordinary businesses have greater leeway to ignore certain ethical values, professional sports teams are not just like any other business; they have special characteristics that impose special moral obligations.

Let’s start with the notion that lawful business decisions are immune from moral judgment because the only thing that matters in business is making a profit. I respectfully suggest that this view — advanced by free market economists like Milton Friedman,** or later by the fictional character Gordon Gekko (who declared in the movie Wall Street, that “greed is good”),” — is a nonstarter.

I know of no prominent business leader asserting this position. In fact, in discussing the financial crises precipitated by legal but irresponsible mortgage practices, one of the most influential bank executives in the world, Stephen Green, chairman of HSBC, said:

Of course you need a profit, but it is a by-product, a hallmark of success. It is not the be all and end all. It is not the raision d’etre of business. What is the purpose of business? Friedman says the social responsibility of business is to make a profit but that will no longer do. Plain common sense will tell you that that cannot do.

An alternative to the Friedman/Gekko position is the view that businesses and business executives should acknowledge and live up to principles of corporate social responsibility, a concept grounded in the premise that business organizations have ethical obligations beyond obeying the law and satisfying the needs of owners and shareholders. These include a moral duty to look out for the welfare of a network of stakeholders: employees, suppliers and vendors, the community in which it operates, and society at large.

If a company terminated employees shortly before their pensions vest as a cost-cutting measure; closed a plant without consideration of its impact on employees, their families and the community; or knowingly polluted ground water, few people would give it the same free ride that basketball fans are giving the Lakers. (It’s no coincidence that the word “fan” is derived from the same root as fanatic).

Of course, each of these situations raise different and distinguishable issues, and my point is not to equate what the Lakers did to these examples, but to say that it is appropriate and important to evaluate business decisions in moral terms.

Derek Fisher was an employee, an exceptionally good employee, and in my view, he deserved, and the Lakers could have treated him with, greater respect, kindness and loyalty. What the Lakers did was lawful but it was also awful.

Sports is not just a business.

It is much more. I believe that team owners and executives have an even higher responsibility to demonstrate honor, fair play, decency, and integrity than regular businesses do.

In 1999, in an effort to articulate a framework of ethical principles and values for youth and amateur sports, a conclave of many of the most important people in sports issued this statement:

At its best, athletic competition can hold intrinsic value for our society. It is a symbol of a great ideal: pursuing victory with honor. The love of sports is deeply embedded in our national consciousness.

The values of millions of participants and spectators are directly and dramatically influenced by the values conveyed by organized sports. Thus, sports are a major social force that shapes the quality and character of the American culture.

Our views as to what is permissible and proper in the competitive pursuit of personal goals are shaped by the dominant values conveyed in in sports and by high profile athletes. 

Those who influence these values have an enormous power to uplift and improve the nature and character of our society.

Yes, these statements were made in the context of amateur sports but, from an ethical perspective, I think they apply with even greater force to professional sports.

There’s no doubt that professional sports are a major social force that shapes the quality and character of the American culture, or that our views as to what is permissible and proper in the competitive pursuit of personal goals are shaped by the dominant values conveyed in in sports.

So, what message does the act of blind-siding Fisher, his teammates, and fans send? It’s just a business; players are commodities, it’s either all about money or all about winning.

If the decision was just about money, it was unnecessary and unjustified.

The Lakers are one of the most successful and profitable franchises in sports. They owed Fisher more than his minimal contractual rights.

Derek Fisher is not just likable like Lamar Odom, or Luke Walton, or any number of other nice guys who were traded – yes, that is part of the business. He was a truly iconic leader who was material in winning championships and holding the team together through rough times.

He deserved to have some choices, some notice, some extra consideration — even to be untouchable from a trading perspective.

He deserved to serve out his term in dignity, even if he sat on the bench or was converted to coaching  while doing it. And you know what? The Lakers could have afforded that.

But what if the decision was it was about winning rather than money? What if the reason the Lakers traded Fisher was to improve their chances of getting another championship? Surely winning is a much more noble goal than increasing the take-home profits of the owners. Isn’t winning all that the City ofLos Angelesand Lakers fans everywhere want? Surely it’s ethical to do whatever you have to do to win.

Really? So winning really is everything?

To be sure, lots of people put winning above all else and, therefore will tolerate, even applaud any action that improves their chances of satisfying their hunger for championships.

Well, I’m a huge Laker fan, a season ticket holder. I go to almost every game, and I feel good when they win and bad when they don’t. But I also have come to care about the players. I care if they get hurt, not only because it is a competitive disadvantage, but because they are people who have inspired and entertained me. I owe them something for that – and so do the Lakers.

No, winning isn’t everything.

Honor is.

 – M Josephson

Team SWAG and The 2012 Dodgeball Charity Event

 

In 2011, Team TAG started its initiative to raise money for Operation Smile and sponsor a mission trip to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.  We asked the Boys & Girls Club of Venice if we could set up a dodgeball tournament in their gymnasium, charge teams $100 entry fees to join, come up with some creative prizes, and split the revenues to raise money for 2 great causes (Op Smile and B&G Club).

We received an enthusiastic “Yes”, and we were off to the races.

After raising around $1500 in 2011 for the 2 great charities through a competitive dodgeball tournament, we entered 2012 looking to repeat history.  The coveted Surf Board Trophy was up for grabs this year.

Team SWAG entered the 2012 tournament confidently.  As we made our way to the finals, we noticed that Team Shark Attack looked a little buff.  In a hard fought battle in the finals, Team Shark Attack prevailed.  We felt better after the loss when we learned that they were all fitness trainers from Los Angeles.

At the end of the day, everyone wins when charity events are put together.  Another $1000 was raised for the Club, and everyone had a great time.

Team TAG (or in this tournament we were known as Team SWAG) feels compelled to take our skill set, our great staff, and our creativity to do our part to help our community and people in need from around the world.  We believe that success and significance need to be in the same equation.  One without the other is incomplete in the world of today’s business.

Thank you Team SWAG volunteers for your tireless efforts to serve.  Enjoy the video of one of our newest Team SWAGgers – Richard Turner.

 

Thanksgiving – Serving With The Stars

We have a great tradition at the Boys & Girls Club every year.  On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, we turn the gymnasium at the Club in to a “restaurant”.  We try to reach as many local families as possible.

In 2008, we were joined by several Los Angeles superstars:  Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, and a few others that make our team looking pretty tiny.

The food was great, the families loved it, and we had a great time.  Local TV stations show up with their cameras and news people.  As I saw the kids lining up to talk to Pau, it dawned on me that might have possibly missed the purpose of what we were really trying to accomplish:  serve the people and make the celebration all about them and the blessings in their lives.

This year we experienced something really special.  On Tuesday (11.22.2011), we celebrated another B&G Club Thanksgiving Dinner.  Over 300 local family members enjoyed the awesome food and fun times.  To our surprise, as we were running around grabbing food and drinks for everyone, we saw Colin Farrell there doing the same thing.

There were no cameras.  There was no paparazzi.  Colin was sincerely there to serve, enjoy his time with the families, and do his part to make the evening a success.  Of course the moms and dads knew who he was, but the kids didn’t know.  It was funny to see little kids going up to him demanding a slice of pumpkin pie.  Colin seemed very happy to oblige.  Kudos to Colin Farrell.

It was great to see our group running around like always.  I can’t tell you how proud I am of the people that work with Team TAG.

Here are a few bullet points that make the group a very special team:

  • Servants’ Hearts
  • Adaptable
  • Impeccable Work Ethics
  • Amiable 
  • Always Smiling
  • Others First

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  Thank you for your dedication and support.

Good and Great. What’s the difference?

On October 20, 2011, I was asked to speak at a board meeting for the Boys & Girls Club of America.  Our local Club (Venice) has been on the radar screen as a pace setter for attracting and involving local companies to participate in serving and donating to our 4000 kids.

Team TAG has been a leader in this department.  Team TAG opened it’s doors on November 2nd, 1998.  The staff consisted of 5 people – of which I was the ring leader.  We had no money, no track record, and no draw for sharp, ambitious people to join our firm other than the big talk and dreaming that one day we would be living great lives because of our hard work.

I was at a seminar in my younger years of business when I had an opportunity to listen to Jim Collins speak (author of “Good to Great”).  The premise of his book was to explore the differences between successful companies and not-so-successful companies.  Collins asked,  “Why does one restaurant open up in San Bernardino in 1940 (McDonald’s) and go on to become the largest restaurant chain in the world, and another restaurant opens the same year on the same street and goes out of business?  Why does one discount retailer open up in Rogers, Arkansas in 1962 (Walmart) and go on to become the largest retailer in the world, and another discount retailer opens the same year right down the street and goes out of of business?”  Collins completely peaked my interest and my passion to learn the difference between good and great was on its way.

Stephen Covey is another one of my favorite authors.  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People had a tremendous amount of influence on me.  I became more efficient with my time, I worked very hard at listening, I focused on sharpening my personal saw, etc.  Around two years after reading the 7 Habits, I decided to read Covey’s follow up book:  The 8th Habit – Effectiveness to Greatness.  Covey made a pretty bold statement in that book.  In a nutshell, he stated that he best companies in the 21st century will be those that create a whole person in a whole position.  In other words, companies that enhance the well being of their employees, and develop all 4 major human needs, will be the most sought after companies in the world.  Sharp people will want to work with these companies and customers will want to do business with these companies.  Stephen Covey says that every person has 4 human needs:

  • To live (physical needs)
  • To learn (mental needs)
  • To love (social and emotional needs)
  • To leave a legacy (spiritual needs)

Here are a few companies in my mind that do a great job of trying to create a whole person in a whole position:

  • Patagonia – They donate 1% of their gross earnings to cleaning up the environment.  I have to believe that the employees in that firm feel some kind of spiritual need being met
  • Google – They have vending machines on their campus that give you free celery, apples, etc, but if you want a chocolate bar, it’ll cost you $5.  They make a statement to their people that their physical health is important to the company.
  • Zappos – In the lobby of their head office in Henderson, NV they have a “Dance, Dance Revolution” machine.  They are telling their employees that you can have a lot of fun at what would normally be a boring call center job.  Their people are getting their social/emotional needs met.

Team TAG does an excellent job creating a whole person in a whole position.  We promote eating healthy and working out (basketball every Tuesday as an office).  We promote great relationships inside and outside of the office (Team Night every Wednesday).  We promote stretching your mind (Book Club reading all kinds of great literature).  And lastly, we want spiritually healthy people.  This is where service kicks in.  Over the years, over 300 employees of Team TAG have participated in serving the community.  Some of our most memorable events have been:

  • Serving hundreds of families for Thanksgiving Dinners
  • Magic Mountain roller coasters
  • High Ropes Challenge
  • Bowling competitions
  • Resume building
  • Ice skating
  • Tour of fire department
  • Team TAG Super Sales
  • Silent Auctions
  • Dodgeball tournaments
  • 3-on-3 basketball tournaments

The board meeting that I attended on October 20th had some heavyweights in the room.  CEO’s and top executives from companies like Oracle, Skype, Wells Fargo, Taco Bell, Toyota Financial Services,and  Morgan Stanley were in attendance.  Also, the president and CEO of The Boys & Girls Club of America was in attendance.  I was very impressed with the genuine hearts of these highly influential people.  There are over 4 million kids involved with the Boys & Girls Club of America.  These youngsters are given a safe place to learn, grow, and get mentored after school.  No question in my mind, the board is contributing to society and making this country a better place because of their interest and work serving kids.

I hope they enjoyed my presentation – “Why do companies need to serve their communities?  What ‘best practices’ can Clubs follow for corporate engagement.”

Team TAG is an established company today (unlike the day we opened our doors in 1998), and we are recognized as one of the best places for young professionals to work in Los Angeles.  I think our commitment to creating a whole person in a whole position has been one of the key factors for our success.  Every person that works with our firm experiences personal and professional development.