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Life isn't meant for sitting on shore, it’s meant for setting sail on the sea of possibility, where it’s windier and the waves are a little bit rougher. For these Centrons, 2014 was a year of deep sea sailing, permeated with tidal wave dreams and gusty ambitions. Learn how they drifted these dreams back from sea to shore and turned them into reality.
Senior Account Manager
A major dream that I fulfilled in 2014 was traveling to Poland to the town where my grandmother grew up before her family moved to America. Sadly, I was never able to meet her as she had passed away before I was born, but it has always been important to me to connect with that portion of my heritage. As Poland is not a huge travel destination (yet!), it was a bit challenging to get to, consisting of quite a few layovers and trains. That said, the trip was an amazing experience that I will never forget. I learned so much about Poland’s rich history, and also got a better perspective on my own family history and how they came to this country to fulfill their own dreams of a better life.
Supervisor, Account Management
For the past couple of years I had a major goal of purchasing my first home. And this year, I finally did! After looking at what seemed like hundreds of homes in the suburbs, I fell in love with a condo in Hoboken. After I purchased it, I (along with my fiancé and family) helped to remodel the place. It was a major DIY project and we are so happy with the way it came out! Can’t say I will ever want to remodel on my own again, but it was definitely a goal/accomplishment that taught me quite a bit!
One of my goals for 2014 was to head back to the boot camp classes I loved going to last year. Extenuating circumstances did not allow me to return for the first part of the year, but I started going back this past July (much to the delight of my trainers). The great thing about having this membership is Centro’s commitment to its employees leading healthier lifestyles. Centro subsidizes the cost of gym memberships, and as such, I can go to the classes I love without worrying that I will not be able to afford them. Going two to three times a week has helped me better concentrate on work and has elevated my mood overall. I’m hoping to continue this success into the new year and keep a healthier lifestyle moving forward.
Supervisor, Campaign Management
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be “where the action is.” If something gave me a good story to tell, I wanted to be there. As a kid, that meant being the first one awake in the morning and the last one to bed at night, ensuring I wouldn’t miss out on anything. As an adult, it’s meant pursuing new and exciting opportunities and accepting whatever challenges come my way. That being said, it’s not hard to imagine why living in New York City has always been a dream of mine. In 2014, Centro gave me the opportunity to move to this exciting place and like everything else, I jumped at the chance. Living in “the city that never sleeps” has definitely given me some great stories to tell. It’s been a dream come true!
2014 was my best year yet! I personally fulfilled a lifelong dream and professionally achieved goals that many (including myself) thought might be unreachable. Professionally, 2014 included a new market hire, a new campaign team, and the challenge of exponential market growth! Our new AE ramped up in record fashion and exceeded her every goal. Our Ops team gelled quickly and became the driving force for our success. Great people, teamwork, and strong leadership led to hitting our goals and a HUGE 2014! And on a more personal note, I have always wanted to be like my Dad and dreamt of having my own kids to love just like he loved all of us. In March, my amazing wife and I welcomed our first daughter! She is perfect and I could not be more in love! 2014 was my best year yet!
Senior Billing Specialist
One of my (many) goals/dreams this year was to set a personal record (for both time and fundraising amount) at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. I wouldn’t consider myself a runner, and never saw myself running a 5k, much less a full marathon. I ran the 2013 marathon with Team Paws and wasn’t really all that thrilled with my time, so I decided to run it again and set the stakes a little higher. I doubled my fundraising goal, and decided that since this would be my last marathon, I just wanted to beat my time from the previous year (even if it was a second faster). I had battled through a few injuries and conflicts with my training schedule, so it’s actually a miracle I finished that day! But I did, and I finished 10 minutes faster than the year before! It felt great to finish “on top”. And now I can retire from crazy (yes, marathon runners are crazy) distances, and look back with pride that I accomplished what I set out to do!
Director, Talent Acquisition
I made one of the biggest decisions of my life this year... I bought a condo! To be honest, this wasn’t a goal of mine until late 2013, but one day, it just hit me and it felt like the right time in my life to do it. After a few months of searching, I came across a place that was perfect. It needed some work, but I could see the potential. It was such a great feeling when I closed and they handed over the keys to my place. Even better when I moved in and made this new place into my home. I know I won’t be in this condo forever, but it truly was a milestone in my life to have been able to do this and to do it all on my own.
Toward the end of last year, I volunteered at an event that donates toys to less fortunate children in the area. My experience made me wish I hadn’t let community service take a backseat to the every-day grind of life, since it reminded me how much I enjoy volunteering. As I considered my new year’s resolutions, I decided to take part in more charitable opportunities in 2014. With Centro’s help, I’ve achieved this goal beyond my original expectations. Throughout the year, I’ve helped organize multiple fundraisers and volunteer events in and outside of the office to benefit local organizations. Apart from taking a leadership role in our office’s Giving Tree activities, I also wanted to start volunteering again with one of my favorite non-profits. I’m proud to have accomplished this goal, as well, and continue to seek out additional ways to get involved in my community.
I studied abroad in South Africa in the spring of 2009 at Stellenbosch University. In my program, I made three very close friends that currently live in different parts of the country. It’s always been a dream of mine for all four of us to go back and re-experience South Africa. With all of our busy schedules, I never thought it would be possible to coordinate such an extravagant international trip, so I never even attempted to. Recently, one of my friend’s younger sister reached out to me to help her pack for HER study abroad semester in South Africa through the same program. I made a comment about coming to visit her and how jealous I was, she mentioned that her brother (my friend) was going in March. I immediately looked at flights on Kayak and reached out to the other two to see if they would be interested. Three days later, all four of us are going back to South Africa in March!
Audience Buying Supervisor, Channel Sales
There is one dream I accomplished this year that was a clear winner. In July, I traveled to Zambia with Spark Ventures on a volunteer trip to visit Hope Ministries School and orphanage. I had traveled with Spark to Nicaragua in 2013 and felt so impacted by the trip I knew I had to join their next one. While in the city of Ndola, the Spark group spent the days reading to our buddies, serving the children lunch, painting and learning more about the community and Hope Ministries. The final leg of the trip took us to Livingstone where I watched the sunset over Victoria Falls followed by a day-long safari in Botswana. It was an incredible way to end the trip. Zambia is a beautiful country and something about it stuck with me. The experience with Spark was life-changing, and I will never forget the friends I made.
I’m a huge animal lover, but I have never had a pet of my own. This year, I am proud to say that I rescued not just one, but two older dogs. This has always been a dream of mine, and I cannot even begin to describe how happy they make me! Working with animals has made me a more compassionate person both personally and professionally, and my goal for next year is to play a more active role in animal rescue groups like the North Shore Animal League.
When I look back at 2014, it has truly been one of the best years of my life. Always one to play it safe, and even acquiring the nick name “safe Dayna” by family and friends, I had a goal of pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. So I took a step out of my box, and eagerly applied to Centro when I heard they were looking for an Account Executive in Oklahoma City. Leaving behind a career that was predictable and calm, and jumping into the crazy world of Centro was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! On a more personal level, I have had a never ending goal of traveling as much as I can. This year’s adventures included a two-week trip to Ireland and London! A few highlights and personal bucket list actives include the Guinness factory tour, the Wicklow Mountains, Stonehenge, and Abby Road. I have a passion for culture and having another opportunity to explore new places makes me so happy!
That concludes our end-of-year blog series on culture! If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out the other culture posts on The Giving Tree, changing the world, and gratitude. And please – have a safe and happy holiday season! See you in 2015!