Guest post by Megan Sussman, Development Director, Summer Search NYC
Next Jump (NxJ) explains their purpose simply: Do the little things that allow others to do the great things they were meant to do. At Summer Search, we support underserved high school students to develop the character and life skills needed to graduate from college and become community leaders. At a Summer Search event in March, Charlie Kim saw the mission and values alignment between NxJ and Summer Search, and blew us out of the water when he told us in June that he wanted our teams to join forces, and that NxJ wanted to invest in our students to allow them to be the community leaders they were meant to become.
Charlie invited us to move our NYC operations into the NxJ offices for $1 rent/year, so on June 26th, 14 of us moved into the NxJ 8th Floor. We received the warmest welcome I could have ever imagined from the whole team and I think we are still blown away daily by the generosity of NxJers and the incredible things we are already learning from this group of people.
This warm welcome has included extraordinary actions of generosity.
NxJers volunteered to move us in. NxJ staff LITERALLY carrying our 100+ crates and boxes up and down stairs and in and out of elevators, renting and driving a giant U-Haul truck to transport our boxes. NxJ’s IT team had already done a tremendous amount of pre-work to make sure that our IT and phone transition was seamless. This was a gift of time and energy – two precious commodities – that helped us invest more in our students during a busy time for our program team.
NxJers oriented us to our new office and integrated us into their culture and activities to feel right at home. A lot of thought has gone into building a culture here at NxJ that helps employees to be their best selves. This includes robust nutrition and fitness programs as well as team building opportunities outside of the scope of day-to-day work. Summer Search staff and students have been invited and encouraged to join in all of these things right away. In my first three weeks here, I have participated in 6 fitness classes, played ping pong 2 times, had my laundry done at work and enjoyed breakfast, lunch and dinner with my new colleagues and friends and consumed probably 30 beveragesJ. All of these are nice perks, sure, but I have actually noticed that I feel more relaxed and happy at work and at home. When I leave the office late, I feel refreshed after a healthy meal and feel good that I already got a workout in at lunch instead of feeling stressed and guilty on the way home.
We were invited to participate in the recent company-wide game night, CEOTalk & Avenger Award Ceremony and Summer Outing.These events get a lot of hype around the office. Not only because the company flies/buses all employees in for the two days but because they are AWESOME. The highlight of these three days for me was the Avenger Award Ceremony. The Avenger Award goes to the best servant leader amongst the NxJ team. Watching the nominees announced by their peers and looking around the room to see all of the NxJ employees beaming with pride for their colleagues, I could tell that I had the privilege to be a part of a very special afternoon. When the Avenger Award winner for 2013 was announced and the Lifetime Avenger award was given to Charlie, the whole crowd erupted with tears of joy and a standing ovation. I felt honored to be in the room and you could feel the group’s genuine happiness for the awardees and their families who were flown in from Korea and India.
NxJers have already made significant efforts to get to know and support our work at Summer Search. Just last night we had a small cocktail party to raise friends and funds for the program. Five NxJers attended and made generous gifts to support our event. This is on top of everything else they are doing to support our work by welcoming us into their office. Really incredible and we are so grateful.
There is so much more to learn from NxJ – things that we haven’t even thought of yet. I’m looking forward to continuing to get to know this incredible group of people and to doing the little things together to allow others to do the great things they are meant to do.