Board President Paul Bischler speaking to the staff


GRACE Sites were closed for the day this past Wednesday, May 1st to allow our staff an opportunity to take a step back from the day-to-day work of our organization and spend some time thinking about the bigger picture.  It was a perfect time to rejuvenate our team, get everyone excited around our united mission, set goals, and build bonds between team members.

GRACE’s annual staff retreat is a day of fellowship, personal growth and reflection that refreshes our focus on our particular roles in the GRACE mission. This year we reflected on how to improve the already outstanding GRACE culture even more.

GRACE desires to empower our employees to be more effective in every job and continually improve our culture to create better results.  We discussed teamwork, client and customer service, employee engagement, retention, recognition and leadership.

We began the day with fellowship and a hearty breakfast and motivation from our Board President Paul Bischler and Board Member Todd Renner.



The first half of the day was filled with field trips to tour each of our GRACE Sites.  54 staff members divided into 5 groups to make our way around each department of our agency.  Each staff member participated in touring the group they are placed in around their own department.

In the afternoon, we learned about the FISH! Philosophies of Choose Your Attitude, Be There, Make Their Day and Play.  The FISH! Philosophy is Inspired by the workers at the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle and the four simple practices the fishmongers bring to their work that anyone can use to be successful.

Be There.

Be emotionally present for people.  It’s a powerful message of respect that improves communication and strengthens relationships.


GRACE staff having fun

Tap into your natural way of being creative, enthusiastic and having fun. Play is the spirit that drives the curious mind, as in “Let’s play with that idea!” You can bring this mindset to everything you do.

Make Their Day.

Find simple ways to serve or delight people in a meaningful, memorable way. It’s about contributing to someone else’s life—not because you want something, but because that’s the person you want to be.

Choose Your Attitude.

Take responsibility for how you respond to what life throws at you. Your choice affects others. Ask yourself: “Is my attitude helping my team or my customers? Is it helping me to be the person I want to be?”

We all got involved in some role playing with the philosophies and how we can incorporate them into our daily work.

Takeaways were our own decorated fish and journal, to remind us of our favorite philosophy and ways to document how we are using them to further the purpose of the GRACE Mission, both internally and externally.

The GRACE staff appreciates those in the community—our donors, volunteers, shoppers, and supporters — that join in the mission of helping others.  Of all that we have to be grateful for, you are at the very top.