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Hi, I'm Annette and for almost three months, I have been an Xchange Fellow in the Washington, D.C. office of HKS. Even before my first day, I was welcomed into the homes of my future coworkers to celebrate the new year. That hospitality has been repeated over the following months by everyone in the office. Most of my coworkers are not originally from this area and remember what it was like to be new and alone. I think that contributes to their passion to include everyone and encourage a bond that goes beyond work. Here are some of the ways that they promote a healthy office culture:
New Year Pot Luck and White Elephant
Once everyone returned to work after the holidays, we shared our favorite foods and fought over ridiculous prizes.
Office Ski-less Trip
Families joined us on this open invitation ski trip with very little skiing. We took turns cooking great food, played lots of games and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.
When the weather was nice, we would take advantage of our proximity to the historic downtown by setting off together for a walk during lunchtime.
My time in D.C. is coming to an end, but I am looking forward to seeing my home team in Dallas, the Green Team! I am fortunate to be a part of a group that pushes each of us to strive to be our best. From getting licensed and pursuing knowledge in every aspect of architecture, to fantasy football and running challenges, they don't leave anyone behind. Since I joined HKS, nearly half of my time has been working on projects with the Fort Worth office. They are a tight bunch that knows how to add some comedic relief around the office. I feel very lucky to have met so many great people between these three offices.
I asked the Dallas Green Team and the Washington, D.C. and Fort Worth offices to participate in an icebreaker. Our stories are how we connect with others. Through our shared experiences we recognize a part of ourselves in former strangers. I hope that these shared stories will help us connect more deeply with our coworkers.
Q1: If your bedroom could transform into any space in the world, what would you choose?
The sum total of all of my pintrest and houzz idea boards specifically for my bedroom – in other words, it would grow drastically in size, have exceptional daylighting, tall ceilings and all of the projects I want to undertake for wall sconce bedside lights, reclaimed wood headboard, feature art and other unique design features would be realized.
-Tyler Ashworth, DC
I look forward to sleep, so I wouldn’t change the function, except to maybe make it cleaner and darker and quieter.
-Rachel Knox, Dallas
A private beach cottage.
-Sheila Ruder, DC
The beach in Seychelles (though magically, with no insects….)
-Lida Lewis, DC
I think the room could stay the same, I just would like an amazing view overlooking the Mediterranean.
-Paul Urquieta, Dallas
-Eric James, Fort Worth
-Heidi Swift, DC
Right now a donut shop, because I’m really hungry for donuts. Especially one with chocolate frosting and nonpareils sprinkles (my favorite) but really any donut would do. Also I’m pretty much always hungry for donuts so I feel like this would be a good idea. If they could make carb-free donuts that would be heaven. Also there would be no cats allowed.
-Douglas Mullen, Fort Worth
-Shannon Kraus, DC
Am I confined to 11’x13’ of whatever space that is because that could be a little strange but I’d probably still enjoy some exotic beach…warm sand, clear blue waters, hot sun and a cool breeze with a drink in hand.
-Ramon Cavazos, Dallas
My favorite beach- Georgia Beach in Long Island New York
-Lisa Goldsmith, DC
A place where I could see both snowcapped mountains and a body of water out my window. Maybe Lake Tahoe.
-Lawrence Williams, Dallas
Bungalow in the ocean
-Rudy Ruiz, Fort Worth
-Donna Sharpe, DC
I wanted to be a marine biologist when I was little, with the proviso that all day everyday would involve swimming with seals, dolphins, and orcas. So, I would transform my bedroom into a marine ecosystem complete with seals, dolphins, and whales.
-Braden Reid, DC
Probably a pool. I love being in the water. There is something relaxing about moving through the water that you can’t experience on land.
-Katy Dockery, Dallas
A tree house on a bluff overlooking some lake in the Ozarks.
-Rick Atkinson, DC
My room would be 50% closet with a bed of donuts.
-Kim Coates, DC
-Shane Mommers, Dallas
Any beach in Tulum, Mexico with 2 palm trees and a hammock.
-Jose Mora-Esteves, DC
A luxury hotel room with blackout curtains that someone else is responsible for cleaning and without toys strewn all over the floor.
-Sarah Pangburn, DC
Clouds. You know, those super white fluffy clouds that you can only see when you’re up high in an airplane. Those clouds always make me wonder what it would feel like to lay on them without worries or sounds to distract you. Just a fluffy cloud and a breeze. Plus, you get to be up high and see the world in a completely different perspective, one that you don’t see very often (unless you live in an airplane).
-Debbie Molina, Dallas
I really only use my bedroom for sleeping and sleep related activities so I would like one wall to be completely glass for natural light and only enough floor space for my bed. All other floor space can be given to other living areas.
-Lucas Tuazon, DC
A tree house
-Mathew Thomas, Fort Worth