Over the past six years working at Ideas in Motion Media, the question I’ve received more than any other has been, “What’s it actually like to work there?”
We have a high degree of visibility and people usually see us at events, luncheons, and networking groups, but there is a lot of hard work in sharing good news for the people, businesses and organizations serving Northwest Indiana. We’re in constant “growth” mode, and while that allows for a lot of creative thinking, it also means a lot of nose-to-the-grindstone work. The way we’re consistently able to grow, both in terms of our content reach and our client base, has been a reliance on teamwork. While everyone here has specific roles, everyone sees the same light at the end of the culture, and that has been reflected in some of the awards we’ve received over the years.
The first “big” award we received was going back to 2012, when Chris Mahlmann won the Small Business Journalist of the Year from the Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center during their annual E-Day Awards. The honor came as a result of not only this new style of online media we had, but also from a series of “focus on your business” (as I call them) series of articles we put out.
Back in 2013, Chris was honored as a member of The Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana, a “place ‘where dreams take flight’ and a source of inspiration to students, staff, faculty, and alumni of Ivy Tech Community College Northwest and all of Northwest Indiana.” The Society inducted Chris and named him Innovator of the Month in February 2014 for turning his “goofy idea” into a company that, at the time, was running for five years and was up to 30 employees.
Later in 2014, Chris was honored by the Boy Scouts of America LaSalle Council with the Community Impact Award. It has been said in previous meetings in the office that groups like the Boy Scouts are the groups that should be making the front pages more often, not the car crash or the crime that you generally see. Believe me, I can tell you that the job at times would be easier if it was. But we adhere to our site “policy” or “mantra” and we do recognize groups like that as rockstars.
Earlier this year, the Hobart Chamber of Commerce swung into one of our staff meetings (don’t worry, a few of us knew they were coming), to give Chris the “Business Person of the Year” Award and recognized the work that he and the rest of our team do each and every day. We had only worked in Lake County for a year or so, but one of the first relationships we forged was with the Hobart Chamber’s team. It was humbling to see them honor our group even though we had only worked with them for such a short amount of time. It’s great to see our work make an impact on them.
Just about a month later, the La Porte County Family YMCA awarded our team the Shirley Hersmen Community Service Award for our work with LaPorteCountyLife.com. We work hard to showcase the impact that groups like the Y has in the La Porte County community, and we were excited to share in their 105th Annual Meeting earlier this year.
Earlier this month, I was pleased to accept a plaque from the United Way of Porter County, recognizing the company for being our “Outstanding Media Support” for the United Way’s events, programs and initiatives. It was an honor to be there, and we love working with the United Way on their Day of Caring, their Power of Youth Council and a number of other aspects of the organization we highlight. They make our job easy.
Most recently, we were pleased to learn Chris was named Community Leader of the Year at the 43rd Annual Carpenters Local #1005 Service Recognition Banquet in front of the Local #1005's members and contractors. It was a great and unexpected honor to be recognized like that in front of a partner like the Indiana-Kentucky-Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters. They do a ton around the region that traditionally goes un-or-under-reported and we really enjoy helping to get the word out about what they do.
Each of these awards are an indication that the whole “good news” thing works, and will continue to work. The job certainly isn’t about the awards, but it is nice to know there are organizations are out their recognizing the idea, the team, and the product we’re putting out there.
And the team is the important aspect here. I think it goes under-appreciated in general. We're where we are at because our photographers are constantly improving with the feedback they're getting at every event. Our writers and editors are constantly finding new and improved ways to make our content more readable. Our tech team is always on point - and watch out, there are some humongous improvements right around the corner. We have people that make sure organizations know what we're doing and what we're capable of. We're six-plus years in, and for the most part, we're working like a hose. It takes a team to make the Good News Train run at full steam.