A sensational level of connection and intimacy is built between humans when we learn about
each others’ values…what we really value in life, what we
stand for down in our core.
It takes deep listening and investigation to form real understanding of what
the people in our lives place value on. And sometimes, it takes a good shoulder
Back in the very early 90s, I was the marketing director of a ballet company. Each summer, my
team and I would set aside a day to clean out the office, liberating space occupied by
leftover collateral that would soon be replaced by next season’s marketing materials.
We threw away thousands of dated and useless brochures, flyers, programs, postcards and
posters. Yes, thousands.
On the eve of that particular clean-up day, I was meeting a college friend, who was in town,
for dinner. He was picking me up and I couldn’t wait to see him.
My buddy pulled into the ballet’s parking lot just as I was hauling out the last box of
wasted brochures into the trash. His car didn’t even come to a full stop as he jumped
out of it, wide-eyed and clearly rocked.
“What did you DO?! What have you DONE, Keri?!”
Um, I dunno. What DID I do?
What ensued next was an emotional yet loving monologue. My dear friend sat me down in that
parking lot and went on about the waste I was creating, the lack of respect I appeared to
have for paper and its origins, how recycling THIS particular vat of paper could
have an impact on the planet and my need to better project what quantities of this stuff I
really needed to order each season.
I listened. I watched him, deep in his eyes. My tossing out of paper had really triggered him.
My friend’s values were front and center. I learned how much
he valued nature, its preservation and restoration. He valued renewable energy. He valued
kindness, compassion and empathy. And my understanding of him, who he was, became so clear
in this moment of me throwing away stuff into the trash. We connected more deeply than we
ever had in the six years of knowing one another.
The pandemic has been TRG’s shoulder shake in so many ways, as I know
it has been yours. Through this last 18 months, we here at TRG needed
centering. We needed to revisit and learn anew what we valued as a company. We
took a deliberate journey to tell stories from our company’s past, to express our
personal values, and to react and input on the values that were emerging out of these steps.
We learned not only who we are as a company now in 2021, but what each of our
colleagues’ value for themselves. We connected with each other and continue to come
together on these shared and collectively-built values. Most of all, we are inspired
by how these values will weave into our work for you, our beloved arts sector.
You’ve known us. And yes, you’ll see we still and always will value results! But
we hope you’ll get to know us more deeply, who we are today, as you read our freshly
conceived values. Tell us when you see
us living them…and when we’re not. Moreover, we want to
connect with you on your values and those of your organization….and in so
doing, get to know you more seriously. Here, in a paper-less world and without the trash
People show up differently when they love something and believe in it. We love and believe in
the industry for which we work, and its ability to strengthen the communities it serves. We
are a group of talented, convicted, and resilient people: insistent on listening to our
clients’ needs and champions of meaningful results. Our belief in this industry leads
us to provocate, push, and rebel - and that means our company has a different spirit
Our founder, Rick Lester, was fond of saying “our clients know more about their
business than we do.” That mindset remains at TRG: we don't know it all. We learn
daily, from every experience we have with our clients and each other. We take our work
seriously, but not ourselves – humor, heart, and humility are the guiding light
through the hard work we do alongside our clients every day.
At TRG, we reject racism and discrimination in all its forms. We believe diversity is fuel
for innovation, results, and quality of experience in work and life. We are committed to
facilitating conversation, study, and action on behalf of our field, to help create a more
equitable world. All the while, we recognize this work is never finished. We will
question and remove the structural barriers preventing equity – not only within our
company, but also with our clients and on behalf of the arts and cultural sector we
Creativity is stitched into everything we do. We caretake creativity like we do data,
results, and financial performance. TRG approaches work with creative thinking, which means
we sometimes must take a step back. Our approach to solving problems is iterative –
it’s based on what we know, but not bound to it. We'll throw out ideas when they stop
working. We strive to adapt, then adapt, then adapt.
At TRG, we start projects and conversations with a simple question: what’s your goal?
From that moment forward, we’ll be relentless in our pursuit of it. If the goal
isn’t clear, we’ll help point the way. We have an insatiable drive to achieve
results - not just numbers, but the development of people, the creation of more equity, and
the success of our industry. Success is never final, and results are never finished.
Relationships - with each other, and with our clients - drive everything for TRG. We create
and sustain connections because PEOPLE do the work of our field, not organizations, not
software, not data. Developing people and teams is imperative for a thriving arts and
cultural sector, and we relish working in the trenches with them every day.