Relational effectiveness starts with us
Tiffany Gardner has worked at Ambassador Enterprises for 4 years as leader of Community Engagement, in which she manages several programs at that inspire and create opportunity for the team to be involved in the community. At Ambassador Enterprises (AE), she is part of a business that seeks to connect and engage with not only the nonprofits they support, but also seek to connect and engage with the community to impact the systemic needs that those nonprofits seek to solve.
Ambassador began as a steel company, but in 2006 the beginnings of Ambassador as a philanthropic private equity firm began to flourish. Though it is a for-profit private equity firm, the model that they operate from sets them apart from other firms like them. Different than other philanthropic private equity firms, they do not merely offer financial backings to organizations, but they also come alongside those organizations in a collaboration to identify and fill gaps and really make them better.
Ambassador Enterprises approaches the concept of philanthropy with a unique lens that lends itself to deeper community engagement and assistance. Rather than approaching philanthropy as exclusively financial charitable contributions to the nonprofits it supports, they approach it, as Tiffany says “by not only investing resources into nonprofits but fosters deeper relationships with those organizations to help them grow and thrive.” AE is a private equity firm that as built itself on the model of longer-term partnership and engagement with those it supports. Their goal is not only to support through resources but seek to see organizations thrive. Tiffany and her team believe in the “mutual value exchange” which is a mentality that we as individuals can put into practice in our own lives. It’s the idea that we can learn from each other, we mutually have something valuable we can exchange to each other.
With Ambassador, they can give and invest into nonprofits, but also see the value that those organizations have through working on the frontlines of the community that can teach AE ways to support them in uprooting the systemic needs in the community. Tiffany talks about another concept referred to as “the box” mentality, which address the human inclination to begin to see people as objects or obstacles rather than humans as assets who have a mutual value to give.
Relational effectiveness starts with us and mending our mentality to see the people around us as assets, seeking to find the value that they offer. Neighboring is a mindset that impacts the way we live in regard to every person, no matter where our physical neighborhood is. Tiffany said it so well, “Being a good neighbor is presence. We define it as a list of activities or things you can do to be a good neighbor, when really, it’s just being there with that person. Inviting them into your life and saying let’s experience life together.”
It starts with AE and it starts with Tiffany. The way she postures her own life and the way she trains her team, equipping, giving information, resources and opportunity to be engaged is their priority. Whether you’re reading this as a business owner or an individual, the model with which AE exists is applicable to all of us. We all have the opportunity to live alongside each other to empower each other and exchange resources to see each other and the community thrive. We all bring something valuable to the recipe of transformation.