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    The Fig Team- In This Together

    Here at Fig we have been adjusting with the changing of the times just like anyone else. Our daily office and client interactions have been adjusted to working from home and video calls. We are having daily check-in meetings re-evaluating current changes and creating ways we can help support our community, now, and moving forward. We thought it would be great to connect with others by stepping away from our computer screens and sharing a view of what our current new normal looks like. In this article you will meet our team, and a glimpse from our window.

    Deborah Brandt – Owner and Creative Director 

    I don’t even know where to start, 6 weeks into working from home. As a certified extrovert and one who prefers paper and pen, it’s been a rough transition but I am thankful every day for those who are patiently teaching me new digital ways to stay collaborative and keep communicating. Today, I am grateful. First, for good health for my family and friends. Second, for time with my family. With nowhere to go in the evenings, my three teenagers are stuck with me and Matt. We’ve rediscovered simple pleasures like playing badminton in the driveway and hanging out by the fire pit. I’m thankful for Matt, who has been our rock through this financial tidal-wave of applications and forms to get us through this rocky time in the life of our business.I am thankful for the businesses of Lancaster who have rallied, pivoted and come together in new and creative ways that allow the community to support them. (I really do believe that we will come out stronger and smarter after this is over.)Lastly, I am thankful for an amazing and thoughtful team that gives grace when I’m having a rough day, is flexible when it’s time to pivot, and is ALWAYS curiously creative.
    Matt Brandt- Chief Growth Strategist
    I have to say, it’s been really nice to have the family together during this time of unease. Our daily happy hour around the fire pit outside has been a true blessing and I will remember those moments for the rest of my life. I love that Deb has a new appreciation for whiskey.The stresses of the business mount daily – from keeping the team engaged, making sure they’re safe, cared for, and that we continue to feel like a team to just the uncertainty of what comes next weighs heavily on me. I love this team and have never felt better about the future or the possibilities that this team can tackle together. I love our daily digital chats, but moving forward, I will cherish the daily stand-ups, in person, where we get to see the team face to face. I’m proud of this team with how quickly they were able to pivot, change their routines, their lifestyles, and still be there for one another. And I guarantee you this, the next time we’re in the office together and Tina tells me the weather, I’m just gonna give her the biggest hug. I miss you all.
    Melissa McDade- Creative Services Manager 
    With so many things out of our control currently, we have a renewed appreciation for what we have and for simple pleasures. Our days are still filled with work commitments, thankfully, but our time off has been filled with long walks with our dogs, fishing in the stocked trout stream in our neighborhood, puzzles, and home-cooked meals. While we don’t have the luxury of eating out every day, we have had some much-appreciated takeout from Iron Hill (fantastic Easter dinner!), our local pizza shop drive-through, and crowlers from our absolute favorite, Mad Chef. We even celebrated a birthday with an amazing cake from Lancaster Cupcake. All of these local favorites have made it easy to pickup with no contact. They are the best!
    I miss the daily, in-person interaction with my friends and coworkers, but the team has pulled together in new and creative ways that astound me each day. While there have been hurdles, the transparency and determination to move forward and support each other is inspiring and humbling all at once.

    Lisa Side- Account Manager 

    I miss being with the team, so I love the regularity of our daily team video calls. It’s a lifeline to the them, and a reminder that we are all still navigating through this together, determined to come out of it whole. Funny and wonderful things happen during Zoom meetings—like when someone suddenly yelled “squirrel” because there was a squirrel splayed across the window screen behind me. And when a co-worker shared that he and his wife are expecting a baby. And when one Fig guy eloquently told another Fig guy that he admired his manly ability to cry over something that meant a lot to him, and the team. I am also loving the time at home with my family (cat included). I like the coziness of us all being in the same place, safe, yet in different rooms having our separate work and school meetings. Our daughter turned our house into her TikTok recording studio, so if you see my face on TikTok don’t judge.

     

    Kiera Wilhelm- Director Fig Bethlehem 
    Being located in Bethlehem, I’m typically working away from the rest of the Fig team—most of whom are based in our Lancaster studio. Since we’ve all been working from home these past several weeks, we start each day with a team call, and it’s great to see everyone’s faces each morning and check in to see how everyone’s doing. I’ve enjoyed having a chance to connect and work with everyone in new ways on a day-to-day basis, and am really inspired by the way our team has managed this complex time.
    I’ve found myself leaning into a slower pace, going out for daily walks around town, enjoying curbside pickup from local spots, and doing a ton of cooking, which has been a literally and figuratively nourishing activity for me. Also, my neighbor is St. Luke’s Hospital employee and has been working long and stressful hours, so I’ve been dog-sitting for her. I’m happy to help a friend, but am pretty sure I’m the one really benefitting—having some “pup energy” around has been quite a gift in these strange times.
    Emily Schlotter- Designer 
    Everything is changing right now, from our large world to the little things like new growth and flower petals. During this time, I have been keeping busy. There is always a new project on my mind, and the change of pace has given me more time to dream up ideas. One of my larger projects was combining two bookshelves and adding crown moulding for a built-in look. I had a lot of fun organizing my books afterwards. I have also used this time to take walks around the beautiful streets of Lancaster. Along the way, I met new neighbors and saw the support that people have for one another during this time. It is energizing to experience Lancaster on foot in the spring. It has given me an even deeper appreciation for my home.
    Becky Galante- Chester County Sales Director
     Life can feel overwhelming and stressful during these uncertain times. To stay calm (and sane!), our family has been focusing on enjoying our time cooped up together by playing games, doing puzzles, dancing to music and cooking elaborate meals that we wouldn’t regularly have time to make. Most of all, we have been cherishing our time outdoors with this warmer weather when we can run our sillies out. We have challenged ourselves to visit as many different parks as possible and we have been testing the local paths with biking, playing hockey, frisbee, golf and more. We hope this period is short, but we know the memories will be with us forever. We are trying to make the most of a terrible experience with moments of love, joy and hope for the future.
    Jason James- Art Director 
    This time period of social distancing and working from home has been a challenge that has stretched me and allowed me to take stock of what matters most in my life. My wife is a family medicine physician, so I have been privy to just how serious this situation really is. To all health and essential workers, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I can see what the weight of responsibility is doing to those on the front line – but so many of you have continued to persevere. This time has caused me to truly treasure each relationship I have. I’ve video-chatted with friends and family that I’m usually “Too Busy” to call. I’ve been able to write notes of gratitude to those people – essential and non-essential, who have gone the extra mile to make life a bit easier. For all of this, I’ve just been so grateful. In my normal day, I can get so caught up in what cool thing I’ll wear, or what people will think of the work that I create. But all that really matters is becoming an authentic person, bad haircuts and pajama bottoms included. This time has allowed for me, and the rest of the world to try new activities. For me, this comes in the form of more sketching and more landscaping projects. I hope that when all goes back to normal, we’ll be able to remember these moments of silence and introspection, leading to a more thoughtful world.
    Emily Hartung- Designer
    During this crazy time with everything changing day by day, I have enjoyed taking this extra free time to explore new passions and continue to do things that bring me happiness. Although we are not allowed in large public spaces, I have really enjoyed getting outside and exploring my neighborhood and my local nature trails. It has made me realize how unfamiliar I was with the great spaces Lancaster has to offer and has really brought me a sense of greatly needed peace and calmness. I have also continued to try to keep my creative juices flowing by crafting all types of things like jewelry, Christmas ornaments, or anything else I can transform from things I have laying around in my apartment. (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!) One new hobby I have found is baking! This time has allowed me to crack open my cookbooks that were collecting dust in my kitchen. Now if only I was able to see all of my amazing team that I miss so much to taste test it all for me. I dearly miss all of the Fig team and I am so grateful that we seamlessly transitioned to online working, and it is always such a highlight in my day to see everyone on our morning video calls. The way that we have all adapted to support each other through these trying times has been truly heartwarming and I can not wait to be back in the office again soon.
    Karlo Gesner- Photographer
    We’ve found the silver lining during this difficult time to focus on family and house projects. We took the opportunity just last night to setup a camping tent in our living room and have a special “camping and movie night” with our youngest, Sage (5). Yard work has been getting done and I even built myself a workbench area in our garage. I think the most challenging thing during this period of time is maintaining a rhythm or schedule. My wife has been absolutely amazing by making sure that Sage has daily lessons. She’s learning to read and Amanda has been working with her with flash cards to increase her speed w/ sight-words. Sage & I have also been working together on a monthly STEM subscription box and most recently built a “Claw Arm” together.
    Personally, I shoot when I can, making little photo and video projects here and there and sharing with family and social media.

    Pete Rodriguez- Senior Designer

    This season of moving at a slower pace has oddly been good for my wife and I. With home buying currently in the works and parenthood coming in the not so far off future, these slower evenings have been a blessing in disguise. We realize the severity of the situation and our hearts ache for the people effected by this pandemic. There’s this weird sense of overwhelming love and support for our fellow man and yet an incredible discomfort for the circumstances happening in the world around us. In our home, we’ve managed to find a bit of a temporary escape through stories; watching movies to be exact. We’ve been watching through all 21 Marvel movies and have LOVED every web slinging, hulk smashing, shield throwing minute of it! I’m so grateful that in spite of the obvious pain, worry, and concern, we as a team are able to support each other with our time, our words and, most importantly, our actions.

    Tina Interrante- Fig Coordinator 

    I wouldn’t consider myself an introvert or extrovert, I like the happy medium of people interaction with periods of quiet time. The adjustment to being at home has personally been a daily struggle, some days are better than others. With both my husband and I being home we have to be patient with each-other and share Stella (dog) snuggles. I have picked back up the piano (keyboard) which I’ve placed in my new office (a spare bedroom). I have been communicating with my parents daily who are in Philly, and we Skype once a week. I miss them so much. I have been trying to still connect with mother nature with hikes, camping, and time in the backyard. I am thankful for local takeout, online shopping and curbside pickup. I need my morning coffee from Floyds and occasional cocktail thanks to Shot & Bottle. I can’t wait to be back in the office. I want to be able to randomly tell Matt the weather for the week (even though he didn’t ask), I want Deb to come to my desk to recap a great meeting she just had, and go on group walks to market. I am so happy that our team has continued to work and support each other even with changed schedules and environments, I feel distant from the team, but I know when we are back in the office we will be even stronger & closer then ever.

    Brianna Carlisle – Chester County Director
    For my family, the spring months are usually filled with non-stop little league baseball games and practices, lacrosse games, Fig photoshoots, and a spring break vacation to a warm and adventurous place. Although I love and miss all of those fun things, I have found this quarantine to be a special gift to my family. My kids and I (ages 12 and 10) have had many conversations about how this quarantine not only offers us quality time together, but also gives us the opportunity to keep others safe by staying home and staying healthy. This historic event has spurred so many important real world conversations that we may not otherwise have had– about everything from epidemiology to economics. Being forced to clear our calendars has made room for so many other things like cornhole tournaments in the driveway, trying out new recipes, learning to play guitar, exploring new nature trails, and of course, texting funny memes to your neighbors all day. I am also very thankful for my Fig family who has been a constant source of creativity, optimism, and social connection through this challenging time.
    Amy Hynes- Digital Project Manager 
    Being a digital nerd and usually having my fingers stuck to a keyboard, I seem to be busier at this time than ever! I also have always been a huge lover of digital/video conferencing to save valuable time—so I am having a high-ol’ time in my yoga pants and my fridge stocked with Perrier and Pellegrino! All that said, though, I so miss hugging my kids and sitting down with friends and family enjoying what we took for granted. (I also each day have to remind myself that I DO NOT need to adopt a dog.) We will all get through this and come out the other side even stronger than before.
    Jess Flowers- Sales Manager 
    What a weird time we are in, aren’t we? In previous months we all would plea for more time to do things we enjoy, less grind, to slow down and, now that we are made to slow down, we wish we could speed back up. As someone who values community as many do their own family, who requires human interaction, verbally and physically, as flowers require sun, this has been hard for me but, I’ve made the most of the extra time and got back to basics. After getting some overdue projects complete: 5 scoops + 30 bags of mulch, painting, potty training, basement organization, shed organization, yard work, crocheting a doll for Tooter, etc…I took a deep breath, drank some scotch, slowed down, and embraced time with my son. I laid in the grass to stare at the clouds. I’ve talked on the phone…a lot. I’ve gone on walks in nature, played card games, cooked elaborate meals, taught my son songs. And while I’m blessed to be able to walk through this worry free despite my being part of the high risk group, I haven’t lost site of those not so lucky. I’ve admired the cats still grinding to make ends meet. I’ve applauded people who stand up for what they believe in whether I agree with them or not. I’ve prayed for all of those who need help during these troubled times. I patronize local businesses spreading the word of their altered services to stay afloat and provide for those in need in hopes that other folks would follow suite. I look for people on social media who need suggestions of services and plug all of my local favs like it’s my job. I’ve cried for those that may not make it to the other side of the new norm. As I look back on the last few weeks of quarantine, I reflect on how truly blessed I am with friends, family, and provision. My hope and prayer is that everyone finds some peace and hope in this dark time. If you can’t seem to see the light, message me…It will be my honor to help you find it. Peace, Love and Blessings from me to you.
    Let’s get a drink when this is all over!