Living the Dream: Danielle Rosellison

Danielle Rosellison

CEO

Trail Blazin’ Productions

Bellingham, WA

I believe a diverse team is the best thing you can do for your business. Sure, it’s hella annoying sometimes when not everyone agrees (can’t you all just do what I think is best?!?), but when you can look at your differences as strengths and not weaknesses, your business will be better in the long run.

Take our team at Trail Blazin’ for instance.

We are a majority woman-owned, women-run business. Our upper management team is pretty even when it comes to gender and pretty diverse when it comes to ethnicity. You can’t just talk the talk, you have to walk the walk, and Trail Blazin’ has done that, in all regards, especially when it comes to staffing.

We conduct employee reviews every quarter. We ask the same 12 questions every time. More than anything, we are offering 15 minutes of the bosses’ undivided attention and touching base with every member of our 20-plus person team. It’s a commitment on our end for sure — a long, time-sucking, emotionally draining commitment — but I believe we are a better business because of it. It’s as much a review of management, business structure and company culture as it is a review of the employee.

Through these reviews, I’ve learned the importance to our team of adding more color and art around the warehouse. Thus, I’ve been painting walls and soliciting second-hand art from social media connections and strategically placing it around the warehouse at different points. It’s kind of like a scavenger hunt: What’s fun and new this week?!?! My business priority right now is employee happiness and company culture.

Meanwhile, my husband is planning for the end of the world due to coronavirus.

He’s worked his way down the “in case of emergency” business checklist, which includes a large export of funds we wouldn’t normally spend. Pallets upon pallets are being delivered, and we have back-up plans A, B and C. Sanitizing stations, new standard operating procedures for cleanliness and moving pieces around to minimize people interactions for our entire staff are in full effect. His business priority right now is about survival.

We both look at each other like they are crazy, but recognize the importance of their tasks at hand.

Heck, even hanging art becomes a conversation in diversity. While there are a few in management who would love to have every room named after a jam band (you know, four white guys rocking out on an electric guitar, bass, a keyboard of some sort and a percussion instrument), that doesn’t radiate “inclusion.” So each door in our facility was ultimately assigned an artist who was carefully selected to cover an array of genres, ethnicities, genders, political affiliations and religions. It’s way more rad to say “I’ll meet you at Nipsey Hussle” than “I’ll meet you at loading dock B.”

I think the key to accepting diversity is how much we respect each other. At Trail Blazin’ we are all self-aware enough to make fun of each other’s — and more importantly our own — idiosyncrasies. Our businesses’ diversity brings so much more to the table with regards to knowledge, perspectives and personal growth. I encourage all businesses to go outside their comfort zone and surround themselves with people that push them into new territory.

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