Dougherty Enterprises Hosts First-Ever Employee Development Day

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It’s not every day or for just any reason that Dougherty Enterprises (Thumbies and Buddies Keepsakes, Studio D Jewelers, et. al.), closes its doors on a business day. But last week we did just that, for our first-ever Employee Development Day, held at the Shah Center in McHenry.

Caring to Lead

Organized to the finest detail by Thumbies’ own Crystal Squires (whom some of you might also know as the President of Woodstock Pride), the day was titled “We Care To Lead” and began at 7:45 am with almost every employee on-site (we do have a few remote workers at various locations across the country). Every attendee received a folder containing a personalized agenda and information about each session taking place that day. A light breakfast was offered and it was off to the races!


EDD Opening Water (lighter)Ellen Ball demonstrating how stress can build and lead to feeling overwhelmed

The day started with a quick welcome from Crystal and Wayne Read, company CEO, and settled into the Keynote: Leading with Care, led by Emily Kunash, LCPC, of Next Level Counseling and Wellness. From there, teammates split off into sessions that included leadership discussions, diversity and inclusion, and understanding and accepting yourself and others (the final session listed led by the remarkable Mary Ellen Ball of Open Delta Group). The courses were scheduled throughout the day and gave employees the chance to mingle in sessions with other employees whom they might not see often, since the organization has multiple locations.

Time to Unwind

Lunch was catered with something for everyone as the team took a break to relax and mingle together. In the afternoon, employees were able to attend an Employee Choice Session; the options for these included nutrition/cooking, watercolor painting, and yoga.

Watercoloring SessionDougherty Enterprises team members watercoloring flowers during their Employee Choice Session

Following the EDD, Domi Bazyl from the Customer Care Team said “the employee choice option was my favorite part of the day. I chose to do the watercolor class, which really allowed me to express my creativity. One of my favorite things about working for this company is how we are encouraged to be creative and share our creativity with each other.”

Jeremy Cable, Customer Care Team Lead, added “there were many things that I feel I can apply to myself and my team to help promote a happy, healthy, and productive work environment. I think the day benefitted the customer care team greatly. There was a lot of information discussed that not only will help our inter-office relationships but also help associates de-stress when they handle a particularly difficult phone call or customer service situation.”

A Step Towards Success

Dougherty Enterprises places a premium on fostering a positive and supportive culture for all of our employees, ensuring everyone is aware that we are all part of one large team, and this first Employee Development Day is part of a bigger program of employee training, education, and also social events including video game nights, cooking/potluck sessions, and more, all planned throughout 2022.

Employees universally seemed to enjoy the time together and the possibilities the day presented. Tracy Gibson, manager of Studio D, added “the fact that we were able to have an event like this is unique; it was a great opportunity. I was impressed with the level of material offered and the organizers should be proud of the program.”

Shah Center SignPat Kallus from the Shah Center summarized “Since our opening at Shah Center in 2006, many companies used our facility for employee development, team meetings and trainings…We are impressed with Dougherty/Thumbies commitment to their employees and overall leadership.  Congratulations on doing it right.”

More to Come?

Plans are already underway for our next Employee Development Day, to be held in September, and employees are being surveyed to see what they might like to delve into in the next round.

Considering the entirety of the day and the preparation that went into it, Crystal summed it up with, “I loved getting to know all the employees and now continuing the friendships I have made. When putting together the event I tried to focus on the conversations I have had with employees and their needs when planning the event. We’ll use that information and feedback for the next one!”