Goodwill Associate Uses Teamwork to Win Mission Month Button Contest

Dani Harper, lead associate at Goodwill’s Colonial Heights retail store, knew more about the nonprofit organization when she was younger than most people do as adults.

“My mom used to work at this same location, years ago,” she said, “and my dad successfully completed Goodwill’s Transition to Independence and Employment (TIE) program in Richmond when I was younger.”

Harper knows the power of work, and her passion for spreading the word about Goodwill reached a new milestone when she recently won the 2018 Goodwill Mission Month Button Contest. Goodwill associates submit designs as part of the juried competition, and the favorite becomes a mass-produced button for associates to wear throughout the year.

Harper credits her win to coworkers who offered many ideas before she ultimately created the final design. “Someone suggested we take a photo of everyone forming the word ‘Goodwill’ with our bodies,’” said Harper. She capitalized on that idea and created an image of realistic drawings of her co-workers forming letters that spelled out “the power of work,” – the final words of Goodwill’s mission statement.

“I stayed up all night and finished it in the morning,” she said. “I wanted the mission to be very clear in the design. At the top, I drew a hanger that looks like a cursive ‘the.’ I included Goodwill’s smiling ‘G’ logo in the word ‘of,’ and all our bodies spell the rest,” she explained.

Harper said she was intentional in making the drawings as realistic as possible. “I thought about who works together in the store and put them together to form some of the letters,” she said. Harper’s creativity went down to the smallest detail: from drawing specific hairstyles, shoe colors and preferences to wearing shorts or tying a jacket around their waist.

“Dani’s design was simple, yet creative and cool,” said Whitney Justice, a Goodwill learning specialist and member of the contest’s voting committee. “We had a hard time picking a winner from all the submissions, but Dani’s design had the ‘wow’ factor we were looking for,” said Justice.

The annual button design contest is one of many activities Goodwill offers to its associates every July for Mission Month. Learning opportunities, team-building activities, quizzes and contests promote and celebrate Goodwill’s mission.

Goodwill’s associates will be able to wear Harper’s winning button design in November. “We can’t wait to wear it. Everyone is excited to show our design to our customers,” she said.