Chris Russell, lead associate at Goodwill’s Ashland retail store, was looking for an opportunity with career growth, a good culture and a mission he could believe in when he joined the organization in 2017.

“I was looking for work I could feel good about. I’ve had my own difficulties finding a job in the past and I know how hard that can be. I related to Goodwill’s mission and wanted to help people find sustainable employment, so they can work to support themselves. I believe in the saying ‘a hand up, not a hand out,’” Russell said.

Russell has a passion for art and creative expression, often painting and drawing in his free time. After enjoying entering Goodwill’s internal Mission Month competition 2018, he was excited to take part again. Turning to his team for inspiration from the theme “Ride the Wave of Success,” Russell landed on designing the Goodwill logo in the crest of a wave for this years’ winning design.

Russell took his time laying out the composition of his design, working on incorporating the logo into the wave in different ways. “At first, I tried adapting the logo to fit the shape of the wave, but I didn’t like altering the logo,” he said. “For the final design I kept the iconic ‘G’ smiling face to make it instantly recognizable.”

Goodwill’s Mission Month is an organization-wide, grassroots initiative to raise awareness of the mission, changing lives…helping people help themselves through the power of work. Mission Month activities enable all associates to become more connected to the meaning behind their work and develop a greater understanding of Goodwill’s impact the community.

“We chose the Ride the Wave of Success theme to reflect the hard work and journey of the participants Goodwill supports through our workforce development programs to place people into jobs throughout the community,” said Whitney Justice, retail operations manager of Goodwill’s Mechanicsville store and chair of the Mission Month committee.  “Catching the wave is hard at first, riding it can have its bumpy moments, but once you reach the beach, you have reached success and can look back that the ride that brought you to that point,” added Justice. “That smiling G represents the positive impacts achieved through our programs and services offered here at Goodwill.”

Russel is developing his career with Goodwill and enjoys serving his local customers. “I have an attachment to this store and the people here. We have customers who come in every day, some twice a day, and it’s great getting to know them and being a part of this community,” he said.

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 celebrate Goodwill’s mission.

Goodwill’s retail associates will be wearing the winning button design in November.