We recently celebrated five years in business, which was marked with a rebranding and a lot of thoughtful introspection — namely, revisiting and expanding Grey House’s Core Values. Over the past few months, we’ve been sharing our Core Values in detail on the blog, to offer a glimpse of how #TeamGreyHouse operates.
In many ways, our push to empower others is our reason for being. Beyond just having an entrepreneurial spirit and wanting to start something on my own, I had seen a lot of productions that were certainly skilled and equipped to handle logistics, but often only brought a sense of hospitality to their clients, not necessarily to their crew. I saw this as a gap that needed to be filled. I believe that all people matter — not just the ones at the top of the totem pole. In fact, it’s often the ones at the bottom that are doing a lot of work to lift others up.
Giving our best to help others attain theirs
Growing up, my mom was the breadwinner of our household. She wasn’t an entrepreneur; she worked in corporate America, but I personally saw her as more of a go-getter than her corporate position asked of her. All her emails signed off with, “Giving my best to help you attain yours.” Seeing her model this idea of giving one’s best to help someone else reach a higher level of success, that’s what sparked and inspired my idea of helping others in my work. In my mom’s case, because of her behavior, I saw that she operated from a desire to invest in other people, and the good this attitude can do not only for people, but for the world and for humanity.
Empowering our crew — right down to our interns
This component extends to our clients; for example with photographers and directors, we work to empower them so they can make their best work. No matter the job, we take care of all the logistics so that everyone in our space feels comfortable, confident, and empowered. No one has to second-guess if anything is outstanding on the job; they can just focus on being creative. Grey House’s goal is to provide the freedom of space to focus exclusively on that. This philosophy extends to everyone we work with, including our interns. Over the years, as people walk through the door in hopes of interning or assisting, I’ve always said that I want to make sure theirs is an experience that’s beneficial for them as well as us. I always want to make sure we don’t take on an intern without having time to give to them, and invest in them.
Photo by David Roth © American Girl
Paying it forward
Beyond Grey House, we’re proud to be involved with a micro-grant project called Forward Fund, started by my dear friend Caro Griffin, who recruited two other women and myself to write the vision and mission. At its core, it’s about paying it forward. Each of us had experienced people investing time in us when we didn’t fully believe in ourselves, so we wanted to pay forward this idea of saying, “I see what you’re doing and I know you have value,” and putting not just our time, but our own money behind it. It’s a very unfussy thing: We create grants every quarter, and there is no paperwork required of the recipients to prove how they spend it. We’re just making it easy and granting it on a trust system. We fund people who are making creative personal projects, or growing small businesses. We look for people who have already put their own time, sweat, and money into something, but just need that little push to take the next step.
Below are some of the women we’ve been able to support.
Saying thank you
Earlier this year, we came full-circle with the idea of Empowering Others: We dedicated a night to say thank-you to everyone who came before us, in an Evening of Gratitude.