Confidence Is Contagious

Healing Hands for Haiti is effecting positive change.

PCMA member Jean Tracy, senior national sales director for the George Fern Company, is living proof that confidence and compassion are contagious.

Tracy is a longtime volunteer for Healing Hands for Haiti, a non-profit organization which provides rehabilitative services to Haitians, It was Tracy’s idea that I accompany the group to Haiti, and she convinced me, with a couple of phone calls and e-mails, that such a trip was possible. In Haiti, whether it was reorganizing overflowing pharmacy shelves or figuring out a way to salvage construction supplies amid post-earthquake wreckage, Tracy boldly moved forward toward solutions, without a lot of fanfare. After spending an hour in Tracy’s company at a Haitian orphanage, a volunteer from the U.S., a teacher from New Hampshire, looked over at me and declared: “I’m just going to follow Jean around.”

I concluded the story I wrote about Healing Hands for Haiti with a note on Tracy’s continuing relief efforts in Austin, where she lives. She was purchasing a shipping container and was collecting tents and clothing for the Haitians left homeless by the quake. You’d think I would have learned something in Haiti about how Tracy’s unshakable confidence inspires others to get on board. But I got a lump in my throat, thinking of Tracy in Austin, spending her spare time collecting tents and clothing. It seemed — like so much of what I saw in Haiti — to be like bailing out a boat with an eyedropper.

So I was delighted — and had to laugh a little at myself — when she forwarded me a message from the George Fern Company COO Aaron Bludworth to his employees. Bludworth is making Tracy’s tent drive a company-wide effort. He’s even sponsoring a friendly contest to spur participation: whichever of the company’s two dozen branch offices bring in the most tents to ship to Haiti will be treated to a barbecue. “It doesn’t take much,” Bludworth wrote to employees, ” to make a difference.”

Especially when mixed with confidence and compassion.

Barbara Palmer

Barbara Palmer is senior editor and director of digital content.