The Way of The Arc Champion for October 2020 is Colby O'Brien, Development Director

COVID-19 has presented many challenges to each of us professionally and personally. Colby O’Brien had a very large and unique challenge to face when it became clear that our annual auction to benefit Family Supports could not take place as it was planned. After a few sleepless nights, Colby came to me with the recommendation that we convert our in-person auction to an on-line auction. He knew this was an “intelligent risk” that would require many people to “embrace change” if the event was to be successful in raising the necessary funds for the program. As is his typical style, he chose to “be positive” about this decision.

Although The Arc had never held an on-line auction, Colby “did it right the first time” and “made quality personal” by mapping out a detailed work plan with specific targets for sponsorships, ticket sales, and overall profits. He applied his creativity to every phase of the project plan and was successful in “following up on everything” throughout the complex process.

Colby “practiced the human touch” each and every day. He personally contacted sponsors to let them know of the change and confirm their support. One hundred percent of the sponsors agreed to remain sponsors. He then tackled adding new sponsors. He placed calls to donors to thank them. He reached out to a couple of donors of popular items and asked that they offer two of their donated items. He “went the extra mile” and “was relentless about improvement.”

Colby is well-liked and respected by the auction committee – a group he has revitalized over the past two years. He practiced “treating people with dignity” as he reached out to each one before a final decision was made to go on-line so they would not be caught off guard by the decision and so he could hear their input. “Thinking team first” showed the auction committee that he cared about them and valued their input. He could have made the decision alone and informed them but his approach was far more kind and impactful.

This was not a simple change and required months of “going the extra mile” to pull off the auction. The result: Colby “delivered legendary service” raising more dollars than we have ever raised in one event – currently over $50,000.

I am delighted to nominate Colby for this recognition and am thankful every day that he is part of The Arc of Opportunity Family.

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