The players assemble
CEO and president Carole Schabow arrived in Los Angeles first. “Christine flew in from Phoenix a day early so she and I could have an entire day for a one-on-one accelerator about the requirements of our directors and her new responsibilities as treasurer,” Carole explains. “Once we ensured we had a steady stream of Starbucks at hand, I briefed her about where we’re at in our growth arc, then we focused on donor relationships and investment strategy.”
The two then met with photo director Tom Schabow in Long Beach (Carole’s co-survivor brother and an indelible part of Hayven’s backstory and organic development from day one). Together the three crystalized creative choices to be implemented during planned photo shoots. “As development continues, new photos were in order,” says Carole. “Our goal is to refine our brand to further reflect our grassroots vantage and on-trend vintage sensibility. Tom is helping us convey the buoyancy and accessibility intrinsic to who we are and how we’re different.”
Founding director Katie Saunders hosted the retreat at her cottage near the beach and LAX in El Segundo, CA, which has served as Hayven’s usual meeting site and the location shoot for our initial board photographs. “Katie has exquisite taste that’s completely on-brand with who Hayven is — after all, we are our own market — and being able to use her property once more enabled a visual continuity as our branding moves forward,” Carole points out. “In fact, we pulled many of the props featured this year (look for the cruiser bike, the ladder-back chairs and the chandelier) out of Katie’s house and garage. We couldn’t have achieved what we did without her generous hospitality and impeccable eye.”
On Thursday evening, Katie and Christine met for the first time in person after collaborating remotely on a Capital grant (see our 4-4-14 post). The three directors laughed, relaxed, and lingered over a fireside dinner. On Friday morning, founding director Lori Donovan flew in from Washington D.C., only to be whisked from LAX straight to Santa Monica to take care of banking and then catch up on planning during an informal afternoon with Carole and Christine. Friday wrapped with more fireside chats in Katie’s backyard until the wee hours.
Saturday was devoted to wardrobe confabs and ironing; staging Katie’s front and back yards for the photo shoots; and assiduously avoiding sugary treats that had mysteriously teleported from the Huckleberry Bakery & Café in Santa Monica where three directors had been seen lunching the day prior. A collective sigh was heaved as the day advanced and the SoCal weather cooperated.
An early curtain call
The only blip in an otherwise sunny afternoon was when Katie Saunders formally and reluctantly resigned from the board.
“As a board, we’ve discussed board limits, naturally. It’s a normal practice in the nonprofit world,” says Lori. “Nonetheless, we were sad to see that day come for Katie. But our bad news is her good news. In January she began a new job for another investment firm in West LA, and she’s eager to devote more time to her growing family and the care of her mother. Her ready laugh, effervescent presence, and incisive problem solving will be sorely missed.”
Carole is quick to add, “I couldn’t bear it if I didn’t know that Katie continues to be available to us in an unofficial capacity. Her influence is woven into the fabric of who we are, and her tangible help during our firsts was crucial to any success we have now and in the future. Hurry back to us, Katie!”
A photo finish
For Saturday’s shoot, Tom arrived early to finesse backgrounds and arrangements with props from his personal collection. All four board members participated in that afternoon’s staging, but Carole credits Christine for artfully arranging the lion’s share of furniture and decorative elements. (Later, photographer Renee Cascia was overheard exclaiming, “Christine did an amazing job staging the backyard!” — high praise from a professional with extensive experience as an eCommerce product photographer for Home Depot, ShopIntuition.com, and magazines such as InStyle and People.)
The first sequences were snapped during Saturday’s twilight by Rory Ryder, a Google certified photographer whose work has appeared in Surfer magazine. Seeking the same “magic hour” natural lighting (at sunrise and dusk), Renee (who is currently a Forever21 photographer) came Sunday morning for a different photo series. “Considering we’ve modeled certain aspects of Hayven in the spirit of successful retail California lifestyle brands like Quiksilver and The Gap, Rory and Renee are a perfect fit for what we’re trying to achieve,” says Tom. “We also look to Anthropologie and Boden for inspiration, and share Urban Outfitters vintage/indie vibe. And because nature is so healing, outdoor shoots suit us best.”
Why so many photos? “After more than 2 years of thorough focus on our due diligence and planning responsibilities, Hayven is ready for a significant growth arc,” explains Carole. “With a firm foundation beneath us, we’re poised for our next and most visible leap forward. Assisted by our creative team and Chris Haberman’s mural, we’re updating our introductory materials, adding new print pieces (such as a brochure, postcards, and our first original Christmas card) and developing fundraising campaigns that reflect our uniqueness and mission to change the cancer conversation by sharing insider ‘been-there-done-that’ coaching, support, and tools.”
Stay tuned for news of planned enhancements to this website and online fundraising campaigns currently in the works.
For more behind-the-scenes glimpses and outtakes, visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/hayven.online and click on the 2014 Bloopers photo album.