ANOTHER MEETING OF THE MINDS
In January, the board of directors gathered for our annual meeting, held in San Marino, CA. Highlights of our time together included an extended lunch with Paul Haaga, who has been a major influence on two of our founding directors and is among Hayven’s earliest supporters; and a wrap party (pictured below).
“In keeping with Paul’s reflexive generosity, during January’s post-holiday lull he made time to meet Hayven’s newest director from Phoenix, Christine Mantel,” Carole says. “I rely on Paul in the same way I rely on Dan Crippen (former Director of the Congressional Budget Office and recent Executive Director of the National Governors Association) for frank, incisive feedback and business advice to guide me and Hayven from launch to stable sustained growth. Their effect on our formation is indelible and inestimable.”
Carole adds, “I can just hear his humble disclaimers were we to speak of him this effusively within his hearing. This is arguably one of the best leadership-by-example lessons he gives us — a quality I observed in President Reagan as well: As Mark Twain observed, ‘The really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.’ “
DESIGNS FOR THE FUTURE
Also in January, in her role as editor-in-chief and brand strategist, Carole attended the Craft and Hobby Association’s annual convention in Anaheim, CA to continue to track graphic design trends. Her partner was Debi Seltzer, designer and owner of SZ Studios in Northridge, CA.
“As content and design leads within Corporate Communications for a major finance company, Debi and I worked in lockstep for 7 years,” says Carole. “In the process, she advanced my knowledge about design tenfold beyond my previous training in book publishing and textbook design. After Debi left the corporate world to launch her own design firm, she invited me to attend events like this with her, and so our collaborative continuing education advances to this day.”
Debi summarizes trends evident at the convention: “Hand-lettered fonts and vintage are still the rage, while personalized planners and multi-media art are replacing the prior prominence of scrapbooking.”
This emphasis on design and on branding Hayven with a different look-and-feel from other online cancer resources is supported by our resident health care expert. “In my very first conversation about Hayven with co-founder Dan Crippen, he related that during discussions while he served on Google’s now-defunct Health Advisory Board, they were never able to answer his question: ‘But why will users choose our site over WebMD?’, “ Carole shares. “This fundamental question has spurred our conviction that design and voice will be among the differentiators making Hayven the more desirable alternative-of-choice resource over more spare, traditional institutional resources — a warmth and an engagement that we're striving to make evident at first glance.”
SHEDDING LIGHT INTO DARKNESS :: Hayven's purposes and many of the cancer topics we'll cover in our in-the-works portal website (HayvenOnline.com) and on social media — such as disfigurement; dying and grief; making unimaginably difficult medical decisions — have an inherent gravitas.
And yet, despite ... or, more precisely, because of the weighty aspects of cancer's consequences, we're committed to infusing a lightness in the Hayven brand: A conscious buoyancy and necessary optimism that many instinctively adopt as a crucial coping mechanism during cancer journeys.
This is another differentiator we're leveraging. Care providers (who are, relatively speaking, outside cancer's grasp) must tread carefully and maintain a decorum that we — as peers, as survivors and caregivers, as insiders — aren't as subject to. Using humor and lightness is another direct response to Crippen's original question. Our insider vantage and the cheekiness it allows (in voice and in design) are why we think survivors and families will choose Hayven as their go-to resource over other sites scattered across the internet.
"IT'S EAST TO BE HEAVY; HARD, TO BE LIGHT."