Working in advertising comes with long hours, high highs and low lows. There’s nothing better than hitting it out of the park for a brand you steward and boosting market share. But to get there, you sometimes have to navigate minefields. 

Some say that to maintain some semblance of emotional stability, you need passion projects to recharge your personal battery so you can better survive agency life. I don’t see it that way. 

True fulfillment comes when your passion projects and agency work collide. 

In early October, I was looking at statistics around breast cancer and the people affected by it. As October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, you couldn’t miss the social posts urging women to get breast exams, see tributes from those remembering friends and family lost, and those celebrating survivors I was moved. I was sad. I wanted to do something. But how? When? How could I make a difference? And then it dawned on me. As I work at an incredible agency with access to a wide range of followers, it occurred to me that we could collectively do something much bigger than I alone could do. All I had to do was ask. 

The question of how we can do something great pervades our agency from client briefs to employee-powered social activations. Doing good courses through our agency’s veins because we have a leadership team that routinely asks us what we are passionate about. Last year, our leader Matt Statman told us to each give him a charity we cared about and he would make a donation in our name as a gift to us. I couldn’t pick one so I sent him two and told him to decide between them. He donated to both. 

So last month I went to Matt asking if we could use Motive’s social channels to do something to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research. He enthusiastically said yes. Our effort ended up exceeding my expectations. 

After sending out an email to all our employees in late October asking who wanted to get involved, who had a story to tell, and who had time to help us collectively make an impact, I immediately heard back from co-workers sharing stories of how breast cancer had affected their moms, aunts, and best friends. It’s not a light subject and putting your face and story out into the social pool is always a vulnerable act. But the stakes of raising awareness, motivating donations, and possibly having just one more person get screened pushed them to be brave and put themselves out there. In just three days, with the help of many, we had a campaign ready to go. 

For a week, Motive employees shared their stories on our social channels alongside a collection of powerful statistics, and we promised that every like, share, or retweet would equate to a $1 donation (up to $5K) from us to a foundation focused on breast cancer research. 

We created motivegoespink.com where we’re selling Motive-designed T-shirts and posters. All proceeds from the shop go to our charitable donation. Even though it’s November, we are still open for business as we work to reach our $5k goal. Thanks for helping us reach it. 

This act inspired many to speak up about a cause that was important to them, and has began a bigger dialogue about ways we can continue to give back, and honor our interests and passions through Motive. And that’s the big lesson here: always remember that you should never discount the potential for a partnership between your passion and your agency’s capabilities. You often only need to ask. #motivecares. I’m sure so many others do too.

This post was originally published on MediaPost. Read it here