The Gallery Collection, as part of our charitable donations program, donated 6 assortment boxes of greeting cards to Cedar Hill Elementary School in Towaco, NJ for use in auction at their annual Tricky Tray fundraiser. The assortment boxes included Birthday Cards and All Occasion Cards.

All Occasion Assortment Box

The school’s mission statement indicates that every stakeholder in their learning community unites in an effort to engage children in the joy of learning. Cedar Hill is a “Positive Action School”, and to that end, they encourage students to accept responsibility and to contribute their gifts and talents to realize their potential as citizens of a global society. Throughout the year, students participate in a variety of activities that reinforce the theme of respect for themselves, each other, and the school community.

If you are interested in learning more about Cedar Hill Elementary School, please visit their website at http://www.montville.net/Domain/36.

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Team Building in the Workplace

by Lisette B. on July 24, 2014

Team building in the workplace needs to be a part of every company’s list of important items that should be implemented. The goal in each company is to be productive and to generate revenue. While it is important to have a great product and/or service, it is also important to have happy and content employees. Team building activities help to boost morale. They also improve communication and productivity. It can be a great motivator.

Team_Building

Team building activities for work can be simple or a bit more involved. Here are just a few suggestions:

1. Plan a field trip. One company I worked for planned a trip to the local bowling alley. It was a great way to get to know each other without the pressure of work and deadlines. Lots of fun and laughs.

2. Work together for a good cause. Facilitate a volunteer outing. A Spring clean-up of a park, for instance. Ask your employees for suggestions.

3. Have a baking contest. The employees could show off their baking skills, while the non bakers could be the tasting judges.

4. Brain teasers and riddles that require team participation.

5. Problem solving activities, such as a puzzle that would require team effort to complete.

These are just a few. There are many online resources that can provide many more ideas. Check it out and have fun!

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Each year as Christmas approaches and I get ready to address the personalized Christmas cards I want to send, it brings back delightful memories of sitting together at the table with my mother, who has since deceased, as she prepared to send her cards to family and friends. Mom would reminisce about the events of the year that reminded her of special times she shared with friends and family that were meaningful and fun. After telling me all the wonderful stories and seeing me giggle, (I was about eight at the time), she would begin writing her cards in which she would include a personal message, relating to those fun times, specifically to each person she was addressing. It was a very special time for me to share in Mom’s past together with her, and I remember how pleased and delighted everyone was after reading their personalized greeting cards and called her to continue talking about those fun times.

Snowflake Fantasy Christmas Card

Now, many, many years later, I find myself following in my Mom’s footsteps. I, too, prepare myself for a trip down Memory Lane when getting ready to personalize my Christmas cards. Like Mom, I also get calls thanking me for the cards and it gives us a chance to chat about those wonderful times. It’s a good thing to send personalized Christmas cards. It’s a small gesture that reminds people they are special to someone, and that is the perfect way to feel during the holidays!

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Congratulations to the winners from the second round of voting in the Gallery Collection Scholarship Contest!

10 Designs moved on to the finalist round as a result of them finishing in the top 10 in voting, plus, our scholarship team also used our 1 save available to us on the design submitted by Marcella Surjono. Our Scholarship team couldn’t help but fall in love with some of her subtle references to some past winning designs.

Check out the top 10 vote getters and the saved design that are moving onto the finalist round in the gallery below.

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Tips For Customer Relationship Management

by Patsy M. on July 17, 2014

Customer relations is a business term that refers to the interaction between a company and its customers. All companies have customer relations, even those that choose to ignore how the company relates to its customers. Good customer relations are the key to customer retention and customer retention is the key to a growing business; customer relations are as important as the product.

Customer_Service

Customer relations management is not just for the customer service department; it may begin there, but a customer’s satisfaction and loyalty effect everyone in the company.

A helpful tip is to develop a method to get feedback from customers about your products and services; what worked and what didn’t work. Make sure all departments are on board from order takers to the sales department. Ensure as much information available is captured, the order department may not think something is as important as the sales or marketing teams. For example, if an order taker gets a complaint from a customer and he doesn’t record the incident no one but the order taker will know that the customer had an issue. One unhappy customer can spread the word about your business and cost you potential clients very quickly. You can expect to have only one chance to make a good impression with your customer service department. Focusing on your customers’ needs and providing excellent customer service is an efficient way to grow your business and earn customer loyalty.

Another tip would be to empower the customer service people to resolve problems, offer solutions and remedies themselves, within reason of course. Customer service reps should know when to escalate but at the same time know when it is not necessary-this can be accomplished by:

• Providing a list of FAQ’s with the solutions to avoid adlibbing answers, promoting consistency
• Assign teams to specific problems; shipping, shortages, backorders for example
• Ensure all incidents are answered promptly then follow up with a customer satisfaction phone call or email.
• Incident logging of all customer complaints/ support requests.

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Corporate Birthday Party Ideas

by Michael L. on July 14, 2014

Nothing is better than a birthday party with friends and family. But you know what can be really nice? A birthday party with your co-workers and managers. You don’t often get to talk to everyone in the office so what better time than your Birthday party? However, along with everyone’s attention comes responsibility. GREAT responsibility I dare say. You have to be ready to mingle. What does mingling entail you ask? Mingling entails talking and caring. Luck for you, Mr. Mingle is open for business and is ready to give you the low down on corporate birthday party ideas for mingling.

Mr_Mingle

Below is a crash course on what to say when you come across co-workers form other departments that you do not really speak to on a regular basis.

Scene 1: Phyllis from accounting comes over to you and wishes you a happy birthday. The last time you spoke to her was when they hired you so you don’t know much about her.

Phyllis: Hey Mr. Mingle, Happy Birthday!
Mr. Mingle: Thanks Phyllis, I appreciate the warm wishes. Did I mention how much I love the way you organized your cubicle? It’s truly a work of art. It makes everyone else’s look like they bought theirs at Ikea and only got through half of the instruction manual.
Phyllis: Wow Mr. Mingle, no one has commented on it. Thanks for noticing! That is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. Ever.

• Phyllis just went from a co-worker to one of your most trusted compadres. Consider Phyllis Mingled.

Scene 2: Mark from accounting grabs a slice of your birthday cake and just stands right above it while he eats it. Unbenounced to him, he is creating an impenetrable force field between your fellow co-workers and the delicious birthday cake. Clearly you have to get him away from the cake. How you say? Stop worrying, Mr. Mingle has you covered.

In this scenario you must be standing at least 10 feet away from Mark.
Mr. Mingle (Low Whispering Voice): Hey Mark, how are you liking that birthday cake?
Mark: What’s that Mr. mingle, I cant make out what your saying.
Mr. Mingle (Low Whispering Voice): I said, how are you liking that birthday cake?
Mark: Let me come closer to you, I am having trouble hearing what you are saying.

Mark was intrigued by what you have to say but he couldn’t hear it. So what did he do? He left his post at the birthday cake and made his way over to you.

• High fives all around from hungry co-workers who can now enjoy some of that delicious cake. Mark has been Mingled.

High_Five

Mr. Mingle – Out

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How To Answer Job Interview Questions

by Heather R. on July 10, 2014

Going for a job interview is one of the most stressful things a person can do. Here are some helpful tips for how to answer job interview questions. Hopefully these tip scan help put you at ease and land you that job!

Job_Interview_Questions

 

Q.) Tell me about yourself.

A.) Be brief. Keep your answer to 30 – 45 seconds max or you will lose the interviewers attention. Summarize your skills and experiences that will make you stand out and show why you are the best person for the job.

Q.) What about this job interests you?

A.) The interviewer is listening for an answer that indicates you have given this position some thought and that you have knowledge of the company. Make sure you research the comapny, and the position, before you go to the interview.

Q.) What are your strengths?

A.) This is the one question you know you will be asked. List three or four proficiencies such as your ability to learn quickly, determination to succeed, positive attitude, your ability to relate to people and achieve a common goal. Also, any skills you may have that relate to the job, such as being highly proficient in Excel.

Q.) Have you ever had a conflict with a colleague or superior? If so, how did you handle it?

A.) I think everyone at some point has had a conflict at work whether with a superior or coworker. I’ve found that when I am in a difficult situation it helps to communicate with the other person, understand their reasoning and try to work out a collaborative solution whenever possible.

Q.) What are your salary expectations?

A.) I will need more information about the job and responsibilities before we can discuss salary. I would appreciate it if you could give me an idea of the salary range that you have budgeted for this position.

Remember, at the end of the interview always  thank the Interviewer/s for their time and ask when you can expect to hear back from them. It also helps you stand out to send a brief email the next day thanking them for taking the time to meet with you, and expressing your sincere interest in becoming part of the company.

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If you are looking for Christmas Cards for your Real Estate Office, Gallery Collection has the best selection of industry specific cards around. There are many different types of cards in the Real Estate category; richly embossed designs where you customize the outside and the inside with one of their greetings (there’s an extensive selection) and add your company’s name. We’ve ordered here the past few years and our cards consistently get rave reviews. We’ve used them to keep in touch with previous (and hopefully future) clients and every year they produce an abundance of always-appreciated referrals.

House Ornaments Christmas Card

You’re able to add your logo for a professional look and there’s an option to compose your own custom greeting and produce a card that’s totally unique. We did just that to create an elegant, festive invitation for our Holiday Party last year. The card we’re ordering this year lets us add our company name to the front of the card. There’s a great variety – from traditional to modern to humorous. I found it quite easy to use the website to preview several designs and compare the results.

A third alternative is a group of photo cards which let you create your totally one-of-a-kind card, distinct from everyone else. With these, there are endless possibilities to promote both name and face recognition. We’re strongly considering ordering one of these next year although the calendar cards look enticing too!

Although unsolicited, and because I appreciate excellence, I just want to say – don’t be afraid to order! The quality and selection here are always outstanding and it’s backed up with superior Customer Service. You really can’t lose.

 

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Corporate Anniversary Party Ideas

by Linda M. on July 3, 2014

What an amazing accomplishment these days to have a corporate Anniversary party to mark a milestone in a company’s history.

I’ve seen some smaller businesses around town recently put up a banner in the window announcing their one year anniversary and having a sort of “open house” for folks to drop in to offer congratulations and maybe even leave with a small trinket marking the occasion. On a larger scale a burger place in my neighborhood recently celebrated 50 years in business and rolled back their prices for the day to what they were 50 years ago. The place was mobbed. For anyone who perhaps didn’t frequent that establishment before, it was a chance to sample the food, but I think it was more a sense of community and pride. Even a way to say “thanks” to the people who made that burger place the success it was for 50 years. They even had anniversary cards that they gave to all the employees as thanks for their hard work.

Anniversary_Party_Ideas

My favorite corporate anniversary party idea is to put up pictures that tell the story of a company’s past. It’s always fun to see the products that started it all or pictures of the founding fathers (and mothers). What a special treat it would be to have some of those folks on hand. Maybe, as in the case of the company where I work, the business is in the hands of the son of the founder. In that case, you can sense and even feel the pride of being a part of that company’s history, and future.

Most time, corporate anniversary parties fill in the blanks for folks too. Maybe there is something you never knew about a company. An anniversary celebration is the perfect way to share that with everyone. After all, the success a company realizes should be shared with those responsible for it. Employees and customers alike can all celebrate the success. For employees it’s a chance to know more about the place and people that are your second family. For customers it’s a way to know that you are appreciated for your loyalty.

It’s a chance to celebrate the past and look to the promise of the future.

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Best Workouts to Lose Weight at Work

by Allison H. on June 30, 2014

Over the years, I’ve found that the best workouts to lose weight at work (or anywhere for that matter) are really the ones that you feel you will enjoy. If you don’t find something that works for you, you won’t be motivated to do it. For example, running really burns calories fast and is something I enjoy but if you loathe it, you won’t be likely to actually do it.

Lose_Weight_Work

Something that people always complain about is not having time to workout because they work long hours. It’s true we are all busy with our own daily grind so why not try to incorporate some of those workouts right into your workday. Come happy hour, you’ll be way ahead of the game.

  1. Try parking your car further away from work and getting a short walk in to start your day. If you have a parking garage, park on a different level and walk to level the level you work on, take the stairs or better yet, do a combination of the two.
  2. Skip the elevator and take the stairs to your floor. It may be unrealistic to do this if you work on say the 40th floor but you can still do a few flights and then take the elevator the rest of the way. Try to keep increasing how many flights you can do as you build up your endurance.
  3. Walk, walk, walk! Walking requires no equipment, can be done almost anywhere and really is one of the best workouts. Even a very short walk around the office if you are pressed for time can dramatically increase the circulation in your legs and make you more productive as you go through your day.
  4. Speaking of not needing any equipment…those good old calisthenics exercises also provide a great workout without having to bring in any workout gear. Feel free to do those sit-ups, jumping jacks, push-ups, squats and lunges.
  5. Have some fun with your co-workers by planking around the office. Have them join in the fun and ask them to do it with you. (Make sure you work in a place in which the boss doesn’t disapprove of said planking practices.)
  6. Sit on a stability ball instead of a desk chair or try standing whenever possible to do your work. Any small change that you can make in this area so that you aren’t sedentary for so many hours can make a big difference.
  7. Many employees like to do an intense workout or run during their lunch hour especially if your company offers facilities for doing so. Take advantage of anything offered to you.
  8. Don’t have such facilities? Learn some basic yoga or tai chi techniques or pull up a video on your phone that you can do on your break or lunch hour. While these workouts are effective, you won’t have sweat pouring off you and stinking up the joint in those afternoon meetings.
  9. Stand up and just stretch at least every hour or so to loosen up stiff muscles and get the blood flowing. Reach up to the ceiling and then down to your toes or any combination of stretches that you feel like doing.
  10.  And the last best workout to lose weight at work is…..wait for it….closing your mouth! OK, so the act of closing your mouth won’t actually burn too many calories and can hardly be called a “workout” but it’s really hard to get that birthday cupcake in your mouth when it’s actually closed, you get what I’m putting out there?

 

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