Honor A Teacher this Valentine’s Day

Honor A Teacher this Valentine’s Day

By Donna Vandiver, President & CEO

All of us can remember a teacher who made a difference in our lives. I listened to Stone Phillips (formerly of NBC’s Dateline and a Parkway West graduate) talk about Dr. Al Burr at a memorial service a few months ago. Along with many others at that service, he talked about how Dr. Burr changed his life. Read more

Going the Distance for Girls on the Run: The Queeny Meanie

The Queeny Meanie

By Laura Vandiver, TVG VP of Research

Every year on Dr. Martin Luther King Day, we honor a man who championed civil rights so that others could have opportunities, experience freedom and equality, and feel a sense of community. Here at TVG, we spend MLK Day serving our community in some way in order to honor Dr. King’s memory. So this year, I spent some time creating awareness about and fundraising for Girls on the Run St. Louis through unconventional means – an ultra run.


After several years of competing in Ironman triathlons, I was looking for a new challenge in 2017. An ultra run (any distance beyond a marathon distance of 26.2 miles) sounded fun. I started researching ultra marathons in the region, but nothing stood out to me. I kept having this recurring thought – what if I ran an ultra at Queeny Park? It’s one of my favorite places to run, so why not? You know that saying “If you want it done right, do it yourself?” So that’s what I decided to do. And it’s how I came to the conclusion that running 32 miles in Queeny Park on March 11, 2017 would be my next challenge, and I’m calling it The Queeny Meanie!


I didn’t just want to run an ultra. I wanted to run an ultra for a cause. After my first season as a head coach for a Girls on the Run team last fall, it was an easy choice! The Girls on the Run curriculum not only coaches girls how to run a 5K at the end of a 10-week program, but also teaches topics on self-esteem, positivity, standing up for yourself and others, empowerment, healthy habits, goal setting, teamwork and cooperation, and identifying bullying behavior. These aren’t just running skills—these are LIFE skills. And seeing each of my girls succeed in their own big goals was an incredible experience. Girls on the Run builds confidence, and as a result encourages girls to work together and to impact their communities in a positive way.

You can learn more about my efforts and make a donation here:


Everyone should spend some time reflecting on how you can impact your community in a positive way. Find your passion and figure out a way to help others. I hope my small contributions will have big impacts- even if it’s only on one person. Then, I’ll know I made a difference.


Do you run for a good cause? Want to participate in The Queeny Meanie? visit us on our website to let us know! We are passionate about getting our employees involved in our community to make a difference and we are inspired to help others find that passion, too!



Random Acts of Kindness, Inspired by Dr. King

Random Acts of Kindness: TVG Day of Service

By Patty Olsen, TVG Senior Project Manager

Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was more than just a single day of giving back to the community where I have lived, worked and flourished. It was an opportunity to model what principled citizenship looks like to my elementary-age son. Read more

TVG’s 2017 Day of Service: St. Patrick Center

What Are You Doing For Others? TVG Day of Service

By Andy Likes, TVG Senior Vice President

For more than 20 years, TVG has been giving back to clients in St. Louis and across the country. When you look at dollars and hours donated over that time, our firm and our employees have given more than $3 Million back to the communities we serve. Read more

Refocus at Work after Summer Vacation

Refocus at Work after Summer Vacation

By Laura Vandiver, TVG VP of Research and Strategic Insight

Ah, summertime…the magical few months when most Americans tend to travel and relax on family vacations. I just returned from a glorious week in the mountains of Colorado, but now it’s time to refocus on work and attack my to-do list. But what is the best way to do that? How can the transition back into “work mode” be made smoother? Here are a few tips I’ve been thinking about this week since my return.

1. Plan for your return before you leave

Yes, before. Most of us are very focused on getting things wrapped up and organized so we can leave for vacation with tasks/projects delegated and all of our emails answered. But some simple planning before you leave can make your transition from vacation a lot easier. For instance, block out your calendar for the day you return. Spending that first day in meetings doesn’t help you get caught up on what happened while you were away. Use the time to go through your emails, have catch-up chats with co-workers, and prioritize your tasks (see tip 2).

2. Prioritize your tasks

While you’re away, work life keeps churning on. It also means you were probably assigned some new tasks to complete upon your return. Identify your tasks—old and new—and get them on paper. Prioritize each task by the level of urgency and the deadline for completion. Put time on your calendar to work on these to get you back on track more quickly. And remember: client work almost always comes first!

3. Check-in with your co-workers

Having quick check-ins with your co-workers will help get you up-to-speed more quickly than trudging through a long thread of emails. Ask about the meetings you missed (and gather notes from those meetings, if possible), how your clients did while you were away, and if there is anything you delegated that did not get completed in your absence.

4. Limit your distractions

I know, it’s hard. You get back from vacation and you’re glued to your phone again. But at least for that first day back, try to limit distractions from your phone, social media, and anything else that beeps, has notification settings, or is likely to draw you into a black hole of unproductive behavior! Try to find a quiet space to work so you can make progress on your task list.

5. Take breaks

Getting back to work after vacation is a transition period. Sometimes it takes a few days to get back in the swing of things. Don’t be too hard on yourself! Be sure to take breaks during the day to take a walk, listen to music, or grab a snack—whatever will help your mind stay focused throughout the work day.

Vacation is a vital part of maintaining a good work/life balance. Don’t be afraid to take your vacation time because you’re worried about the pile of work when you return. With a little planning and some specific strategies, your transition back can be easier and more efficient. So go explore this summer!

Have you taken a great vacation this summer? Have upcoming plans? Tweet us @VandiverGroup, and tell us about it! We would love to hear your tips for making the vacation-to-work transition easier.