Happyology at Impact Advisors: How It All Got Started

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Jan 25, 2022

Happyology at Impact Advisors: How It All Got Started

Michael Nutter

Written by Michael Nutter

Category: Culture

I will always remember the first time I saw the term “Happyologist.”

It was in an email from my dear friend Jenny in the fall of 2010.

Jenny had just attended an annual Leadership Retreat at Impact Advisors (IA) where the co-founders, Andy and Pete Smith, announced their growth plans for the coming year and also mentioned that they wanted to create the role of a Happyologist to care for the firm’s employees. Knowing my constant passion for all things culture and engagement, Jenny’s email was to ask if I may be willing to speak to the president of IA (Andy Smith) about what that role could look like. Immediately intrigued, I graciously agreed to a call with Mr. Smith. Little did I know that this simple “yes, I’d be happy to” would ultimately lead to what I consider my best career decision ever – to become the Impact Advisors Happyologist.

After a most inspiring introduction call with Andy, I remember walking away thinking – WOW! In an hour phone-call, it was crystal-clear that I was speaking with one of the most genuinely caring humans on the planet. As the president of a firm with eighty employees, he was willing and most enthusiastic about hiring a full-time resource to sustain and enhance what was already an incredible workplace culture. Andy’s ultimate vision was (and still is) to ensure each team member understands how appreciated and valued they are for the professional gifts they bring to our collective IA talent table.

The next invitation was to a holiday party in Chicago where I would have the opportunity to meet many of the team members (aka “Winners”) I would be supporting in this new role, followed by a more formal interview at breakfast the following day with several IA leaders. As a fun surprise at the interview, I showed up with a printed 90-day ,180-day and 1-year plan of initial goals, along with success measurements we could use to track our progress. It was a hit.

Fast forward to February 14, 2011 which is when I officially started as the Impact Advisors Happyologist a dream job for which I am most grateful from so many perspectives, it’s difficult to enumerate.

After several years serving in this capacity and lots of continued growth at the firm, there came a time in 2016 that I was needing some help to keep up with all of my duties, particularly on the communications front. As good fortune would have it, one of our amazing Winners serving in a consultant role – who also has a strong passion for culture, engagement, and communications – had expressed interest in joining me to create what we now affectionally refer to as the “Impact Advisors Happy Team.” Keegan officially joined in November of 2016, initially serving as our communications specialist, or as we like to call him “The Impact Herald.” Over time, our Impact Herald’s role grew far beyond his initial focus, helping with everything except the proverbial kitchen sink at IA. At this point, I can’t imagine our Happy Team without him and the sheer joy we share, collaborating every single day on how best to make Impact Advisors the happiest consulting firm in our industry!

As a fun way to celebrate 2022 and all of the exciting opportunities to create some amazing workplace happiness in this new year, the Impact Advisors Happy Team is looking forward to sharing a monthly blog series focusing on what makes IA such a uniquely special and HAPPY place to work.

Join us each month to learn more specifics around some of the internally developed programs we have that all share a common goal – to inspire greater happiness as a work family at Impact Advisors.

See you in February, when our Impact Herald will specifically delve into how we make culture a first priority during the recruiting and onboarding phases of becoming an Impact team member (aka Winner). In the meantime, if you have an opportunity to share some happiness at your workplace, do it. Never pass up an opportunity to share a smile, an encouraging word, or a helping hand. If you’re like me, the joy you receive from sharing frequent happy acts of kindness are far beyond the happiness you created for the receiver of your graciousness.