The Impact Award honors a professional in the live entertainment industry who has made a positive impact as a contributing member in their community in 2020. The inaugural Impact Award winner was Wendy Ellis with California Love Drop.
Impact Award Finalists were:
Jeff Butcher, Spectra
2020 was a year for the books…and we’re still writing. It was a year that required us to pause, whether we wanted to or not. It required a level of flexibility and creativity most of us haven’t pressed into previously. It required us to look to our neighbors for help and to help. Jeff Butcher leaned heavily into this opportunity to create assistance for our local community members by designing and executing a plexiglass program. Our staff collaborated under Jeff’s guidance to repurpose old hockey glass into barriers that were cut and sized for local businesses in Middle Georgia to use for free as they began the process of reopening their establishments. As the venue worked to update systems and equipment, another opportunity arose to take remaining toilet paper and paper towels from the old dispenser systems and donate them to organizations in need around town. Coupled with a project to distribute lunches to the homeless community in Macon, Jeff also made sure to use that paper supply to provide for them as well. In June, when the death of George Floyd and civil unrest in our country mounted to a point where it could no longer be ignored, Jeff was one of the founding members of our venue’s local Racial Reform and Inclusion Committee, volunteering to serve alongside fellow staff to listen to our employees, curate a more inclusive workforce, and platform our employees for career advancement opportunities, education, and development.
But serving his community isn’t something Jeff started in 2020. For years, Jeff has been an active and vital member of his local church. Since moving to Macon, Jeff has actively engaged with providing members who needed financial assistance a one-on-one assessment to evaluate needs and come up with a plan to help. Specifically in 2020, once COVID started impacting Middle Georgia, Jeff worked to reach out to his congregation weekly to check in and ensure his fellow members were doing OK. The second half of the year, Jeff focused his volunteer efforts on supporting the missionaries in his church. Often younger, Jeff worked to make sure they had meals, had transportation when needed, and overall looking out for their well-being, that they were taken care of and safe.
It is encouraging and compelling to see the way Jeff has stepped into opportunities to fix needs in our community. His staff will be one of the first to say he isn’t afraid of getting his hands dirty; and the way Jeff jumped into identifying needs in our community and pinpointing creative solutions epitomizes his servant-heart approach to life and leadership. He has surely made a positive impact on our community.
California Love Drop
When the pandemic hit, many entertainment industry professionals were laid off and seeking new opportunities and ways to help those in need. Wendy Ellis couldn’t sit back and wait out the pandemic, so she Co-Founded California Love Drop along with a core team of philanthropists, including Wing Lam from Wahoo’s, Eric Morley from Blue-C Advertising, Melissa Luna from YogurtLand, and Charles Antis from Antis Roofing & Waterproofing. In April of 2020, they launched California Love Drop to fuel healthcare workers and first responders by providing meals, beverages, treats, and supplies. Wendy, who has been on hiatus from 955KLOS FM as Director of Marketing, Strategic and Creative Partnerships since the pandemic started, utilized her industry relationships, coupled with her event production prowess, to help launch the grassroots organization. Wendy and the team started by delivering 300 meals to HOAG Hospital in Irvine, CA, and are now celebrating their 1-Year Anniversary, providing nearly 20,000 meals and over 230 drops to frontline workers, volunteers and people in need.
In addition to Love Drops, Wendy and the team coordinated Toy Drive’s during December, collecting truckloads of donations for children in need. Wendy is unbelievably generous in donating her time, knowledge and connecting people with an incredible spirit that has brightened so many lives during the pandemic.
Along with the California Love Drop team, Wendy provides smiles and much-needed relief to many hardworking Californians. California Love Drop continues to inspire and impact the SoCal community, led by volunteers. Click the link to read about some of the press they have garnered - California Love Drop News.
Peyton Jeter, Spectra
One thing we say in Macon to describe 2020 is that we are building the plane and flying it at the same time. There has been no playbook, datasheet, or old event files that led us through the challenges that 2020 brought to us. As a staff, we have discovered the best way to navigate these unforeseen times, is together. With a mentality of contributing to something bigger than herself, Peyton Jeter helped to bring us together in times of social injustice and job loss, in a time when talking in person was considered a thing of the past.
During a time when we all were required to work from home and communication was at its peak difficulty, Peyton was one of the driving factors that lead us to have real conversation about race and social injustice which directed us to the inception of our Racial Reform and Inclusion Committee within our venue. The hard work of the Committee became a standard that Spectra Venue Management rolled out to the entire Management portfolio and led Peyton to be a Regional Champion where other venues can use her as a resource to get their venue’s committee up and running. Collectively as a staff, we decided our purpose was to “seek to build a diverse and inclusive workplace which allows us to create a persistent and ever-evolving contribution to areas of racial awareness and equity where everyone can thrive. By establishing this framework, we will engage with the Middle Georgia community through collaboration and communication.”
Peyton is also the Local Market Chair for Real I.M.P.A.C.T since October 2019. Real I.M.P.A.C.T Center’s mission is to provide the youth with support in academics and prevention services in order to develop Intelligent and Motivated People to Actively Change the Times through a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and literacy focus. As the Market Chair, Ms. Jeter’s main priority is managing the website, creating logos, and social media content creation with the goal of increasing the number of girls pursuing a STEM lifestyle and create a network that help girls in STEM thrive with confidence and help them with their academic and career goals.
Another organization that contributes to something bigger than one individual is the Downtown Macon Community Organization which Peyton is the Vice Chair. The main goal of the organization is to create an open forum for all downtown retailers (restaurants and shops) to come together and share info and collaborate in order to bring more people to downtown. This organization is one of a couple to help revitalize downtown Macon.
Peyton’s vision and guidance has led us through times that we hope we never see again and never expected to experience from the beginning. These initiatives and involvements have made us better as a community, staff, and myself a better GM. I highly encourage you to consider Peyton Jeter for the Impact Award for these reasons along with her impact on our everyday lives.