Kelly McMahon Bio PicI recently had the fantastic opportunity to participate in the Forge54 charity event, and it was a rewarding experience that I encourage anyone to join in the future. Forge54 brought together over 100 creative and marketing professionals to donate 54 hours of their time to develop marketing materials for a chosen charity. This year’s charity was the Illumination Foundation, an organization that seeks to break the cycle of homelessness. Having known of this organization for some time, both myself and our president, Steve Quarles, immediately decided KORE1 participation was necessary.

Having been immersed in the Creative / Digital / Marketing and Technology space for quite a while, I can say that this is one event that really stands out from the rest. It was amazing to see people so passionate about what they do for a living that they decided to use their talents to give back to others. As a talent agency, we are always looking for candidates that have principles and core values in life and a passion and love for the industry, so to see 120+ of them move in together for the weekend is an opportunity we knew we could not miss.

The event took place at the ad agency “Amusement Park” in Santa Ana, CA. It was gracious of them to donate their amazing space for over 120 volunteers to move into for the weekend and eat, sleep, and work there. Collectively, 1200 meals were eaten, 540 cups of coffee were brewed, and 130 energy drinks were consumed. Amusement Park values what Forge54 is doing by creating a comfortable and creative space to foster new talent and bring together seasoned creative professionals.

It was a fitting location, as one of Amusement Park’s founders and working partner, Mike Weisman, created The Values Institute, a research and consulting practice solely focused on values-based corporate culture. He said, “To thrive, companies must stand for something greater than what they make. They must commit to live in the values economy. We exist to inspire organizations to use the power of what they value most to drive a purposeful and rewarding existence.”

My favorite part of Forge54 was attending the final presentation on Sunday where all the Forge54 teams presented the work they created directly to the client. The impact of seeing the faces of the Illumination Foundation team was priceless. The messaging that was created, the humanity captured in the campaigns, and the technology used to help move this important non-profit forward is nothing short of life-changing for both the Illumination Foundation team and the homeless in Orange County.

At the end of the day, everyone was brought to tears of joy and compassion. On behalf of KORE1, I loved being able to play even a small part in this year’s Forge54 which saw over $500,000 in marketing services donated to charity. I encourage you to volunteer if you haven’t yet and become a sponsor if you can, as it is an experience you won’t regret. I feel lucky to have gotten to participate, and look forward to doing so again next year.