Making Some Noise: The 2017 Craft Silent Auction was a record-breaker!

The offices of Outsell tend to get rowdy at times—but on Thursday, December 14th, associates bid silently on their favorite crafts and prizes and ended up bringing the house down to the tune of $850! With an additional $1,300 raised in cash donations, the Outsell Caring Committee ended up sending out over $2,100 to the Groveland Food Shelf. Talk about making some noise!

In just the second year of the Outsell Craft Silent Auction, associates came ready to flex the Caring value with amounts bid and items donated. In all, there were close to 50 auction items up for grabs, with most items coming handmade from Outsell associates.

The Caring Committee would like to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to all the associates who put items together for the auction, bid generously on your favorites, and brought in additional food for the Groveland Food Shelf. Together, we made this a record-breaking Caring event in a year filled with successful outings.

Stay tuned to see what we’ll be up to in 2018, and how you can help us add to our calendar of events!



What’s the true “Fuel” of Outsell? Chili!

For the fifth time, Outsell chefs and associates came together to fill their bellies and fight to become the Outsell Chili Cook-off Champion!

While it’s unclear whether it was achieved through hard work and ingenuity, or bribery and chicanery, Rhiannon Nelson walked away with the Chili Crown in her first year of competition with her delicious Vegan Chili!

Champion Rhiannon

Congrats to Rhiannon and our chili cooks for another successful Caring Committee event. Together, your chili drew $234.50 from hungry Outsell associates, all of which went to Hurricane relief and rebuild efforts in Puerto Rico through Unidos Por Puerto Rico.

IMG_4906All that chili fuel didn’t go to waste, as just a few short hours later Outsell team members met on Floor 31 for the reanimation of Outsell Game Night! Between various video and party games, associates raised an additional $114.

That’s a total of $348.50 going to relief and recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. Good work, Outsell!

Just because the year’s coming to an end doesn’t mean the Caring Committee is done highlighting the Caring value at Outsell. If you have any ideas for fundraising, or want to get involved in the committee, be sure to reach out to any of our members.

Let’s round out 2017 as one of our most successful years to date!




Books + Blankets = Another Successful Caring Committee Event

As the calendar continues moving forward, the Outsell Caring Committee is keeping its commitment to a busy 2017 filled with activities. On August 9th, associates got together to make blankets and collect books for People Serving People. “The blanket making activity was great! We put together about six or seven blankets and had a lot of fun too,” said Carol Hoverman, one of the organizers of the event.

People Serving People is an emergency shelter located in downtown Minneapolis that helps homeless and at-risk children and their families manage crisis situations and build a strong foundation for their long-term success. Blanket making and book drives are just a few of the many ways people can choose to help the shelter and the community it supports. Learn more here:

In addition to the fun blankets and piles of books Outsell collected, associates also donated a total of $324 to the shelter. This was done through a variety of creative fundraising ideas, including donation matching and an Outsell backpack giveaway that was won by Nina Kapoor. Congrats, Nina!

Though summer is drawing to a close soon, the Caring Committee isn’t stopping. Stay tuned for more information about the fun and exciting events coming up in the next few months!

The Caring Committee is “Springing” Into Action

The Caring Committee kicked off its busy 2017 schedule with two fun events this Spring, including a return to an old favorite. Read below to see what we’ve been up to!

Outsell Caring Committee – Run for Beer 5k

On Wednesday, June 7th, the Outsell Caring Committee and team members strapped on their running shoes, and raised glasses to support the Red Shoe Society, hosted by the Minnesota Brewery Running Series at Fulton Brewery.  Those of the Outsell team that had participated, completed a 5k course through downtown Minneapolis, while others cheered on as they crossed the finish line.

Members of the Outsell Caring Committee agreed it would be a great end to spring & start to the summer by spending a weekday evening together with a little exercise, sunshine, and a cold one joined by additional family and friends.  A percentage of the proceeds are going towards the Red Shoe Society, a group of local young professionals and volunteers, of the Upper Midwest’s Ronald McDonald Foundation.


Animal Humane Society’s Walk for Animals 2017

On Saturday, May 6th, Outsell’s Caring Committee returned to a popular event: the Walk for Animals! After a hiatus, we were welcomed back by a bright & sunny May morning to support our four-legged (or 3 or 2…or 5…) family members of Outsell.

Between individual and Committee donations, we were able to put $220 towards the Animal Humane Society. Thank you to everyone who supported our return to this event!


Stay tuned for more exciting event announcements as we head full-steam into summer. We hope to see you all get involved!

Outsell’s Jon Marozick Spreads Caring and Coding Knowledge

On top of all the exciting events that the Caring Committee endorses and gets involved with each year, we also love helping our associates promote the Outsell Caring value out in the community. Recently, Jon Marozick used his development knowledge during Computer Science Education Week to deliver a talk to some future developers.

Jon first developed his interest in teaching technology through his career as an instructor at Bethany Lutheran College, where he taught Intro to Programming I and II for 15 years. The Caring Committee was happy to support Jon in his endeavors by helping to cover the cost of an exciting prize for one of his students.

We’ll let Jon explain more about the event:

Firstly, I’d like to thank Outsell for its commitment to employee volunteerism and the Caring Committee for providing the funds for the Sphero SPRK+ give-a-way. December 5th – 11th, 2016 was Computer Science Education Week. The goal is to expose Computer Science concepts to as many of our nation’s kids as possible. This is done through giving talks or hands-on labs called an Hour of Code. There are tremendous resources available at for anyone to teach an Hour of Code and the site promotes “An Hour of Code for every student.”

My Hour of Code focused around a robot named Darkside Ollie by Sphero. First, I did some exhibition driving to show off the purely fun side of Ollie. The students were instantly enthralled. Next, I showed them how to make Ollie move in a square using an app called Lightning Lab. This app, provided by Sphero, offers 3 levels of programming experiences: drawing, blocks, or text. This fit nicely with each of the three sessions I gave which were 1st–  3rd grade, 4th – 6th grade, and 7th & 8th grade. I showed more drawing with the younger grades and more of the block style programming with the older grades. Lastly, I demonstrated the Ollie’s gyroscope by writing a program to change the Ollie’s color when it senses yaw movement.

In order to give a robot away, the 6th grade teacher, Jon Matzke, and I came up with the idea that a student will be entered into a drawing by submitting a program using the Scratch programming language and presenting it to their classmates after the Christmas break. I did a follow up session to those same students at King of Grace Lutheran School a couple days later to provide a brief intro to Scratch. Additional information about the SPRK+ can be found here:

Great work, Jon!

We’re always on the lookout for more associates interested in promoting the Outsell Caring Value. If you’d like to utilize the resources of the Caring Committee, whether it’s in your work or tied to a passion of yours, we’d love to hear from you.

Caring Kicks into High Gear during the Holidays

We’re deep into the holiday season, which means the Caring Committee and all Outsell associates are kicking it into high gear when it comes to festive and fun events. It’s all about ending the year strong when it comes to helping out our local charities.

tu5a7683One such event, Outsell’s first-ever Silent Auction, took place on December 14th. Cookies, ornaments, artwork, and warm winter wear were among the many items available for associates to bid on, and there was no shortage of friendly bidding battles occurring throughout the day. As a result, auction-goers made it a point to hang around the kitchen for cocoa, cider, and candy canes—and to keep a close watch over their bids.

By day’s end, Outsell raised a total of $487 across all items, with many bidders opting to throw in a few extra dollars for a grand total of $504. Outsell’s Caring Committee rounded off the donation at $700, all of it going to the Joyce Uptown Food Shelf.

We’d like to thank all the entrants and people who bid on their items for making this such a successful first-time event. It’s certain that we’ll see it return next year, and we’re already excited about what kinds of hand-made items our associates will have to share. Start plotting your ideas today!

chiliMeanwhile, back on November 17th the Caring Committee kicked off the holiday eating season with its annual Chili Cook-Off. Seasoned chili cooks and a few hopeful newcomers competed for the top prize, leading to this year’s event being one of the more successful ones to date. Overall, Outsell raised $328 for its supported charities, an $85 increase over last year’s total!

As always, votes were cast by way of employee dollars—$1 equals 1 vote. And though the event supports the Caring value, it’s also open to cheating, bribery, cashing in favors, etc.—all to get the most out of spirited competition.

The grand prize winner came as a surprise to many, even if it shouldn’t have. Conner Smith, competing alone in the Vegan/Vegetarian category, won with his flavorful, meatless chili concoction. Regardless of what category he competes in, Conner is truly the chili king of Outsell with his 3rd consecutive win. Anyone planning on dethroning him in 2017 better start perfecting their recipe right now!

Thanks again to everyone who participated in this year’s Chili Cook-Off! And keep posted to the Outsell Caring Committee blog for more fun events and competitions to get involved with all year long.

2016 Spring Cook-Off

Outsell’s Caring Committee held its Spring Cook-Off on March 22nd to raise additional funds for its supported charities. A spin-off of the highly popular Chili Cook-off competition, the Spring Cook-Off presents a fun challenge for Outsell’s bakers and appetizer aficionados to come together in friendly competition.

Votes are cast by way of fellow employees’ dollars—more money stuffed into a discreet voting box equals more support for that specific dish. As an added twist, cheating is considered acceptable and at times even encouraged! This includes voting for one’s own dish and bribing others however a competitor sees fit.

This year’s big winner in the dessert category was Ryan Linn’s Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake. Ryan successfully defended last year’s championship with a sinful cinnamon confection that took everyone’s love for a good cheesecake and combined it with the rich, buttery flavors of a scrumptious cinnamon roll. Other competitors in this category included Amanda Meuwissen’s Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes, Erik Bergstrom’s Lemon Ricotta Cookies, Suzie Lamb’s Fruit Pizza and Liz Voltz’s Swedish Chocolate Torte, a dish that came the closest to dethroning Ryan in this year’s competition.

The appetizer category was a mano a mano battle between two dishes this year. The winner was Amy Van Schepen’s Tomato Basil Soup, winning by the slimmest of margins with just one vote (or dollar) over her competition, Suzie Lamb’s Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts. We’ll leave it up in the air whether or not Van Schepen, a former dessert queen herself, took advantage of the cheating loophole to put her dish over the edge.

In all, the competition proved successful yet again by raising $147 for the Caring Committee to be put towards its charities. The Spring Cook-Off is a fun event to raise some added funds while giving employees an extra incentive to get down and dirty—or floury—in the hopes of taking home a special traveling trophy, along with some bragging rights, for an entire year!

Thanks to everyone who voted and contributed a dish to this year’s Spring Cook-Off!