For Part Two of our blog series, A Peek Inside The First City of Kindness, we are offering a peek inside the first City of Kindness as we sit down with Mishal Montgomery, Chief of Staff to Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, and Loretta Day, Council Services Coordinator with the City of Anaheim, CA, as they share what it’s like to work for Anaheim Mayor and the inspiration for the very first City of Kindness, Tom Tait.
City of Kindness: Tell us your experience of working alongside Mayor Tait
Mishal Montgomery: I have worked alongside Mayor Tait for eight years as his chief of staff and it has been extremely gratifying for me, as a person in public policy, to work with someone who embraces the job as mayor of a large city with such integrity, wisdom, honesty and humility. Mayor Tait is fully engaged in trying to implement policies that are in the best interests of the residents we serve. He considers the long-term consequences of decisions on their behalf.
Loretta Day: Working alongside Mayor Tait has shown me that people in powerful positions, CEOs of companies and Mayors of cities of any size, people with high level responsibilities and stresses, can be very down to earth, grounded, thoughtful, and kind individuals. It’s been a rewarding, delightful experience. His initiative began with “Kindness is Contagious” which says it all.
City of Kindness: How has Mayor Tait impacted you to live kinder?
Mishal Montgomery: Mayor Tait is consistently kind; in private settings outside of the spotlight, and many, many times when he is engaged with people who do not know his position or name. I believe a subtle but very inspiring way that he is kind is in his courtesy toward others in conversations. He is quick to listen, caring in his personal interest in the well-being of the person he is speaking to, regardless of their station in life, and very gracious and generous in manner. This has been something I have personally sought to emulate; kindness and grace in everyday conversation and interactions with others.
Loretta Day: I’m impacted by his example, dedicated focus, and wholehearted faith in people’s actions that impact not only their own health and wellbeing, but the wellbeing and lives of others. Mayor Tait has expanded my awareness of just how important and influential my personal acts of kindness can be. His belief in the ripple effect of being kind has strengthened my belief and broadened my personal perspective. Knowing Mayor Tait has empowered my belief in kindness, belief in personal empowerment through kindness, and in the gravity of all acts of kindness, no matter how grand or small.
City of Kindness: How are you different as a result of serving alongside the City of Kindness Mayor?
Mishal Montgomery: I am certainly more keenly aware and sensitive about ways I can go the extra mile to be kind. The great thing about kindness is the word itself implies action—doing something for someone else without any expectation of receiving anything back—and this definition has been very motivating to me to be intentional and seek out even more ways to be kind.
Seeing thousands of children in Anaheim commit collectively to “One Million Acts of Kindness” is something that will endure in the lives of those children as they grow into adulthood and impact their community. It has been an honor and privilege to work for someone who “walks the walk” and truly emulates the kindness he so joyfully champions every day.
Loretta Day: My capacity for compassion has grown to encompass so much more than my own family, circle of friends, and colleagues. I feel connected to the entire city and beyond. My personal judgement has been replaced by a more open mind, and an energizing belief that people want to do the right thing, and to be kind.
Thank you, Mishal and Loretta, for sharing your stories with us!
As, you go about your day, be mindful to pause and thank others for their work, their kindness, and their lasting impact on our world. Remember, a kind word changes a person, which changes a community, which changes a country. With kindness, we can change the world.