A Communications Wizard Who ‘Inspires Everyone Around Her,’ Marni Moore Bestowed with 2021 ICS Award
The Integrity and Client Service (ICS) Award is the highest annual honor bestowed upon a Cushing Terrell team member. Nicknamed “The Geno” after 55-year-tenured Gene Kolstad, the award is presented in December with a cash prize. Colleagues are nominated from across the firm, and the winner is judged on their excellence in three categories: honesty, compassion, and responsiveness.
Do pay attention to that woman behind the curtain. She’s Marni Moore, Cushing Terrell’s content development manager and our 2021 ICS Award Winner.
There were 19 highly deserving nominees for this year’s ICS Award, and the selection committee admitted making a final recommendation was difficult. But Marni emerged as their top choice for the past year.
This award is traditionally bestowed upon an individual in a highly visible role as client caretaker, someone who hoists the needs of stakeholders upon their shoulders and carries the load. Generally, this pertains to external clients with whom Cushing Terrell has partnered.
Make no mistake, Marni supports these external entities and individuals, taking an active role in many projects — using her immense talents in communication, social media, networking, and more to bolster the efforts of our clients. However, on most days, Marni — ever so quietly and without a lot of fanfare — addresses all our clients, our communities, the entirety of the world even, through outward-facing platforms.
She does this as the voice of Cushing Terrell; and as an advocate to, editor of, and often ghostwriter for many of her teammates. If you’ve read anything designated as official communications from Cushing Terrell, you’ve almost certainly consumed some of Marni’s handiwork. Such is her importance and omnipresence.
Marni joined Cushing Terrell in December 2018 and hit the ground running. She took an established social media program and supercharged it. She launched and amplified many internal communications initiatives. She helped rollout the firm’s new branding. She joined and has been the mouthpiece for Cushing Terrell’s Green Advocacy Council. She taught many how to deploy their personal social media accounts. And the list of accomplishments goes on and on.
Among her work on external projects has been supporting the communications needs of the in-development Idaho Museum of International Diaspora (IMID), which has fulfilled a mix of personal and professional passions.
“An opportunity to work with Marni is one of the greatest gifts from Cushing Terrell in the development and journey of the Idaho Museum of International Diaspora (IMID)… Her professional integrity paired with magnetic personality create warm and inviting opportunities to easily collaborate on all levels across many projects.”
Founder & Executive Director
Idaho Museum of International Diaspora
Often thankless and frequently invisible, the management of Cushing Terrell’s brand persona is an exhausting, always-on assignment, but per her departmental colleagues, you’ll never hear Marni complain about playing this part. Rather, she finds so much joy in her ability to engage with clients on an individual level in a social forum. The most excited or fulfilled you might ever see Marni is when she has conjured up a clever way to publicly celebrate a client or one of Cushing Terrell’s own.
Meanwhile, Marni exudes a brand of compassion elusive to many: she cares deeply about people as individuals, but cares just as deeply about what they’ve stated (or is apparent) they want or need. So, while she always injects humanity and cheerfulness into her interactions with others, she goes a step further, making their priorities *her* priorities. In many cases, she helps those same people determine what those priorities should even be.
Back in 2008, Cushing Terrell constructed a vision statement to help govern firm goals over the following five years. The effort was driven — and much of the language was crafted — by then-principal and project manager/architect Gene Kolstad out of Cushing Terrell’s Billings office. The list of seven goals dealt largely with issues of integrity, character, and client service. With visions of the Academy Awards and Oscar statuettes dancing in their heads, the ratifying committee dreamed up an annual award to present to the Cushing Terrell employee who most exemplified these ideals.
The accompanying trophy, “The Geno” (after Kolstad, who is noted for his commitment to the principles the award celebrates) was inspired by one of Kolstad’s passions: masonry. Hence, the large, heavy, traveling trophy features Montana-sourced travertine (from the original installation at a long-time client, Billings Clinic) with one of Kolstad’s trowels partially embedded — an homage to the Arthurian legend of the sword in the stone. Staff in the Great Falls office built a “mini Fort Knox” (exceptionally secure) traveling case that safely moves the award from recipient-to-recipient each year.
“Half the fun of bestowing the award is discretely delivering the award case, early, to the respective office, and keeping it under wraps,” former committee member (now-retired) Ken Richardson once said.
The Geno is now presented each December to the winner of the Integrity and Client Service (ICS) Award, alongside a cash prize. A selection committee — dubbed “the Posse” — which always includes the previous year’s recipient, convenes annually to select the winner. Nominees from across the firm are listed in an evaluation tabulation spreadsheet and graded in three categories: honesty, compassion, and responsiveness. The highest score for each category is 30, 50, and 40, respectively, with a total possible high score of 120. Fellow Cushing Terrell team members complete ICS nomination forms, many with attached letters of appreciation from internal and external clients, and send them to the Posse. Their spreadsheet is then populated and the scoring begins.
Former Cushing Terrell Great Falls mechanical engineer Gary Morris was the initial recipient at the end of 2010, and the ICS Award has been presented each year since. Last year, Nathan Helfrich of Cushing Terrell Bozeman was the winner.
Read more on the history of the concept of “integrity” on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
What Others Say About Marni
“Honestly, words can scarcely capture my opinion of Marni Moore. Our time together is less work and more sharing of ideas, during which she is always an inspiration. She is so giving of herself and her time to support each of us, as well as the outside partners she engages. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who is not wearing a smile and feels uplifted when sharing time with her.”
“Through the CWI Campus Development Visioning & Planning initiative, I’ve had the pleasure to work with Marni Moore. She brought in a much-needed external perspective, was super responsive to an aggressive timeline, and listened to our needs as well as the needs of our audiences. She was honest in her guidance, and it was easy to trust her insight on how to approach certain topics.”
Executive Director, Communications & Marketing
College of Western Idaho
“Marni is a passionate person and it shows in all she does. She is the type of person that will always meet or exceed the requirements of any task. She is a positive, selfless individual. She loves what she does, and it shows every day.”
“Her dedication to going above and beyond in every project, her creativity and passion, her strong communication and attention to detail, and her willingness to always lend a helping hand do not go unnoticed. Marni is just one of those people that lights up a room and inspires everyone around her!”
Marketing Coordinator, Education/Healthcare
“This past year, Marni has done so much amazing work, it can actually be difficult to keep track of. She is the person at the center of all the high-quality publications Cushing Terrell has put out this year. As such, she plays the critical role of advancing the firm’s goal of sharing with the world our knowledge and expertise.
“She is easily one of the most compassionate and kind coworkers. Marni has shown — not just over the last year but during her entire tenure at Cushing Terrell — that she lives and upholds the Mission, Vision, and Values of our firm.”
“Marni is a trusted advisor to our team (and to me personally). She thoughtfully and compassionately provides guidance and serves as a selfless caretaker of our team and collective mission. She embodies a warrior’s ‘can-do spirit’ while simultaneously upholding the highest standards of quality and care.”
Director of Sustainability
From Marni Herself
What does the ICS Award represent to you?
To me, it represents more than an individual; it represents the strength of our team. It represents people working together, supporting each other, and being invested in the work. Exceptional client service is the direct result of the desire to execute and deliver something spectacular, and this always takes a village. I think it’s telling that we have this kind of award at Cushing Terrell — it reflects our philosophy, our culture, and our values. We live for doing the best we can by others.
How do you feel about winning the award, and to what do you attribute it?
I’ve experienced a crazy mixture of emotions: elation, gratitude, fulfillment, and so much love for my team, as well as surprise, apprehension, and a feeling of being unworthy. I mean, look at the past award winners and nominees! I admire them all. When you can pour your heart into your job AND be appreciated for it, there’s no greater reward.
I attribute winning this award to the people I work with every day. I get super excited to share about all Cushing Terrell does — and to be able to share in a compelling way, so much must come together. Very busy people must be willing to tell me their stories and the stories of their projects, not to mention teach me about complicated subjects; we must take the time to collaborate on how best to convey those stories and how to represent them visually and graphically; and we must strategize, prioritize, and meet deadlines. Dogged determination and humor always help!
You’re on the selection committee now. What will you be looking for in next year’s ICS Award winner?
Around here, I don’t have far to look. There are always so many deserving people at Cushing Terrell. Because we judge on the nomination submittals and not our own personal relationships with people, I encourage future nominators to really bring it — make sure you have specific, relevant examples of how the person meets the criteria, and reach out for testimonials. This was such a highlight of the whole experience — reading those testimonials was fantastic. Specifically, though, I will be looking for people with a passion for what they do — this comes through every time and will always be felt by our clients.
A Final Note From Cushing Terrell President Greg Matthews
“Marni is amazing! She has been instrumental in transforming the outward face of Cushing Terrell in the social media world, and she’s helped the leaders of the firm (myself included) navigate social media to the firm’s advantage. She’s compassionate, truly cares about her colleagues and the work she completes, and it shows in everything she does. We’re a better firm because of her, and she truly does exemplify the meaning of integrity and client service.”