Nancy MitchellNancy R. Mitchell is an established protocol and etiquette consultant and advisor with more than 30 years of experience in the field. Currently, she is an adjunct faculty member at George Washington University, where she developed and teaches protocol courses to Event Management Certificate Program students in the School of Business and Public Management, and at Stratford University, Falls Church, VA. She serves also as protocol and special events consultant to the Library of Congress, the world’s largest library and cultural center. For 23 years, Mitchell was Director of Special Events and Public Programs at the Library of Congress where she and her staff were responsible for planning and managing over 400 events each year. She coordinated the institution’s major special events, visits of heads of state and other foreign dignitaries, fundraising galas, conferences and meetings. As the Library’s chief protocol advisor, she served as liaison to the White House, U.S Department of State, the Congress, the Supreme Court and other government agencies, foreign embassies, academia and corporations. Mitchell owns The Etiquette Advocate, Inc., a firm providing etiquette and protocol training to corporations, universities, embassies, government agencies, non-profit organizations and individuals. She is the etiquette consultant to Engaged! magazine, has been featured on Good Morning America, Fox 5 News, WTOP Radio and National Public Radio, and is quoted on matters of etiquette and protocol by the New York Times, Washington Business Journal, and the Washington Post. She is a co-owner of the firm, Protocol Partners-Washington Center for Protocol, Inc., and is a member of the Protocol and Diplomacy International Protocol Officers Association and the Women Business Owners of Montgomery Country (MD).
Host: If I am on a tight budget, what are my obligations in giving gifts to colleagues or coworkers?
Nancy Mitchell: Many of us have been in that situation where the particular time of the year or that particular time in our career we do not have a lot of extra money. When people come around to collect in an office for a gift for someone or for the office, some gift budget or whatever, give what you can give. People should not come to you and say, We are collecting $25, we are collecting $50. They should come to you and they should say, We are collecting for this present for Jane, this present for John, the retirement for Mr. Davis, whatever, and give whatever you can. Even if you give $2 and other people are giving $10 you have contributed, you feel that you are a part of the team. If you can not give, or you do not know the person, you do not feel that it is necessary to give, say that, Well, I really don t know that person, I don t think that I ll participate that is perfectly alright to say that. If you know the person very well, you may say, I have planned to give my own gift on that person s retirement, or Christmas, or the end of the holidays, or their wedding, or whatever the occasion is. But be sincere; do not use that as an excuse, not to contribute if you truly are going to give a gift to someone on your own that is fine. Do not feel the pressure of the office collection to give beyond your means.