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: What is an appropriate gift for a person who has lost someone close to them?
Nancy Mitchell: This will happen often in an office, think of this, you are a business family when you work with people in an organization. When they suffer a loss, you want them to know that you feel their pain, if you will. You feel sympathy for them on this occasion. Depending on your office you may have a fund that is ready to send flowers, is ready to send a sympathy card, but if you know someone personally you may want to go above and beyond that group gift, you may want to write that special note, make that call to let them know you are thinking about them. If you see them outside the office, then go over, have a visit with them, offer your support at a difficult time in their life. Perhaps you could help with transportation for out of town people who maybe coming for a funeral. You could help by sending food; you could help by organizing the thank you notes , by driving people to and from a service. There are so many ways that you can support someone in a time like this. It does not have to be sending a bouquet of flowers. Think about the relationship and then act accordingly. Just giving your time a call, showing up in an event, saying I care about you is so much more important than the gift itself.