Small acts of kindness can make a tremendous difference in our workplace, especially during challenging times. Research has shown that these gestures foster a culture of generosity, collaboration and innovation, and they even help increase productivity, efficiency and workplace satisfaction. Acts of kindness, no matter how small, can be truly meaningful and inspire us to pay it forward to others, reverberating for interactions to come.

Sharing Handmade Kindness With Cards

This winter, Mardi Chadwick Balcom, JD, senior director of community health intervention and prevention programs, discovered a way to use her love of crafting to spread joy across the Brigham.

Chadwick Balcom has worked at the Brigham for nearly 13 years and is an avid card maker. She rekindled this hobby during the pandemic when she was inspired by card maker Jennifer McGuire’s initiative, “Sharing Handmade Kindness.”

“I’m a lawyer by training,” Chadwick Balcom explained, “so I just never thought of myself as an artist. The pandemic helped bring out my creative side that I hadn’t tapped into before. I discovered a whole world of paper crafters and card makers, and even transformed my office into a card-making shop.”

Chadwick Balcom began her card-making endeavors by sending cards to family, friends and colleagues. She spread the word through her Facebook network, a dedicated card-making Instagram account (heart2handmadecards) and a Google form that anyone can complete to request a card for any occasion. Chadwick Balcom even includes a removable message inside each card, allowing recipients to easily pass it on to others—enabling an eco-friendly way to pay it forward. “This is my way of giving back and radiating it out into the community,” Chadwick Balcom remarked, “and I think we need that a lot right now.”

Chadwick Balcom hopes to inspire others to spread kindness, too. “We can spread kindness in any way,” she says. “Think about what brings you joy, whatever your hobby or passion is. When you share that, kindness is just a natural expression.”

A Small Act With a Big Impact

Kayla Pedersen, BSN, RN, a nurse on Braunwald Tower 8CD, understands very well the impact of kindness and compassion. While caring for a patient transitioning to comfort measures only, she handed him a piece of paper and asked him what he would like to say to his wife. He wrote, “I love you forever.” Pedersen matted and framed the handwritten message, placing it on his bedside table. His words of eternal love were the first thing his wife saw upon arriving the next day during such a heart-wrenching time.

“I wanted to ensure the patient’s family had closure and something to treasure forever,” commented Pedersen. “These are the small things that I would do for any of my patients, and I know any of my fellow staff members would do for theirs, too. We all inspire each other.”

Both Chadwick Balcom and Pedersen’s stories remind us of the power of kindness. Everyone is going through something, whether big or small, and thoughtful gestures can transform someone’s day for the better. Amidst the many challenges Brigham staff currently face, these connections and acts of humanity remind us all that we are in this together.

Have you caught a fellow Brigham employee being kind? We’d love to hear about it! Share your story at