For inspiration, Alicia Abrams leaves no stone unturned.
They may not realize it but Integrated DNA Technologies customers know Alicia Abrams. After all, she’s the one responsible for the smooth and professional voice that greets them when they call IDT’s headquarters and are transferred or put on hold.
“I never get used to (hearing my own voice),” said the Winona, Minn., native, who has been with IDT for 15 years and currently serves as the Training and Development Specialist.
While Abrams may be more associated with telling researchers around the world to leave a message at the sound of the tone, around IDT’s headquarters in Coralville, Iowa, she’s known as a customer care expert and a woman who leaves important messages of her own as a way to make a positive impact on the community.
Abrams is also part of a growing movement in the US spreading positivity, kindness and good vibes to strangers via artistically painted rocks containing uplifting messaging.
“I hide them in the community for people to find and brighten their day,” she said. “I try to find short sayings that will easily fit on a rock, such as ‘You Matter,’ ‘You Are Enough,’ ‘Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful’ and ‘You’ve Got this.’ One of my favorite rocks I made has part of a Maya Angelou quote about being a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.”
Abrams keeps a basket of painted rocks in her car and leaves them when and where she is inspired.
“My kids and I like to leave them at playgrounds, parks, libraries and benches,” she said. “When I’m running errands, I like to leave them outside local businesses and at community events. I’m always looking for more ideas on places to leave and hide them.”
“Sometimes, I will post in the group the general location where I hid a rock and a picture (because) some parents like to take their kids rock hunting for fun,” she said. “Other times, I won’t post it and it will be a surprise. Part of the fun is when others find it, post it to the group and then re-hide it. You get to see where that rock has traveled and how far it might go. It’s neat to see where it might pop up next.”
Abrams said that she doesn’t mind if the rocks go home with the discoverer.
“While it’s more fun for me to see it get found over and over again, I also like the idea that my rock could be meaningful enough to one person that they want to keep it,” she said. “If it brings joy to one person or many, it was worth it in the end.”
Giving back is something that all IDT associates have a chance to do. Our Two Days to Make a Difference global volunteer program provides everyone a chance to have two paid days off every year to volunteer at charities, organizations, events and non-profits in their communities. In 2018, that added up to 3,951 volunteering hours for 71 different organizations.
Some, including Abrams, try to do more. In fact, she and a friend have started a Facebook group that organizes women in the North Liberty/Coralville/Iowa City community looking for volunteering opportunities or worthy donation recipients.
“I’m very proud of the impact we have made just by organizing people interested in giving,” she said. “They just needed to know where the needs are.”
Just like her recording on the IDT phone system, Alicia Abrams knows that a helpful voice has the potential start of something big.