70 THE POWER OF POSSIBILITY NISC | 50 YEARS OF INNOVATION AND MEMBER SERVICE NISC’S HEART: THE BENEVOLENCE COMMITTEE TAKES CARE OF ‘FAMILY’ At first, when Shanon Bogren’s 18-year-old son, Jamison, became bone-tired — drifting off in class, dozing during the day, sleeping so soundly she could hardly wake him — she thought it was just a consequence of too many late nights. Then she thought of all the typical ailments that cause fatigue, such as anemia or mononucleosis. After a CT scan, the doctor came into the room and said, “I don’t really know how to tell you this, but your son has a very large brain tumor in the middle of his head.” Thus began a hellish and terrifying period of chemotherapy, brain surgeries, proton radiation and after-effects — a time Bogren, an NISC Professional Services Consultant, and her family were able to endure because of the emotional and financial support of the NISC employees through the Benevolence Committee. The Benevolence Committee provides support to employees ranging from personalized gifts for new parents to assistance for employees facing unexpected financial hardships. Employees elect the members of the committee from each of NISC’s four offices — Mandan, North Dakota; Lake Saint Louis, Missouri; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Shawano, Wisconsin. Employees can donate directly from their paychecks, and NISC matches all donations. Proceeds from the book Wired Differently also go to the Benev- olence Fund. The recipients are confidential. “We don’t have any guidelines about how much we can give out for a request. We have the freedom as a committee to make those decisions,” says Justin West, a Team Lead for Development and Co-Chair of the Benevolence Committee. West received help when his 2-year-old son was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2012. Bogren traveled with her son to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He was in a coma for two weeks after his surgery, then suffered a stroke and seizures. She took family leave, and when it ran out, she worked part-time from his hospital room. As Jamison was relearning how to walk and talk, his neurosurgeon and pediatric oncologist gave him his high school diploma in the hospital. The Bogrens were later told that Jamison’s Mayo physicians gave him a 5 percent chance of surviving. TheBenevolenceCommitteehelpedcoverexpensesoflivinginRochester so that Bogren could care for her son without draining her life savings. “I know that if I hadn’t been working for NISC, I wouldn’t have had a job to come back to,” she says. “My manager, my team lead and even out prototypes of new software and learn about new features in the products they use every day. More than 2,500 people attended over the two weeks — record-breaking attendance — and about 30 percent of the sessions were led by Members sharing their experiences and advice with their peers. The 2016 MIC, titled “Beyond Tomorrow,” promised a peek at the future. It also offered a chance for many longtime Members to reflect on the journey and marvel at how far NISC had come. In his opening remarks, CEO Vern Dosch spoke about management consultant Jim Collins and his book Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don’t. Collins talks about the “flywheel effect,” in which decisions and actions build on each other to create positive energy and progress. That is what has happened at NISC since the merger, Dosch said.