Every executive needs an office manager like Dale Nicholson.

When It’s Never 2 Late President Jack York asked her to figure out a way to get goat yoga as part of the company’s booth at LeadingAge, she didn’t blink.

“Jack gives me assignments, and I do them,” she told me cheerfully during the LeadingAge show in Philadelphia, PA.

The goat yoga project is a worthwhile endeavor benefitting Eldercare Cameroon. But what I was really interested in is the process of putting together a booth at a major convention involving livestock.

Nicholson took to the Internet to research birthday parties and other local avenues that may have involved goats. She landed on Sleepy Hollow Horse Farm, which not only brings goats to birthday parties, but also nursing homes.

The first box on Nicholson’s list was checked. The second was to find a yoga teacher. Nicholson found someone willing and able. 

Then she became a stage manager and set designer, because IN2L had to figure out the right way to let attendees participate in yoga and keep the goats and humans safe.

In fact, Nicholson had to make sure to have the certificates that said the goats had been vaccinated. As much as the idea of a loose, possibly rapid, goat at LeadingAge has amazing news value, obviously it wouldn’t have been ideal for anyone involved.

So Nicholson worked on a design that involved a white picket fence, and she had everything from the hinges to her glue gun and drill shipped to the exhibit hall. She joined two other staff in laying out astroturf and set up the yoga mats. The goats arrived Monday morning in a van.

Now, I’m sure more than one person saw this exhibit at LeadingAge and scoffed at it as a publicity stunt. Putting aside the legitimate charitable aspect, that’s not untrue. But it also completely fits in with the brand of IN2L, which is fun. This is a company that absolutely wants to help resident improve their quality of life, and wants to remind long-term care providers that exhibit halls aren’t just for information and swag. They’re also a chance to try something new, like having a goat on your back. There are a gazillion exhibits at any long-term care show promoting technology, data or products, but how many of them are going to make you smile?

Plus, highlighting goat yoga is also a chance to recognize people like Nicholson.

“I’ve worked for IN2L for 14 years,” she said. “I’d do anything for Jack and the company.”

That kind of loyalty and can-do spirit, whether it’s taking a photo with goats or busting out a glue gun, is something we should all aspire to.

Stinker the goat, pictured right

Follow Elizabeth Newman @TigerELN.