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Sipping Satisfaction: The Emotional ROI Story Behind Coffee Collab's Success

by Ashley Cheung, Principal & Founder, VPG

Ashley and Samhitha

My very first out-of-state Coffee Collab experience was in Atlanta, Georgia. I did not know what to expect besides putting the date on my calendar and reserving the space with Coffee Bar Atlanta. I then connected with my friends in Atlanta, including former colleagues. From this trip, I learned to lean into discomfort and focus on the importance of valuing emotional ROI.

Unlike financial Return on Investment (ROI), emotional ROI delves into the intangible benefits gained from emotional connections. It measures the impact of emotions on outcomes such as loyalty, advocacy, and satisfaction. When we focus on emotional ROI, we foster trust and loyalty, enhancing significance of human connection in driving sustainable business success and understanding as key drivers of value creation. Over that weekend, I had some memorable experiences on emotional ROI.

Ashley and Jason

First, the night before, I received a two-week notice of resignation from our illustrator, Michelle Kim. I was quite sad as we had worked together for three and a half years. We completed two books together over many Zooms and voice-overs. We chatted that night briefly about the reasons; she was ready for new challenges and thanked VPG and me for contributing to her growth in confidence to try new things. I was pleased and confirmed that, despite self-doubts throughout her VPG journey, she has shown amazing growth.

Second, I had two separate meetings while in Atlanta. I met my former attorneys, Samhitha and Jason, at the first location, Coffee Bar Atlanta (CBA). I also had a chance to discuss the dreams and challenges facing my fellow entrepreneur, Amar, the owner of CBA. It was amazing. The quality time spent with Samhitha, and specifically Jason, was invaluable. They also both purchased some VPG merchandise. You see, Jason and I worked together on many proceedings together while I was at a law firm, and he is such a kind person that we used to call him “Mr. Rogers.” We reminisced about the days when we had nine oral hearings in one day. We chatted about how he was reading my book and thought I was doing remarkably interesting things. He wished that I had more people come to the Collab, and I responded, “I am happy to have some quiet time to spend with people I like, it’s quality, not quantity.” He smiled, and we continued our discussion about so many fun topics, including our respective upcoming vacations.

Third, we had another meeting with my friends Kara and Theresa at High Velocity at the Marriot Marquis. We celebrated the end of Women’s History Month together and chatted about the good old days. We talked about work, life, puzzles, and how I am doing with the book tours. Both supported me by buying VPG totes and puzzles, and I gifted them some cute stickers and an autographed book for Theresa’s son, Connor.

Ashley with Kara and Theresa at dinner

The whirlwind Atlanta trip brought countless fun memories. Despite some being unable to join, it did not matter to me. Time spent with cherished friends was invaluable. That is the essence of emotional ROI—no monetary equivalent can match it. Conversations delved into friends, families, upcoming vacations, and recent reads, highlighting the importance of genuine interest in others’ lives. It is about more than routine inquiries; it is caring about their experiences. Emotional ROI acts as deposits in our emotional bank accounts, fostering deeper connections. Future collaborations await, but first, there are vacations to enjoy and case deadlines to meet.

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