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Celebrating the feast day of St Omobono

By Sarah Pettinger

Eight hundred years ago there was a business man in Cremona in Northern Italy. He was a tailor and merchant and his was a successful business. As a result he prospered, but he saw around him people who weren’t so fortunate and he donated from the money he made to the poor, sharing his wealth and success with them. For the impoverished, his actions were life changing, for his friends and family they were eccentric and foolish. He died in church and Pope Innocent III saw fit to canonise him as St Omobono the patron saint of business. His feast day is celebrated on 13th November.

Eight hundred years later our founders were searching for a name for their new B2B agency and stumbled across the patron saint of business. An appropriate starting point for founding a new business and an appropriately standout name for a fledgling agency.

At Omobono we’ve always celebrated the feast day of St Omobono. In my first year at Omobono we took a rib boat trip around the coast of Suffolk and I nearly threw up on new colleagues. It’s become an annual marker in our calendar, a point where we come together as a company and recognise the hard work and commitment that has gone into building our business across the past year. We also let our hair down and have fun doing all manner of activities over the years that I’m sure neither Omobono or Pope Innocent III ever had in mind.

It’s always a highlight of our year. And then Covid happened. How do we celebrate a feast day when we can’t gather together to eat, drink and be merry? This year, just like St Omobono in the 12th century, we too can see how many people in our communities are not as fortunate as we are. The impact of Covid on businesses, and so in turn on the people they employ, has been huge. So this year our feast day looks dramatically different. Instead of a big meal together as a company we’ve given each of our team money to have a meal with family or friends, as a thank you to the extended network around Omobono that has made it possible for our team to show up day after day and deliver great work for clients, even in the middle of this pandemic. But we’re also we’re making donations to food banks in Cambridge, London and Chicago, because Omobono was right 800 years ago, we have a responsibility to see beyond our own bubble into our wider communities and, when we find ourselves in a position of good fortune, to help others who do not.

Feast day 2020 will be very different from those that have come before in the history of Omobono, but it will be no less memorable.

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