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A Parting Gift

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The story starts small. Morgan Smestad, Receptionist and Loan Assistant at Choice Financial in Grafton, was looking to change her plan with AFLAC. She was searching for ways to save money as she and her husband had just found out they were expecting their second baby and it was a plan she hadn’t used in a while.

Morgan contacted Sherry Pengilly, HR Specialist at Choice Financial in Langdon. Sherry has been with Choice for nearly 43 years, so she knows a thing or two about AFLAC. When she found out that Morgan was expecting, it caught her attention. Rather than going through and cancelling the plan as Morgan had thought, she gave her a call instead.

“You should meet with your AFLAC representative,” Sherry advised. “I think the plan you have now could give you some money as an expecting mother.”

Morgan was surprised to hear this. Sure enough, in meeting with her representative, she learned that her plan did indeed pay benefits for pregnancy. Because of Sherry’s sharp eye, and knowledge of the plan, she would receive a check for over $2,500.

“Sherry could have gone forward with my requested cancellation, and not even bothered to ask me,” Morgan said. “Then I would be out $2,500. It just goes to show, she knows how to do her job.”

Sherry attributes her actions to one of Choice’s core values, one she has faithfully employed over all her years working for Choice.

“Seek and share knowledge,” she said. “I knew this [AFLAC plan] was useful, and I knew I should let her know.”

Morgan laughed. “I guess this means you need to stick around,” she said.

After four decades, Sherry recently retired. In her time with Choice, there have been countless instances where she has made people happy with stories just like Morgan’s. Her work is fueled by her personal passion to treat her employees with the utmost care.

“When I started in HR, the employees were my customers,” she said. “I wanted to treat them like the front line treats their customers. When they e-mail me, I want to respond to them quickly. I wanted to make their work experience happy at Choice.”

And after all these years, what advice does she have to share?

“Look outside the box,” she said. “Go out of your way to do something for others.”

It can, after all, be as simple as double-checking an insurance plan.