Tim Karsky and Chanelle Moch were in the parking lot when they first caught the scents of breakfast. Wafts of pancakes and syrup… and was that bacon?!
“Wow that smells good,” Chanelle said, stomach rumbling.
“Yeah,” Tim agreed. “Let’s all go to Perkins after this.”
It was early on a Wednesday morning, about time for their weekly 8:15 AM loan meeting. It’s a time where everyone comes together — business lenders, loan assistants, and credit analysts — to go over pipelines, what they’re doing to collect, and all kinds of other fun stuff. An important meeting, but nothing extra special.
Tim Karsky and Chanelle Moch were in the parking lot when they first caught the scents of breakfast.
When Tim, Chanelle and the rest of the team walked in, however, they were met with a delightful surprise. Instead of a few muffins and legal pads, the table was set with a full breakfast arrangement: pancakes, butter, syrup, and maple-flavored bacon sizzling on the grill.
“Because of all the hard work everybody did, we’re not having a meeting today,” said the organizers, Brooks Grotte, Ethan Olsen and Nicci Shelter. “Instead we’re having breakfast and playing a game.”
The group cheered.
“I think that was the first time we said we loved ya,” Tim recalled, laughing.
After breakfast, the team broke into groups of four for a team-building exercise. They each had to drop an egg from the height of the tallest lender — about 6’5’’ — without breaking the egg. They only had a handful of materials for tools; paper plates, straws, cotton balls, toothpicks, and styrofoam cups. Each team took a different method. Two out of the three teams were successful.
“I was looking for something that would go beyond team-building and make us work together,” said Nicci, who organized the game.
She and the rest of the organizers had been planning this surprise all week as a way to celebrate meeting their yearly goals. The week before, they had organized a huge push to meet some of there yearly goals — and the effort was a huge success.
“The credit team put together write ups, loan team put together documents and got them out for signature, the lenders got them signed, and we got them all processed within a week,” Brooks said. “For me, [the breakfast] was a way to recognize a goal we’d been trying to hit for a good year. I wanted to celebrate how we worked together as a team.”
“A lot of us were on diets, but that morning there wasn’t a piece of bacon left!”
He, Nicci and Ethan arrived early at the bank’s downstairs kitchen. Brooks brought the grill, Nicci and Ethan brought ingredients, and they started cooking up their pancake feast. The flavorful smells filled with whole bank by the time they were done. It was a huge success.
“A lot of us were on diets, but that morning there wasn’t a piece of bacon left,” Tim added, laughing.
All in all, it was a delightful surprise in place of an otherwise average morning meeting. Everyone went back to their desks filled with delicious food and happy.
For many of them, it comes back to Choice’s core value to “Word Hard, Do the Right Thing, and Have a Little Fun.”
“We worked our butts off. Everybody was under stress. But you get it done and then you have a little fun. It makes you want to come to work and work harder,” Tim said. “I think sometimes we forget that our own employees are part of PeopleFirst. We should be treating everyone we work with just like that. This was a great way to do that.”
To top it all off, when the meeting was done, the team fired up the grill and provided breakfast for the rest of the bank. After all, those smells were enticing.
“It wouldn’t be fair to not give them breakfast,” Brooks said. “They could all smell the bacon.”
Header photo: (Left to right) Ethan Olsen, Nicci Shetler and Brooks Grotte.