Page 1

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GIVING

BACK

RC Cares is on a mission to support its communities across the country that have been impacted by COVID-19. As a result, front-line workers and teachers are getting to know the heart of Russell Cellular.


#RCCares Products RC Cares Products are a special line of PopSockets and Tech Wipes that are sold in our retail locations. 100% of the proceeds from the sales of these products fund outreach projects and further the culture of giving back to the communities in which our stores are located.

By the numbers: • In 2019, RC Cares Products brought in around $128,000 companywide. • $128,000 was invested back into our communities, schools, and into people·s lives!

RC/Cares

Photos by TK Photographer


4125 Wilson Creek Marketplace Rd., Battlefield, MO 417-886-7542, russellcellular.com

PRESIDENT & CEO Jeff Russell

FROM THE FEED

CO-FOUNDER Kym Russell CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Darin Wray CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Robert Lister VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS Jeven Russell VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES OPERATIONS Nathan Mindeman DIRECTOR OF EXECUTIVE SUPPORT Layton Alsup EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES Daniel Hyder AREA VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES Brad Boman AREA VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES Anthony Badalamenti AREA VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES Chris Lucido DIRECTOR OF LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT Kurt Reinhart DIRECTOR OF RC CARES Ron Wallace MARKETING MANAGER Sarah Rogers

2111 S. Eastgate Ave., Springfield, MO 65809 PHONE: 417-883-7417 / FAX 417-889-7417 417MAG.COM KATIE POLLOCK ESTES / EDITORIAL DIRECTOR ETTIE BERNEKING / EDITOR ALEX WOLKEN / CREATIVE DIRECTOR BRANDON ALMS / SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHER CONTRIBUTING WRITERS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS Karen Bliss, Tessa Cooper, Juliana Goodwin, Jessica Hammer, Lillian Stone, Savannah Waszczuk, Brad Zweerink GARY WHITAKER / PUBLISHER LOGAN AGUIRRE / PRESIDENT/ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER MEGAN JOHNSON / VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS & CUSTOM PUBLICATIONS AMMIE SCOTT / VICE PRESIDENT OF STRATEGY AND SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE JOAN WHITAKER / VICE PRESIDENT OF FINANCE

Visit our social media sites to learn about the latest developments from Russell Cellular. And for the latest RC Cares news be sure to follow the main Russell Cellular feeds.

FACEBOOK.COM/RUSSELLCELLULAROFFICIAL LINKEDIN.COM/COMPANY/RUSSELLCELLULAR @RUSSELL_CELLULAR

RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM

1


FEATURES

18

24

30

Through years of rapid growth and now

During COVID-19, RC Cares has poured

We all know Hedgie, and most of us know

during a year of major change thanks to

a lot of love and dollars back into the

how he became a beloved member of the

COVID-19, RC has stood strong. At the

communities RC serves. Now, we’re tak-

RC team, but now, Hedgie the Hedgehog

heart of its strength is a system of core

ing time to highlight some of those fund-

is speaking up and sharing his story for

values that help direct the RC team nation-

raisers and meet the team members who

the first time. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll

wide. From the executive team to the sales

led the way. There were lunches handed

round up all your office hedgehog decor

team, these values lead the way and help

out, school supplies picked up and a lot

and make plans to add more, but most

provide stability and direction even during

of community connections made along the

importantly, you’ll learn what makes this

unpredictable times.

way. Now, we say thank you to the team!

pointy friend a true member of the team.

CORE STRENGTH

RC CARES (A LOT) HEDGIE SPEAKS

CONTENTS 4 / SPOTLIGHT

12/ COMMUNICATION

17 / PLUGGED IN

Eddie Hash was already a successful leader at RC, but a health scare gave him a new leadership style.

During COVID-19 times, RC’s focus on continued education is getting a virtual twist.

Staying connected virtually is more important than ever, and RC is here to make sure connecting is as easy as possible for customers.

5 / Q&A Amanda Mayberry has advice on how to engage your team.

6 / HOMETOWN HEROES RC Cares is on a mission to feed the country’s front-line workers.

5 / HELPING HANDS When Charlene Washer’s family needed some help, RC’s EEF was there to lend a hand.

8 / WEEK IN THE LIFE Diane Manning is used to fielding questions about workplace policies, but COVID-19 changed everything.

14 / ROUND TABLE Jeff Russell knows a lot can change these days, but these are the things he knows definitely won’t change at RC.

10 / PILLAR TALK Engage, Empower, Evolve—RC’s three E’s that can change your approach and success.

6 / RC CARES

11 / TIPS OF THE TRADE

When one of RC’s favorite charities in Springfield had to cancel its fundraiser, RC stepped in to help.

Three Store Managers share their tips for success when it comes to RC’s three E’s.

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RC CONNECTIONS / FALL

32 / LIFE OUTSIDE Monica Turner is more than a top DSM—she’s finding new ways to connect with her community.

16 / BY THE NUMBERS If you thought you were buying a lot of hand sanitizer these days, check out RC’s shopping list.

33 / AWARDS TIME The numbers are in, and these are the stores and RC team members who are coming up winners.

16 / INBOX We answer your most commonly asked COVID-19 questions. Photos courtesy Russell Cellular, Brad Zweerink, Brandon Alms


BY THE NUMBERS This issue has plenty to celebrate including several heartfelt donations by RC stores that wanted to give back to their communities. Here are some of our favorite numbers in this issue.

27

SAMSUNG TABLETS RC donated 27 Samsung tablets to Great Circle—a behavioral health service in Springfield, Missouri, that provides counseling and crisis services to kids.

LEARN MORE / 6

6,300 235

POPSOCKETS SOLD

PTO HOURS

As RC team members changed their schedules during COVID-19, RC paid out more than 6,000 PTO hours ahead of schedule.

LEARN MORE / 16

The RC team in Fresno sold 235 PopSockets as a fundraiser for its local hospital. The original goal was to sell 150 PopSockets. They ended up donating $3,200 to the hospital.

LEARN MORE / 24

A NOTE

FROM

KYM As we started prepping for this fourth issue of RC Connections magazine in mid-March, we found ourselves bewildered as to what direction to take. In just a few weeks our entire company and the whole nation went from normal life and business-as-usual to something completely unprecedented. What a crazy time in history it has been! Today we all find ourselves in a situation unlike anything we have ever faced before with challenges none of us could have imagined. I am grateful to each one of our front-line team members who continue to work diligently to overcome these circumstances and press forward every day. I am thankful to the leaders and Home Office teams supporting the front line and keeping the business stable. It is most important to us to keep team members safe and able to provide for their families. Now more than ever, I hope this magazine will bring us together, create a sense of family and let everyone feel they are not alone. I appreciate this opportunity to celebrate the courage and heart of our team. To remind us all that especially in tough times,

$1,500

FALL / 20

WORTH OF SCHOOL SUPPLIES

As part of the RC Cares project “Hedgie Goes Back to School,” the RC Home Office donated $1,500 worth of school supplies and cleaners to three fifth grade classrooms at Marionville Elementary in Missouri.

LEARN MORE / 24 Photos courtesy Russell Cellular and by Brad Zweerink

GIVING

BACK

RC Cares is on a mission to support its communities across the country that have been impacted by COVID-19. As a result, front line workers and teachers are getting to know the heart of Russell Cellular.

what you do matters and the care you give makes a difference. What this team is doing is amazing, and I am happy we could highlight some of your stories of inspiration, care and courage. My hope is that we will continue to rely on each other and stay focused on the good we can do. We all have a renewed appreciation for the truly important things in life and spending quality time with our family and closest friends. I have appreciated seeing a whole new respect for the previously overlooked front-line workers, the cashier at the grocery store, the mail-delivery lady, the nursing home staff member and all of our first responders. Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much! #BetterTogether

ON THE COVER Russell Cellular launched several RC Cares programs this year to help those impacted by COVID-19. In Springfield, Layton Alsup (right) worked with Home Office to donate supplies to fifth grade teacher Amanda Etter (left). For this issue's cover shoot, RC brought in Carter and Hadley Valentine to serve as model students during the shoot.

RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM

3


LIFE

SPOTLIGHT

LEADING WITH HEART Eddie Hash has the personality, energy and experience to be a strong leader, but a recent health scare taught him that no matter how much experience he might have, he always has room to learn and improve as a leader. BY JESSICA HAMMER

Even

before

joining

Russell

Cellular,

Regional Director of Sales Eddie Hash was working in wireless. He started his career at Alltel Wireless, then he worked as a general manager for Verizon’s corporate team. After spending a few years in that role, Eddie was looking for a new, more challenging space to grow as a leader. Through his prior connection with RC Executive Vice President of Sales Daniel Hyder, Eddie joined the RC

A HEART FOR LEADERSHIP

team in 2011, starting as a District Sales

Regional Director of Sales Eddie Hash had heart surgery in 2020 and learned the value of self-care.

Manager and working his way up to his current position of Regional Director of Sales. Eddie’s hard work continued to pay off, as he was honored as RC’s Top Regional

LESSONS LEARNED In his absence and in the wake of a global

Director of Sales for 2019. He attributes

pandemic, the RC leadership team worked

Honesty is Key: This is a major theme

that success to the team he devoted time

together to help lead his team. Eddie says

for Eddie’s leadership style since his

and energy to build up and says his team

his teams got to experience different styles

return from surgery. Mutual trust and

members showed relentless drive and

of leadership from other Regional Directors

relationships were always major parts

coachability. “I have the best DSM team I’ve

who stepped up to help lead them.

of Eddie’s leadership style, but he says

ever worked with,” Eddie says.

As he focuses on recovering and his

transparency with his team has be-

Though this year began on a high note,

health, Eddie is embracing RC’s increased

come a new key to how he leads them

it started heading downhill as Eddie’s health

focus on virtual learning and meetings. The

to success. Before his surgery, Eddie

deteriorated. He was born with a heart mur-

new technology has helped Eddie stay con-

felt like he had let them down during

mur and always knew his condition might

nected to his team even when concerns

his illness. “Pain and failure are maybe

eventually require surgery. Even when he

about his health keep him homebound.

the greatest teachers you could have,”

started forgetting some appointments or

Staying connected was a real concern for

he says. He wasn’t always honest with

running out of energy during the day, Eddie

Eddie, who worried he wouldn’t be able to

his team or himself about how he was

didn’t want to believe he couldn’t keep go-

return to work at his former level of engage-

feeling or what he could handle on a

ing. “I was in a little bit of denial,” Eddie says.

ment. “I know I am super gung-ho,” he says.

given day. Now, that’s changed, and

As time passed, Eddie felt deeply that

Now, thanks to new virtual platforms and a

Eddie is using the lessons he learned

he was letting his team down at every turn.

supportive team, Eddie says he’s focusing

while out of action to embrace honesty

In early 2020, his heart murmur became

on his own self-care as part of how he con-

when talking with his teams about

so problematic Eddie underwent surgery

tinues to grow himself and his team. “I don’t

areas where they can improve.

to have a mechanical heart valve installed.

want any of us to fall backwards,” he says.

4

RC CONNECTIONS / FALL

Photo by Brad Zweerink


LIFE

LIFE AT RC TECHNIQUES TO BECOME A TOP LEADER

HELP IS HERE When Charlene Washer experienced

TIME OF NEED Charlene Washer's family got a helping hand from the EEF.

unexpected hardships, she was able Amanda Mayberry

to receive aid from RC’s Employee

won Top District Sales

Emergency Fund.

Manager in 2019, and

BY TESSA COOPER

now she’s sharing her advice on how to be a

When troubling things happen, some say

better manager and team

they often come in threes. Over the last

member.

few months, Charlene Washer, a Wireless

BY KAREN BLISS

Specialist at Russell Cellular’s store in Nephi, Utah, experienced job loss and illness in her family and costly unexpected

RC CONNECTIONS: What do you have to do to

home repairs, all while living through the

win Top District Sales Manager?

worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

AMANDA MAYBERRY: I had to beat my year-overyear numbers and overall sales for our district. Each of the six stores in my district had to outperform their previous years, and together we outperformed other districts

RC: What is the most rewarding part of your job? A.M.: Helping others reach their goals and progress in their career. When I see somebody rise to the next level and be a top performer in their own district, that is absolutely what I live for. I had two team members promoted to District Sales Manager this year and it makes me so proud.

“I was going through some difficult times,” Charlene says. “My husband was very sick and in the hospital, and there was just one thing right after another that was going on.” Charlene’s husband, John, had suf-

things progressed and my husband wasn’t getting better, I decided to go ahead and

fered third-degree burns. He experienced

put an application in. They were able to

complications including an infection that

help, and it was just a huge relief.”

went to his bone, so he had to spend

Even though much of John’s medi-

several days in the hospital. He couldn’t

cal bills qualified for insurance coverage,

work for two months, and when he was

there were still out-of-pocket co-pays.

RC: As a DSM, what techniques do you use to

finally physically able to return to work,

One expense that the EEF aid helped

help your Store Managers grow and improve?

the coronavirus shutdown prevented him

cover were his prescriptions. “That was a

A.M.: You have to really know who your Store Managers

from doing so.

are on a personal level. You have to know why coming to work every day is important to them. How is this job going to add value to their life? You need to know this as you go into a conversation with them and coach them on their numbers.

RC: What do you pass on to your Store Managers about how their teams can be more successful? A.M.: I talk with them about bringing their everyday actions to the floor, making sure we’re engaged with our team and making connections. I tell them it’s important to talk about customer interactions as they’re happening. Addressing those sales interactions right away is important before meeting with other customers or before the end of the day.

RC: What advice do you give a team member who wants to rise up in the company? A.M.: No. 1, you have to have initiative. When your leader sees the initiative you have to take on extra projects or to add value to the district outside of your store, that makes a difference. It not only makes a difference in the lives of those people but in your own life. Photos by Brad Zweerink and courtesy Charlene Washer

To top things off, their home required

huge help because he needed expensive medications,” Charlene says. “We had a

immediate repairs while Charlene was

lot going on. It was just one thing right af-

caring for her husband in the hospital. She

ter another, a lot of craziness at the same

was able to communicate her hardships

time. I just didn’t know where I was going

to her manager at Russell Cellular, but she

or what I was going to do.”

didn’t expect the company to help. All she

Like Charlene, any RC team member

expected was understanding about why

can apply for the EEF after being with RC

she would need more time off. But that’s

for 90 days. The EEF was set up to help

not really the RC way. Instead of simply

RC folks who experience tragedies or un-

lending an understanding ear, Charlene’s

expected emergencies that cause finan-

manager connected her with the RC’s

cial burdens. It’s part of RC’s mission to

Employee Emergency Fund (EEF).

care for its own team members.

“I was really hesitant to apply at first

“I have an amazing manager and dis-

because I couldn’t believe for one, they

trict manager,” Charlene says. “They are

wanted to help me because I was such a

so good and willing to help me and work

new employee,” she says. “I hadn’t been

with me, and I am very grateful for that.

here for very long, and I kind of assumed

Now, I can go take care of the things I

it was more for the team members who

need to take care of. It was definitely a

have been at RC for a longer time. But as

relief. I really appreciated it.” RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM

5


LIFE

RC CARES

COMMITTED TO GIVING Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many nonprofits have had to cancel or alter their fundraisers. Committed to supporting its communities, Russell Cellular stepped in to help one nonprofit that’s especially near and dear to its heart. BY TESSA COOPER

COVID-19 has impacted more than just businesses. Nonprofits including Great Circle, an organization that provides specialized behavioral and mental health services to children

COMMITTED TO GIVING BACK

and families, regularly rely on events to spread

Ron Wallace, Trudy Smith (Director of Advancement at Great Circle) and Layton Alsup met up so RC could make a donation to Great Circle.

community awareness and raise crucial funds. But when the virus began to quickly spread in the United States, the event planning committee at Great Circle knew it was the right thing

and our chair’s part. We are all in this together,

keep their sponsorship funds. Some of them

to proactively cancel its September fundraiser,

and we have to support each other.”

even gave additional funds for an emergency

Handbags of Hope, despite the fact that the

With its annual fundraiser canceled,

fundraiser netted more than $100,000 last

Trudy and Great Circle still needed a way to

When Russell Cellular received the call from

year alone.

raise funds to achieve their financial goals.

Great Circle, Director of Executive Support

So Trudy began making calls to its event

Layton Alsup says the leadership team didn’t

sponsors, including Russell Cellular, to ask

have to think twice about remaining commit-

“We were still planning to have the event,” says Trudy Smith, with Great Circle. “But the

fund that we created.”

committee chair and I got together and she

that they remain committed to donating the

ted to donating the funds. Additionally, RC

said that the committee members at large

same amount to the nonprofit despite the

donated 27 Samsung tablets to Great Circle

didn’t want to go to these boutiques and retail

canceled event.

to help the children engage in virtual visits

stores and ask for a donation when the busi-

“I was just overwhelmed by the generosity of

with family members, participate in remote

nesses had been shut down for three months. I

our sponsors,” Trudy says. “With just a cou-

school classes and have some fun—one of

think that showed foresight on the committee’s

ple of exceptions, most of them allowed us to

Great Circle’s core values.

HEDGIE’S HEROES FEEDING OUR HOMETOWN HEROES Russell Cellular has always supported front-line workers such as first responders in the medical field, police and firefighters. As a thank you during the COVID-19 pandemic, RC donated $25,000 to provide

A DREAM TEAM RC's team in Nephi, Utah, raised more than $1,200 to support Police Officer Sarah Robison, who is battling stomach cancer.

6

RC CONNECTIONS / FALL

lunches for these critical workers though RC Cares as a tribute to Hometown Heroes. BY KAREN BLISS

INITIAL RC DONATION AMOUNT: $25,000 Ron Wallace, Director of RC Cares, says Jeff and Kym Russell specifically decided to donate to front-line workers during the pandemic because of the extra work and risk they are putting themselves through in the communities Russell Cellular serves. “Our District Sales Managers split the funds evenly and were able to choose with their local teams how to best spend the money for front-line workers in places like a doctor’s office, hospital, police or fire station,” he says. Photos courtesy Russell Cellular


LIFE

RC CARES

GOOD BY THE NUMBERS

$74,000

worth of sponsorship dollars was secured by Great Circle even though the event was canceled

$100,000

was raised at Handbags of Hope last year

300

people attended last year’s Handbags of Hope event

$8,100

“Community service and giving back to our

able difference. “It is nice to see the progres-

communities has always been important to

sion year over year,” Layton says. “It’s not that

Russell Cellular, and I think especially with

your dollars wouldn’t have an impact at any

the impact of COVID-19 on our community, it

organization, but if you’ll stick with a cause

was obvious that this was going to be a huge

and continue to support it, you see the evo-

obstacle for Great Circle to overcome when

lution. Especially with the physical donation of

it came to fundraising events.” Layton says.

these tablets, we will really be able to see how

Russell Cellular has always been focused

it impacts the kids living at Great Circle. By

on giving back, and that includes forming

the time this rolls around next year, we will see

relationships with a handful of nonprofits.

how the tablets have changed the way they

Whether it’s with Great Circle or through its

operate or how the donation has moved them

home builds with Habitat For Humanity, RC

forward in their ability to help the children and

is committed to making a long-term, sustain-

their families that are in their program.”

IMPACT: SERVED 100+ ORGANIZATIONS

REACH: OVER HALF OF RC’S 600 STORES CHOSE TO PARTICIPATE

Ron says the initial funds were enough to provide $40 per store intended to provide meals for front-line workers, and many individual stores added their own contributions providing for additional groups. Some stores combined their funds as a district to serve larger groups of front-line workers. “We had a couple District Managers pool together a $200 budget to go into their local hospital and feed the entire emergency room staff,” he says.

Ron says RC has always aimed to say thank you to their Hometown Heroes, but the District Managers and their teams took this project even more seriously because of how the pandemic has hit home for so many. “We don’t give back to get pats on the back,” he says. “But at the same time, what a testimony to our people. Jeff and Kym provided the funds and said ‘go help your communities’ and the teams were able to bless so many front-line responders.”

is the value of the 27 Samsung tablets Russell Cellular donated to Great Circle this year

$2,500

has already been donated to Great Circle by Russell Cellular so far this year

$60,000

has been donated by Russell Cellular to Great Circle since 1997

LASTING EFFECT: RC TEAMS ORGANIZED 111 ADDITIONAL PROJECTS Many stores and some entire districts decided to take it one step further and contribute even more back to front-line workers. Through additional fundraising projects within their communities, stores raised nearly $10,000, Ron says. “Some of them used the funds for meals and snacks; other rural communities contributed funding for equipment for front-line responders and their departments, or other essential things of that nature.”

RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM

7


LIFE

WEEK IN THE LIFE

WEEK IN THE LIFE

Meet Diane Manning. Chances are, if you have any questions about life during COVID-19, you’ve probably already talked with her or

one of her team members. BY ETTIE BERNEKING

Diane Manning is the Employee Services Manager for Russell Cellular and even though her work week runs Monday through Friday, she is on call after hours. Normally, she’s used to taking unexpected calls outside of the office, but once COVID-19 hit, her call log skyrocketed. “I’m on the phone a lot more since COVID,” she says, and those calls cover everything from how an RC team member can identify COVID symptoms to what someone should do if they need time off to care for a loved one who is sick. As COVID guidelines and case numbers change almost daily, Diane and her

RC'S COVID GURU

team have adjusted just as quickly to help keep the RC team safe and

If you have questions about RC policy during COVID, ask Diane Manning and her team.

prepared.

ADJUSTING TO A NEW WORK WEEK During pre-pandemic times, Diane and her team mostly fielded questions regarding pay, time off and onboarding new associates. Now, most of the questions the team fields center around COVID—how can stores stay safe, what should they do to reduce spread in their stores, what happens if someone is exposed to COVID? “This is not normal, even for me,” Diane says. “This is like nothing I’ve ever handled before, and I’ve worked

FOCUSING ON TEAM SAFETY To reduce the spread of COVID-19, RC distributed branded face masks and provides disposable masks for customers to wear in the store. Face masks are a good example of how quickly COVID guidelines can change. “At the beginning, we were told not to wear a mask unless you’re a health care provider,” Diane says. “Now we’re told to wear a mask. Most people understand, but you have to adapt every day.”

through the 9/11 tragedy, employee deaths and the Hurricane Katrina

WATCHING FOR SPIKES

flood.” What makes the current situation so unusual is how quickly everything is changing, and that means Diane is doing more investigating and

While local health departments are keeping their eyes peeled for spikes in

asking more questions than ever before.

COVID-19 cases, Diane is tracking calls to see where the most concern is. “At one point, the number of calls doubled in one region,” she says, which

CREATING NEW GAME PLANS

indicated her team needed to help stores in that area feel safe. Sometimes

Now, instead of helping a manager navigate company guidelines, Diane

Diane doesn’t have all the answers. This was the case earlier this year

and her team are helping establish new guidelines to keep RC stores safe

when RC had to close stores in New York. As cases dropped in the area

and customers and team members healthy. For this, Diane pulls as much

and stores have reopened, “people were scared of the virus and worried

research and government guidance as she can find, sorts through it to

about having a job when they were ready to come back,” Diane says.

see what makes the most sense and figures out how to implement rec-

“People emailed and asked what to do. I felt for everyone. We strive to keep

ommendations company wide. “I’m here to help make sure we’re being

them as safe as possible, so they can support their families.”

consistent and compliant,” she says. “So when a manager calls with a team member who’s sick but who can’t afford to not work or there’s an

TAKING NOTE OF LESSON LEARNED

employee who is afraid to come into work, we’re here to help figure out

Despite all the challenges, Diane has seen positive changes come out of

a solution.”

all of this. “We have learned to do a better job communicating electronically,” Diane says. “New technology makes it a lot easier to jump on a

FIELDING CONCERNS

call and talk to people when we need to. It keeps everyone connected,

Even as new policies are rolled out, it’s hard to find one-size-fits-all solu-

and I think we’ve learned a lot about how we can change our communi-

tions. As a result, Diane often steps in to help individual team members. “I

cation effectively.” While Diane’s new daily life at the office has drastically

had someone ask if they should go on their vacation,” she says. “We had

changed, one thing remains the same. “Every day is different, but it’s still

to talk about if that involved being around large crowds or travel and how

about resolving issues, taking care of our people and doing business with

that might impact their coworkers when they came back.”

integrity,” she says.

8

RC CONNECTIONS / FALL

Photo by Brad Zweerink


At Russell Cellular, we know life happens. Emergency situations can arise beyond our control that create unexpected financial hardships.

RC EMPLOYEE EMERGENCY FUND Qualifying circumstances include natural disaster, funeral costs, fire loss, acute medical illness, and more. The EEF provides financial assistance for you and your immediate family. Qualifying Team Members can receive up to $500 per occurrence.

For more information about the EEF, how to apply and donate, and for further qualifications and restrictions, visit RChome.co or email RCcares@russellcellular.com


EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE

PILLAR TALK THE THREE E’S

connected with their teams even if it happened

Daniel Hyder knows how RC's three E's can help teams navigate the uncertainty caused by COVID-19.

virtually. With policies and in-store procedures changing often during COVID, leaders needed to stay in touch with their teams to make sure everyone was on the same page.

EMPOWER The Big Picture: Daniel says it was important to RC leadership to allow teams and customers to make their own choices, so the company is taking measures to empower people to do what’s best for them.

What it means: COVID-19 transformed some people into their children’s teachers and babysitters when shelter-in-place orders went into effect around the country. Due to this rapid change, Daniel says RC gave its team members options. They could work reduced schedules and even use time off they hadn’t earned yet, just to help keep their families safe. “We really empowered our teams to make the decisions that were best for them,” Daniel says.

EVOLVE The Big Picture: Daniel says while there was

THREE E’S OF DOING BUSINESS Doing business changed drastically for Russell Cellular amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and team members were suddenly faced with new challenges when interacting with their customers. To continue guiding RC teams and keep moving forward, Executive Vice President of Sales Daniel Hyder created a new mantra: Engage, Empower, Evolve. BY JESSICA HAMMER

10

RC CONNECTIONS / FALL

an obvious need for RC’s products and ser-

ENGAGE The Big Picture: Because COVID-19

vices during quarantine, the company knew it

quickly changed the landscape of RC’s

acted with our team and with our customers.”

had to “evolve as a business in how we inter-

business, Daniel says it was important for the company to find ways to keep team

What it means: While technology is one of

members and customers engaged and

RC’s specialties, Daniel says customers had

connected with each other.

an increased need for devices that allowed

What it means: Daniel says once quaran-

and even school. Daniel says those custom-

to them to connect with work, family, friends tine began, RC leaders quickly transitioned to

ers were turning to RC for the equipment and

virtual meetings instead of having in-person

services they needed to continue fueling their

interactions, and they knew immediately how

at-home life. But even in-store interactions

important it was to stay connected with each

had to change due to COVID and the need to

other and with their teams. Leaders weren’t

social distance. To keep team members and

just checking in on team members from a per-

customers safe, RC started offering curbside

formance perspective, they were checking on

service and limited the number of touchable

their personal situations, too. “We realized early

devices on the store floor. “We want to show

on we might not have all the answers,” Daniel

up wherever and however our customers

says, “but not engaging would have meant

want to do business with us,” Daniel says, but

more anxiety and more uncertainty.” RC lead-

the company has had to show up in a way

ers learned quickly that it was important to stay

that keeps everyone safe. Photo by Ettie Berneking


EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE

TIPS OF THE TRADE

ENGAGE, EMPOWER, EVOLVE Three RC Store Managers share their tips on how to successfully execute RC’s three E’s: Engage, Empower and Evolve.

cess. Maybe it’s recognizing a birthday, or may-

BY ETTIE BERNEKING

be it’s just a good day that you’re celebrating.

ebrate victories big and small. Sometimes the

the conversation. This helps each team member

success for a new hire isn’t on a scoreboard.

develop personal skills and builds a culture that

Sometimes, it’s a learning piece of the sales pro-

shares best practices.

Be Empowered by Others: One of the ways I’ve found myself empowered is from feedback.

If you’ve ever led a team, even a team of two,

Be Willing to Adapt: Engaging your team

I know feedback will strengthen my personal

you know it’s not always easy. Without leader-

means being open to new ideas. If you encour-

skills, which will benefit my team. It’s not easy to

ship, teams can lose direction. Without clear

age your team to make suggestions about best

open yourself up to feedback, but I try to always

goals, teams can become ineffective, and with-

practices and you’re willing to try out their ideas,

ask, “What can I do to create a learning-based

out good communication, teams often don’t get

they’ll be more apt to offer ideas. Plus, this mar-

environment for my team?”

started at all. That’s why RC rolled out the three

ket is always changing, and your front-line team

E’s: Engage, Empower, Evolve. The three E’s

members will likely have way more experience

serve as a guide for RC leaders. To get an idea

than you problem solving with customers.

EVOLVE TIPS FROM JUSTIN PADILLA Adapt When Needed: Being able to adapt

EMPOWER TIPS FROM JANNICKE NELSON Create a Leadership Development Plan:

and communication styles is crucial. That’s why

ENGAGE TIPS FROM AARON MYERS Learn From Your Team: No one knows ev-

All you have to do is delegate responsibilities to

that person is key. They will know you are here

individual WSRs who will further drive KPI move-

to help and that you care.

of what works for RC Store Managers, we talked with Aaron Myers, Jannicke Nelson and Justin Padilla to get their tips and tricks.

to customers’ and team members’ own needs actively listening and adjusting to the needs of

ment in the store. For example, make someone

erything. If you’re a team leader, there are things

the SMB Leader, EDPU Leader, Pull Through

Hold Yourself Accountable: Accountability

you can learn from your team. Plus, if you learn

Leader or RC Cares Leader. Giving a WSR the

is often looked at in a negative way, but for me,

from them, they’ll be willing to learn from you.

chance to be the leader can create a sense of

accountability is a way to follow up on previous

empowerment and unity throughout the team.

conversations and develop our teams. As I go es and ways to be successful. Accountability is

good way to show you care and to get to know

Encourage a Peer-to-Peer Open Line of Communication: Empowering others means

your team. Just remember to make time to cel-

encouraging them to share ideas and be part of

team member know I am investing in them.

Celebrate With Your Crew: Successful teams can find plenty to celebrate, and it’s a

about my day-to-day, I share tips, best practic-

Photos courtesy Aaron Myers, Jannicke Nelson and Justin Padilla

following up on those conversations to let each

RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM

11


EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE

COMMUNICATION

THE NEW (VIRTUAL) REALITY Earlier this year, COVID-19 brought the need for virtual training and learning in to the limelight. Learn how Russell Cellular’s Learning and Development Director reacted and what new opportunities might be available for you and your team. BY SAVANNAH WASZCZUK

When you’re working to develop continuous training and learning opportunities for some 2,500 employees spread around more than 30 states, you’re going to benefit from using as much technology as possible. Kurt Reinhart, Director of Learning and Development for Russell Cellular, knows this firsthand—he actually began proposing the concept of virtual trainings for RC team members near the end of 2019. “I knew we needed a way for all of our learners to engage from a distance,” Kurt says. “We’re spread out over 30-plus states. We

additional training to those in all positions of

Zoom is also used for monthly virtual leader-

leadership. “We have two types of learning—

ship trainings, team meetings, one-on-ones

have geographic and logistical challenges.

onboarding and ongoing,” Kurt says. “When

and virtual store visits. “A DSM can be in

We have people coming onboard at a high

we developed a virtual platform, we wanted

their office talking to a Store Manager in their

rate of speed. Instead of doing classroom or

to create an onboarding experience and an

store—seeing what’s happening on the floor,

face-to-face learning, I wanted to find a way

ongoing experience.”

and giving real-time coaching,” Kurt says.

tered 2020 with big goals and ideas in mind;

TURNING IDEAS INTO ACTIONS

then COVID-19 hit, and he had to speed up

Pre-pandemic, new team members often had

CURRENT AND FUTURE CONNECTIONS

the implementation process. “I had the knowl-

to wait for onboarding sessions before they

Currently RC Team members stay con-

edge, but I needed a better way to share that

could become trained and commissionable.

nected using platforms including Zoom,

“That process could take up to three months,”

GroupMe and Microsoft Teams. Kurt is

Kurt says. “Now it takes as little as 10 days.”

working with Sales Operations Manager

to utilize more of a virtual platform.” Kurt en-

knowledge with our teams,” he says.

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

Also before COVID, management-level team

Tina Crewse and her team to continue

As Kurt worked to design a way in which

members often waited for regional events and

amplifying the shared learning experience.

RC’s training and learning opportunities

opportunities for ongoing training. “We’d wait

This “reach” initiative will be leveraging the

could be delivered virtually, he knew he was

and fly everyone in to our home office,” Kurt

Catalyst platform to include video train-

doing work that would benefit each one of

says. “Now we don’t have to do that.”

RC’s nearly 2,500 team members. “Every

Zoom has played a huge part in RC’s vir-

ing, peer-to-peer learning and new ways to communicate with one another. “We

team member here is a learner,” Kurt says.

tual learning plan. “We decided Zoom would

found COVID has disrupted our basic hu-

“That’s part of the Russell Cellular culture. We

be a good platform because we could bring

man need to connect,” Kurt says. “Virtual

all have a learning mindset.” This meant Kurt

up to 50 learners into one session,” Kurt says.

learning allows us each to have a face and

wasn’t only working to find ways to improve

“We share screens and share insight.” RC

a voice. We turned this into an opportunity

the onboarding experience for new employ-

now uses Zoom to offer weekly, regimented

to say, ‘You know what, we may be at a

ees, he was also looking for a way to provide

onboarding trainings for new team members.

distance, and yet we’re still together.’”

12

RC CONNECTIONS / FALL

Photo courtesy Russell Cellular


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LOOKING AHEAD Jeff Russell knows things might be unpredictable right now, but he also knows RC has learned a lot as it has navigated changes due to COVID-19.

14

RC CONNECTIONS / FALL

Photo by Brandon Alms


PLUGGED IN

ROUND TABLE

NAVIGATING THE STORM

about how to help the company grow and

SAFETY & SERVICE FIRST

thrive no matter what’s happening in the

Jeff says stores are pushing forward with so-

“I THINK THE BEST THING I CAN SAY IS THAT I HAVE SO MUCH PRIDE FOR HOW THE RUSSELL CELLULAR TEAM HAS WORKED TOGETHER TO GET THROUGH THE LAST SEVERAL MONTHS AND I HAVE CONFIDENCE WE WILL GET THROUGH WHAT COMES NEXT TOGETHER.”

world. And so far, 2020 has thrown several

cial distancing and sanitizing methods in mind

—Jeff Russell

curveballs at us all. (We’re talking about you

to keep COVID-19 at bay as much as possi-

Russell Cellular’s President & CEO

risk, but at the same time, there is still a large

Jeff Russell speaks out about how

demand from the customer base to make

COVID-19 has affected the company

sure their devices and handsets or tablets are

thus far and how he plans to navigate

working better than ever. These devices have

forward.

become a sort of lifeline for families to stay in

BY KAREN BLISS

communication and businesses to stay afloat. We take that very seriously. We’re spending

If you’ve met RC President and CEO Jeff

most of our time balancing team safety while

Russell, you know he’s a planner and always

trying to stay available to customers.”

has an optimistic smile. He’s always thinking

COVID-19!) Some challenges are in the past,

ble. “We’re asking not to have more than a

WHERE WE ARE HEADED

but others are probably still to come. Even so,

1-to-1 ratio of a team member to a customer,”

There are still a lot of unknowns around

Jeff is constantly making plans to move RC

he says. “We removed half of our live devices

COVID-19 and its effects on the near and dis-

forward while considering the needs of his

out of the showroom, and we moved a lot of

tant future, but Jeff says the company is stable

team members and customers.

our accessories off the walls.”

and will continue to navigate its way through the

Notices on the door suggest customers

storm. “None of us know where the future lies,”

THE ARRIVAL OF COVID-19

wear face masks, and stores have added floor

he says. “I think the best thing I can say is that I

During these unique times battling the pan-

markers to remind everyone to stay 6 feet

have so much pride for how the Russell Cellular

demic, all businesses have been affected in

apart. Stores have also implemented a touch-

team has worked together to get through the

some way or another, yet Russell Cellular has

less experience for the customer in order to

last several months and I have confidence we

managed to keep stores open and the busi-

limit the spread of germs through devices.

will get through what comes next together.” Going forward, Jeff knows his focus on

ness running for the most part. “The good news is that Russell Cellular is considered

WORKING WITH TEAM MEMBERS

balancing team needs with customer de-

an essential business, so we’ve been able to

As for the RC team members, they were

mand won’t change and he’s ready to adapt

continue to operate our locations and keep

able to alter their work hours and schedules

as needed. “I have always said the best way

our team members employed in most places,”

as necessary to fit their needs, Jeff says. “At

to predict the company’s future is to look at

Jeff says.

the beginning of the crisis, we just wanted to

its past. When we look at the reality of the

make sure they were comfortable,” he says.

last several months, we can forecast what

Jeff says the stores that have had to close temporarily have been in areas like the north-

“If they needed to take time off, we were willing

our priorities will be and how we will react for

east or the west coast, which were hit with

to work with them with no repercussions to

the rest of this year,” he says. “Our priority is

the coronavirus harder than others at the

their position.”

to keep people safely working so they can

Jeff says lots of employees had to adjust

support their family and serve our customers.

open and team members employed hasn’t

plans and schedules as kids were out of

We want to put each person and team in the

been the only focus since the arrival of the

school, or regular daycares closed. “People

position to win this battle and that will be our focus moving forward.”

beginning of the pandemic. Keeping stores

novel virus. Figuring out how to keep every-

were having to make a lot of life balancing de-

one safe while providing essential products

cisions and changes,” he says. “We wanted

and services has also been front of mind.

to be as flexible as we could on the work side

“I think right now, it’s that balancing act,” Jeff

to allow each team member to work through

says. “We want to take care of all our folks,

their situation and figure out what made the

and we don’t want to put anybody at undue

most sense for them.”

LEARN MORE To learn more about how RC is dealing with COVID-19, head to RCHome.co. RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM

15


PLUGGED IN

GROWTH SPURT

85,000 DISPOSABLE MASKS AND 13,000 WASHABLE MASKS

GROWTH SPURT Chances are, starting in March you began washing your hands much more often than usual. You can thank COVID-19 for that, but you’re not alone. Russell Cellular is right there with you in that frantic effort to keep work spaces, inventory and stores as germ-free as possible. Part of that includes increasing or buying new cleaning supplies and PPE. To get a better idea of how many supplies RC has ordered so far during the pandemic, we talked with Chief Financial Officer Robert Lister. BY KAREN BLISS

6,300 PTO HOURS PAID TO TEAM MEMBERS EARLIER THAN USUAL

Robert says the masks have been distrib-

Robert says that because people need-

uted to employees and to customers who

ed to make major changes to their work

have come in a store and needed one.

schedules to accommodate life changes,

These masks are a crucial part of RC’s ef-

Russell Cellular rose up to meet that need.

fort to keep potential germs from spread-

“Basically, we took the restrictions off of

ing through face-to-face interaction.

the program that say you have to wait 90 days to get any paid sick leave (PSL), or can only use two PSL days per quarter,” he says. “By doing so, we allowed team members who were not feeling well, or taking care of a loved one, to stay home and still

650 CLEANING CARE PACKAGES DISTRIBUTED

earn their wages.”

Keeping the stores clean is another aspect of keeping the virus from spreading,

25,000 FACE MASKS

and the work of ordering supplies like the cleaning care packages, hand sanitizer

Face masks, among other supplies, have

and masks is an ongoing process during

been in high demand. Robert says sup-

this time. It doesn’t look like RC will need

plies needed for Russell Cellular were dif-

to stop stocking up on cleaning supplies

ficult to get since people nationwide were

or other items anytime soon as COVID-19

on a hunt for cleaning supplies and PPE all

cases across the country continue to rise.

at the same time. “We actually ended up

“We are constantly having to try and proj-

partnering with one of our phone accesso-

ect down the road as to what we need,”

ry companies to chip in and help meet the

Robert says. “This is only made harder by

need,” he says.

surges in positive tests.”

INBOX Each issue, we answer your

RC: What should someone do if

questions about everything from

they have COVID-19 symptoms?

RC: How important are masks? D.M.: The latest research is show-

on getting a pre-screening through our insurance, local clinics or the

the EEF and health insurance to

Diane Manning: I remind people

ing that masks greatly reduce the

government. Our goal is to find

RC Cares. This issue, we turn

we are not doctors, but we can

spread of the virus. It is recom-

testing as quickly as possible.

to Diane Manning, Employee

help you figure out if you should see

mended to wear a mask within 6

Services Manager, to learn how

a doctor. So if you’re worried, call

feet of co-workers and customers

RC: If they get tested, do they need

her team can help you navigate

my department, and we will review

or anyone outside of your immedi-

to call you with the results?

what to do if you need time off

symptoms. We also ask if you’ve

ate household.

D.M.: Yes, in order to protect the

during COVID or if you think

been in contact with someone who

you've exposed to the virus.

was exposed to or tested positive

RC: What should someone do if

us informed of test results. We also

for COVID. We track testing and

they don’t have health insurance?

follow up a few days later to check

BY ETTIE BERNEKING

can help figure out the next steps

D.M.: We can provide information

in and see how they’re feeling.

16

RC CONNECTIONS / FALL

entire team, we ask them to keep


PLUGGED IN

TECH TALK

GOING VIRTUAL

demand for products ranging from jetpacks,

Jeven Russell and his daughter Saylor play on their iPad. Like many RC customers, Jeven's family has had to rely more on their devices to connect with friends and family during COVID-19.

which provide increased internet support, to smartwatches that help customers track their at-home activity levels. “I can't imagine living through a time like now without technology,” Jeven says. “My wife and I welcomed a new baby to our family during this pandemic. If not for using the products and services that we offer, we wouldn't be able to share and connect during these critical times.” For RC team members, staying up to date on the latest devices and knowing how they benefit customers goes back to the importance of Service (learn more about RC’s core values on p. 18.) Service is about going above and beyond to find creative solutions to unique customer problems—especially during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. “We've been able to

LET'S CONNECT

As the COVID-19 pandemic transforms the

keep families connected during times of un-

way we communicate, Russell Cellular team

certainty and distance,” Jeven says. “In one

Turns out, our devices are more important

members are working around the clock to keep

example, one of our teams was able to help

now than ever before. They allow us to

people connected. “We saw a surge in wire-

an elderly gentleman get his first tablet so

work remotely and connect us to friends

less products that would help support working

that he would be able to video chat with his

and family, so naturally RC customers are

from home and virtual learning during the initial

family.” This was just one example of how

now on the hunt for the perfect devices.

impact of the pandemic,” Vice President of

RC teams were able to help customers stay

Operations Jeven Russell says. “Families and

connected to their loved ones. “There are

individuals needed to find ways to stay informed,

countless stories in which the technologies

connected, entertained and productive.”

that we offer are helping people stay con-

BY LILLIAN STONE

Shifting priorities at RC—including working remotely and virtual learning—led to a surge in

nected and navigate these unprecedented times,” Jeven says.

RC: Can someone come back to

mines a COVID test is not needed. Additionally, you must be fever-free

RC: What if they need time off? D.M.: We check their records and

D.M.: The best resource is your

work while waiting on test results?

local department of health. They

D.M.: No. We don’t want to risk

for 72 hours, meaning your tem-

verify with their manager to deter-

will be up to date on what’s hap-

spreading the virus. Everyone must

perature needs to be below 100.3

mine how much PTO is available.

pening in your area.

stay home until they have tested

degrees without any medication.

negative and are symptom free.

Even if they’re fearful and want to stay home, we can approve some

RC: What can someone do once

time off unpaid if they don’t have

RC: What are the rules for coming

they have been exposed?

PTO or vacation time.

back to work?

D.M.: We need a timeline of when

D.M.: You are approved to return

they were exposed, when they no-

RC: What is a helpful resource you

to work when you receive a neg-

ticed symptoms and who they have

recommend people check out if

ative test result or a doctor deter-

been in contact with.

they have more questions?

Photos courtesy Jeven Russell

YOU’VE GOT MAIL Have a question you’d like us to answer? Send your inquiries to RCconnections@ russellcellular.com. RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM

17


MOVING FORWA WITH PURPOSE T

hink of Russell Cellular as a

down just four words to sum up a company’s

never been compromised during my time here.”

high-powered steam locomotive.

ethos is easier said than done.

Brad agrees. “I think the COVID-19 pandemic

Both have a lot of moving parts,

“When we were choosing our core values, it

is a tremendous example of our core values at

and both hurtle forward with one

was a pretty emotional time,” Brad says. “To try

work. We paused for about a day when the pan-

very specific goal in mind: Get people where they

to take what the organization meant—not just to

demic really started rattling the nation. Then we

want to go. In Russell Cellular’s case, those peo-

members of the executive council, but to more

came together as a team and empowered each

ple are the customers who rely on the company

than 2,500 team members spanning 26 years in

of our folks to make the decisions that were best

for unbeatable wireless service every day of the

business—that’s not an easy thing to define.”

for them and their own safety.”

week. And RC’s four core company values—

According to AVP Chris Lucido, the final

Brad explains that the company’s COVID-19

Integrity, Expertise, Initiative and Service—ensure

four came down to company-wide goal-setting.

response exemplified each of RC’s values: the ini-

it’s able to meet that customer need no matter

“Sitting on the executive council, we use our val-

tiative it took for the team to come together early

what hurdles are thrown its way.

ues to guide our decision-making,” Chris says.

on in the situation, the expertise it took to work

Now, as the country faces a challenge unlike

“It’s crucial for a company to have core values

together closely as a team to track any potential

any other, those values are even more crucial to

because it helps us determine if a big decision

cases, the integrity it took to make big calls like

the success of RC. That's because each core

will move us forward or set us back. Now, we

closing stores and keeping team members in-

value helps keep RC team members at all levels

use our values in every conversation we have to

formed, and the continued service to customers

focused on purpose-driven decision-making.

ensure the organization keeps moving forward.”

who still have wireless needs during a frightening

If there’s anyone within RC who has a great

For AVP Anthony Badalamenti, the chosen

time. “We had no idea what was next for the na-

understanding of these four core values, it’s

values come down to personal vocation. “I joined

tion, but we knew exactly what we were going to

arguably the three RC Area Vice Presidents of

RC and continue to work here because the

do,” Brad says.

Sales. They actually helped identify these core

company values align with my personal values,”

Overall, Russell Cellular’s values influence ev-

values in the first place. As you might guess,

he says. “Every person has been tested in their

ery move it makes from daily operations to putting

determining the company’s core values wasn’t

lives—both their personal lives and their profes-

a plan in place when the unthinkable happens.

easy. AVP Brad Boman explains that narrowing

sional lives. I can honestly say my integrity has

Read on for a closer look at RC’s core values.

18

RC CONNECTIONS / FALL


WARD SE

Russell Cellular’s core values—

Integrity, Expertise, Initiative and

Service—guide every company

decision from the ground up.

BY LILLIAN STONE

VALUE: INTEGRITY RC team members employ integrity throughout every level of the company and practice what they believe by striving to do the right thing—even when no one is looking.

employ this value in every facet of daily life. “Integrity means the same thing to me as

“Integrity means the same thing to me as an AVP as it does to me as a father, a husband and a human being,”

Daily Practice: AVP Anthony Badalamenti

an AVP as it does to me as a father, a hus-

practices integrity with an end-of-day mind-

band and a human being,” Anthony says. “It

fulness exercise. “I review my day before I

is doing the right thing even when that is not

go to bed,” he says. “I evaluate my wins and

the most natural path. It is following my truth

think through my challenges, and I pray. I

and not compromising my honor in order to

pray that I can wake up the next day and

go along or get along. As an AVP and as a

do better. When I fall and come up short,

person, integrity plays a role in every decision

I resolve to wake up and do the next right

and every interaction I have.” So, what does

thing. I have never regretted following my

that mean when it comes to Anthony’s man-

truth and acting with integrity.” This exercise

agement style? “I am obligated to serve my

allows Anthony to move forward with integ-

team and represent with truth and honor,” he

—Anthony Badalamenti,

rity—even when times are challenging.

says. His approach involves providing honest

Russell Cellular AVP

feedback and regular coaching, as well as ad-

Diving Deeper: For RC team members like

herence to one simple adage: “Do the right

Anthony, practicing integrity doesn’t stop

thing when no one is looking,” he says. “Build

when you clock out at the end of the day.

relationships that are rooted in trust with cus-

Instead, RC’s committed team works to

tomers, coworkers and loved ones.”

Photo by Brad Zweerink

RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM

19


The RC team's commitment to ongoing learning and training is the company's secret weapon. The more the team can become experts, the more they can help customers. Pictured here from top left: Holly Quin, John Kilgore, Shan-Eque Watson-Dawkins, Taylor Belcher, Jason Goodloe, Jennifer Loghry, Don Owens, Kevin Ropell, Jonathan Costilow and Jason Foster

VALUE: EXPERTISE RC team members strive to be experts in

representative back when he was working

their field. For a company rooted in ev-

with only 10 phones on the floor. “Now,

er-changing, life-improving technology, ex-

there are 60 phones,” he says, laughing.

pertise can mean the difference between

“It’s awesome to see our team continue to

adequate service and transformative ser-

fight to be the best.” With his 10-year pin

vice—and there’s always room to grow.

in hand, Chris reflects on some of the expertise-building strategies he’s employed

"Our team members should know how to handle every situation."

Daily Practice: AVP Chris Lucido advises RC

over the years. First, Chris references RC’s

team members to prioritize hands-on learn-

training program as a key way to grow in

ing as they advance through the company.

both technical and customer service knowl-

“You should be committed to becoming an

edge. “We teach people to be experts on

—Chris Lucido,

expert in a different skill set every day,” Chris

the system, making sure they’re aware of

Russell Cellular AVP

says. “Whether that’s selling phones, prob-

the tools they have at their disposal to get

lem solving, lease negotiations—the only

the job done,” he says. “That’s why we al-

constant thing that happens in this industry

ways hear great things about our team’s

is change. Our team members should be

professionalism as a Verizon agent.”

surveys that customers complete after their

committed to learning their position to its

Chris also recommends team mem-

in-store experience. “At the end of the day,

full extent, so they can solve any problem

bers pay close attention to assessment

it’s about being able to answer customer

that walks through the door.”

measures including RC’s Representative

questions. The best thing is when you hear

Interaction Score, or RIS. “The RIS is based

someone say they were really worried and

Diving Deeper: Chris has developed his ex-

on providing the best experience to every

the associate was able to answer all of

pertise over the course of 10 years with

customer every time,” Chris says, explain-

their questions. Our team members should

RC. He started out as a customer service

ing that scores are calculated based on

know how to handle every situation.”

20 RC CONNECTIONS / FALL

Photos by Ettie Berneking, Brad Zweerink


VALUE: INITIATIVE Whether it’s tackling unique customer issues or keeping entire stores safe, sanitary and operational during a pandemic, RC team members always take the initiative to keep themselves and the company moving forward.

Daily Practice: AVP Brad Boman recommends team members take advantage of RC’s company-wide open-door policy if they have questions about how to move forward. “I always say a phone call into our home office—or to myself—can go a long way. We have so many team members out there who are ready to do really big things, and I want to talk to all of them—even if that means I get a thousand phone calls a day.”

Diving Deeper: “Initiative is critical in business,” Brad says, “whether that’s taking initiative to do the right thing or brainstorming

"Helping people speak to every level of leadership here at RC is my biggest passion."

new ways to live out our vision statement—

RC's Virtual Trainers Todd Robertson (front) and Blake Nunn (back) can hop on a computer to help train team members located across the country.

forward-thinking team members. For two years, RC leaders have engaged team members in face-to-face sessions that focus on building micro-cultures, teaching company-wide coaching models, addressing conflict resolution and diving deep into company values. “The QUEST program is about making sure every level of

the best experience for every customer,

—Brad Boman,

leadership in the organization has an opportunity

every time. It’s about being a person who

Russell Cellular AVP

to connect to a higher purpose,” Brad says. “As

raises their hand and jumps in instead of

an AVP, I want to empower the 1,000 people I

standing by.” Brad notes that initiative ex-

support every day to raise their hand and let me

tends to RC’s overall business model. “RC’s

know of an issue I might not be aware of.” Brad

culture as a whole lends itself to initiative,

For Brad, speaking up is the most power-

accomplishes that with daily Coffee Talks, which

but you really see it in the way we take initia-

ful form of taking initiative. “Recognizing that

are designated call-in times for RC team mem-

tive in business,” he says. “We’ve expanded

you have a voice is crucial to taking initiative,”

bers in his region. “As a leader, if you don’t open

tremendously in the past few years in terms

he says. “Helping people speak to every level of

your door and take the time to say, ‘Hey, who

of both organic growth and acquisition.

leadership here at RC is my biggest passion.”

has a better idea?’ you’re never going to pro-

Without initiative, RC wouldn’t be propelling

Brad points to RC’s leadership and develop-

mote inclusive teamwork. In that way, initiative

itself forward.”

ment QUEST series as a key opportunity for

trickles all the way down.”

TIPS AND TRICKS INTEGRITY:

INITIATIVE:

“Keep your commitments. There’s nothing worse than making

“If our associates want to know more, we offer tremendous training

promises and not following through. Ultimately, this could hinder your

resources through Catalyst, our gamified, digital learning platform.”

relationships with those close to you.”—ANTHONY BADALAMENTI

— BRAD BOMAN

EXPERTISE:

SERVICE:

“The coolest part about this business is how it’s always changing. But

“RC’s unique community service program, Hedgie’s Hometown

that’s also why we have so many training programs. Whether it’s RC

Heroes, gives team members a way to connect with customers and

resources, the Verizon training portal or hands-on training, I encour-

benefit local first responders. If you have an idea for a fundraiser, send

age team members to use these resources.”— CHRIS LUCIDO

it our way by emailing RCCares@russellcellular.com.”—LAYTON ALSUP

Photo by Brad Zweerink

RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM

21


BUILDING A NEW FUTURE In San Diego, Kevin Ropell’s team along with Verizon fundraised for a Habitat Build and teamed up with Verizon when build day arrived.

22 RC CONNECTIONS / FALL

Photo courtesy Russell Cellular


VALUE: SERVICE For Russell Cellular team members, service goes far beyond the everyday customer experience, branching out into the surrounding communities and fostering a greater sense of purpose in all RC team members. Daily Practice: “All of our team members are encouraged to participate in our monthly donation drives,” Brad says. “Right now, we’re partnered with PopSocket, and every dollar of profit goes straight back into that store’s budget. Then, they can decide with their district manager where that money gets applied in their community—everything from fire departments to Habitat for Humanity builds.” Diving Deeper: Every day, RC team members are encouraged to go above and beyond for their customers and teammates. But Brad explains that “service” doesn’t end with customer service. “We’re committed to ensuring our team members all understand the world’s about something bigger than the four walls they’re within,” he says. “That’s why we feel so strongly about outreach projects that uphold and uplift our communities and show people a better path forward.” RC team members accomplish that through the RC Cares program, directed by Ron Wallace. Through the program, RC team members can launch fundraisers of their choosing. “We do anything from disaster relief to medical bill payments to helping people get school supplies,” Brad says. “It’s an extraordinarily powerful opportunity.” RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM 23


THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING RC Cares has launched countless initiatives this year to help front line workers and teachers.

Caring Coast to Coast HED: RC team members

DEK: History has shown that Russell Cellular is a caring and generous company committed to taking care of our own and

investing in our communities. Even as we face unprecedented challenges, our team still rallies to the cause. There has been an overwhelming outpouring of generosity. Team members are more determined than ever to make a difference in their community. Here are just a few of those inspiring stories:

BYLINE: Juliana Goodwinl History has shown that Russell Cellular is a caring and generous company committed to taking care of its own and investing in its communities. Even as RC faces unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, the team still rallies to the cause. There has been an overwhelming outpouring of generosity. Team members are more determined than ever to make a difference in their communities. Here are just a few of those inspiring stories.

BY JULIANA GOODWIN

24 RC CONNECTIONS / FALL

Photos by Linda Huynh


Masking Up Shan-Eque Watson-Dawkins, District Sales

Amazingly, none of that stopped the

sales pitch, and the Store Manager pulled

Manager of the Fresno California area, is no

Fresno team. “We started out with a goal

her aside and said, “That is not how we do

stranger to RC Cares projects. But when

to sell 150 PopSockets,” Shan-Eque says.

it here.”

COVID hit, suddenly the RC Cares mission

“We blew by our previous record of 96 and

To incentivise the team, Shan-Eque

became intensely personal. Shan-Eque

ended up selling 235. We were able to do-

offered a prize for the team member who

is originally from New York, and her family

nate $3,200 to the hospital. When I talked

sold the most PopSockets. Nely Marquez,

members still live in the city. So while many

to Kate, a representative at the hospital, she

the Store Manager in Bishop, who rocked

people got their updates about COVID-19

said that money would purchase more than

the competition and sold 77 PopSockets,

from the daily news, Shan-Eque was hear-

2,000 masks.”

won that challenge. “I told them my goal

ing first-hand about how the virus was im-

Shan-Eque says the team’s success

and expectations,” Shan-Eque says, “but

pacting life. Three of her cousins work in

is thanks to the calculated approach they

they drove it on their own. There is noth-

health care in New York, and they gave her

used to raise that $3,200. First, they made

ing like giving your team something

regular updates. “They were running out

a plan and asked the RC Cares team to help

to bond over. As DSM, your job is to

of gloves, masks and medical supplies,”

them create a flyer. “We talked to custom-

drive sales, so when your team just

Shan-Eque says. “It was rough.”

ers about the project when they came in.

does it on their own, they have own-

Around the same time she was hearing

It was part of our overall sales process,”

ership, and it makes you proud. These

of her family’s plight, the Fresno team ap-

Shan-Eque says. “The way we drive sales

guys have bought into the RC culture. This

proached her about an RC Cares initiative

is through conversations. We let customers

is their thing. Every new hire that comes in

for first responders. The team had success-

know we have PopSockets we are selling

now will learn this culture.”

fully organized fundraisers for Toys 4 Tots

during this critical time.”

Now that the PopSocket blitz has ended,

and other initiatives in the past, so Shan-

Those conversations paid off, and Shan-

Shan-Eque’s team isn’t stopping. Starting

Eque knew her team could make a big dif-

Eque says she even had customers buy as

in April, Shan-Eque introduced a new ele-

ference. But this time, Shan-Eque wanted

many as six PopSockets to give to family

ment to the regular first Monday meeting of

to do more than host a fundraiser. “I said,

members as a result. The team also reached

the month. Now, time is set aside for team

‘Let’s do something grander,’” she says.

success by challenging each other. For ex-

members to throw out ideas for the next RC

“Let’s help buy medical supplies.” After

ample, Shan-Eque says the Bishop team

Cares project. As ideas come in, the team

hearing from her cousins about a shortage

would all buy a PopSocket for themselves

votes, selects one project to focus on and

of PPE, Shan-Eque knew there was a need,

and then challenge another sales team in

then drives it all month long. As the fund-

especially for N95 masks.

the district by asking: “Have you done your

raisers get more successful, the donations

part to help the team?”

get bigger and bigger.

The entire team sold PopSockets and collected additional donations to buy med-

“There are six stores in my district, and

ical supplies for front-line responders in

they coordinated their efforts,” Shan-Eque

takes great pride in seeing these results. It

Fresno, but this RC Cares project was far

says. “If one team sold 3 and another sold

shows that her team cares and that they're

from easy to pull off. There were signifi-

12, they compared notes, formulated their

engaged. “Everybody looks for what their

cant challenges. Not only did Shan-Eque

pitch and created a unified approach of best

legacy will be,” she says. “What culture

and her team get a late start in the month,

practices. Mjia San Nicolas in the Fresno 2

did I cultivate while I was here? Everybody

but they were dealing with a massive loss

store and Kelsey Green, the Store Manager,

wants that. I feel like I have created a cul-

of walk-in traffic as many customers were

devised the plan, and we all molded it into

ture that will be here even after I am gone.

staying home because of the virus. Traffic

what it became.”

The team feels good saying, ‘Hey, I am

As a District Sales Manager, Shan-Eque

was down at least 50 percent, stores were

Shan-Eque was even called out one af-

open fewer hours and a few stores closed

ternoon when she wasn’t following the plan.

knows the RC team is here for them no

because of lack of staff.

One day, she was in a store giving her own

matter what.”

giving back to my community.’ This place

RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM 25


Generosity in New Mexico Juan Roybal, District Sales Manager in New

and his team in Española wanted to provide

Juan’s district is always finding new ways

Mexico, loves the giving culture at Russell

a meal to first responders, they approached

to give back. “We did a food drive during

Cellular. Not only does the company help

Eder to see if he’d discount the food.

the holidays where we were able to provide

communities, but it gives his team members

Eder went above and beyond that. “They

Christmas dinner and gifts for four families

an opportunity to raise money for causes

created a banquet where we had fish and

in need,” Juan says. “In the winter, we did

they are passionate about. When Jeff and

chips, raviolis, everything you can think of

a drive to give coats to 40 kids in the Taos

Kym launched a Hometown Heroes initia-

for first responders,” Juan says. “They even

community. The year before that, we did a

tive that donated $25,000 to help feed first

closed the restaurant early, so they could

back-to-school drive where we were able

responders, Juan and his team were imme-

host the banquet. The fire department also

to provide a kindergarten and a first grade

diately on board and decided to help feed

brought out their fire truck.” The store gave

class with school supplies.”

the local fire department.

$140 to help cover the cost of food but the

“It’s always great to give back, but it’s

restaurant owners provided the rest for free.

even better because the team members

bring it to me and I will help make it hap-

It was incredible,” Juan says. “The gen-

take ownership of it,” says Juan, who has

pen,” Juan says. “They decide what to do-

erosity at RC, coupled with the generosity

been with Russell Cellular for two years.

nate to and what fundraisers to do. Then

of the restaurant owner, created an amaz-

Juan joined RC as part of an acquisition and

I contact the RC Cares team. They are so

ing event.”

was promoted from Store Manager to DSM

“The team knows if they have an idea,

good and jump on it right away. They will help send us supplies, whatever we need.”

Nearby in Taos, Juan’s team members

a month later.

partnered with a local Pizza Hut to provide

Juan says he loves the culture of gener-

As DSM, Juan oversees nine stores in

lunch to firefighters. The plan was for the

osity RC fosters. “I have never worked for a

different cities. In Española, the team worked

RC team to buy discounted pizzas from

company that gives us an opportunity to do

with a customer who owns two restaurants:

Pizza Hut, but the restaurant manager was

this,” he says. “When I tell people why

Italian Infusion and Barrio Fries. Restaurant

so generous, he donated free pizzas and

I love RC, I bring this up every time.

owner Eder Amado and Juan worked to-

drinks while the RC team delivered the food

Russell Cellular is not just about mak-

gether previously and are friends. When

to the fire department.

ing a profit, they care. They are about

Juan joined Russell Cellular, Eder opened

The “Feed Our Front-line Heroes” initia-

a business account with RC. They have a

tive was a huge success for Juan and his

great relationship, Juan says. So when Juan

stores, but it was nothing new for this team.

helping others and the communities that we serve.”

UNLIMITED WAYS TO GIVE RC’s team JROY in Espanola teamed up with a local Italian restaurant (above) to host a buffet for firefighters in New Mexico (left).

26 RC CONNECTIONS / FALL

Photo courtesy Russell Cellular


Making a Difference in New York Daniel Woodruff, District Sales Manager

ey was nice, donating time gave the team a

with local restaurants who donated food. “It

in upstate New York, is a New York native

feeling of being part of a solution.

was so good to see all the businesses

from Elmira, and he oversees eight stores.

When a story aired on the news say-

helping out,” Daniel says. “Everybody

When the coronavirus began to spread, the

ing Meals on Wheels was struggling to get

came together.” Team members delivered

state shut down fast. For months, New York

enough volunteers because there had been a

pizza and wings to local doctors’ offices,

City was the epicenter of COVID-19 in the

huge spike in need as more seniors were not

emergency rooms, a police department and

United States, but luckily, upstate New York

able to leave their homes, RC team members

a fire department.

was not hit nearly as hard.

signed on to deliver meals. Initially they deliv-

While every project was rewarding, Daniel

Even still, a feeling of camarade-

ered meals to the elderly and homebound, but

says delivering food to emergency rooms

rie spread throughout the state. Most of

the client base expanded to help people who

stands out above the rest. “It made us feel

Daniel’s stores remained open although

needed assistance because of the virus.

great because they were very appreciative,”

they operated at reduced hours. The team

The team didn’t stop there. One team

he says. “They were on the front lines. It felt

wanted to give back, but with the number

member who had volunteered with Habitat

like they were being left out there alone in a lot

of layoffs in the region, Daniel didn’t think

for Humanity, suggested the team help on a

of cities. They really thanked us.”

fundraising would be the right approach. So

local project. So, they rolled up their sleeves

Daniel has only been with Russell Cellular

instead, the team volunteered their time.

and spent a few hours working on a building

for a year, but he says RC’s generosity stands

“I think it really made them feel better

project. There was still so much more to do.

out. It was a constant in a time of constant

about donating time instead of giving mon-

Team members went to a local food bank and

change. “There have been many changes

ey,” Daniel says. “Money helps, but this

helped package meals.

throughout the coronavirus, but the one thing

gives them more of a sense of empower-

Daniel’s favorite project was through

that has been constant is RC giving back

ment to show up and be part of a solution.

Hometown Heroes. Each store had its own

whether it’s through fundraising or donating

They loved doing it.” One Store Manager

allocated budget it could spend to help feed

our time,” Daniel says. “It’s appreciated by all

even told Daniel that while donating mon-

first responders, and often, stores partnered

of us and the community.”

Photo courtesy Russell Cellular

RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM 27


Improving The Lives of Our Next Generation Back in March, health care workers be-

sale of Hedgie PopSockets and tech wipes.

came the face of COVID-19 as shortages of

All proceeds go back to purchasing school

PPE dominated the news. But now a new

and cleaning supplies.

group is the face of COVID—teachers.

Stores could also throw fundraisers and

As schools re-open, teachers have

make donations of their choosing, which is

found themselves as the newest members

what the RC Home Office did. When Layton

on the front line of COVID-19. While children

Alsup heard about the Back to School pro-

are less likely to die from COVID, studies

gram, she knew the teacher she wanted to

suggest children can be carriers of the virus,

help—her longtime friend and fifth grade

which has raised concerns.

teacher Amanda Etter.

There are concerns about the safety of

“I know teachers spend a fair amount

students, teachers and staff, but there are

of their own money during a normal school

also concerns about the impacts of a vir-

year,” Layton says, “but I knew this year

tual-only classroom. There are also height-

would be more challenging. I’m seeing

ened safety precautions teachers have

now that teachers are really being consid-

to adhere to. Basically, the normal school

ered the new front line of COVID.” To help

year has been thrown out the window, and

Amanda, Layton got the Home Office to

teachers now have a lot more to worry

donate $1,500 worth of supplies, including

about. So RC Cares thought it could help.

Lysol spray, Clorox wipes, dry erase clip-

In addition to the Frontline Heroes initiative, RC Cares launched Hedgie’s Hometown

boards, Ziploc bags, pencils, crayons and an Amazon Alexa echo dot.

Heroes Go Back to School. The project ran

“We want to set a good example that

through the month of August and encour-

you can fund raise even in a smaller capac-

aged RC stores across the country to pick a

ity,” Layton says, “and it will make a huge

classroom or school to support through the

difference for teachers right now.”

BY THE NUMBERS

$3,000 The RC Home Office donated $1,500 worth of supplies to support all the fifth grade elementary classes at Marionville Elementary School. Home Office raised another $1,500 that went to second grade teachers at Republic Elementary.

60 By the middle of August, RC stores had already picked out 60 teachers and classrooms to support through the Back to School project.

2,500 The goal of the Back to School project was to sell 2,500 RC Cares products by the end of August.

28 RC CONNECTIONS / FALL

Photos by Brad Zweerink


Photo by TK Photographer

RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM 29


A HEDG EHOG ON A MISSI ON Whether you’re a new RC team member or you’ve been around for ages, you’ve most definitely noticed the happy little hedgehog who always seems to find his way into the spotlight. Learn the meaning behind this merry mascot, and find out how he’s helping spread the RC culture across the country. BY SAVANNAH WASZCZUK

He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He’s Hedgie—Russell Cellular’s spiky, smiling superstar—and you’ll find him living in every team member’s department and in every RC storefront nationwide. But why is RC plastering this little guy’s face on everything from PopSockets to socks? Why do company leaders make sure he shows up at every RC event? What’s the purpose of the pointy little pal?

WHAT IS A HEDGEHOG? We’ve all heard the saying, “A picture is

mote the idea and voila! The rest is Hedgie-

sador, and he’s been working his magic to

filled history.

evoke emotions for every single employee

worth a thousand words.” There’s something

But why didn’t Hedgie disappear after the

ever since. “He’s a fun, cutesy reminder of our

special about looking at an image that can

summit? After all, he was developed to be a

one most important thing—providing the best

evoke ideas and feelings. Creating emotion-

one-and-done mascot. But that changed af-

wireless experience to every customer, every

al reactions with one simple photo (or logo,

ter Kym saw how Hedgie was so well received

time,” Kym says.

or mascot) is a huge part of building a brand,

at Summit. Suddenly Hedgie wasn’t just a

and it was—somewhat unknowingly—a big

reference to a phrase, he was part of RC’s

part of the reason Hedgie came to be.

expanding brand, and the expansion wasn’t

CONTRIBUTING TO COMPANY CULTURE

If you read the last issue of RC

about selling wireless phone services. “We

Connections, you know the gist of it:

wanted to create our own culture that was

Hedgie’s existence has contributed to RC’s

Hedgie was born after RC’s co-found-

separate from what we sell and more about

company culture in a multitude of ways. A

er, Kym Russell, read Good to Great. The

who we are as people,” Kym says. “We want-

quick review of Marketing 101 will tell you the

book’s mention of the Hedgehog Concept

ed something striking and unusual.” Hedgie

obvious—having a constant visual reminder

and its focus on companies concentrating

seemed like the perfect fit.

of your company’s primary mission is invalu-

on the one thing they do best inspired Kym

Since Hedgie had already been intro-

able, and a charismatic hedgehog would do

to determine RC’s Hedgehog Concept—

duced to RC’s 2,500-some employees and

wonders for any business’s swag assortment.

“Providing the best wireless experience to

his pointed presence most definitely sets

But how can company owners who live in

every customer, every time.” This concept

him apart from other company mascots, he

Missouri promote and foster a somewhat uni-

was chosen to be the topic of an upcoming

was the perfect culture-building candidate.

form culture for more than 600 stores around

summit, a hedgehog was chosen to pro-

He quickly became RC’s new brand ambas-

the country?

30 RC CONNECTIONS / FALL

Illo by Alex Wolken


HEDGEHOG DIA LOGUE “As we’ve continued to grow, we’ve discovered we aren’t able to meet all of our team

Learn more about RC’s favorite prickly pal, Brand Ambassador Herbie Hedgehog, with this in-depth Q&A.

members anymore,” Kym says. And this is where Hedgie’s true talent comes into play. RC made Hedgie the face of the RC Cares initiative. Hedgie has “Hometown Heroes” in small communities peppered throughout the country. He’s lovable and fun, which makes him the perfect ambassador to use when talking to kids. Hedgie has become the most tangible, living, breathing (well—you get the idea) example of the many ways RC team members work to give back. In this way, Hedgie has helped RC build a more uniform culture in stores nationwide. Let’s say you’re a team member who works at a store in Springfield, Missouri, and you hop on a Zoom meeting with a team member who works in Fort Morgan, Colorado. You might have never seen this RC member before, but you notice the Hedgie cookie jar in their stores. There’s your reminder that this person you just met is also a part of the RC family. And that was all part of the plan. “We want team members and families to feel camaraderie and connectedness across the country,” Kym says.

WHAT’S AHEAD FOR THE HEDGE While Hedgie has already accomplished quite a bit in his few years, it’s safe to say he’ll be around for the long haul. Right now, he’s prepping for one of his biggest events of the year—the annual RC Cares recognition program—and there are plans for more hedgehog-related swag in the works. Kym says she’d also like to see him get a bit more involved in RC team members’ lives outside of work. “I would like to see Hedgie be a spokesperson not only for our staff but for their families, as well,” Russell says. “I want kids to see a hedgehog and be reminded of what their parents do and why their parents are proud to work at Russell Cellular. Hedgie and what he represents makes our team members proud

RC CONNECTIONS: Where are you from? HERBIE HEDGEHOG: I was born February 14, 2017, in Battlefield, Missouri, my hometown. RC: How long have you worked for RC? H.H.: My debut was at the 2017 Spring Leadership Summit held in Branson, Missouri. I was actually supposed to be a one-time gig—a fun way to remind everyone of how critical their mission was and how hard they were all working together to make the company great. RC: Describe your primary job responsibilities. H.H.: I'm a Brand Ambassador, so I represent Russell Cellular in a positive light, and help promote our corporate culture and increase brand awareness. I am a visual reminder of RC’s Hedgehog Concept, which reminds people that we should focus on the one thing we can do better than anyone else—provide the best wireless experience to every customer, every time. I also demonstrate RC’s core values: Integrity, Expertise, Initiative and Service. I also champion RC’s 3 Pillars of Employee Experience: Opportunity, Value and Team, to encourage team members and celebrate their contributions to our wins. Lastly, I promote our brand in stores as well as via social media, at trade shows and events. I’m a pretty busy guy! RC: What’s your favorite thing about your job? H.H.: My favorite thing is celebrating with my team members, especially when they accomplish something they didn’t think they could do at first. Seeing the people I care about grow and succeed is definitely the best part of my job!

RC: Are you married? H.H.: I am happily married to my wife, Hazel, and we have two children—our son, Henry, and our daughter, Hadley. RC: What do you do in your spare time? H.H.: We are really busy supporting our kids’ hobbies, but we love to travel. We are so lucky because we get to travel all over the world via PopSockets! We have seen so many wonderful places… We might even start a travel blog! RC: What’s your ideal way to spend a Saturday? H.H.: Our family spends our Saturdays outdoors adventuring or volunteering as often as we can. My favorite Saturday ever was helping with a Habitat for Humanity build. RC: Do you have any social media accounts? H.H.: I often appear on RC’s official social media accounts. You can find me on Facebook at @RussellCellularOfficial and on Instagram at @russell_cellular. RC: Cupcakes or Ice Cream? H.H.: Cupcakes for sure! Sadly, all hedgehogs are lactose intolerant. RC: What are you particularly proud of? H.H.: If I had to pick one thing, I’d say I’m ecstatic about all we accomplished with RC Cares fundraising this year. The trophy is— wait for it—a “Hedgie.” (You can’t see me right now, but I’m actually blushing.)

to be a part of our RC family.” Illo by Alex Wolken

RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM

31


LAST WORD

LIFE OUTSIDE

RISING TO THE TOP Even though she’s only been on the Russell Cellular team for a short time, District Sales Manager Monica Turner has quickly risen to the top of the pack as a top DSM in 2019. See what she attributes her success to. BY JESSICA HAMMER When asked about being a Top District Sales Manager, Monica Turner just has one thing to say: “I always strive to be the best.” Obviously, her performance says a lot about how she leads her team members because they didn’t just shatter sales goals last year; they invested a lot of energy in to helping their communities through RC Cares projects. The RC Cares program encourages team members to suggest a cause they’re passionate about and kickstart a fundraiser to support it. Every dime of profit from sales of Hedgie’s Hometown Heroes PopSockets benefits the chosen cause. While the Top DSM honor is based on sales metrics including total sales,

THE POWER OF TEAMWORK

accessory average and protection take rate,

Monica Turner is trending as a Top DSM in 2020 and says a lot of that is thanks to her ability to encourage and engage her teams.

Monica says it’s been more than just racking up sales on the scoreboard. Making connections with customers, particularly through RC Cares projects, has been instrumental in helping

Monica attributes a large part of her suc-

As her teams engaged with RC Cares, she

drive sales for stores in her district. She adds

cess as a DSM to the RC Cares fundraising

discovered she could increase their phil-

that people like knowing that as a company,

and the team members who spearhead the

anthropic reach and learned it also helped

RC cares about the communities it serves. “It’s

projects. She encourages her teams and Store

her leadership style. For Monica, it’s about

helped build those relationships with the com-

Managers to choose projects they’re excited

showing her team she cares about them

munity, with the people,” Monica says.

about. “I want them to be passionate about

and their involvement. “It’s about showing

what they’re driving those sales for,” she says.

them you care about more than the job,”

Over the past year, teams in Monica’s district have helped fund a variety of causes, including

Just as impressive as earning a Top

she says. “Encouraging teams to partici-

an animal shelter and the Wounded Warrior

DSM spot is the fact that Monica earned the

pates gives them ownership of the project,

Project. In the wake of COVID-19, food banks

recognition even though she has only been

and it feels good to see them collaborate.”

have experienced a surge of people needing

with RC less than a year. She was working

assistance, so RC teams started fundraising to

for a different wireless company when it was

help. Monica’s team was one of them and made

acquired by RC in 2019. Company philan-

donations to food banks in the communities.

thropy was not something Monica had ex-

Monica says her team also organized projects

perienced at other jobs, but it was one of

to help frontline workers and hometown heroes

the qualities that convinced her to stay with

by delivering lunches and snacks to local hospi-

RC. “I thought that was something really in-

tals, fire departments and police departments.

teresting, and I really like that,” Monica says.

32 RCCONNECTIONS / FALL

SHARE YOUR OWN STORY Want to share your story with RC Connections readers? Send your name, title and a brief synopsis of your story to RCconnections@russellcellular.com. Photos by Brad Zweerink


Cares

July 2019 - June 2020 Recognition Top 50 Stores - Donations

Top 50 Stores - Products

#1 WIGGINS-MS $4,471

#1 BERRYVILLE-AR 309 MISSOULA 2-MT 267

BENSON-AZ 106

NEOSHO-MO 62

FRESNO 2-CA 237

LEMOORE-CA 105

ROCK SPRINGS-WY 62

VILLA RICA-GA $490

MENA-AR 212

TULARE-CA 102

AYLETT-VA 61

SPARTA-IL $698

LAFAYETTE-TN $489

BISHOP-CA 210

ELY-NV 101

HAMILTON-MT 61

LUCEDALE-MS $1,540

NEWNAN-GA $690

DOUGLAS-GA $487

WARRENTON-VA 144

BLANDING-UT 97

TUCSON 1-AZ 61

BILOXI-MS $1,337

NEPHI-UT $633

WHITE HOUSE-TN $68

SPRINGVILLE-UT 141

POTEAU 2-OK 92

WINNEMUCCA 2-NV 59

ASH FLAT-AR $1,336

NORTON-VA $592

STILWELL-OK $449

BUTTE 2-MT 138

STILWELL-OK 84

PAGE-AZ 57

MCMINNVILLE-TN $1,278

PRICE-UT $587

ROSWELL 2-NM $432

PRICE-UT 133

TUCSON 3-AZ 82

ALEXANDRIA 1-VA 55

TRENTON-TN $1,234

FRANKLINTON-LA $579

PRUDENVILLE-MI $430

DOUGLAS-GA 132

OAKHURST-CA 80

KEOKUK-IA 55

SWEETWATER-TN $1,171

TULARE-CA $552

NEWPORT-PA $408

KERMAN-CA 130

NATIONAL CITY-CA 79

SPEARFISH-SD 52

CORINTH-MS $1,114

LOGAN-UT $536

RUSKIN-FL $404

PRYOR-OK 115

PLACENTIA-CA 79

TREMONTON-UT 51

OCEAN SPRINGS-MS $1,004

WAYLAND-MI $535

WAVELAND-MS $398

GROVE-OK 112

MOAB-UT 74

ALMA-MI 50

COOKEVILLE-TN $986

BERRYVILLE-AR $520

LEXINGTON-TN $392

HANFORD-CA 112

SWEETWATER-TN 73

FT MORGAN-CO 50

NEW ALBANY-MS $969

BOGALUSA-LA $520

MILAN-TN $377

FALLON-NV 111

NEPHI-UT 71

SALMON-ID 50

FRESNO 2-CA $918

MOBILE-AL $520

CEDARTOWN-GA $375

WEST ISLIP-NY 110

ESCONDIDO-CA 70

SAN DIEGO 3-CA 50

TAMAQUA-PA $882

SEMINOLE-FL $517

ELKO-NV 107

MONROE 2-LA 70

STERLING-CO 50

FAYETTEVILLE-TN $837

W BURLINGTON-IA $508

ELKTON-VA 107

WINNEMUCCA 1-NV 67

MANCHESTER-TN $3,551

REPUBLIC-MO $810

MONAHANS-TX $507

MILL HALL-PA $2,545

MOAB-UT $797

BISHOP-CA $490

OXFORD-MS $1,659

FALLON-NV $734

ALMA-MI $1,657

Russell Cellular Home Office Contributions

$18,413.40

Total Dollars Donated

485

RC Cares Products Sold


Cares

July 2019 - June 2020 Recognition TOP TEAM MEMBER - PRODUCTS

TOP TEAM MEMBER - DONATIONS

Shani Spreitler Wiggins, MS

Shay McGee Mena, AR 205

$3,208.00

Trish McCloskey Mill Hall, PA $1,864

Leslie Williams Biloxi, MS $881

Merry Adkins Alma, MI $776

Bruce Swanson Missoula 2, MT 164

Chance Anderson Springville, UT 126

Timothy Smith Elkton, VA 95

Annie Fields Oxford, MS $1,164

Jess Sterling Tamaqua, PA $874

Challis Fix Ocean Springs, MS $698

Krystal Alvarado Berryville, AR 135

Rebecca Nicholls Butte 2, MT 124

Kelsey Green Fresno 2-CA 88

Nathan George Manchester, TN $1,046

Ashley McCartney Trenton, TN $864

Kartavis Buchanan New Albany, MS $693

Isela Marquez Bishop, CA 127

Niko Sheleby Fresno 2, CA 95

Christy Wall Springdale, AR 76

TOP DISTRICT SALES MANAGER - DONATIONS

TOP DISTRICT SALES MANAGER - PRODUCTS

Jason Goodloe $10,100.00

Shan-Eque Watson-Dawkins 896

Jason Foster $6,374.62

Shan-Eque Watson-Dawkins $2,601

Brittany Robinson $4,137

Stephen Knefely $2,547 Janine Wilson $2,458.53

Jeremy Miller $3,012

Cody Griffin $2,391 Holly Quin $2,314.69 Krissa Shewey $1,714.49

TOP REGIONAL DIRECTOR - DONATIONS

John Kilgore $16,907.31

Jamie Morehouse $15,337.84 Mike Frost $9,477.96

Jennifer Sieg (Loghry) 700 Jon Medin 627 Janine Wilson 516

Krissa Shewey 475 Paul Diehl 377 Don Owens 354

Misty Gibson 305 Amanda Reed 288 Ryan Doak 267

TOP REGIONAL DIRECTOR - PRODUCTS

Kevin Ropell 2,498

Brad Loertscher 1901 Eddie Hash 1516

RC CARES COMPANY-WIDE TOTAL CONTRIBUTIONS TOTAL RAISED

$12,626.60 RC Cares Projects

$127,900.97 RC Cares Products

$84,185.47

RC Cares Donations

$37,756.40

TOTAL INVESTED

5,000 +

Volunteer Hours

$75,322.20

Russell Cellular Contributions

$181,690.54

RC Cares Event Support

$37,460.00

Employee Emergency Fund Donations

Employee Emergency Fund Support

$262,469.44

$294,472.74

Grand Total Raised

Grand Total Invested

A SINCERE THANKS TO THE RC FAMILY FOR COMPLETING 509 OUTREACH PROJECTS