FALL / 20
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!
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
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
way. Now, we say thank you to the team!
pointy friend a true member of the team.
RC CARES (A LOT) HEDGIE SPEAKS
CONTENTS 4 / SPOTLIGHT
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.
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.
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
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
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,
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
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.
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
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.
RC CONNECTIONS / FALL
Photo by Brad Zweerink
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
GOOD BY THE NUMBERS
worth of sponsorship dollars was secured by Great Circle even though the event was canceled
was raised at Handbags of Hope last year
people attended last year’s Handbags of Hope event
“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
has already been donated to Great Circle by Russell Cellular so far this year
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.”
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.’”
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.
RC CONNECTIONS / FALL
Photo by Brandon Alms
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
RC CONNECTIONS / FALL
entire team, we ask them to keep
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
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
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.
RC CONNECTIONS / FALL
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
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
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
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,
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
ment QUEST series as a key opportunity for
trickles all the way down.”
TIPS AND TRICKS INTEGRITY:
“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
“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
BUILDING A NEW FUTURE In San Diego, Kevin Ropellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;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.
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-
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
giving back to my community.’ This place
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
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
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
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
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-
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
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
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
FRESNO 2-CA 237
ROCK SPRINGS-WY 62
VILLA RICA-GA $490
TUCSON 1-AZ 61
WHITE HOUSE-TN $68
POTEAU 2-OK 92
WINNEMUCCA 2-NV 59
ASH FLAT-AR $1,336
BUTTE 2-MT 138
ROSWELL 2-NM $432
TUCSON 3-AZ 82
ALEXANDRIA 1-VA 55
NATIONAL CITY-CA 79
OCEAN SPRINGS-MS $1,004
FT MORGAN-CO 50
NEW ALBANY-MS $969
FRESNO 2-CA $918
WEST ISLIP-NY 110
SAN DIEGO 3-CA 50
MONROE 2-LA 70
W BURLINGTON-IA $508
WINNEMUCCA 1-NV 67
MILL HALL-PA $2,545
Russell Cellular Home Office Contributions
Total Dollars Donated
RC Cares Products Sold
July 2019 - June 2020 Recognition TOP TEAM MEMBER - PRODUCTS
TOP TEAM MEMBER - DONATIONS
Shani Spreitler Wiggins, MS
Shay McGee Mena, AR 205
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
RC Cares Donations
Russell Cellular Contributions
RC Cares Event Support
Employee Emergency Fund Donations
Employee Emergency Fund Support
Grand Total Raised
Grand Total Invested
A SINCERE THANKS TO THE RC FAMILY FOR COMPLETING 509 OUTREACH PROJECTS