Russell Cellular | Fall 2022

Page 1

BACK TOGETHER

In-person events are back! So are face-to-face trainings, RC Cares fundraisers and external projects like this Habitat for Humanity home build in Missouri that RC team members supported.

FALL / 22

Russell

CHIEF OPERATING

Wray

CHIEF FINANCIAL

Lister

CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER

Mindeman

PRESIDENT OF EXECUTIVE SUPPORT

SALES OFFICER

Hyder

AREA VICE PRESIDENT OF

Boman

AREA VICE PRESIDENT OF

Badalamenti

AREA VICE PRESIDENT OF

Stillman

PRESIDENT OF LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT

Reinhart

OF

Wallace

4125 Wilson Creek Marketplace Rd., Battlefield, MO 417-886-7542, russellcellular.com CO-PRESIDENT & CEO Jeff Russell CO-FOUNDER Kym
CO-PRESIDENT Jeven Russell
OFFICER Darin
OFFICER Robert
Nathan
VICE
Layton Alsup CHIEF
Daniel
SALES Brad
SALES Anthony
SALES Khris
VICE
Kurt
DIRECTOR
RC CARES Ron
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 LEAH STIEFERMANN / PHOTOGRAPHER CONTRIBUTING WRITERS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS Ren Bishop, Karen Bliss, Juliana Goodwin, Susan Atteberry Smith, Rae Snobl, Brad Zweerink LOGAN AGUIRRE / PUBLISHER MEGAN JOHNSON / VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS & CUSTOM PUBLICATIONS GARY WHITAKER / FOUNDER JOAN WHITAKER / FOUNDER FROM THE FEED LINKEDIN.COM/COMPANY/RUSSELLCELLULAR @RUSSELL_CELLULAR FACEBOOK.COM/RUSSELLCELLULAROFFICIAL 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. 1RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM

FEATURES

BUILDING

TOGETHER

Russell Cellular team members were at it again this summer building another Habitat For Humanity home. This time, the home was in Springfield, Missouri, and team members from several states joined leaders from the home office on the build.

Leading the team was Kevin Ropell, who helped start the RC + HFH relationship.

26 GETTING BACK TOGETHER

After a little more than two years, RC has returned to in-person training. This was on display at this year ’ s Regional Leadership Trainings. Now RC leaders and Store Managers are sharing takeaways from the trainings, sharing the metrics they ’ ve seen improve at their stores. Above all else, they ’ re celebrating being together again.

CONTENTS

30 RC CARES IS GOING STRONG

RC Cares has donated thousands of dollars through fundraisers and PopSocket sales. Those efforts continued even when in-person gatherings were restricted. Nothing could stop the RC team from supporting the communities it serves. This issue, we celebrate those efforts and the people involved.

4 / SPOTLIGHT

Jamie Morehouse has been with RC for nearly a decade. So what has he learned? A lot.

5 / Q&A

Get some leadership wisdom and coaching advice from Tiffany Alspach, a top performer in 2022.

6 / RC CARES

What happens to accessories RC pulls from its inventory list? Many of them get donated.

6 / HOMETOWN HEROES

After the Uvalde school tragedy, these two RC leaders jumped into action and raised more than they thought possible.

11 / TIPS OF THE TRADE

Three store managers share their tips for connecting with customers and reaching conversion targets.

16 / INBOX

These are the answers to the most common inventory questions.

17 / PLUGGED IN

Have you ever wondered how RC knows how many people to staff at each store? This is it.

12/ COMMUNICATION

Face-to-face trainings are back! This is why Kurt Reinhart is excited.

14 / ROUND TABLE

5 / HELPING HANDS

When Toni Peine learned she had cancer, her RC team at Home Office was there to support her any way they could. Their efforts truly highlight RC’s dedication to its team members and the heart of the people who call RC home.

8 / WEEK IN THE LIFE

Who has eyes on every device at RC? The Inventory Department.

10 / PILLAR TALK

Time to get to know the 20 Plus Club.

Brad Boman got this leadership advice from two sources: Starbucks and a retired colonel.

16 / BY THE NUMBERS

Sales Operations is rolling out in-person training again, and it’s paying off.

32 / LIFE OUTSIDE

Carrie Minton Duran has a busy home life with her kids, parents and siblings all nearby. She says her love of family naturally spills over to work.

33 / AWARDS TIME

It’s time to highlight the team members and stores who led RC Cares.

18
Photo courtesy Russell Cellular and by Brandon Alms and Ettie Berneking
2 RC CONNECTIONS / FALL

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.

$140

WORTH OF ACCESSORIES

Tiffany Alspach has all of her sales reps find a way to bundle $140 worth of accessories for each customer they work with. It’s paying off.

LEARN MORE / 5

A NOTE FROM KYM

I am so very proud of the individuals and teams highlighted in this issue. These stories and so many others like them, give us all reason to celebrate the care being given throughout this company every day.

$1.6

MILLION

That ’ s the value of all the donated accessories and devices RC has donated to Cell Phones for Soldiers since 2020.

LEARN MORE / 6

TEAM MEMBERS

That’s how many team members RC has across the U.S. So how can the company ensure everyone is trained and has the support they need? It’s not easy, but this is how.

LEARN MORE / 12

Jeff and I always worked to foster the kind of positive environment where our parents and friends would want to work. A place where everyone cared about each other and worked together to take care of their customers. Having the ability to take care of our own team members has always been paramount for us. It makes my heart so happy to see how this team repeatedly rises to the challenge to take care of its own. Seeing firsthand the impact this massive team is making together both inside and outside the company is really quite amazing!

As always, it is my hope that reading this magazine gives you a feeling of purpose and belonging. I want you to know that you are an important member of this RC family. Who you are and how you do what you do each day matters. I

hope, that like me, you feel like a part of something much bigger and even more important than the business we conduct.

"All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we're giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world."

Mr. Fred Rodgers. This seems to me like a relevant quote to leave you with as we strive to be #BetterTogether!

ON THE COVER

RC CARES PROJECTS

Kevin Ropell’s region, aka Team Relentless, has completed 196 RC Cares projects since July 2018.

LEARN MORE / 18

RC team members joined together this summer to work on a home build for Habitat For Humanity in Springfield, Missouri. Russell Cellular has developed a strong partnership with HFH, and RC pays for the hours its team members spend volunteering. Turn to p.18 to learn more about the build.

196
2,600+
Photo courtesy Russell Cellular and by Brandon Alms and Ettie Berneking
3RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM

TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM

Company teamwork and values are what have kept Jamie Morehouse going at RC for almost 11 years.

Jamie Morehouse is undeniably busy, and he’s been busy at RC for almost 11 years. Why has he stuck around this long? It's simple; he loves the job.

Being passionate about the job and be ing committed to the personal development of his team members, is what drives Jamie.

As the Regional Director of Sales for Florida, Georgia and Alabama, his main job is to motivate his team, which means Jamie ’ s passion and his day-to-day job overlap.

If you ask Jamie, he’ll tell you his region is one of the larger markets for Russell Cellular. He oversees 70 stores, 275 team members and nine District Sales Managers. Imagine how many emails he must get in a single day.

Jamie joined RC as a manager, through a small-company acquisition based out of Florida. That will be 11 years ago this February, and Jamie has stayed with the company ever since. He says there is often “a lot to be said” about any company that a person sticks with for more than 10 years. “I am very thankful for the core values that Jeff and Kym Russell provide and their com mitment to translate those values into the three pillars, ‘opportunity, value and team,’” he says. “They lead with their heart, and I really appreciate that. They understand the importance of the team experience. If they are providing that, we are going to translate that into a good customer experience.”

Jamie’s job duties include staffing, train ing, coaching and helping team members

and District Sales Managers stay account able in their day-to-day jobs, but he says it is so much more than that. “I am ensuring the District Sales Managers are doing their part and leading by example and giving their team what they need,” he says. “There are the day-to-day duties of the job, but then we don’t lead cell phones; we lead people. I am committed to the impact and responsi bility that we have as leaders to simply treat people like people.”

Jamie says his job is not just about the team members, it’s also about customers and the vendor relations. If he does his job well, his team will hit their sales goals, they’ll build relationships with customers and they’ll represent RC well to partners like Verizon. If you work hard to serve your team members selflessly, they will help you in return and it will provide an overall team experience for everyone, he says.

“It’s about providing direction, vision and leadership to your team members,” he says. “You pour into their cups, but you can’t for get to pour into your own cup as well.”

LESSONS LEARNED

CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE: The best way to lead is by focusing on serv ing the people you lead. Serve them, and they’ll perform well for you.

INVEST IN YOURSELF: Continue to grow with your team members. Learn and acquire new skills, so you can give back to your team. Never sway from per formance and integrity: Do the right thing, because it’s the right thing to do always, not just when people are watching.

BE CONSISTENT: Do things even when you don’t feel like doing them. Stepping up and accomplishing the difficult tasks helps you to stand out among other team members. For those wanting to go into leadership, even if the opportunity isn’t there now, the right people will find you if you are ready and are doing your best work all the time.

A DECADE PLUS Jamie Morehouse is about to celebrate 11 years with Russell Cellular.
Photo courtesy Russell Cellular4 RC CONNECTIONS / FALL LIFE SPOTLIGHT

Q&A WITH A TOP PERFORMER

Ti any Alspach, DSM in Ohio and West Virginia, was the No. 1 DSM from October 2021—March

2022. Here's why her team stands out.

RC: What is your leadership style?

T.A.: I lead from the front. I go out on the sales floor and help you sell or show you how it’s done. I am not a micromanager, but I hold my team to the sales behaviors proven to drive results. I do a lot of onthe-spot coaching when I am at their stores.

RC: How do you connect with customers?

T.A.: We give every customer the best experience. It starts with a warm welcome. As soon as we get someone’s name, we pull up their account and take care of their needs first. Then we see if they have upgrades, tell them about promotions and offer to find solutions based on the JAMES sales process.

RC: What sets your team apart?

T.A.: We stay consistent on our sales behaviors. Everyone on my team is responsible for three be haviors with every customer, which are 1. Ask the three SMB questions. 2. Bring out two pull throughs. 3. Bring five accessories to the sales pod or bundle in $140 worth of accessories from the start.

RC: How do you ensure sales reps follow through?

T.A.: By being on the sales floor as much as possi ble. It’s all about sales observations on sales behav iors, but I also talk about each team member’s goals and progress during our one-on-one conversations.

RC: What do you look for in a new team member?

T.A.: A positive attitude, a willingness to learn and grow and competitive attitude.

RC: How do you give feedback?

T.A.: I get their buy-in to fix the issue using the what’s-in-it-for-them method. If they are doing well, I do a lot of positive recognition during store visits.

LOOKING OUT FOR EACH OTHER

In less than a decade, the Employee Emergency Fund at RC has united and helped team members and raised an impressive amount of money

Toni Peine has been donating to Russell Cellular’s Employee Emergency Fund for as long as she can remember working at RC. The fund is a bit like insurance. If something goes wrong like an RC team member has a house fire, experiences the loss of an imme diate family member or has an emergency medical situation, they can apply to the EEF for assistance. Everyone can pay in if they want, but no one plans on needing it.

That’s how Toni saw it, too. But then in February 2022, she was unexpectedly diag nosed with brain cancer. Toni is an Employee Services Specialist and has been with RC for three years. She has endured two brain sur geries to remove the largest parts of the tumor, radiation and chemotherapy. She received the initial $500 from the EFF, but then team members started raising more money.

RC team members ended up donating $15,000. Not shockingly, Toni says she was “overwhelmed” by the generosity. “It helped me to stay afloat with my bills and keep my apartment so I have a place to go once the treatment is complete,” she says.

AT RC

LOVE FROM THE HOME OFFICE

To show support, Toni's teammates made Toni a card and decorated her hospital room.

Diane Manning, Director of Employee Services, says she always knew Toni was respected and appreciated for assisting oth ers in the field. “Still, I didn’t imagine it would be that much, that quickly,” Diane says. Ron Wallace, however, wasn't surprised. Ron is Director of RC Cares and helps oversee the Employee Emergency Fund, so he sees each application, and he knows first-hand how generous the RC team can be. Ron’s grand son had leukemia and more than $35,000 was raised to help.

“This is from our team members’ pockets,” Ron says. “This is the RC family taking care of each other. Giving is a matter of heart. I would never tell anyone you need to give this or give to that, but the EEF is something that makes a difference, and I would strongly encourage all RC team members to consider making this a consistent investment. Something as little as $1 a paycheck, $2 a month goes a long way when we all give to each other.”

Once a team member has been with RC for 90 days, they can qualify for $500 from the fund. Since July 2018, the EEF has raised $146,688.88. It's one way the RC family looks out for one another. It doesn’t cost a lot, and it helps your co-workers when they need support. Just ask Toni. Prior to her diag nosis, she donated every month to the EEF. “I give every pay period and would encourage everyone else to do the same,” she says. “You never know when you might need help.”

Photos courtesy Russell Cellular 5RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM LIFE LIFE

LIFE RC CARES

ANSWERING THE CALL

When RC removes an accessory from its list of inventory, it doesn’t simply send that item back to the original manufacturer. Instead, it donates the item to a worthy cause.

Have you ever wondered what happens to products and accessories that RC pulls from its shelves? Most of the time, items are removed from RC’s inventory list because partners like Verizon are cutting those items themselves. In some cases, those unsold accessories are shipped back to manufacturers, but other times, they’re donated.

Cell Phones for Soldiers is one organization that’s happy to take any donated accessories and devices RC is willing to send in. The partnership began at the end of 2020 thanks to Andrew Howe, RC’s Vice President of Inventory. “I had previously

HEDGIE’ S HEROES

worked with this organization when I was with another company,” he says. “So when I joined RC, I knew I wanted to keep up that collaboration. It’s a chance to support a great cause, and that’s what drove me to it. They’re willing to take any accessories or devices we have and use the funds they raise from selling those devices to support soldiers.”

Here’s how it works: Companies like Russell Cellular donate accessories and devices to Cell Phones for Soldiers, which wipes the devices clean of any personal info, refurbishes them, and sells them. The proceeds are then used to purchase pre-

STANDING STRONG

Less than 24 hours after the tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 students were killed along with two teachers, two RC Regional Directors jumped into action. By the end of July, their massive RC Cares effort raised close to $9,000.

IN CASE YOU DIDN'T KNOW

SHOWING LOVE

James Perez and Jeremy Williams visited Uvalde to show support.

paid international calling cards troops can use to talk to loved ones while they’re away from home. The program also supports veterans and their families with emergency funding.

The program sends more than 2,500 calling cards to U.S. service members each week, and it has recycled more than 25 million cell phones and provided more than 400 million minutes of free phone time to soldiers since 2004.

That is not a small victory, and it’s one that RC is now part of. With his hands in all of RC’s inventory, Andrew sets a goal to donate to Cell Phones

THE GOAL

When James Perez first called up his friend and colleague Jeremy Williams, all he knew was he wanted to fundraise for the families impacted by the Uvalde shooting. “My wife has family in Texas, and my first thought was, ‘How can we help,’” James says. “It stopped our hearts and made us sit back, but Jeremy and I have worked together for 15 years, and we’ve always given back to our communities.”

Phone cases are the No. 1 item RC has donated to Cell Phones For Soldiers. Photo by Ettie Berneking and courtesy Russell Cellular
6 RC CONNECTIONS / FALL

For Soldiers quarterly. “We’ve donated everything from traditional cases and screen protection to speakers and actual devices,” he says. “Their main focus is ac cessories. They use online sales to move those, and they’re easy to sell.”

When Andrew goes through the list of accessories RC is ready to pull from its shelves, he sends a list of accessories to Cell Phones For Soldiers, and the program confirms that it can use that donation. To date, RC has donated more than $1.6 mil lion worth of accessories and devices to the program, which comes out to 145,474 items. Each accessory that makes it into

an RC donation is gathered back at the Home Office and checked to make sure it’s working and in good condition. Then, the donated accessories are boxed up and sent off to be put to good use. So next time you send a bunch of inventory back to Home Office, some of it might just be headed to Cell Phones For Soldiers .

GIVING BACK

RC CARES

That stack of accessories behind Andrew Howe, Jeven Russell and Darin Wray is on its way to Cell Phones for Soldiers.

THE PLAN

The shooting at Uvalde happened June 24, and by June 25, Jeremy and James had launched their RC Cares campaign. At first, they simply wanted their districts in the Texas area to get onboard, but the project grew faster than they planned. “Everyone in the region said they wanted to help, and we didn’t even have a plan nailed down,” Jeremy says. By the time the fundraiser wrapped up, stores across the country had participated.

THE DOLLAR AMOUNT

The initial goal was to raise $2,000–3,000 in 90 days, but within the first 24 hours of the RC Cares fundraiser going live, more than 200 donations had been made. “Those ranged from $1 to $700,” James says.

When the fundraiser ended in August, the project had raised more than $9,000. “We hit our goal of $3,000 in the first five days,” James says. “So we moved the goal and said let’s see how high we can take this.”

GOOD BY THE NUMBERS

25 MILLION

The number of cell phones Cell Phones for Soldiers has recycled since the organization launched in 2004.

400 MILLION

The number of free phone minutes the company has provided for soldiers so they can call their loved ones when they’re overseas.

$1.6 MILLION

The value of RC’s donations to the company since it started partnering in 2020.

145,474

That’s how many accessories and devices RC has donated to Cell Phones for Soldiers in two years.

THE IMPACT

All money raised is going to the Robb School Memorial Fund, which is distributing donations to the families and community affected by the shooting. Once the fundraiser wrapped up, James and Jeremy headed to Uvalde to deliver the donation check to the city in person. “We wanted to go down in person and deliver this to show our support,” Jeremy says. “This trag edy hit close to home for us, and this is just one way we can show that we are here to help.”

Photo courtesy Russell Cellular 7RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM LIFE

WEEK IN THE LIFE

Andrew Howe, Vice President of Inventory, makes sure every device that reaches an RC store is managed by his team.

If a customer comes into a Russell Cellular store to purchase a device, that device has been ordered, received and controlled by the inventory team. As Vice President of Inventory, Andrew Howe oversees various teams within his department to manage RC ’ s purchasing, to build and maintain relationships with manufacturers and to make sure the products customers want are available in RC stores. Basically, without inventory, there wouldn’t be devices for customers to buy.

With a laundry list of to-do items on his plate each day, Andrew says there’s very little routine to his week. However, Andrew primar ily oversees and works with the four divisions of the inventory team, and he also takes time to work with OEM partners and distributors.

CONTACTING OEM PARTNERS

Andrew says sometimes his days start at 7 or 7:30 a.m. so he can get in touch with his Original Equipment Manufacturers on the east coast. “Our main OEM Partners manufacture either devices or ac cessories, such as Apple, Samsung, Otterbox, Google and other companies like that,” he says. “We work on forecasting with them to ensure we are showing the right trends and getting products in the store.” To stay on top of product demand, Andrew says the inventory team and OEM partners share issues with each other and discuss gaps in supply, so they can react internally to offset any future constraints, such as the current chip set shortage.

WORKING WITH THE PURCHASING TEAM

As its name suggests, the RC Purchasing Team does just that. It places daily orders for all devices, handles merchandising, supports the agent partners and works with the OEMs and distribution part ners, and Andrew has hands in all of it.“This team is in charge of placing device orders and ensuring that we are getting the right product in the right stores at the right time,” he says.

OVERSEEING THE SHIPPING & RECEIVING TEAM

Once products are ordered, Andrew says the next step of the pro cess is taken over by Shipping & Receiving. This is the team that helps in rebalancing products in the field or returning products to vendors. This is the crew that looks up how many devices are at each store and ships new products their way. They’re also the team that sends excess products back to RC’s Home Office so items can be redistributed to other RC stores or returned to vendors.

AIDING IN INVENTORY CONTROL

Overseeing the Inventory Control team is one of Andrew’s other tasks. This team manages the inventory, Andrew says. “They are the ones that track the devices received into the store and monitor what is sold,” he says.

Products are virtually tracked all the way from the time a product is received and through inventory counts to when a product is sold and actually leaves the store.

PROTECTING THE ASSETS

The assets, in this case devices, are kept safe by the final division of the inventory team, Asset Protection.

“They go over any product that is lost or stolen, research it and try to figure out what happened to it,” Andrew says. They track down each individual product to make sure that it is protected, found and located.

That’s quite the list of responsibilities, so next time you walk into your RC store, head to your wall of accessories and devices and think about this—Andrew and his team have tracked and counted every single one of them.

IN STOCK Andrew Howe (left) and his team in the Inventory Department keep track of every single device and accessory at RC. Photo by Ettie Berneking
8 RC CONNECTIONS / FALL LIFE WEEK IN THE LIFE

circumstances include

RC EMPLOYEE EMERGENCY FUND Qualifying
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. At Russell Cellular, we know life happens. Emergency situations can arise beyond our control that create unexpected financial hardships. For more information about the EEF, how to apply and donate, and for further qualifications and restrictions, visit RChome.co or email RCcares@russellcellular.com

EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE PILLAR TALK

WELCOME TO THE CLUB

RC’s 20 Plus Club is the latest club you’ll want to join.

At Russell Cellular, many things come in sets of three, so it wasn’t surprising when RC decided on three big initiatives for 2022: More points on the scoreboard, higher RIS scores and a 20 Plus conversion rate for the whole company.

For RC sales executives, the goal of a 20 Plus conversion rate was big—audacious even. Of course, that didn’t mean it wasn’t attainable. It just took investment by every RC team member, says Brad Boman, Area Vice President of Sales. “Your customer interaction, your customer experience, will never be better than your team experience,” he says. “So we invest in our teams first. If it’s new comp plans, new pay scales, new benefits… We’re doing a tremendous amount of investing in the front line so they’ll love coming to work every day, and we’re rewarding their efforts in a big way.”

One of the ways RC invested in its team was a pay increase. In October 2021,

Russell Cellular increased its hourly rate from $10 to $15 an hour, while it also increased wages for its salaried team. Then in February 2022, RC responded to team feedback and simplified its compensation plan. Finally in May 2022, the company announced the largest compensation competition program in company history: the 20 Plus Club.

The 20 Plus Club is a program to reward high achieving sales team members. Each month that an RC team member earns a 20% plus conversion rate, they earn an additional $5 per sale to be banked each month. On Dec. 7th, team members will receive their 20 Plus Club earnings accrued over the past seven months as a bonus on their paycheck.

A top sales team member could earn an additional $500 a month, which adds up to $3,000+ by the holidays. Khris Stillman, Area Vice President of Sales, says anyone can hit a 20% conversion rate and earn extra dollars, and everyone contributes to a big company goal: increasing conversions by 5% company wide.

“It’s attainable, but it’s hard work,” he says. “Upping that 5% in conversion requires all our team members to be rowing in the same direction to hit 20%. That’s why from top to bottom we’re talking about our sales methodology with Selling to JAMES and maximizing the revenue potential.”

By building relationships and serving customers, team members can increase their Representative Interaction Score and earn more points on their scoreboard. Fundamentally, higher scores mean happier customers, which leads to success at RC.

“Right now, about 25% of our team is in the 20 Plus Club, but if we moved that needle to 50% of our team, then we’d love for this competitive compensation program to continue,” says Anthony Badalamenti, Area Vice President of Sales. “If people like the program, they can help move that needle.”

THREE AVP TIPS TO JOIN THE 20 PLUS CLUB

1. Pull a customer’s account and check their My Offers to ensure customers are presented with the best possible Verizon promotion.

—Brad Boman

2. Maximize your sales with minimal effort with VZ Engage. Connect with warm leads to call, text and interact with customers who are seeking more information.

—Khris Stillman

3. Harness the trade. The trade-in program maximizes a customer’s device dollars, while moving RC inventory.

Photo courtesy Russell Cellular
10 RC CONNECTIONS / FALL

EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE TIPS OF THE TRADE

UNDERSTANDING THE J IN THE JAMES PROCESS

When team members join Russell Cellular, they are taught ways to immediately connect with customers! Three Store Managers explain how to connect effectively using the JAMES process.

GET MOVING:

The J stands for jump up and greet the cus tomer at the door as they’re walking in. Say, “Welcome to Verizon, my name is Alexis.” You get their name and say, “What can I do for you today?” Whatever their need, tell them you can help them and walk them back to your desk. It’s about establishing a connection and personal service right away.

TAKE TIME TO TALK AND LISTEN:

When they walk in and we ask what they need, that can open up other avenues. There might be a product that can help them that they don’t know about for their business or home.

BUILD RELATIONSHIPS:

Here at RC, I have learned that the relationship we build with the customer is the most impact ful part of the job. I have had customers who are really struggling with learning their new device. It is impactful when I help them through their is sue. I have had customers thank me because I took the time to show them something and not push them out the door because they are not a sale.

BE WELCOMING:

Even if you’re the only person on the sales floor and you’re already helping another customer, be sure to welcome anyone who walks in and let them know you’ll be right with them.

GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE:

Being extra-personable can sometimes be out of a sales team member’s comfort zone. That’s okay, but it’s your job as a Store Manager to coach your team members so they can flex their skills and grow. If their natural tendency is to be shy, they don’t have to force a conversation with a customer. Sometimes, all a customer wants is to be asked what they need, what are they looking for and how do they use their devices?

FOCUS ON IMPROVEMENT:

Pursue excellence and success, but know that we all make mistakes sometimes. This is a fastpaced industry, and it can take a little while for new team members to learn the ropes. As a re sult, you want to encourage your team to test their skills and learn from their mistakes. We might make mistakes, but we can learn from experiences and constantly improve.

ASK QUESTIONS:

The J is about establishing a relationship with a customer right away. To do that, ask them about themselves. Are you local? Do you own a business? What do you do for a living? Is this for business or personal use? How many lines are on this account? Be an active listener. Questions can help you bundle a promotion.

DON’T JUST SELL. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS:

I’ve been here four years, and customers come in and ask for me. I was on vacation for four days and customers came in and said, “I will just come back when Mike is here because I am more comfortable talking to him.” Being genu ine and making sure you’re putting the custom er’s needs first brings in repeat clientele.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK:

The major thing is knowing your promotions and how many lines are on the account. Make sure you know how many phones are on that plan because it will improve your conversion rate. Every day when you clock in, study promotions.

Photos courtesy Russell Cellular
11RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM

EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE

IN-PERSON TRAINING IS BACK

There’s a reason Russell Cellular brought back in-person training this year, but there’s also a reason why the company isn’t getting rid of online educational resources anytime soon.

After taking almost three years off of in-person training (all due to COVID precautions), RC resumed face-to-face training this year. It was a big move, and it’s paid off. RC leadership has had countless Store Managers, Regional Directors and District Sales Managers email and text them to say how much improvement they are seeing. At the executive level, the impact of in-person training can be felt, and no one is more excited for the return of in-person learning than Kurt Reinhart.

Kurt is RC’s Vice President of Learning and Development, and this spring, Kurt flew across the U.S. to attend RC’s in-person Regional Leadership Trainings. He was already excited to return to face-to-face conferences, but he didn’t expect to be hit with a flood of positive feedback. An overwhelming amount of participants mentioned a greater sense of connection was their No. 1 takeaway from the meetings.

“They were overwhelmed feeling like ‘I finally got to meet this person; I put a face to a name and voice,’” Kurt says. “People felt like they weren’t islands unto themselves any longer. They felt truly connected to a bigger group.”

Because of such positive feedback, RLTs are being held again this fall, Kurt says. For him, the feedback also reinforced the benefits of in-person teaching and learning. In person, people are more likely to share stories and best practices, he says. Likewise, facilitators are more likely to be able to gauge responses to instruction by observing participants’ body language, for example, in the context of a class. “We can see the light bulbs; we can see if people are starting to get distracted,” he says.

For DSMs, face-to-face interactions allow them to teach sales strategies more effectively by demonstrating those skills, then observing team members as they practice them in stores. “We’re a selling organization,” Kurt says. “Face-to-face training allows us to really tell people in a clear way what our sales process is. It’s the ‘teach me, show me, let me’ model.”

Even though face-to-face learning is costly and takes time away from the day-to-day work to be done at more than 750 RC stores, team members gain countless lessons out of the experience of meeting with others, Kurt says. “That’s the priceless part,” he says. “They have the opportunity to literally and physically be part of something bigger than themselves. They’re not just at their store; they’re not limited to their space; they’re not alone at their desk.”

Despite the value of in-person events, virtual as well as learning management system (LMS) meetings and education will remain an important part of RC’s development strategy, Kurt says. Both are efficient modes of communication in a company of more than 2,600 team members stretching across 43 states.

COLLABORATIVE LEARNING

RC hosted in-person trainings again this year.

Education through an LMS platform allows team members to learn at their own pace. That’s why RC hopes to build a robust online resource library not only for new hires who need to work in compliance with Verizon regulations but also for any associates needing to refer back to information they’ve learned in face-to-face meetings.

For example, last summer’s in-person RLTs covered initiatives including scoreboard performance and improving the conversion rate–or the ratio of sales closings to the number of customers who walk into a store. An online resource library could reinforce such ideas, Kurt says. “If you don’t have a place for people to go to after they have the experience, then training just becomes a one-time event,” he says. “That’s the next step for RC—to be really good at curating tools and resources to help our team members learn and grow.”

LEARN MORE

If you want to learn more about how the training went from a Store Manager perspective, turn to p. 26.

Photo courtesy Russell Cellular
12 RC CONNECTIONS / FALL
COMMUNICATION
Experience Counseling That Works! Get Started Today! Request an appointment online at mycounselor.online/rc/ or by calling 855-5WE-HELP Personal growth & healing through professional counseling Our Licensed Professionals Can Meet With You From Your Phone, Computer or Tablet At Our O ces Receive Counseling From Top Rated Therapists For Marriage Counseling, Sex Therapy, Anxiety And Depression Treatment.

SERVANT LEADERSHIP

As one of RC’s Area Vice Presidents of Sales, Brad Boman has a large team to lead. His key to building a strong team is to lead by example and lean into servant leadership.

Photo by Brad Zweerink
14 RC CONNECTIONS / FALL

SERVANT LEADERSHIP

Brad Boman has a few thoughts on servant leadership, but they all start with putting your team first.

Brad Boman, an Area Vice President of Sales, has been with Russell Cellular for eight years, and he’s learned countless lessons about leadership and specifically servant leader ship. One of Brad’s most impactful lessons about servant leadership came long before he joined the RC team.

“Years ago at Starbucks, I had the opportu nity to work for a great market president who pulled me aside and told me the custom er experience will never be better than your employee experience,” Brad says. “It was an inspiration. I had never heard servant lead ership put into such simple words. People always focus outwardly and ask, ‘What does the customer think, feel and say?’ Really, you need to focus inwardly and think about what your team member says and how they feel because that’s what will impact your custom er satisfaction and experience.”

For Brad, servant leadership is all about putting his team first and making sure he’s available when they need him, and he’s pro viding what they need. He says that if RC’s mission is to provide the best wireless expe rience to every customer every time, then his job as Area Vice President of Sales is to pro vide the best leadership to every one of his team members. If he can do that, he believes his team will have the tools and support need ed to provide a great customer experience.

To get a better understanding of what Brad’s leadership style looks like, here are a few of the key areas he focuses on.

ENCOURAGING COMMUNICATION REGARDLESS OF TITLE

“This is crucial,” Brad says. “Our team mem bers should always feel like they can bring up

an issue, ask a question or find support from anyone in an RC leadership role.” Weekly one-on-one meetings are a great time to learn what team members want to improve or learn more about, but Brad says there’s another question Store Managers and leaders should ask. “I always ask, ‘How can I help you?’” he says. “That’s my main focus. It’s not about telling them what to do next or what they can improve on. Yes, we should address those things, but we should also learn how we as leaders can help our team members.”

To create a culture where his team feels like they can reach out about anything, Brad set up coffee talks twice a month. “My DSMs can talk about work or anything that’s happening in their lives,” he says. “These chats can last 5 minutes or 30 minutes.” Most conversations center around family, recreation and occupa tion, which Brad says are the topics that give you insight to better understand what makes your team tick or what’s holding them back.

These conversations are also a time for Brad to share. “I worry less about titles during these talks and focus more on getting to know people,” he says. “That means I also share openly. I want my team to know I care, and now I have strong relationships with my DSMs. They even call or text me about their successes or if they need a shoulder to cry on. It creates an atmosphere where work is about something other than just work. It’s about the people and the relationships you build.”

TRUST YOUR TEAM AND DELEGATE RESPONSIBILITIES

For Brad, this simple step is less about free ing up your time as a manager and more about inspiring ownership within your team. “Delegation is about building trust,” he says. “You have to set clear expectations and an end goal, but you should then trust your team to execute the task as you provide guidance along the way.”

This, as Brad explains it, is about allowing your team to execute their leader’s intent in stead of their leader’s orders. “I learned this tip from a retired colonel,” Brad says. “People often think they need to follow orders, but if someone is just completing tasks and not allowed to problem solve or brainstorm on their own, they won’t grow. You need to get to know your team well enough that you can trust each other and work independently.”

ALWAYS BE AVAILABLE

This is a big pillar of leadership for Brad, who says he’s answered his phone 365 days a year for the past 20 years. “I even took a phone call while on vacation in Ireland,” he says. “The phone call was from someone I was working with, and the last thing I was go ing to do was send it to voicemail.”

Brad learned the importance of answering your phone and being available to your team back when he worked at Alltel. “I was in a meeting with another vice president, and no one would answer his phone call, and he had an important question,” Brad says. “He sat the phone down, and told me availability equals reliability and trust, so always answer your phone.” If your team knows they can reach you, Brad says they will trust you. It’s as simple as that.

ASK A QUESTION AND THEN PAUSE

Often, coaching is about listening. That’s why Brad says he has to make sure he’s not talking too much when coaching a team member. “I’ll ask a question and then make myself pause,” he says. “I have to give oth ers time to speak, and this shows that I care about their answer. If I ask a question and then ask another one while they’re still mid-answer, I’m probably missing out on something valuable they would have men tioned if I hadn’t interrupted.”

15RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM PLUGGED IN ROUND TABLE

PLUGGED IN GROWTH SPURT

GROWTH SPURT

As RC returns to in-person training, we’re looking at the numbers to see how faceto-face learning is going and how the RC training team is making sure everyone is ready and prepared.

4 DSM TRAINING SESSIONS HELD

When the pandemic began, RC had already implemented a virtual training program for new hires, so company leaders were poised to meet the challenges of working remotely with team members across the nation. “When COVID hit, it was like a fast track,” says Tina Crewse, Director of Sales Operations. Weekly virtual training for District Sales Managers, for example, included how-tos on virtual store visits during COVID-19 lockdowns, she says.

At the height of the pandemic, when he was DSM for seven RC stores in Texas, Ben Winterton, Training Manager, says he felt the “growing pain” of communicating with colleagues remotely: “It was learning a new game; we were learning how to connect while being disconnected,” he says.

As COVID-19 restrictions eased, though, in-person interactions increased—and by July, four training sessions for DSMs had met in small groups at Home Office, Tina says.

28 REGIONAL LEADERSHIP TRAINING CLASSES

By July, Regional Directors assisted by DSMs had also led 28 in-person, one-day leadership training classes for Store Managers, Tina says, and a second round of RLT classes had been planned for October and November. The in-per son training sessions were a big success, and the positive feedback leaders received was much greater than RC expected. While virtual training was useful and efficient, it was clear from team member feedback that the RC team had missed and valued in-person learning.

48 NEW STORES, MULTIPLE TRAININGS

While in-person training is back, there’s actually more virtual training than ever going on at RC, Tina says. With 48 store acquisitions so far this year, Sales Operations has stayed busy training team members at more than 750 stores, and a lot of this onboarding is done virtually.

Newly hired team members, for example, take part in webinars during two weeks of in-store training. Still, Ben says face-to-face, hands-on training is the best way for directors and managers to understand what others need to learn—and to stay connected. “From my perspective, the biggest reason we went back to the in-person training was it gave us a reality that we only get from spending time one with another,” he says. “It’s that connection piece.”

INBOX

As Vice President of Inventory, Andrew Howe helps run the start-tofinish process of getting devices into Russell Cellular stores for customers and keeping track of them until they sell. Here are the most frequently asked tech questions Andrew and the Inventory Team receive from RC team members on how they can best track devices coming in and out of a store.

Q: What do I do with defective or returned devices we cannot sell?

A: Create a Quick Ship Transfer in RQ, a shipping label in CampusShip, and ship the devices to the RC Home Office warehouse.

Q: How do I reset or find logins for Hyla or CampusShip accounts?

A: Hyla passwords can be reset by calling their support line at

1-877-247-3845. Credentials for CampusShip can be reset by the inventory department.

Q: How do I get price tags for live displays?

A: Android devices use Mobile Price Card software. You can vis it mpchelp.com for instructions and reach out to Merchandising@ for login info. Apple and basic de

Photo by Leah Stiefermann
16 RC CONNECTIONS / FALL

FOOT TRAFFIC: THE REAL GAME CHANGER

A technology company used by Russell Cellular provides data and helps guide decisions from staffing to conversion rates.

Any team member knows conversion rates are a big deal at Russell Cellular. But how are those rates accurately measured? Darin Wray, Chief Operating Officer, explains the science behind the formula.

It starts with ReBiz, the technology com pany used by Russell Cellular. ReBiz offers a handful of business management tools, including Datacam, which helps RC deter mine conversion rates. Here is how it works: Datacam is an advanced traffic counter be cause it differentiates between foot traffic and team members or partners. “Anyone who is part of our organization or a partner is not counted when the door swings open, so we are able to get accurate conversion rates,” Darin says.

Datacam uses artificial intelligence, face recognition but also a large team of peo ple who sort through footage to be sure RC has accurate traffic counts. Darin says RC began a pilot test of ReBiz in 2016, and by the end of the year, the company was impressed and decided to implement the technology companywide. Since mid-2017, it has been active in all RC stores.

This data does many things for RC, includ ing helping determine individual conversion rates. Conversion rate is the percentage of sales based on the number of customers. For example, if a sales associate sees 10 custom ers in a day and makes two sales that is a 20% conversion rate, which is the goal.

PLUGGED IN TECH TALK

Datacam allows RC to analyze what is going on at each store and with each team member. “Prior to ReBiz, we might receive feedback from a Store Manager saying they need more staff to cover the number of customers, or other stores might say their sales were down because they didn’t have enough customers. Some of that was true, but some of it was just perception, and Datacam gave us the data we needed to be more informed,” Darin says.

Now that RC has the data it needs to understand traffic at each store, it can use Datacam as a tool to train teams on growing conversion rates. Store Managers receive weekly reports that show them traf fic by hour, day and week and each team member’s conversion rate by day and week.

Another beneficial part of this technolo gy is that ReBiz creates a heat map over an extended period of time, which shows traffic flow to help with scheduling. This can help managers schedule team members with the highest conversion rates at peak times. They can also make a plan for uti lizing low-traffic times to contact potential customers and set sales appointments.

All of this helps RC determine staffing at each store. “It has helped us a lot with feed back,” Darin says. Even better, now there’s data to back up that feedback and make an effective game plan.

vices use paper price tags. Visit RC Home and print on price tag paper—from Staples Advantage.

Q: What if I get an empty box?

A: Take pictures of the box and email them to Inventory@ RussellCelluar.com with a quick description of the situation, the PO#, tracking number and items missing.

Q: What departments do stores go to for device orders?

A: For any iconic or order sta tus items, visit purchasing@ RussellCellular.com and Returns@ RussellCellular.com for EOL items.

Q: What count types do I choose for device counts?

A: In stock and committed on sales order

Q: What are the categories for device counts?

A: Activations, displays and demo inventory, connected de vices and strategic products

Q: What are the categories for accessory counts?

A: Accessories, gift cards and charity

Q: What count types do I choose for device counts?

A: In stock

’ VE GOT MAIL

Have a question you’d like us to answer? Send your inquiries to RCconnections@ russellcellular.com.

YOU
Photo courtesy Russell Cellular 17RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM
18 RC CONNECTIONS / FALL

RELENTLESSLY BUILDING A LEGACY

Since the offi cial rollout of RC Cares in July 2018, Kevin Ropell’s team “Relentless” has been No. 1 in fundraising and projects completed. One of the RC Cares projects and partnerships he’s most proud of is the collaboration with Habitat for Humanity. With several builds already done, Kevin’s team completed their latest build this summer in Springfi eld, Missouri, and now Kevin is sharing his secret sauce for keeping his team in that No. 1 spot for community success.

Russell Cellular team members across the US have worked on Habitat for Humanity homes, including this one in Springfield, Missouri.

19RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM

When RC’s Regional Director of Sales Kevin Ropell relocated to Springfield, Missouri, a year and a half ago, he knew it would only be a matter of time before he reached out to one of his favor ite causes, Habitat for Humanity. After coordi nating Habitat builds as part of the RC Cares initiative in his previous territories of Tennessee and California, Kevin was excited to partner with the Springfield branch this past summer for a local project. “I love working with Habitat because they are great at communicating, and the end result is always a finished product,” he says. “We are physically on a construction site and leave that day being able to see what we’ve accomplished.”

Once Kevin connected with the local Habitat office in Springfield, Missouri, the RC volunteer partnership was two-fold. “We had a two-month fundraising period in May and June and then one build day in July,” he says. Kevin’s team of eight District Sales Managers across 58 locations set a $10,000 fundraising goal. This was exceeded through point-of-purchase prod uct sales such as PopSockets, screen wipes and tech cleaner as well as round-ups on to tal purchases and customer donations. Some districts got creative and hosted other fundrais ing events, too. “Misty Cannon-Wright runs our Poteau 2 location in Oklahoma, and she even organized a three-on-three basketball tourna ment,” Kevin says.

Since the partnership with Habitat involves fundraising and hands-on construction, RC will be contributing to two homes in the Springfield area. The money raised will support a future home on Grand Street. This will be a two-bed room, one-bathroom home. The single parent who will buy the house has a toddler and has worked at Walmart since 2016. For the volun teer build day, RC teams helped at a five-bed room house on Brower Street. The future home buyer at this house is a single mom of four with children ranging in age from 7 to 18. The mom was a gig worker when she applied to the pro gram in 2020, and has since added a real estate license to the income-generating portfolio for

on p. 22

Continued
20 RC CONNECTIONS / FALL

Whenever RC helps with a Habitat for Humanity build, it invites RC team members from of all levels of the organization.

21RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM

her family. Each family who will live in a Habitat home is involved in the entire process. “The way Habitat does things fits so well with RC’s mod el,” Kevin says. “We believe in rewarding hard work, and every family who gets a home from Habitat is required to go through classes and work on their own home.”

With the Springfield build project com plete, Kevin’s team kept its RC Cares team status as the top fundraiser in the company. Kevin even named the team “Relentless” as a reflection of his and his team’s work eth ic. “Being relentless and having purpose can make anyone great at anything,” he says.

“With these skills, you can not only reshape how you live your life but also inspire and re shape how other people live their lives. I live by being relentless as I foster a coaching culture of inclusive teamwork and commu nity engagement that gets our people paid

“I LOVE WORKING WITH HABITAT BECAUSE THEY ARE GREAT AT COMMUNICATING, AND THE END RESULT IS ALWAYS A FINISHED PRODUCT.”
Kevin Ropell, Regional Director of Sales
Kevin Ropell (right) has always found a way to partner with Habitat for Humanity. He’s helped with builds in three states.
Continued on p. 25 22 RC CONNECTIONS / FALL

$10,051.40

Total dollars raised for the Springfield Habitat Build

Kevin’s team wanted to surpass its previous amount raised for a single cause which was $10,000 for Toys for Tots last year. Kevin’s other large projects include a domestic violence project which raised $5,700, and a California firefighter relief fund that totaled $5,198. “I’m ecstatic we were able to exceed our goal,” he says. “This is our largest Habitat build in terms of money raised.”

8,760

Total number of RC Cares products team Relentless has sold since July 2018

This includes PopSockets, screen wipes and tech cleaner featuring “Hedgie” the company mascot and the RC logo. All of Hedgie sales go to RC Cares projects. “If customers aren't interested in the products, they can round up their purchase or donate directly,” Kevin says.

BUILDING HOPE BY THE NUMBERS

17

Total number of RC team members who worked on the build

Kevin’s six District Managers from Kansas City, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri drove in and spent a full work day on the home with four executives and seven directors from the RC Home Office.

“We showed up and got our hands dirty,” Kevin says. “Whatever stage they are at in the build, we do it.

It could be anything from sanding walls to caulking.” Ron was excited for the opportunity to involve volunteers from RC’s Home Office this time around. “Since the RC Home Office is located in Battlefield, Missouri, it was a great way for us to give our time, too,” he says.

$135,849.79

Total amount of money team Relentless has raised for RC Cares since July 2018

That’s the highest amount of any RC Cares team. Kevin attributes his team’s success to its full commitment to every cause it takes on. “I get goosebumps when I think about the dedication of my team,” he says. “What fills my heart is helping those in need.”

1

Number of days team members were paid to work on the house in Springfield

Anytime an RC team member dedicates time out of their work day to volunteer at a hands-on event, RC is supportive of paying associates for volunteering their time. “When it fits our model of hard work, we make the financial donation of paying our team for their time,” Ron says. “In the case of Habitat, it makes sense. They get after it like they are on the

sales floor–swinging hammers and working up a sweat, putting in the hours. It means something to give someone their dream home. It’s worth the investment.”

196

Number of RC Cares outreach projects Team Relentless has completed since July 2018

“The heart of RC Cares has been around since day one due to Jeff and Kym’s commitment to giving back, but got its name in 2017 when I joined the team and made the initiative official,” Ron says. “We are unique in allowing our team members to choose their projects and investments.” Kevin has been involved with RC Cares from his first day with the company, and had pretty much been involved in an RC Cares project since day one. “We have a great team with big hearts and want to do what we can to help our community,” he says.

Russell Cellular is commited to giving back to communities it serves,so helping a family in need move into a new home is a rewarding experience for the RC team.
23RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM

The Springfield build happened this summer when temperatures inched toward 100 degrees. Luckily, this build provided plenty of shade for the RC team volunteering.

24 RC CONNECTIONS / FALL

Ron Wallace, Director of RC Cares

the money they deserve to make. I carry this same philosophy over into our fundraising causes as well.”

Kevin works hard to get his team fired up about every cause they take on. At the beginning of each fundraising period, he meets in-person with all of his District Managers to emphasize the importance of the cause. “I wait to reveal our projects until I’m face-toface with my team,” he says. “I want to tug on the managers’ heart strings. We need to share the ‘why’ because it’s up to each location to then share it with customers, and if they don’t do that, we aren’t raising money.”

Director of RC Cares Ron Wallace attributes Team Relentless’ success to perseverance and communication. “They make it a point to talk about their fundraising initiatives weekly, sometimes daily,” Ron says. “Kevin challenges his District Managers to look for opportunities to give back in their districts while he also looks for causes in the area. He sets and meets fundraising goals just like sales goals. He has some rock star District Managers who have big hearts and have embraced everything about RC Cares.”

For the HFH build in Springfield, RC had two groups of team members join in the build. Several team members from Home Office also joined in the build. Anytime RC team members take part in a HFH project, RC pays for their volunteer hours. It's a way to say thank you.
“KEVIN HAS SOME ROCK STAR DISTRICT MANAGERS THAT HAVE BIG HEARTS AND HAVE EMBRACED EVERYTHING ABOUT RC CARES.”
25RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM

One RLT session was held in Springfield, Missouri.

TAKEAWAYS FROM EXECUTIVE TEAM

EMBRACE ICE BREAKERS

While Store Managers are eager to get back to in-person training, they’ve taken four years off, so everyone needs encouragement. “We saw some apprehension at first,” says Jason Bosworth, Regional Director of Sales. “But we did ice breakers and it helped get everyone comfortable talking in front of a group."

THIS IS ABOUT INVESTING IN THE RC TEAM

RLTs are all about making sure RC leaders have the tools to help their teams succeed, and that’s a huge part of the RC culture. It’s all about supporting each other and plugging in to help when needed. “A lot of folks in our stores have only been with RC for a year or two,” Jason says.

“So for them to see executives take the time to come and train with them, it means a lot. I think these trainings brought that part of the RC culture back into focus.”

BOTH VIRTUAL AND IN-PERSON TRAININGS WORK

There are benefits to both virtual and in-person trainings. If you need to address an issue right away, a virtual session with your team might be best. But if you need to really dig into an issue and get everyone collaborating on a solution, then in-person training is the most effective.

26 RC CONNECTIONS / FALL

TIPS FROM THETOP

Earlier this spring, nearly 50 Russell Cellular Store Managers gathered inside a conference room at the DoubleTree Hotel in Springfield and talked shop for the whole day. They dis cussed best practices, how to connect with customers, how to inspire their sales teams to hit goals, and how to hit KPIs as a store. Every 30 minutes or so, the whole group broke up into smaller pods to dive deeper into certain questions and scenarios.

This whirlwind of a training session was part of Russell Cellular’s Regional Leadership Trainings, and it was just one of 28 RLTs the company hosted this spring. Each RLT has been a little different. Some have eight Store Managers in attendance, while others have 50-plus, but one thing has been consistent—they’re all in-person.

This is the first time in nearly four years that RC has hosted in-person training. When COVID hit, the company hit pause on in-person events and trainings and moved nearly all of its onboarding and leadership training to virtual platforms. DSMs and RDs were meeting their teams on Zoom or Teams instead of in RC stores.

YOUR TEAM WILL OPEN UP MORE WHEN YOU’RE NOT THERE

“I think most people are a little hesitant to really open up about an issue in front of their boss,” DSM Ryan Doak says. “I saw that with these RLTs. When I let my team talk with each other and brainstorm solutions without me there, they were more honest and vulnerable about what was going on in their stores.”

REMEMBER TO STAY ON TOPIC

When RC first hosted in-person RLTs, the managers were so excited to be together again that the energy was really high. “I had to work to keep everyone on track,” says John Kilgore, Regional Director of Sales.

“That was great to see, but we had to work at keeping everyone focused. That’s when small group breakout sessions are helpful.”

In some ways, the virtual trainings were helpful—they meant sales leaders didn’t have to fly across the country to onboard newly acquired stores, which translated into dollars saved; the virtual trainings have al lowed RC team members to login whenever they have time or need to revisit a topic; and virtual trainings have reduced everyone’s travel time. Of course there are certainly benefits to in-person training, and that was especially evident once RC kicked off faceto-face RLTs again this year.

“There’s no substitute for in-person in teraction,” says Jason Bosworth, Regional Director of Sales. “You get more dialogue, more engagement and more energy.” Before joining RC, Jason’s background was in re gional leadership training, so he knew how large training sessions should feel. When RC

Continued on p. 29 27RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM

TOP LESSONS LEARNED

"If I had to pick one thing, it would be the 5 Rocks. My store made up the DR5BAR to remember it. Dress for success; 5 Step Greeting; By the Way in hand offers; Account pulls for everyone, and RIS with the walk out. "

Dawn Shivley, Store Manager, Labelle, FL

"I learned about the SMART style of coaching. It's about giving your team specific, measurable, achievable and relevant advice and giving them the time needed to see improvement."

—Charlie Galanski, Store Manager, Millersburg, OH

—Brandy Tischofer, Store Manager in Southington, CT

THE SALES METRICS THAT ARE GROWING

"My team is doing awesome in SMB! We have been leaning on our SMB rep, Lesa Blair, who does a fantastic job with zoom training."

—Charlie Galanski, Store Manager, Millersburg, OH

—Dawn Shivley, Store Manager, Labelle, FL

-Brandy Tischofer, Store Manager in Southington, CT

IMPROVEMENTS SEEN FROM RLT

"The RLT was a big mental reset for me and a chance to boost morale at my store. Learning to delegate has helped me get back on track with operational tasks like making sure our Staples order is in."

—Charlie Galanski, Store Manager, Millersburg, OH

"Instead of trying to do everything myself, I'm learning to delegate duties. It allows me to focus on other aspects of the business and it gives them a sense of teamwork."

—Dawn Shivley,Store Manager, Labelle, FL

"I'm better at delegating. We're a high-volume store, and delegating tasks has allowed me to spend more time on the floor and coach my team. I have time now to catch mistakes that I would miss if I was in the office."

—Brandy Tischofer, Store Manager in Southington, CT

TK Photo
courtesy Russell Cellular
"I heard others talk about how delegating tasks had led to conversions."
"Total sales. We sold 100 extra boxes last month.
"Our reps are spending more time with customers, and we've seen our quality metric improve. "
28 RC CONNECTIONS / FALL

kicked off this year’s RLTs, Jason says the vibe was spot on. “I’ve done three RLTs, and all had great energy,” he says. “We actually ran late not because we were off schedule but because people didn’t want to leave. They were enjoying working together and learning about each other’s best practices.”

Ryan Doak is a District Sales Manager, and he had the same experience with his RLTs. “Virtual meetings can be much more frequent and can happen when you need to address something right away, but these in-person training sessions were more effective,” he says. He saw his team members connect in real time and saw how they opened up much more when they were talking in the same room than they did over Zoom. “My managers called or texted me after to tell me they got a lot out of this,” Ryan says. “One Store Manager even told

me it was humbling. He’s a top performer, but he got to be in a room with other talent, and he saw that other people had things that they were doing better than he was and he could learn from them.”

That right there is exactly what RC hoped would happen when in-person RLTs returned.

“People bond better when they’re in person and can collaborate,” says John Kilgore, Regional Sales Director. “This is how Store Managers can bounce ideas off each other and learn from their team members. They brainstorm better in this setting.” These sessions also show managers that they’re not alone with their struggles.

“This was one of the biggest impacts I saw,” Ryan says. “I’ve seen a big boost in morale from this. I know my Store Managers really well, and I was able to group them together based on the issues I knew they

needed to work on. They were more comfortable talking to each other about what they were doing well or what they were struggling with than if I had been the one leading that discussion.”

In Springfield, this was most evident in the smaller group breakout sessions. Store Managers worked together to find a best practice and understand why something was or was not working at their location.

By the end of the day, people’s energy was far from burned out, which is not what you typically expect from a work training event.

Jason thinks this is in part because people have been so eager to reconnect in person.

“One of the most common questions I got after each RLT was, “When are we doing this again,”’ he says. The great news is that RC plans another round of RLTs before the holidays.

Each RLT gave store managers a chance to learn from each other and bounce ideas off one another.
29RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM

CARING THROUGH CRISIS

From March 2020 to March 2022, RC Cares raised almost half a million dollars for causes and charities. RC Cares Director Ron Wallace shares how the RC team showed that team giving didn’t end when the world stopped.

Five years ago, Ron Wallace began work on a new Russell Cellular initiative: RC Cares. When the company’s giving campaign officially launched on July 1, 2018, he had a big dream: $1 million raised in five years. And then, like everything else, RC Cares had to pivot in March 2020. Events stopped and products changed.

But unlike his philanthropy peers and nonprofits across the nation, Ron watched as RC Cares kept giving at a high level—and then some. “It was incredible to see that Russell Cellular as a company continued to operate at its usual high level, but from the RC Cares standpoint, the two years of the pandemic were the best fundraising that we’ve ever had—ever,” Ron says. “Our teams were super-engaged in the communities they serve and saw that people were struggling. They responded to those needs in an incredible way.”

Ron and RC leadership made the tough decision to pause in-person events through spring 2022, but giving continued through the RC Cares product line. RC team members focused on donation options at checkout, with funds raised to support hometown heroes. Stores purchased devices for teachers who shifted to virtual instruction. Home Office delivered pizzas to fire departments, police departments and medical personnel. In a few locations, RC Store Managers learned about local small businesses in crisis and raised funds to help keep those businesses afloat.

“Our team looked into their communities and saw that people were hurting,” Ron says. “We kept raising money, but more than the money, we kept saying thank you and kept bringing awareness to serious issues in the communities we serve. Saying thank you and seeing those who are hurting changes lives and changes communities.”

RETURN TO RC CARES EVENTS

In spring 2022, Russell Cellular leadership gave the green light to resume in-person fundraisers. Since the return to RC Cares events, a threeon-three basketball tournament has raised $600, a team from RC Home Office served at the American Heart Association Heart Walk and school supply drives were held at a variety of RC locations across the country.

A lot has happened this year, but the fundraising effort Ron is most excited about is the one that was placed on hold in spring 2020. In Springfield, Missouri, the RC team raised funds and paint brushes at a Habitat for Humanity build. It’s a handson operation that combines the key to giving: generosity and hands-on service, Ron says. “Checks are great, but sometimes the biggest impact we make is what we do with our hands and feet. Those hands-on projects build relationships that last and

Photo courtesy Russell Cellular Regional Director Jeremy Williams’ team supported local Angel Tree projects and gave Christmas gifts to families in his region.
30 RC CONNECTIONS / FALL

RC was the lead donor in a project that donated school sup plies to more than 1,000 students in the Ava Missouri School District as well as other districts in the surrounding area.

Total amount raised with RC Cares: $851,845.94 (July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2022)

Amount raised last year with RC Cares: $197,677.63

Highest amount raised at a RC Cares event: $30,900

Total number of RC Cares events held since 2018: 1,421 events

Total number of RC Cares fundraisers last year: 247 projects

Largest single donation from a customer: $1,000 for a fundraising project for a RC team member injured in a car accident

Average amount raised per RC Cares event: $600

make a difference long after the event is done. RC Cares is not just about raising money, and we’re excited to see our team members back in their communities, mak ing a difference.”

This fall, Ron and his team will lead an nual companywide initiatives to help serve the community of RC’s Home Office. They’re preparing to give more food and more funds to a local food drive than ever before, and RC is once again partnering with Council of Churches in Springfield to provide gifts for foster children this Christmas.

“During the pandemic and even now, we’ve seen companies and organizations pull back on their annual giving,” Ron says. “When many were seeing a decrease in their employee giving and outreach efforts, we were blowing that narrative right out of the water and continuing to make a differ ence in the communities we serve.”

CARE FOR EVERY PERSON

In spring 2023, Ron projects RC Cares will raise its millionth dollar for charity, but what’s most im portant for him is the lives changed by a corpo rate philanthropy initiative: dedicated to caring for every person.

At every level of Russell Cellular, Ron hopes team members are empowered to show care for their community and change the lives of those around them for the better. The end result is often sales and relationships, goodwill in the community, but more than that: caring for every person is always the right thing to do, he says.

“When our team members participate in RC Cares, it changes them,” Ron says. “When you do this work, some lives are going to change –and one of them is going to be your own. When you better serve your community, you better serve your customer. A simple smile, a hand shake, can change anyone for the better.”

Photo courtesy Russell Cellular
"WHEN MANY WERE SEEING A DECREASE IN THEIR EMPLOYEE GIVING AND OUTREACH EFFORTS, WE WERE BLOWING THAT NARRATIVE RIGHT OUT OF THE WATER AND CONTINUING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. —Ron Wallace
31RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM

QUALITY FAMILY TIME

Carrie Minton-Duran and her kids make it a priority to spend time together.

TIES THAT BOND

For District Sales Manager Carrie Minton-Duran, family is everything, and that includes her RC family.

Carrie Minton-Duran has been with Russell Cellular for 11 years, and as a DSM in Naples, Texas, she oversees 28 team members in one district and is temporarily managing 17 team members in another. While there are regular shifts in her team, several of her Store Managers have been with her for six-plus years.

That kind of tenure in retail is rare, and that’s not lost on Carrie. She credits her team’s ten ure to the culture she’s helped curate, which is all about family. “If you treat your team like you would your own family, they will stay with you because they enjoy their work,” she says. At work, Carrie says she’s big on creating a family atmosphere where everyone celebrates togeth er for birthdays, anniversaries, births or holidays.

Family, both at RC and at home, is very im portant to Carrie. That might actually be an un derstatement. Asked what hobbies she enjoys

most, her answer is spending time with her fam ily. Carrie is one of five children, and she has four kids of her own. She has two daughters ages 21 and 19 and two sons ages 14 and 9.

She also lives a few miles down the road from her mom and dad, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. “My first house was almost in my parents’ backyard,” she says. “Seriously, our backyards faced each other.”

The proximity to her parents meant Carrie’s kids could run over to their Grandparent’s home during lunch or meet up for dinner. “My kids love it,” she says. “My family is everything to me, and having them close by is something I’ll nev er change. “My children are my pride and joy. I would not be who I am today if it wasn’t for my children and parents.”

Carrie's focus on family lines up well with one of RC’s core values: support and care for

each other. Support of its team members is part of the culture at RC that Carrie works to emulate at her own store.

The thing that really brings the whole team together is an RC Cares project. Carrie says her team has worked on several RC Cares initia tives, and it doesn’t matter who it’s supporting. As soon as her team hears someone in town needs their support, they plug right in. “I’ve had so many moments over the years where I’m in credibly proud of my team,” she says, “but any time they rally behind an RC Cares project, that hits home with me. I always want to hire people who bring light and energy into a room and who I know will take good care of customers. If I can feel confident sending my own family to an RC store, that’s when I know I have a good team.”

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.

TK Photo courtesy Russell Cellular32 RC CONNECTIONS / FALL LAST WORD LIFE OUTSIDE

POCAHONTAS-AR

$318

WILDWOOD 2-FL $303

HUMBOLDT-TN $301

ROCHELLE-IL $299

ESPANOLA 2-NM $297

SMITHVILLE-TN $292

$280

CROSSETT-AR $278

SPRINGDALE-AR $271

BLACK MOUNTAIN-NC

FAYETTEVILLE-TN

Top 50 Stores - Donations #1 LAFAYETTE-TN $4,294 POTEAU 2-OK $1,920 AVA-MO $1,386 SWEETWATER-TN $1,306 CLARKSVILLE-AR $1,151 ENGLEWOOD-FL $1,146 SPRINGFIELD 2-MO $1,026 MANCHESTER-TN $921 TYLER 1-TX $853 MONETT-MO $848 TYLER 2-TX $833 MULLINS-SC $761 FT MORGAN-CO $729 WAYLAND-MI $627 SAFETY HARBOR-FL $569 DELTA-UT $536 BURLINGTON-CO $535 STILWELL-OK $528 UXBRIDGE-MA $527 COOKEVILLE-TN $522 CLEBURNE-TX $489 LIMON-CO $476 BOONEVILLE-AR $415 DRESDEN-TN $403 STERLING-CO $403 TAHLEQUAH-OK $403 ELKO-NV $389 RUSSELLVILLE-KY $386 MOAB-UT $376 WHITEFISH-MT $374 KINGSBURG-CA $361 ROCKVILLE 1-MD $357 ROANOKE-AL $355 CLARE-MI $353 BASTROP-LA $350 SHAWNEE-OK $347
$333 SUGAR MOUNTAIN-NC $319 MCKENZIE-TN
BUFFALO-MO
$270
$263 GREENVILLE-TX $253 Top 50 Stores - Products #1 DOUGLAS-GA 131 MISSOULA 2-MT 90 TAHLEQUAH-OK 81 SPRINGDALE-AR 78 SANGER-CA 76 FRESNO 2-CA 72 KINGSBURG-CA 71 WEST ISLIP-NY 70 CORTEZ 2-CO 64 POTEAU 2-OK 64 BERRYVILLE-AR 61 BROKEN ARROW-OK 55 STILWELL-OK 52 BISHOP-CA 47 CLOVIS 2-NM 43 DELTA-UT 42 LEMOORE-CA 40 LIVINGSTON-TN 39 BOONEVILLE-AR 38 CLEBURNE-TX 38 LOS BANOS-CA 38 CLARKSVILLE-AR 36 ELKO-NV 36 HAMILTON-MT 36 HANOVER-MD 36 AVA-MO 35 MILL HALL-PA 35 MONETT-MO 34 DOUGLAS-AZ 33 GALLUP 1-NM 32 KERMAN-CA 32 LOGAN-UT 32 MINEOLA-TX 32 WINNEMUCCA 1-NV 32 MONAHANS-TX 31 LIMON-CO 30 OZARK-AR 30 SALMON-ID 30 ANGELS CAMP-CA 29 GRANTS-NM 29 SOUTHINGTON-CT 29 ANDREWS-TX 28 FITZGERALD-GA 28 INDEPENDENCE-KS 28 PRICE-UT 28 WILDWOOD 1-FL 28 LIBBY-MT 27 ESPANOLA 2-NM 26 SALLISAW-OK 26 HANFORD-CA 25 LA GRANGE-IL 25 WINNEMUCCA 2-NV 25 July 2021 - June 2022 Recognition Cares $20,799.44 7,327 HOME OFFICE CONTRIBUTIONS RC CARES PRODUCTS SOLD
A SINCERE THANKS TO THE RC FAMILYFOR COMPLETING 247 OUTREACH PROJECTS July 2021 - June 2022 Recognition Cares RC CARES COMPANY-WIDE TOTAL CONTRIBUTIONS TOP REGIONAL DIRECTOR - PRODUCTS Kevin Ropell 1,461 Brad Loertscher 1,005 James Perez 725 TOP REGIONAL DIRECTOR - DONATIONS John Kilgore $13,342.56 Kevin Ropell $11,415.93 Brad Loertscher $5,824.68 TOP OVERALL RD TOP OVERALL TMTOP OVERALL DSM Kevin Ropell Cortny Roark Cody Gri n TOP TEAM MEMBER - PRODUCTS Ashlee Lemus Douglas-GA 48 TOP TEAM MEMBER - DONATIONS Cortny Roark Lafayette-TN $2,562 Heather Duran Cortez 2-CO 47 Kevin Valdes West Islip-NY 41 Aly Gomez Sanger-CA 32 Becky Supon Broken Arrow-OK 32 Marc Perez Kingsburg-CA 32 Kaylie Hollingsworth Lemoore-CA 31 Stephanie De Santiago Los Banos-CA 30 Joshua Espey Livingston-TN 28 Samantha Delgado Kerman-CA 28 Kayla Carter Lafayette-TN $1,116 Rebeca Martinez Tyler 1-TX $1,029 Misty Cannon-Wright Poteau 2-OK $765 Franklin Harris Sweetwatter-TN $762 Allison Myers Ava-MO $741 Nathan George Manchester-TN $656 Keke Mitchell Mullins-SC $591 Sean Kramer Safety Harbor-FL $569 Jody Contreras Poteau 2-OK $527 TOP DISTRICT SALES MANAGER - PRODUCTS Jennifer Sieg 248 Justin Padilla 236 Krissa Shewey 185 Christy Wall 163 Bri Eubanks 156 Courtney Moore 154 Rachelle Goforth 146 Nykole Castro 125 Simon Vallejo 123 Jeremy Miller 119 TOP DISTRICT SALES MANAGER - DONATIONS Cody Gri n $5,888.00 Holly Quinn $3,117.41 Brian Mastin $2,238.56 Mari Gray $2,203.00 Serina Wolber $1,970.61 Jennifer Sieg $1,556.73 Madison Wilson $1,496.69 Christy Wall $1,184.00 Krissa Shewey $1,016.82 Maria Higgs $990.34 $4,940.92 RC Cares Special Projects $78,818.80 RC Cares Products $67,678.67 RC Cares Donations $46,239.24 Employee Emergency Fund Donations TOTAL RAISED 247 Outreach Projects $35,159.83 Russell Cellular Contributions $207,104.82 RC Cares Event Support $51,180.00 Employee Emergency Fund Support $98,012.99 Cell Phones for Soldiers TOTAL INVESTED $347,790.30 Grand Total Invested $197,677.63 Grand Total Raised

Articles inside

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.