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The end of the 2018 calendar year brings about a natural time for reflection. And while Jim, Jami, Cameron, Stephen and Dan are busy brainstorming with their teams and each other about how we can build upon our 2018 successes in 2019, I can’t help but sit back and smile thinking about what a fantastic year it has been. In fact, our company has had such an amazing year that Santa gifted us two Austin Grahams! That’s going to be pretty hard to top next year! Let’s go through a few of the things that KeyMark has done through the years that make it so special around the holidays. Ornament Decorating and a Christmas Movie: While we have fun year-round, KeyMark’s spirit really shines during the holiday season. One activity that the KeyMark holiday season typically includes is ornament decorating. Most ornaments are topical, self-deprecating, or usually involve some sort of candid photo of KeyMark CEO Jim Wanner. Working like elves during a company-sponsored lunch, KeyMark employees have created a lot of comical ornaments through the years that are revisited annually as we decorate trees around the office. In my quest to learn more about this time honored KeyMark tradition, I caught up with Professional Services Manager Jim Hall and Integrations Specialist Warren Evans, who elaborated on the ornament decorating custom.
“I really enjoy our annual Christmas movie and tree decorating party,” said Evans.Hall added that,
“A few years back, a group of us went to Waffle House for lunch and then followed lunch up with shopping for ornament supplies. The next day, the entire company made ornaments and watched Die Hard. It was awesome.”This year, KeyMark employees watched Home Alone 2 while we made our ornaments. Business Development Reps Joey Barrett/Alex Frazier and Solutions Analyst Heath Rosenberger/Jim Hall tied for first place. Tacky Sweater Day: Another KeyMark tradition involves a tacky sweater day. Support Supervisor Leah Rice won with flying (and blinking) colors, after we saw her dance moves and light-up sweater. The ante continues to be upped each year in this contest. Christmas Party: The Christmas party is a great time to get together with our co-workers and their families. This year, Kim Wanner and Dianne Wilson will be putting on KeyMark’s annual Christmas Party at the Lazy Goat in Greenville, SC. Per annual tradition, no KeyMark employee wants to miss this event, as it serves as a preamble to the Christmas holiday, akin to a torch lighting or a dove release. But behind this humor and holiday spirit is a deep-seeded will to see employees and our customers succeed. And a lot of that begins with KeyMark CEO Jim Wanner. Jim has such a passion for people, proven in our business successes as well as how our employees talk about their KeyMark experience. It’s no wonder that KeyMark has won a Best Places to Work in SC award for three consecutive years. The KeyMark Spirit to Build Others Up: The KeyMark holiday traditions are really just evidence of the close-knit family environment that KeyMark has created. For example, each year, KeyMark employees vote on a “People’s Choice Award” for someone to win President’s Club alongside the KeyMark Sales reps who have exceeded their quota for the year. This year’s winner was Professional Services Manager Keith Cua. Business Development Rep, Joey Barrett is still a relative newcomer to KeyMark, hired in July 2018. He had this to say about working at KeyMark:
“During the six months that I have worked for KeyMark, I’ve truly felt welcome as a member of the team. I know that everyone wants me to succeed, and that I can reach out to anyone, at any level, to ask questions and receive great advice.”Barrett elaborated what it’s like to work at KeyMark by saying,
“Outside of work, our company events, cookouts and holiday celebrations have allowed me to relax and have fun, and add to KeyMark’s family-feel. In a short time, it is already clear to me that the best thing about KeyMark is its people; people who believe in working hard towards goals, helping each other, and enjoying the moments along the way.”Barrett’s comments were echoed by long-time KeyMark employee Rita Goldenberg, who was just promoted to Sales Associate. Rita has been with KeyMark for 17 years, a tenure that isn’t all that rare when it comes to KeyMark employees, who are often here for the long haul. During a Sales meeting I had the pleasure of sitting in this morning, I heard Rita describing her passion for KeyMark. She said:
“I couldn’t work for a company I didn’t believe in. I get up in the morning looking forward to the conversations I can have with people to help them and their companies improve what we do.”Vice President of Human Resources, Stephen Middleton joined KeyMark in January of 2018. He commented that
“We all want a great place to work, to enjoy the company of super co-workers, where you can care and be cared for.”In describing KeyMark, Stephen says KeyMark has allowed him to be part of a team who encourages employees to get better every day.
“We are a mixed bag of really good, caring people, who do really, really great work!” added Middleton.These sentiments really describe what it’s like to work at KeyMark. As I have attended events this year and seen how our KeyMark team interacts with our customer base, it is evident that we are genuinely building relationships for life. And it’s pretty simple: our customer’s success parallels our own success. So as 2018 comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect and be thankful for KeyMark’s values, traditions, and spirit to see employees and customers succeed. And if tradition is any indication, 2019 will be another year to remember! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!