AND THEIR STORIES
The Buck Stops Here
“As long as I can remember, I've been taught to be accountable for my actions, words and decisions. When I worked in customer service at a huge telecomm company, so many times we would receive calls from unhappy customers who didn't receive what they were promised. I quickly learned that another way of telling them 'the buck stops here' was by giving them my name and direct number. At that point, I owned it and left the customer with a positive view of our company, which was a 'win-win'."
“Although the customer base at Cook and James is different than at the telecomm company, I still apply the same concept of thinking when it comes to accountability. My actions and decisions, whether it's the lender or the borrower, will be a direct reflection on the company and could impact the outcome of a closing. I take pride in 'owning' what I do and ensuring a closing goes as smoothly as possible. If it does, it's a ‘win-win-win’!"
“My current work environment promotes accountability on all ends since we are all working towards a common goal. I can't tell you how many times I've heard 'that was my fault' or 'I did that because...’ At Cook and James, I feel that all of my teammates are accountable and believe that's part of the reason for success!”
-- Ann Zdilla
The Devil Is In The Details
“Both departments that I have worked in here at my time at Cook and James require me to be very detail oriented, especially in the Title Opinion Department. The title opinion starts the flow of the process in our company and a mistake on our end can trickle down to the signing aspect of the loan, which would delay the closing. I strive at being very thorough and detail oriented in my job (sometimes too much) as I take pride in my work and want to do the best for Cook and James. We have such a wonderful family and even though I have been in this field for a long time, I continue to learn through the knowledge of all my other coworkers.”
-- Kim Charlier
Can't Never Could
“Having the right attitude is key in this company. Although what we do every day is the same, not every day has the same outcome. Some days can be more stressful than others, but it’s all in how you handle it."
“When I first started with Cook and James, we did not have the number of employees that we do now. We had so many closings coming in and were completely swamped. I was trained very quickly and of course was still confused, but I was determined to learn the job to the best of my ability. I worked past my shift every day to make sure all closings were scheduled that I had taken that day. It was all very overwhelming but I was determined to get through it. As we started getting more employees, each day was not as difficult as when I started out. As we have been continuing to get busy, I have kept the same attitude and try to challenge myself every day to do better than the day before.”
-- Kristin Pook
Swing For The Fences
“It is all about confidence. We are confident that we can meet any client request due to Cook and James’ expertise and knowledge base. I do not always know how something will be completed, but I have complete confidence in the team’s ability to meet the client’s need. We have had our knowledge base tested in the past when taking on new ventures. When faced with a new challenge, we forge ahead confidently and we find the solution. We’ve learned to trust our problem-solving skills as a team and project confidence to our clients, giving them much-needed peace of mind.”
-- Angela Pascoe
Come Hell Or High Water
“As a Cook and James team member of over 5 years, I related to this one the most. It is an unspoken commandment, from the most senior employee to the ‘newbie’, that we leave NO man or woman behind.”
“There are have been many days over the years that I have worked my scheduled shift, then had to come back on later in the evening or morning to help the team. It is NEVER expected but once you are part of this family you do whatever it takes to keep it together!"
“The start and end times of our shifts are more of a goal, not a barrier. Each team member knows that logging on early or staying on late is how we stay on top!"
“Our environment is definitely not cut out for everyone, but if you are more concerned about ‘getting it right’ rather than ‘getting done on time’, then welcome home!”
-- Jamie DiGregory
Mama Didn't Raise No Fool
“Most employers tell you they have an ‘open door’ policy or that your ideas or input are valuable. Surprisingly, at Cook and James, I quickly learned that they actually MEAN it! If I had an idea on how things could work better, all I had to do was tell them and explain how that would make things work better, and it would be implemented. Unheard of!”
“Upon my first promotion, I was put into a Quality Assurance Specialist position where that was my primary job - making Cook and James work smarter, not harder. I reviewed every single position at the company and, together with Heather and Kara, made so many changes that I cannot even count. Slowly but surely, we found we could do more with less and fewer things were repeated.”
“The partners insight to dedicate a staff member to giving this area it's due time was amazing. We continue this core value today, making sure all processes and procedures are reviewed on a regular basis. We don't want to become irrelevant or out of touch with our industry. We've used technology to our advantage throughout my time at Cook and James as well. While other companies spend tons of money and time with the newest and greatest software, we put money into our own software to make it work for us. Anytime we are faced with a new challenge, we put our heads together and figure out a way to make the technology work for us.”
-- Brook Zink
You Catch More Flies With Honey
“In this industry, one may deal with a plethora of different people daily. Along with the large variety of people comes different attitudes, situations and circumstances. Some may be favorable, while others, not so much. I take pride in making the best out of a negative situation. This trait has aided me in building great working relationships with our attorneys and clients since I've been with Cook and James. Some of my strongest working relationships are with people who were thought of as ‘difficult’ to work with. I find that patience, reasoning and understanding will often bring people to one common ground. I find joy in helping others. As Cook and James employees, it's our opportunity to be someone's problem solver and hero. There's ALWAYS a way to turn a difficult situation into a smile!”
-- Devin Kirkland
Old Keys Won’t Open New Doors
“Years ago I was excited to be offered an office job. I learned lots of new things and then… it got stale. Nothing new, nothing different, nothing challenging. I became very bored and felt stuck. No one was willing to teach me more. I’m not sure if it was due to insecurity or simply not taking the time to do it. I eventually realized it was not going to change and decided it was time to move on to other opportunities.”
“I started at Cook and James as a PM doc sender. Then I moved from PM to AM. Not really knowing what to expect early on, I strived for much more. When I was offered the corrections position, it was a little intimidating but I was ready! The corrections inbox was very messy and disorganized, so it became my little baby. I cleaned it up and made a process that seemed to work well. The corrections slowly started to become less and less. I also learned how to schedule when I took on this position.”
“Once corrections started cleaning up and slowing down that opened the door for deeds. Deeds were exactly what I needed to challenge myself. Then I took on NY deeds and tax forms from the ground up. It was not an easy start but very rewarding to see it go from something foreign to feeling like I could do it in my sleep. Then GA/NY recording and NY disbursement got added to my responsibilities. Having my knowledge in deeds helped me so much with recording.”
“Then I stepped into a manager position and that has been the most challenging yet. To learn how to juggle employees and still complete your tasks while on shift has been very different than any other role. Now I am taking on the TO team and have so many new things to learn. It can feel overwhelming but I love expanding my knowledge.”
“I continue to look forward to new opportunities and challenges here at Cook and James. I have been offered several opportunities to grow in my five years here and I value that more than anything. Accepting change is so very important to our progress. With it, we become a valuable asset and the possibilities are endless.”
-- Carissa Stripling