The 2021 holiday season is in full swing, and I hope all of you are enjoying or will enjoy special time with friends and family this year. It’s become a tradition to express what we’re grateful for during this time of year, and I’m especially thankful for several things right now, such as the health of my immediate and extended family. The older I get, the more special the holidays become, and I am ever appreciative of the wonderful people in my life. So, in all the hustle and bustle of the season, I intend to spend precious time with my husband, our three kids, family, and friends. I’m also grateful for the opportunity to lead an organization that is partnered with so many members who support us year after year, helping to drive forward our cooperative mission of people helping people.
Speaking of people helping people, I’m also particularly grateful for our organization’s Enterprise Leadership Team. Their dedication and diligence to helping our members succeed remains the guidepost that helps us navigate all our decisions on your behalf, and I can’t imagine not having them by my side during this challenging journey we’ve all been facing for the past two years.
To that end, and in the tradition of sharing what we’re grateful for, I thought I’d turn the spotlight on our ELT today and let you get to know them a little better. Below are their answers to some questions that were posed to them about the holiday season. From how they give back to what they’re most looking forward to eating (Key lime pie, anyone?), I hope you enjoy reading their answers as much as I did.
What is your favorite Thanksgiving/Christmas tradition in your family?
Denise Brown, EVP, Chief Financial Officer: No matter how many of us there are, we all sit around one table with cloth napkins and napkin rings, and everyone has their own handmade place card. I made the place cards every year when I was younger, but now that tradition is being carried out by my nieces. I love to see what they come up with each year.
Paul Hixon, EVP, Chief Member Engagement Officer: We always have an “old fashioned” Christmas tree, and my favorite part of decorating is hanging the strings of popcorn on it.
Jim Horlacher, EVP, Chief Information Officer: Viewing Christmas lights. We used to do this when our kids were little by driving through the neighborhoods. Now, as adults, we all get together and check out the lights via boat since we live in Florida.
Michael Gampp EVP, Chief Risk Officer: My family and I usually go hiking down in Hocking Hills on Christmas morning, and then we eat at Waffle House after we are finished.
What is one thing you are grateful for this year?
Paul Hixon: It’s almost impossible not to be grateful for my health and the health of my family during this pandemic. And I’m grateful for being able to continue the work that I do and having the ability to keep working without having to put my life on the line like so many others - teachers, first responders, restaurant staff, store clerks, etc.
Jim Horlacher: I’m grateful to be working for a company that cares about its members and employees.
Denise Brown: That we will be with all of my family this year (about 16 of us)!
What are you most looking forward to eating this year?
Michael Gampp: Sweet potato casserole.
Denise Brown: Stuffing. My mom makes the best. She uses a loaf of fancy bread and adds celery, onions, pecans, and lots of butter!
Paul Hixon: Sweet potato casserole and stuffing.
Jim Horlacher: Key lime pie. I know it is not traditional, but it is very popular in Southwest Florida.
How are you giving back during this holiday season?
Paul Hixon: I’m able to participate in Corporate One’s annual Angel Tree program that provides toys and gifts for children in need. My family also supports the Mid-Ohio food bank.
Michael Gampp: Instead of competing in a marathon or race like I usually do, I will be spending my time as a volunteer at trail runs, offering support and encouragement to all the people out there competing.
Denise Brown: I take my mother-in-law and a couple of her friends out for a luncheon. Most of them don’t travel outside of their little town anymore given their age and the pandemic. After lunch, I play chauffeur to any other stops they want to make. They laugh and chat and don’t have to worry about anything.
Jim Horlacher: My family contributes time and money to the Living Kidney Donor Network and the Harry Chapin Food Bank.
Whether you’re traveling far or staying close to home this holiday season, all of us at Corporate One wish you and yours a very merry and meaningful holiday season.