Most people want to work where they are recognized for contributions and can grow and move up within an organization.
It is just as beneficial for organizations to create an environment where employees can thrive—and it’s what we strive for.
“We’d much rather promote our people whenever possible than hire externally,” says Chesapeake Bank Chairman, President, and CEO, Jeff Syzperski. “It’s a win-win for us when we can reward hard work and grow our employees and our organization in this manner.”
MOVING UP AT CHESAPEAKE BANK
The recent transition of four Chesapeake Bank employees is the perfect testament to our culture. These employees were all promoted at the same time; Jill Ortiz, Branch Manager of the Gloucester branch; Jessica Dehoux, Customer Service Associate (CSA) and Mortgage Loan Assistant; Rachel Dye, Assistant Branch Manager and Cathy Mise, Commercial and Mortgage Loan Officer, Mathews Branch Manager and Regional Manager of the Middle Peninsula.
It started when Cathy transitioned to the VP of Mortgage Loan Operations in our Kilmarnock headquarters.
Cathy has always been one to look for opportunities within the organization. She loves mortgages and is the type to ask why — then take a deeper look. Her 30-year experience in various roles allows her a broader lens to view how things come together.
Her inquiry into our mortgage processes revealed opportunities for us to improve the experience for the customer and the lender.
Fortunately, we were in a position where we could restructure to accommodate expanded focus.
THAT ONE MOVE LED TO THREE OTHER PROMOTIONS
Rachel and Jessica worked in the same building with Cathy for several years. They made their goals known early, and both credit Cathy with training and pulling them in on special projects.
Jessica started as a CSA in 2008, then moved up to serving as Cathy’s full-time Mortgage Assistant in 2016. Cathy’s transition and the mortgage boom in 2020 allowed Jessica to step into her Mortgage Loan Officer role fully.
This also freed up the Branch Manager position for Rachel and allowed Jill the opportunity to become Regional Manager.
“I have always made it known that I wanted to be Branch Manager, but I honestly was not expecting this for another 5 to 10 years from now,” Rachel says. “When I think about it from the perceptive of I have almost been here ten years, it makes sense. But when I think about it from the perspective of my age, it amazes me! I will be 30 in March “
While both took advantage of certifications and other structured training curriculum at every opportunity, Jessica adds that “it was the hands-on training that benefited me better than any online course or textbook could ever do.”
Jill came on board as a part-time teller in 2012 with about ten years of previous banking experience. As a result, she quickly became full time, then back-up Head Teller, then moved to CSA before becoming a Branch Manager at Hayes and later Gloucester. She doesn’t have a formal degree, but like the others, she has earned many certifications and was clear about her interest in moving up.
She expected to become a Regional Manager as the next step, but she assumed it was a few years away. “It just goes to show that anything can happen at any time, she says. “You have to be ready for it.”
PREPARING FOR THE PROMOTION
We encourage employees to communicate with their supervisors, to set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable/actionable, relevant/realistic, timely) goals, and seek training opportunities. Coaching between employees and managers is ongoing throughout the year to review performance and the steps needed to meet the next goal.
“Here at Chesapeake, if you work hard, excel at your current job, and take advantage of training and education offered, when the right opportunity presents itself, you will not only be ready to move forward, but management will recognize you as someone ready to step out and into a new role, says Pat Lewis, Director of Human Resources. This is exactly what took place here — everything just fell into place. “
All four employees speak positively of our organization, and they enjoy camaraderie with one another. Each recommends making the most of mentorships within the organization, networking, taking advantage of every opportunity, being clear about goals, and asking for what you need to make it happen.
“Each employee has stake in their growth — it’s not just up to the supervisor to get you there – it is your responsibility,” Cathy says.
RAISING YOUR HAND FOR THE JOB
There is something to be said for people who want to excel and learn more. When an employee raises their hand to an area of interest, it makes it easier for any organization to know how to support them but also who to call when help is needed.
When you have a specific position or project in mind, Jeff adds the following tip to give your request more power, “Some people say they want to do something new, but they don’t explain why it would be good for the organization. If you can connect the dots, it makes the decision a lot easier for supervisors. If you can demonstrate why it’s beneficial to the employee and the organization, why would any leader or superior not say, ‘Yeah, let’s do it.’ That’s raising both boats.”
ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A GREAT PLACE TO WORK
We are an equal opportunity employer serving four markets: Richmond, Williamsburg, the Middle Peninsula, and the Northern Neck. Visit our website to learn more about job openings, benefits, and training opportunities.