Putting the 'Service' in Dealer Services
Dealer Services team members serve a very specific and important role for GM Financial. In the locations where they work, they're often the point of contact and "faces" of the company, with a reach that puts them in the heart of what's going on in different areas across North America. And, thanks to the opportunities afforded to them through the company's Community Investment program, many of these team members also use their considerable reach and unique perspective to go beyond business and find ways to make an impact and better the communities where they live and work.
"Our Dealer Services team members are incredibly active in community activities, all year long," said Terri Porterfield, assistant vice president Branch Operations. "From coast to coast, we have literally hundreds of individuals who give their time to help others, in an array of ways. Though we can't highlight everyone, it's important to realize that the spirit of giving is alive at every one of our locations, day in and day out."
Below are a few notable examples of how these dealer-driven team members are finding ways to give back and make a difference in different ways.
The 'paw-fect' place to make a difference
When Seattle Credit Manager Jen Morgan and her team decided to do some community volunteering, it didn't take long to decide where they wanted to go.
"After some discussion, we decided to reach out to our local PAWS center," she said. "We have several animal lovers on the team and we were all enthusiastic about it, so that's what we went with. It was a pretty easy decision."
And after completing their first PAWS volunteering event, she's confident they made the right choice. PAWS is a charitable organization with one simple focus – people helping animals. The group rehabilitates injured and orphaned wildlife, and shelters and helps homeless cats and dogs find new homes.
"Volunteering was great," Jen said. "The people at PAWS were very appreciative."
Jen, her team and Administrative Assistant Teri Brown helped fold and organize pamphlets, clean and organize pet crate carriers, and cleaned the location's kitchen and other areas that are sometimes neglected due to the workers constantly caring for the animals. It was all done using Community Investment hours, which was a significant plus, Jen said.
"We're planning to go back. We’d love to," she concluded. "It's a fantastic place to volunteer."
Serving those who serve
Nashville Dealer Relationship Manager Carlye White is very knowledgeable about sacrifice. He sees it firsthand every time he volunteers at the Fisher House, located on the Army's Fort Campbell base between Kentucky and Tennessee.
"Fisher House is sort of like a Ronald McDonald House for military families whose loved ones are being cared for at Blanchfield Army Hospital, which is also on the base," explained Carlye. "It's a comfortable place where families can shower, eat and sleep between hospital visits – sort of like a home away from home."
About four times a year, Carlye participates in the Wounded Warrior Lunch at the Fisher House, helping to cook food and spend time with some of the wounded veterans who meet weekly as a support group.
"It's great to hang out with these soldiers," said Carlye, who's been participating for about three years now. "Some have been through tough experiences, so it's the least we can do to take some time to talk and laugh with them."
In addition, he also participates in Angel Wings – a dinner event created by Carlye and friends that is held at Buffalo Wild Wings. Proceeds are collected at the event to purchase Under Armour packs for soldiers, as part of the Wounded Warrior Project, and the event includes a silent auction to sell other Wounded Warrior Project items.
"These packs come with shirts, socks, shorts and other clothing essentials that anyone would need – and believe me, these soldiers need them,"” Carlye said. "Often, wounded soldiers are stripped of their clothes and equipment when they arrive at the hospital, and these packs provide personal belongings they can call their own. They run about $99 each, so it's a great way to give back to these guys who've sacrificed so much for us."
Building in the 'City of Brotherly Love'
With its roots in the founding of America, Philadelphia is quite famous for its historical architecture. But earlier this year it wasn't the buildings that brought Regional Sales Manager Scott Micale downtown – it was the desire to do some building of his own.
In April, Scott and his team participated in a Habitat for Humanity construction project, right in the heart of Philadelphia. Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization devoted to building simple, decent and affordable housing using volunteer labor and donations. Partner families can purchase the houses through no-profit, no-interest mortgage loans or other special financing methods.
"It was a great experience," Scott said. "Working on this house allowed our team to get to know each other better while we worked together to get the job done."
The group tries to organize a volunteer activity at least once a quarter, and they had such a great time with the first project that they signed on for another Habitat house in Philadelphia later in July. And this time, Ron Duckwall, vice president of Credit Center Operations and additional Credit team members from the Philadelphia Credit Center joined in.
"To have Ron and some of the center's Credit team members out there with us was especially great," Scott said. "It's nice that the company allots us Community Investment hours to do this work, and it's pretty neat to work together on a project of this scope and know that once you’re done, a family is going to live there and make it their home."
The team is already eyeing another Habitat project to participate in, and hopes to help construct a house in suburban Philadelphia this month.