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TOGA power!

How Commercial Lending serves the community through competition.

Commercial Lending, 2014, GM Financial

In May, a new group was created within GM Financial's Commercial Lending group. One not focused on figures and floorplanning, but helping others and strengthening the dynamic of the department.

"The group really came about from the results of our employee survey that was conducted earlier in the year. We realized that there were areas under our control that we could improve on," said Jeff Young, vice president of Commercial Lending. "Based on the indicators identified, we realized we needed a designated team to address areas for improvement and help build cohesiveness."

The department created a new social committee and dubbed it TOGA – Together Our Goals Achieved. A vote was held, and Nicky Williams, inventory control analyst, was selected as the chairperson.

"The basis was pretty simple. We wanted to get to know each other better, and build a stronger team," she said. "Combining team building with serving our community seemed like a logical fit to accomplish this."

The Commercial Lending department divided into several different teams, each consisting of team members from different areas. Each team participates in different events, and points are given for success. At the end of the year, the team with the highest number of points gets an award.

And so far, the competition for points has been stiff.

Earlier this year, a TOGA team helped deliver school supplies to an Arlington, Texas, elementary school that had no corporate sponsor. In the end, the team collected 1,578 items for the students.

In October, TOGA members joined with Dr. Pepper and the Salvation Army to build a new playground, in conjunction with the KaBoom! Project – a national nonprofit group dedicated to constructing playgrounds for communities.

Soon after, the team helped out with a harvest food drive with Mission Arlington, and TOGA team members are planning to participate in additional events in the near future.

"It's all about building teamwork," Young said. "When the Commercial Lending department first came together, many of us were familiar with the business, but we had never worked together. Now, we're coming together as a team and helping out where we can. Nicky has done a great job. It's all about keeping the momentum up, and she's certainly accomplishing that."

For her part, Williams says it's just about focusing on the main objective. "We just want to make a difference and have fun doing it. So far, that's exactly what's happening."