December 17, 2021

Intouch Says Farewell to Three “Long-Haulers” – But First, A Q&A!

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If you’ve visited the Intouch culture blog before, you’ve probably read about our “boomerangs” – folks who were once employed at Intouch then left the company, then came back. We’re proud to say we have a couple dozen boomerangs, but we’ve also got plenty of “long-haulers” – Intouchers who started years ago and never left. As we close out 2021, we’re saying farewell to three long-haulers who are retiring (one is semi-retiring) at the end of this month. Check out our Q&A with (in alpha order) Kim Bishop, SVP, Managing Director, Client Services; Greg Kirsch, SVP, Human Resources; and Connie Mullinix, SVP, Finance & Administration, to learn what made Intouch worth staying for.

First: How long will you have been with Intouch when you retire?

Kim: I joined Intouch in September 2003, making it 18 years and 4 months with the best agency on the planet.

Greg: I started at Intouch in June of 2008 … so I will have been here 13 and ½ years.

Connie: 22 years.

Many of those on my team are long-haulers or semi, and we have worked together for years. ~ Kim Bishop

What made you stay as long as you did?

Kim: Our purpose. I love doing what we do to help people (and a few animals) address their health problems, change behaviors, and live a more quality life. Also, the people at Intouch and the client relationships. And always, [Intouch CEO] Faruk. He is inspiring and always optimistic. I could be facing difficult account challenges that I would take to him at times. He always believes in us and Intouch. I would leave our discussion feeling more upbeat and encouraged.

Greg: I loved being part of something that was growing and vibrant, where you could make a difference. I love the entrepreneurial attitude. If you wanted to do something — you did it. Not a lot of bureaucracy. I was able to start the foundation of our creative department and build our learning and development department. That’s pretty cool!  

Connie: I had the good luck to be part of Intouch since the very beginning, and Intouch is very personal to me. I wanted to be part of the amazing adventure and watch it’s evolution from the inside.

Kim Bishop
Kim Bishop

Is there anything you have missed about “the old days,” when the company was much smaller?

Kim: Knowing every single face when you walk through the office — we’ve gotten so large (not that that is a bad thing!), it’s not as easy to know everyone now. Also, being in the office!

Greg: I have missed the camaraderie of a smaller company. I knew everyone who was here. You’d see them in the hall and would know their name. We were all in this together. Also, we were generalists. Now everyone is a specialist. I miss seeing Faruk every day like I used to.

Connie: I do miss knowing all the Intouch people and interacting closely with each one.

How has the company culture changed over the years – or has it?

Kim
: It’s expanded but basically the same: Work hard. Play hard. Taking care of our own. Everyone pulling together and crossing lines to help each other and the team be successful.

Greg: It has to a degree. As we’ve grown, we’ve become less “all hands on deck.” We are more specialized, disciplined, and focused on efficiency now — all good things. Yet, in a way, I miss the earlier days when we were the underdog. When we were scrappier. When we all would pitch in, using our strengths however we could. But don’t take that to mean that Intouch hasn’t continued to be a great place to work. I give credit to Faruk for keeping that “Intouch family” culture alive and thriving.

Connie: I think Intouch does an amazing job of trying to give back to everyone who makes the “Intouch Magic” work. We keep adding more benefits and looking for more ways to recognize and reward our people for the hard work they do. COVID has taken away from the “work hard and play hard” approach, but Intouch has done a pretty good job of trying to have everyone feel connected, even if it is remotely.

I was able to start the foundation of our creative department and build our learning and development department. That’s pretty cool!  ~ Greg Kirsch

Greg Kirsch
Greg Kirsch

I’m sure retirement will be wonderful, but what will you miss most about “coming to work” every day?

Kim: Simply put, my team and my colleagues. You build deep trusted relationships over time. Many of those on my team are long-haulers or semi, and we have worked together for years. 

Greg: The connection with people who have become friends. Since I’m only “semi-retiring,” I’ll still get to interact with the people I want to. I’ll still get to train and coach, which is the best part of the job.

Connie: I will definitely miss interacting with the people! One day recently, there were more people in the office than usual, and several of us had an impromptu gathering to chat. It made me realize how much I miss seeing everyone in the office on a daily basis.

Connie Mullinix
Connie Mullinix

I think Intouch does an amazing job of trying to give back to everyone who makes the “Intouch Magic” work. ~ Connie Mullinix

Do you have a funny story from “back then” you could share?

Kim: When I was hired at Intouch 18+years ago, I was asked about my computer skills. I stated that my capabilities included emailing my family and shopping online. Little did they know that was the full spectrum at the time. I have learned so much! And I love learning something new every single day — which, coincidentally, is one of Intouch’s core values, live to learn. Social media didn’t even exist when I started here! 

Greg: Nothing for public consumption. 😊

Connie: I have lots of funny memories from Intouch’s early days. We moved from our original tiny office to an office that had far more space than we needed at the time. It had quite a bit of open space. Faruk, Ozzy [Berkoz, VP, Information Technology], and several others liked to play soccer in the office after hours. One day, I came in after a game had taken place the night before and found leaves on the office plants taped on the stems. They were casualties of the previous night’s game. They hoped I wouldn’t notice. 😊  In that same office, we had one conference room that doubled as Faruk’s office. Faruk had to listen in on all meetings whether he wanted to or not. We’ve come a long way since then!

If you’d like to work for a company that takes care of its own and inspires employees to stay for the long haul, visit our Careers page today to learn even more about what makes Intouch unique!