From online sports trivia to virtual cooking events to happy hours and weekly Zoom “movement” and meditation sessions conducted by experts, the creation of internal culture chat channels — and so much more — Intouch has stepped up to keep our culture strong and our minds and bodies healthy, even as we continue to work apart. Individual Intouchers have also been flexing their creative muscles during the pandemic, taking on new hobbies or home projects, teaching themselves new skills, writing songs, creating podcast content, and even trying their hands at house-flipping. In this post, we thought it would be fun to showcase just a few of our cool, interesting employees who are making the most of the pandemic – enjoy!
Proud Plant Papa
Weston Thomas, an account manager in Kansas City who already loved plants pre-COVID, has become the proud plant dad of more than 50 green babies since work-from-home began.
“Initially I started with only a few succulents because it was the ‘trendy’ thing to do,” says Weston, “but as each season passed, I found myself bringing home more and more plant friends to keep me company living alone in my one-bedroom apartment. Aside of providing clean air, the plants soon became my favorite interior design elements.
“With my main hobby, musical theatre, temporarily out of commission due to the pandemic, I found myself with evenings free to sit on my patio, nurture my plants, and even start my own little vegetable patch in my apartment’s community garden. The plants inside my apartment have definitely added to making my ‘work from home’ vibe more comfortable and mentally pleasing. I’d also be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the ‘wow’ factor my friends and family express when they walk into my apartment.”
Susan Zhu, a medical analyst in Chicago, creates watercolor paintings of homes, nature, pets and wedding-related materials. This past spring, she had the opportunity to create illustrations that she never had before with her “quarantine specials,” which kept her quite busy. “It was awesome – I painted dogs, homes and gardens – there was a little bit of everything. I also did two 9×12 illustrations for Mother’s Day commissions, which were the largest pieces I’ve ever done!”
Fledgling House Flipper
Jasmine Mundinger, a learning and development manager in Kansas City, may be one of the most adventurous Intouchers right now: Together with her high school best friend, who studied interior architecture in college, she’s in the process of flipping her first house.
“My best friend and I spent hours upon hours watching HGTV and have dreamt about flipping houses since we were 14 years old,” notes Jasmine. “After both of us completed live-in flips, it was evident we were still passionate about renovating homes. Chatting over a glass (or three) of wine, we discussed how we still wanted to pursue this dream but our significant others had some valid hesitations. At this point, we thought, ‘Why don’t we just do it together?’ This was how Felix Properties KC was born and led us to our first investment property.” You can follow along via Instagram @felixpropertieskc
Mental Health Podcaster
Brandon Gregory, a senior front-end developer in Kansas City, is one of Intouch’s overachievers. He’s also an Intouch “boomerang,” one of many Intouchers who has left and later returned to the company. Brandon has been perfecting his baking skills AND – together with a co-host — creating content for his podcast, Peculiar Picture Show, which explores how movies depict mental health/illness. “I get pretty real on mental illness in there,” says Brandon, “and we use some foul language.” Currently, the podcast has 44 episodes; some of the movies discussed include 12 Monkeys, A Beautiful Mind, Clueless, Fight Club, Office Space and even Return of the Jedi and Rocky. Check out his podcast here!
Language Learner Extraordinaire
Deb Lebakken, a quality analyst in Kansas City, is currently learning Spanish with the help of the language-learning app Duolingo. “I went with Spanish since I already know more words in that language than any other (other than English, of course),” says Deb. “I’ve long wanted to learn it, plus one of my best friends was born and raised in Puerto Rico. Because of this — and the fact that Spanish is becoming more and more common in the U.S. — I decided Spanish seemed the most logical.” Another motivator for Deb was a trip to Mexico she and her husband were considering after their 2020 Hawaii trip was sidelined by pandemic travel restrictions. In the end, they decided not to go to Mexico either (thanks, COVID), but that won’t stop Debra from learning Spanish anyway. After that, she says, “Next on my list are German and Norwegian, and possibly Hawaiian.”
*Duolingo logo is the property of Duolingo, which has no affiliation with Intouch Group. Logo shown for illustration purposes only.
Intouch Culture Keepers
Michael Tatasciore and Shauntay Twitty — an office coordinator and a senior officer manager, respectively, in New York — coordinate and promote fun/educational weekly virtual events like cooking classes, yoga, trivia and more. “Intouch has always placed a high value on culture,” they say. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York office adapted quickly to bring our energy into a virtual setting, as people need culture and entertainment now more than ever. We host a number of interactive and engaging events every week from trivia and bingo to mixology classes and cook-alongs.”
“Many coworkers are seeing their peers in a new light, as we feature their hidden talents in our events, while others go head-to-head in fast-paced themed showdowns. In addition, we curate custom short films for our take on a late-night TV show. We have also organized stand-up comedy and variety shows from professionals outside of Intouch. As people who thrive on fostering interpersonal connections, these creative outlets provide a platform where we now feel closer than ever. With events across a wide range of interests, our goal is that each employee can find a way to decompress while keeping Intouch’s dynamic culture alive.”
Would you like to work for a company that values its employees’ creativity, curiosity and mental health? Visit our jobs page — we’re hiring in multiple cities!