This was taken yesterday on my 17th anniversary at MRIS. I want to share with you my story.
In 1999 I was laid off for the first time. I spent half that year on full severance and went to the beach, partied with friends, and was having a great time handling and training exotic animals at a local wildlife preserve. I was young, in my 20’s, and had my whole life ahead of me. The end of that year, I started working for Sylvan Pro-metrics as a computer tech doing their Y2K upgrades nationwide.
When the world didn’t end on December 31st I realized it was time to get a new job. My mom, Debbie Egbert, was working for a company called MRIS out in Rockville Maryland as a trainer. She said they were hiring. I interviewed with Roberta Gentile and Eric Barton. I was hired. This ended one era and was the start of many others to come.
During my time here at MRIS (a Bright MLS), I have done many things. I had my wonderful blessing of a child. Obtained and have lost a few cats and a couple dogs along the way. What I have also been blessed with is a different kind of family.
When you spend 17 years with a company you don’t just do it because of the branding or the name on a building. You do it because of who makes that company. How they shape who you are as a professional and as a human being. First there was Roberta who was able to exhibit strength and intelligence without compromising who she is as a person. Then there was Carmen Hodges who showed me how to exhibit strength and intelligence, compassion and empathy, all while never compromising who I am. Carmen continues to be a driving influence in what I do almost daily. Almost as much as my own step-mom; both have since passed from cancer. It always seems to take the good ones! Monica Williams… thank you for having faith and letting go of the reins showing me I could swim even thought I still thought I needed the boat, paddle, and life-jacket. Now I currently report to Dessie Harvey who has given me the resources to learn to be more independent and improve my relationship intelligence.
Just as important as the individuals who lead us are the people we spend our days with. Leslie Gaye (Ms. Jackson herself!) was with me for over 10 years. We cried together, laughed together, and had our angry moments too. When I look back she was a key part of my life at MRIS. There are so many but I have to thank Brenda Lawson, Brian Frankl, Qiana Downs, Hegel Encarnacion, Andrea Person. Most of us have moved on to a new life in different directions but I still value all the good times and lessons learned.
As I sit here and think back to when it all started, I smile. I’m looking out at 40 students who are as eager to learn as I am to teach. Dolly Parton “9 to 5” is playing through the speakers and I feel an energy in the room that is like nothing else. This is what it feels like to love what you do!
So when someone you know reaches a milestone such as a 17 year work anniversary, they aren’t just celebrating those years because their name was attached to a title under a company brand. They are celebrating almost a quarter of a lifetime of growth, experience, and friendship.
Thank you everyone!