Growing our EPI Team during a Pandemic

Growing our EPI Team during a Pandemic


Every great company is made up of even greater people. We believe that at EPI, we have the best people, not that we are biased or anything. In order to continue to provide high quality educational content for our members, we invest in our employees and their growth within the company. Since the pandemic hit, we have promoted two employees to team lead positions, hired new talent to grow our team, and have actively participated in leadership training and continuing education courses. Investing in our team has not only improved the quality of our content but has made for a more positive work environment that focuses on collaboration and creativity.

Chase Ross, Marketing Team Lead, promoted August 2020

What changes do you see in your team since becoming team lead?

CR: Our team has shifted recently in more ways than just my role. My initial mantra for where I wanted our team to work towards being was “proactive instead of reactive.”  We’ve taken fantastic strides in this direction with an increase in strategy meetings, project planning, and new initiatives.

How do you anticipate this structure will improve your team in the upcoming year?

CR: Our whole company, not just our marketing team, had a complete structure shift this year. Going into 2021, we have a better understanding of the direction we want to go and we have the pieces in place to get there.  

How has leading a team virtually differed from in person leadership?

CR: It helps to have complete trust in your team and not have to worry if they’re getting the job done or not. While we’re not physically together as much anymore, we’ve utilized the resources we do have to keep everyone on the same page and connected. Everyone has stepped up to the challenge of supporting each other virtually.

Joseph Klauer, Member Experience Team Lead, promoted July 2020

What changes do you see in your team since becoming team lead?

JK: Some of the biggest changes our team has seen are in communication and collaboration. We are only a 3-person team and communication is vital to make sure all tasks and projects get completed and deadlines are met. Since we are a small team, collaborating on projects is also essential. Our team is in the office two days a week and usually we use those days to have team meetings and work on projects. An open line of communication for our team has been great and I think it has helped gain new insights and improve the overall EPI Member Experience.

How do you anticipate this structure improving your team in the upcoming year?

JK: I think this structure will help to bring new fresh ideas to life and give the EPI employee a lot of room for creativity. The open line of communication where all employees’ voices are heard is not just in our department, but throughout the entire company. I think this structure will help to build stronger working relationships and bring tons of new fresh relevant ideas to the EPI community. A lot of great things are in the work at EPI and I cannot wait to see what is in store for 2021!

How has leading a team virtually differed from in person leadership?

JK: To be honest, I have only led in a virtual environment as I became team lead during the COVID lockdown. Some of the ways we have stayed the course virtually are open communication, team check-ins and collaboration to meet deadlines and complete projects. I think that leading virtually and during a pandemic you need to really focus on your team members and how they are doing. Do they have enough resources? Are they getting enough support? Where can you be of help? I think these are some questions all team leads should ask during this time as we are all adjusting to the new normal and figuring out ways to be successful virtually.

Colleen Kowalski, Marketing Coordinator, hired August 2020

Where did you work before you started at EPI?

CK: Before I started at EPI, I was a Social Media Marketing Manager at a Four Diamond Hotel in Toledo, Ohio for two years. I managed the marketing materials for the hotel and its two restaurants, collaborated with community leaders, and curated visually striking content to share across all social media platforms.

What are you most excited to learn about in your new role?

CK: I am most excited to learn about the Exit Planning Industry and how I can relate exit planning to other topics in unique and unexpected ways.

How will you help EPI into the new year?

CK: I believe I will be helpful in providing an outsider’s perspective on the industry and will be able to include a fresh take on our products and courses. I hope to grow our engagement with the exit planning community.

What are two interesting things about yourself?

CK: I am very invested in social media marketing. So much so that I have an Instagram account for my dog, Remus Lupin! When I am not working, I am most likely watching clips of Broadway shows to hold me over until Broadway opens back up. My favorite musicals are Waitress and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.

William Detki, Office Assistant, Hired August 2020

Where did you work before you started at EPI?

WD: Prior to joining The Exit Planning institutes, I served as office manager with a company providing hyperbaric medical services for leading hospital centers. I also currently work with a company providing advanced financial, operations and administrative support. As well as I am responsible for coordination and communication with clients and management of their vast vendor network

What are you most excited to learn about in your new role?

WD: The exit planning world is new to me. I am looking forward most to learning about the behind the scenes work it takes to keep not only EPI running but the entire CEPA program.

How will you help EPI into the new year?

WD: I believe my contagious positive demeanor and encouraging can-do attitude will leave the team inspired to continue to work together on another successful year

What are two interesting things about yourself?

WD:  I love collecting orchids and I am really into True Crime.

Paige Koerper, Marketing Coordinator taking Certified Digital Marketing Professional course with the Digital Marketing Institute

Max Humphrey, Marketing Coordinator taking Certified Digital Marketing Professional course at the Digital Marketing Institute

What do you hope to gain from the Marketing Certification?

PK: From this course I hope to gain fresh ideas that I can take back to the marketing team. The Display and Video Module is what I am looking forward to most because video is going to be a huge initiative for the marketing team in 2021. Video is an extensive undertaking, so I am eager to learn more about it and ensure we do it correctly.

MH: I hope to learn more on how we can expand the content we have and put it Infront of a wider base of possible leads across more digital platforms.

What skills did you have before this course that have been improved since taking the course?

PK: Before taking the course, I thought I had a good understanding of social media marketing, but after completing that module I realized there is so much more to it. Throughout 2020, EPI has been trying to “do more with less” and ultimately increase efficiency. Making sure your campaigns are cohesive and support your overall goal is crucial to increasing efficiency. If you can create campaigns that do the work for you, you free your team up to do more.

MH: I had a good amount of knowledge in marketing strategy and content creation. We already have a content calendar in practice, but now we can better implement a content strategy after reviewing different tools in this course.  

Snider Scott

Scott Snider, Vice President of EPI

How has EPI changed with the team transitions and new hires this year?

I was just reflecting on this the other day. I feel better than I have ever felt about our organization, team and direction. I think this current team is more together, creative, communicating better, collaborative and stronger than we have ever been before. The beginning of the year was a critical pivot point for us and we have made another pivot with our team. These pivots will be to make a significant impact on our industry and on the overall community as a whole.

How has the pandemic impacted the team?

It permanently changed us….for the better. It was a very tough several months on the entire organization. However, as a team we learned more about our customers, our company and even more so about ourselves. Stepping back, we refocused our roles, we invested in transformational leadership training and other professional development activities, we came together through team building and bonding activities, I think very much so found some purpose and passion and a clearer strategic direction with a new set of core values.

Where do you see the team going in the new year?

I am wildly excited about the future. If the last couple of months is any example of what the future holds, it is going to be great. Fresh content, fresh ideas, new member benefits and support, amongst other items. Internally we have had half our people finish the transformational leadership program with Dr. Fred Johnson and the other half will be finished by the middle of January. All the foundational pieces are in place to move towards greatness. And I believe this will be the team that does that and really moves this organization towards making a significant impact.