If you’re a new client to Pitcairn, Gigi Mole has worked behind-the-scenes during your onboarding experience, ensuring you have the proper documents in hand. As the Account Maintenance Team Lead and member of the Middle Office Services Team (MOST), Gigi brings a range of versatility and experience not only to her role in the operations department, but also to the Transition Team and Fiduciary Services Group. Gigi is an exceptional team player and an avid traveler. We asked her to talk about her love of Pitcairn and her passport stamps.
Q: Favorite beach you’ve traveled to?
“Beaches in Palawan, Philippines.”
Q: Favorite city you’ve traveled to?
“Prague – it was just magical. I would love to go back during Christmas time. I hear it is beautiful around that time.”
Q: Describe a fun day at Pitcairn.
“It’s great that we have different activities at work all the time. We find any and every reason to get together and celebrate something! My friends always say I have a ‘fun company’ to work for.”
Q:What has kept you at Pitcairn for five years?
“Pitcairn has a great culture and is a fun place to work. I appreciate how the company acknowledges the hard work that we all do and offers flexibility to get our work done. The care they instill in their employees allows me to walk in here feeling truly welcomed every day.”
Pitcairn’s Security Awareness Team is leading the initiative to raise awareness and encourage vigilance when it comes to cyber threats. October marks the 15th anniversary of National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). We sat down with members of the team to get an inside scoop on their plans. (From left to right: Taurean Nelson, Gina Atkins, Janice Frye, and Chris Pastor.)
Q: What is the role of Pitcairn’s Security Awareness Team?
“According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), cybercrime is getting more serious by the month. Hackers are getting smarter about tricking people into clicking on fraudulent links or opening malicious attachments in emails. In response to this national threat, Pitcairn proactively formed the Security Awareness Team to help ensure that employees understand the importance of protecting and handling sensitive information. The team is responsible for educating employees about the importance of protecting all forms of information, including data, paperwork, and intangible forms of knowledge.” Janice Frye, Managing Director
Q: What are the objectives of Security Awareness Team?
“Our overall message is that cybersecurity is a shared responsibility in which all employees have a role to play. The theme for this year’s NCSAM is STOP.THINK.CONNECT. Our goal is to empower employees to be alert and equally invested in the company’s security success.” Chris Pastor, Human Resource Manager
“All employees understand the importance of protecting sensitive information, handling information securely, and the associated risks. The program is intended to educate employees on the need to protect all forms of information. By conducting continuous phishing tests and training we are educating our employees to spot the bad guys and take preventative measures to ensure that our personal, company, and client data is secure.” Gina Atkins, Employee Experience Manager
Q: What events are planned throughout the month?
Employees can expect interactive cyber security awareness initiatives throughout the month. Our plan is to deliver the very serious and important message of internet security and anti-phishing through informative and compelling displays and activities.” Taurean Nelson, MOST Administrator
Meet Eddie Leon, Budget Analyst. He has been working at Pitcairn for twelve years. In addition to preparing business activity metrics, annual budgets, and projections, Eddie performs account payable functions as well as ensuring employees are in compliance with Anti-Money Laundering regulations. We sat down with Eddie for a quick Q&A:
Q: What is something you’ve recently learned that helped you get a project over the finish line?
“Preparing a presentation is not a skill I possess. Yet I recently worked with my co-workers to help me prepare a training presentation for a software Pitcairn uses. I learned the benefit of relying on the talents of my colleagues. Everyone had something to bring to the table and helped me improve in some way.”
Q: What is the best part about your job?
“Honestly, it’s the various interactions I have with the Pitcairn staff. Many of my responsibilities allow me to work with everyone in the company at some point. I really enjoy that collaboration. Plus, we see each other sometimes more than we see family and friends. The people that work here are fun to be around.”
In addition, Eddie has a passion for reading, we asked him a few rapid-fire questions:
Q: Fiction or non-fiction?
“I was very into non-fiction when I was younger, History always intrigued me.”
Q: Hardback, paperback, or electronic?
“Electronic for most the part, but I do like a hardback book as well.”
Q: Last recent read?
“A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore. His absurdist humor is very similar to my own in some respects.”
Q: Book that had the most impact on you?
“It is the sum of all the books that help make me who I am. From the WWII history in the fourth grade and R.L. Stine Goosebumps series to the Game of Thrones or J.R. R. Tolkien books, all in some way define and mold me.”
If you find yourself in Twinsburg, Ohio this weekend you very well may think you’re seeing double. For the past 43 years, the rural town of Twinsburg has hosted the Twins Days Festival, the largest annual gathering of twins in the world. Surprisingly at Pitcairn, we have two pairs of identical twins, Hannah Karlheim, Tax Specialist (left) and Crystal Ahmed, Family Office Accountant (right). Both Hannah and Crystal joined Pitcairn in January of 2017 and have been essential additions to the Tax and SFO Teams. Hannah organizes, prepares, and reviews our clients’ individual and gift tax returns. Crystal supports the single family office clients with general administration, accounting, and tax activities. We asked the pair some questions about being a twin, see their answers below.
Q: Have you ever been to the Twins Days Festival?
Hannah: “Yes, I have been three times!”
Crystal: “No I have not, but maybe one day.”
Q: What was your favorite thing growing up as a twin?
Hannah: “Having your best friend with you all the time.”
Crystal: “I enjoyed the instant and steady sense of connection, built-in companionship, and shared experiences.”
Q: What was your least favorite thing growing up as a twin?
Hannah: “My sister and I shared a room all the way up until we went to college. We definitely had our fair share of fights about keeping our room clean.”
Crystal: “We generally did not like taking classes together in school. Instead, we preferred excelling in our own spaces. This would allow us to ultimately succeed without the constant comparison that people naturally tend to assume when twins are in a room together.”
Q: Do you and your twin have your own language?
Hannah: “We don’t necessarily have a secret language, but we have lots of inside jokes no one else would get.”
Crystal: “My family can confirm that we had our own unique language back in the day. Now? We are still known to finish each other’s sentences!”
Q: What is your favorite thing to do with your twin as an adult?
Hannah: “Going on vacations together. We have traveled all over Europe and the United States. It is nice to travel with someone who has the same tastes and preferences that you have.”
Crystal: “Provide the best kind of support in our individual pursuits and chat for hours when we can find time.”
Pitcairn’s Learning and Development (L&D) Team is a collaborative, multi-disciplinary group of employees that generates and implements continuous learning opportunities for our colleagues. The team meets once a quarter to brainstorm and plan educational programs for the firm. L&D initiatives include programs such as Pop Ups, which are led by subject matter experts on topics regarding our offerings, industry, or general business-related items; motivational speakers whose messages are meant to encourage and energize our employees; and book club, where employees read a book a quarter and meet once a month for lunch and lively discussion. (L&D Team Members from left to right: Janice Frye, Derek Cavanaugh, Hannah Karlheim, Crystal Ahmed, Karen Carlson, Chris Pastor, Dan McPHail, Gina Atkins, Stephanie Fisher, and Ronna Gyllenhaal. Not shown: Ed DiRugeris, Ashley Ruhling, and Natalie Wolaniuk).
“Managing the L&D initiatives is one of my favorite parts of my job. It has evolved over the past three years and the results continue to strengthen the organization. The collaborative nature of the team keeps me energized and engaged. I believe that our learning opportunities are a great asset to the employee experience and growth of our firm.” Gina Atkins, Employee Experience Manager
“The Pitcairn L&D program empowers employees to grow professionally. The work of the team promotes the development of effective leadership qualities and education to improve competencies and skills. Through L&D, employees are able to engage with new ideas, participate in stimulating dialogue, and benefit from the collective knowledge and experience of the Pitcairn team.” Ashley Ruhling, Investment Communications Manager
“Pitcairn has always had an employee base that is innately curious and knowledgeable. This, combined with having a multi-disciplinary L&D team dedicated to providing opportunities for anyone within the firm to grow professionally and personally, ensures flexible and adaptable employees that remain relevant, engaged, and connected in today’s constantly changing workplace.” Natalie Wolaniuk, Relationship Manager
Meet Pitcairn’s Client Administrators (from left to right: Bernadette Simmons, Diane Ohm and Karen Zolna). The CAs play an integral role as members of our Middle Offices Services Team (MOST), delivering an exceptional client experience. Their professionalism and expertise in providing timely, responsive, and accurate service to our clients as well as administrative support to our wealth management, fiduciary services and operations teams is second to none.
Diane Ohm enjoys dancing, reading, German Shepherds, and has been with Pitcairn for 12 years.
Q: What makes your work so enjoyable?
“It’s truly a different variety of work each day. I enjoy the interaction with our clients, especially engaging them in conversation about their family, world events, vacations, etc. Another thing I enjoy is seeing my coworkers rise through the ranks and being promoted knowing how hard many of them work to study, become certified, and expand their knowledge base.”
Bernadette Simmons joined Pitcairn in 2014 and loves to read and spend time with her grandchildren.
Q: What is your favorite thing about being a part of the CA team?
“Knowing that we share a united purpose and we support each other in any way we can to get the job done.”
Karen Zolna has been with Pitcairn for over 30 years and enjoys exploring different local, state, and national parks.
Q: What has kept you at Pitcairn all this time?
“Being part of the Pitcairn team is such a positive experience. From the beginning you feel welcome, accepted, and respected. Then you learn, grow, and adapt to an ever-changing and improving work environment. The people are all friendly, smart, and extremely helpful. It makes 30 years fly by!”
February to April is a busy time of year at Pitcairn, especially for our tax team. Director of Tax Matt Hilbert makes sure the team is on point to meet filing and extension deadlines and is up to speed with the new tax reform legislation. August will mark Matt’s 30-year anniversary with Pitcairn. We sat down to talk to him about his post-tax season ritual and his time at Pitcairn.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do after the April tax deadline?
“I have kept the tradition of being one of the last customers to get our certified mail date ‘bumped’ (aka stamped) at the 30th Street Post Office in Philadelphia. After which, I treat myself to a Bulleit Rye Manhattan to celebrate. You will generally see me the day after tax season as I try to reorganize my office (really!) and follow up on any issues that jump out of the woods! I find it more pleasurable to take a couple of days off the week following Tax Day so my mind and body have been restored.”
Q: What has stimulated you over the past 30 years?
“First and foremost is the company culture – ‘A family office and office family.’ Second is the ongoing challenge of solving complex issues for our clients. While we are encouraged to think outside the box, my experience has been that working for taxable families and individuals allows me to work ‘within the box,’ as time spent dealing with one client’s issue can often be transferred across our client base. And lastly, it sure beats working for a living! The tax profession at the CPA firm level has evolved into a 70+ hour week, which doesn’t just last thru April 15th. Pitcairn provides a great work-life balance for a tax professional.”
If you are a Pitcairn client, most likely Edward DiRugeris has worked on your presentations. As the Team Lead of the Financial Planning Analysts, or FPAs as we like to call them internally, Ed spends the majority of his day collaborating with Relationship Managers on various projects for our clients. Ed joined Pitcairn’s Middle Office Service Team in December of 2014 as Client Rebalancing Associate and transitioned to our Wealth Management Team in 2015 as a Financial Planning Analyst. Ed’s work ethic and determination is reflected in everything he accomplishes, whether it’s tackling the Certified Financial Planner™ exam, or contributing to the Learning and Development Team and #FitPit, our new health and wellness team. We asked Ed to share his thoughts on why he likes to come to work every day:
Q: What do you like the most about working at Pitcairn?
“I value Pitcairn’s dedication to employee development—providing plenty of training opportunities and encouraging us to obtain professional certifications. Pitcairn provides plenty of work-sponsored events to build positive working relationships. And it encourages us to participate in philanthropic activities.
Q: What do you look forward to every day?
“Collaborating with my colleagues from different departments. I love that I can get exposure to all aspects of financial planning that you wouldn’t get elsewhere.”
When you walk into Pitcairn’s Philadelphia office, you are greeted by Laura Kremp’s smile. Laura joined the team in November 2016 as Pitcairn Experience Coordinator. Laura has a sparkling personality and a dynamic role where she contributes to both the client and employee experience. We asked Laura for her perspective on the daily work life of a Pitcairn employee.
Q: What is your favorite thing about your job?
“I love that every day I’m working on a multitude of projects and busy making things happen, from coordinating client events to organizing Office Olympics with the Fun Squad team. I leave work with items on my to-do list that I’m excited to tackle the next day.”
Q: What is your favorite thing about Pitcairn?
“The positive energy and approachability of my colleagues. Pitcairn is a company whose leadership team leads by example and genuinely values its employees and their contributions. I greatly respect the work-life balance Pitcairn provides and the philanthropic work it’s doing in the local community.”