Employee Stories: Danielle Hawkins
April 21, 2021
Danielle’s Perspective – Teamwork and Building Relationships
Danielle Hawkins is a Customer Care Representative III at Heartland Bank and Trust Company. Danielle’s time at Heartland Bank started with a heartwarming experience as she fell ill shortly after beginning her career with the bank. She relied on her peers for support and values the strong sense of teamwork that Heartland Bank provided both then, and now.
Danielle is a Customer Care Representative III at our Bloomington-Normal Fort Jesse office. She has been with Heartland Bank since January 2015 and has grown into a valued resource and mentor on the Customer Care Center team.
Outside of work, Danielle enjoys going to her son’s basketball games, eating out, shopping, and spending time with family.
I had taken a brief time away from working to enjoy time with my family, but I was ready to start exploring career options. I had been a customer of Heartland Bank for six years. One day, when I was taking care of some digital banking matters, I decided to check out what kind of openings Heartland Bank had available. I always enjoyed my customer experience with the bank, and I had experience with working in customer service in my previous roles. When I came across an opening in the Customer Care Center, I applied and was hired. My experience with the team has been great.
Heartland Bank places a strong value in providing a supportive culture. I had been with the bank for just over a year when I suddenly became very ill and needed to take a brief leave of absence. During this time of fear and confusion from becoming sick, I felt so much support from Human Resources, my managers, and my coworkers. I felt so supported and appreciated that they gave me the time I needed to heal.
When you work in the Customer Care Center, you are always assisting customers and connecting with coworkers across the bank in various departments. You cannot help but develop relationships, which is one of my favorite things about my job. At the Customer Care Center, we have a great team where we can count on each other for help when needed. Before COVID-19, we had a reputation at the bank for having some of the best food days! I also enjoy being able to pass coworkers from other departments in the hallways or in the breakroom and being able to chat with them in person since I speak to people mainly on the phone or email. Heartland has the kind of environment where you never feel like you are speaking to a stranger and I really enjoy that.
Growth and Development
The number one way I have grown is with customer interactions. Without their questions and concerns, I would not have the opportunities to push myself to resolve their problems. If I do not have a solution for a customer, I take pride in leaning on my “super sleuth skills” to figure out where to go next for an answer and learning from that experience. I have been with Heartland Bank for six years, but there are always ways to improve. It is so important to be thoughtful with my questions and take notes because our center is open after-hours when some departments are unavailable to accept a customer call.
When it comes to new projects, my managers know they can count on me to help lead a new initiative and they are behind me 100%. One of my managers even calls me her “rock.” Conversely, when I have questions or concerns, they are happy to help. My coworkers consider me to be one of our department’s go-to people.
I find our team to be valuable and our team is so connected. I am proud of the openness we have with each other and we are always encouraging one another. Between the stimulus checks, the recent conversion between Heartland Bank and State Bank of Lincoln, and the pandemic, we are always there for each other through the ups and downs. We never know what kind of calls we are going to get; every day is different and sometimes it can be hard. A great team makes the hard days better and one of my favorite quotes that I’m known for saying is, “teamwork makes the dream work”!