Employee Spotlight – Justine Bennett
This month’s Employee Spotlight is on Justine Bennett! Justine is the Office Administrator at CU Engage, and she does a phenomenal job keeping the office humming by providing bookkeeping, HR, and administrative support to the team. In a little more than a year, Justine has definitely found her niche in the team and is somehow always willing and able to help when the team needs her.
An Outgoing Introvert
Justine was born in a small town in Pennsylvania, her parents moved her family to Pinellas County Florida when she was 3 years old. Later, she moved to San Diego in 1996, and then back to Pinellas County in 2000. She is not a fan of Florida’s heat and humidity but loves Pinellas County. One thing in particular that she loves is the beautiful parks and beaches. She doesn’t like the beach when it’s hot, but the sunset is always beautiful.
When Justine came to CU Engage, she had decided it was time for a change, and she started looking for a new opportunity, specifically one that could provide the personal and professional satisfaction she was starving for. She read the job posting, researched CU Engage, and excitedly realized it was the opportunity and the environment she was looking for. We are lucky to have her, and she wears many hats with ease. Prior to CU Engage, Justine worked in numerous industries including grocery, wholesale boat supplies, home health care, real estate loan servicing, third-party logistics, private/corporate jet sales, and more. Her certifications include Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Master, QuickBooks, and Accounting.
Justine has been married for 18 years and has two beautiful daughters, Gracie is about to turn 18, and Colbie just turned 13. She has 4 sisters, 8 nieces and nephews, and 1 great-niece (not including her husband’s side of the family!). They enjoy having large get-togethers for birthdays, holidays, vacations, dinners, and game nights. She says her kids are “the best hobby ever” despite having been told that children are not hobbies. She loves that they keep her busy with swim meets, basketball games, Bible Quiz Meets, Girl Scouts, theme parks, vacations, video games, and board games, just to name a few things. Justine also enjoys volunteering as a team mom, pedicures with her girls, and is obsessed with a few select games on her phone.
Justine is an “outgoing introvert” and a Libra, which is all about balance, so she tends to live in the middle, able to see or accept or argue in either direction. She says that if she were the newest crayon in the box, she would be sunshine yellow because “it elicits joy and makes me smile, hopefully I do the same to others.” You’ve read this far, and you probably already feel a little more joyful than when you started, so read on and add a little more sunshine to your day.
Fun Facts about Justine
Q: What is your guilty pleasure? A: Chocolate, pretty much anything chocolate.
Q: If you could learn to do any one thing, what would it be? A: Learn another language.
Q: Have you ever met anyone famous? A: Kirk Cameron, Rob Stone, Tony Danza came to our Skating Rink in the late 80’s. I worked at the rink, so I got to meet them “backstage” and talk to them.
Q: What is on the radio in your car? A: 90.5 Spirit FM.
Q: First concert? A: Hahaha, Kenny Rogers, with my mother when I was about 10; was not my idea.
Q: Describe CU Engage in 5 words or less: A: Welcoming, energetic, innovating, motivated, and excellence.
Q: What would you do if you won the lottery? A: I would buy a modest house with two bathrooms, not too big – don’t want a lot to clean, on a large piece of land, help family, friends, and strangers, volunteer for disaster relief missions, invest where my money can work for me, take my husband to Hawaii, and the one ongoing extravagance would be a personal chef; I do not like to plan meals and cook on a daily basis.
Q: Do you have a motto or a mantra? What is it? A: Take pride in your work, no matter how small, or how much you dislike what you might be doing at the time, do the best you can do.
Q: What is one thing about you few people know? A: I was baptized in the Gulf of Mexico.
Q: Top three four life highlights: A: Baptism – 2001, married – 2002, daughter #1 – 2003, and daughter #2 – 2007.
Q: When you have 30 minutes of free time, what are you doing? A: Playing a game on my phone or getting a pedicure.
Q: What chore do you hate? A: Cooking dinner.
Q: What do you enjoy most about working here? A: The overwhelmingly kind and positive atmosphere and the willingness of everyone to work together and help each other.
Q: Are you messy or organized? A: I love being organized and the act of organizing, but I feel disorganized a lot, mostly because of my children.
Q: Do you have an office nickname? A: Not that I’m aware of. (Writers note: it’s “Justine the Queen”)
Q: What is your spirit animal? A: Giant Panda.
Q: Advice for new hires? A: Jump in and feel at home; ask questions, everyone is eager to help you succeed.
Q: What is your favorite 90’s jam? A: Um, I’m an 80’s girl, so if we were talking 80’s, there are so many totally tripendicular jams to choose from… the ’80s were the best for music, movies, clothes, and of course, the hair.
Q: When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried? A: A few nights ago, with my daughters, happens pretty often with them. And, at Jenn Addabbo’s story, told to the girls gathered in the lounge one night at last year’s team retreat.
Q: What was your favorite book, toy, or outfit as a child? A: I had an Inchworm; it was a ride-on toy. My grandmother gave it away at some point, and the fact that she did still comes up in conversations today.
Q: Is the glass half empty or half full? A: I say it’s simply halfway. Halfway to whatever is next.