A Bittersweet Anniversary

CU executive recollects close call on Sept. 11, the date of her wedding anniversary.

September 11, 2011
KEYWORDS anniversary , trade
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Living a fuller life

Although Brimmer returned to work the following day—“I basically went into the office and cried”—it took several months for her to get back into a routine.

But the experience has changed her in many ways. She’s attends religious services more often, does more volunteer work for her synagogue, looks forward more to holidays and other family events, and lives a fuller life.

“I don’t want this taken the wrong way, but my husband and I used to do everything for our kids. Being the financial person I am, I’d say to my husband, ‘we can’t afford to do that; we have to do this for the kids.’ I’ve always loved baseball, so we started getting ticket plans for the Mets. And we stated going to concerts—sort of treating ourselves because you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

She’s also more assertive.

“I’m the type of person who listens to authority,” Brimmer says. “When I heard that people in the other tower were told to stay there, I probably would have stayed there. If it happened now, I’d say ‘no, I have to get out.’ I’d stand up to authority even though that’s not how I am.”

Brimmer left Xcel Federal in 2003 and took a couple months off before joining United Nations Federal Credit Union and then Pinnacle Federal, where she’s been since April 2009.

Eventually, she hopes to retire, travel to the Far East, and have grandchildren to spoil.

She plans to visit the National September 11 Memorial & Museum within next couple months. “Now is the time for the families who lost someone. Unfortunately, it’s the politicians’ time, too.”

Brimmer believes people became nicer to each other after Sept. 11 (for a while), and that they’re more of their surroundings and what can happen. Some people became more religious—others less so.

As for herself: “I’m doing fine 10 years later. I have a happy life. The kids are older and have graduated from college. I know some people who moved out of the city because they couldn’t deal with it. I had a good support network of friends and family. That’s the most important thing.”

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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