It was what Oprah calls a “wow” moment for some customers at CIBC FirstCaribbean, recently when they spotted Chief Executive Officer, Gary Brown, who had traded his top floor office for a teller wicket at the bank’s Warrens Branch. He was performing the duties of a trainee teller under the direction of Customer Service Officer, Tamesha Goddard.

Hamilton Roett and Theresa Solomon were among those customers served at that booth.

Roett said it struck him that Mr. Brown was someone special since he did not fit the profile of a trainee teller.”But I had no clue that he was the CEO … if not I would have asked him some questions,” however he did not reveal those questions.

Ms. Solomon was all smiles when asked about her experience at the booth. “When I was told who he was I was surprised and I said ‘wow’. I could not believe that he was her (Ms. Goddard’s) boss and she was not nervous with him by her side. She was so professional.”

Rather than being nervous, Ms. Goddard had a “truly enriching experience,” she said.

“It gave me a sense of honour and pride knowing that the CEO chose an entry level position to start his first experience in the Trading Places programme, and with myself chosen to share in that experience with him” she added.

Trading Places is a programme in which CIBC FirstCaribbean senior and junior employees swap duties giving each other an insight and a better opportunity to understand each other’s roles. It also provides for interaction with customers at a different level in the organisation.

Customer Service Officer of CIBC FirstCaribbean, Tamesha Goddard trains new teller, Chief Executive Officer Gary Brown

Customer Service Officer of CIBC FirstCaribbean, Tamesha Goddard trains new teller, Chief Executive Officer Gary Brown

Ms. Goddard said she could tell by their expression that customers in the queue were confused at Mr. Brown’s presence, but said those who were serviced by them were amazed and astounded at their encounter with him. In fact, customers were impressed by the Trading Places programme and offered their thoughts on what it meant to them.

One customer eagerly chatted with Mr. Brown about her domestic life including telling him of pranks played by mischievous monkeys in her fruit trees.

The CEO was visited at the bank by family members for his ‘first day on the job as a teller.’ After a few hours on the job, he revealed that he was enjoying interacting with customers but remarked on the complexity of teller duties.

He explained “It includes a lot of careful checking and verifying of details before a transaction can be completed. Thankfully, we have a good team at CIBC FirstCaribbean as well as a modern system that facilitates this checking and verification of documents, which lends to efficiency and accuracy.

In evaluating his stint as a trainee, Ms. Goddard, his ‘trainer‘ said he was willingly to assist customers; to understand how the different system applications work; organize vouchers for easy retrieval and even hunted down batteries for her mouse.

Mr. Brown displayed a high level of customer service as he did not allow his presence and training to be a disadvantage to customers waiting in line,” she added.

The Trading Places programme is a great opportunity for junior employees to gather information to help them decide their career paths within the Bank,” she concluded.

Several other senior managers of the bank traded places and were in junior roles at other branches and units across the island.

Mr. Brown joined over 100 other bank employees from all levels around the Caribbean who took part in Trading Places, which also coincided with its annual Employee Appreciation Day.

The bank holds its Trading Places annually so that employees can get a better appreciation for jobs other than the ones they do every day, by spending time in other departments.

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