On July 11, 2023, Cindy Braegelmann celebrated her 35th anniversary with P.B. Bell.
We sat down with her and her work bestie, Susan Hawthorne, to talk about her role and how it has evolved over the past 35 years.
What does a typical day look like for you?
As a bookkeeper for P.B. Bell, I work with everyone – employees, vendors, residents, community managers, etc. – to ensure that money is moving in the proper direction. I primarily work with corporate entity payables, cutting checks and making deposits, but I’m here to support and problem solve any issue that comes up. I do whatever I can to help!
What do you enjoy most about your role?
The people at P.B. Bell and Chapin.
P.B. Bell is a great company and very family oriented. The company provides great flexibility and if something comes up in your personal life, they are very understanding. It fosters a great work-life balance.
Chapin makes P.B. Bell feel at home and that’s why we have such a tight-knit group. We feel valued by him, and that is a big motivator.
Also, my work bestie Susan! Many people at P.B. Bell have their own “Susan”—someone who makes the workday even brighter.
We have Susan with us today! How did you meet and how has your friendship grown?
We met at work! She was with a different management company, and we took over one of their properties.
Susan and I started off as acquaintances and then became close. When we came into the corporate offices, we started carpooling because we live about 5-10 minutes away from each other. Fun fact, we’ve only bumped into each other at the grocery store once or twice despite living so close to one another!
If you walk past our office, you’re likely to hear us laughing about something! And you are always welcome to stop by for a chat.
What is your favorite memory from working at P.B. Bell?
My 35th anniversary event was really cool!
Susan: Her 35th anniversary party was an 80s theme and they made it such a fun time for everyone.
Also, I’ve worked at so many different apartments, and one of the things I’d always wanted to do was start up a property. So, I started a lease up at Laguna at Arrowhead Ranch. It was so beautiful there and close to home. It was a great experience.
Student properties were always fun to manage too, like Commons on Apache and Country Gables (by Thunderbird).
What have you noticed has changed in and out of P.B. Bell during your time with the company?
Back when I was on-site, everything was manual. We had to manually write out receipts for rent checks, work orders, etc.
Susan: We had to use typewriters for some reports! Technology really has changed things.
We had to wait for things to come through the mail such as credit checks. And we had to mail documents, like invoices, making it a longer process.
Susan: We would spend hours back then on the phone doing our own verifications. The only way people could see apartments was to come to the property, but now you can go online for a virtual tour. Bank runs were daily.
Now, mostly everything is paid online, and we hardly go into physical banks. Also, today we can send checks out via an ACH transfer or wires, which makes things a lot easier.
What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?
I spend time with my husband, Mark (who I met at P.B. Bell), son and our cute Frenchie, Maggie Mae. We enjoy quality time at dinners and at the movies.
How did you meet your husband?
He helped me at a property I was managing because we didn’t have an official on-site maintenance contact at the time. We started off as good friends and now we’ve been married for 27 years. He clocked in roughly 25 years at P.B. Bell!
What is your life motto and words to live by?
This is where Susan really comes into play. I worry about everything and think to myself, “am I doing the right thing?” She has taught me to do the best I can and to not sweat the small stuff. I tell myself that everything will be okay because of her encouragement. So, a motto I live by is: “It always works out in the end”.
Susan: When I think of Cindy, I think of the saying “kill them with kindness”. There is not one person she is unkind to.
I always try to put myself in other people’s shoes. I ask the question: “How would I like to be treated?” You never know what is happening in that person’s day or life, so it’s better to come at conflict with compassion.
Susan: You don’t know if Cindy is having a good or bad day. From an outside perspective, she is always having a good day. She never treats people differently because she is having a bad day.
At P.B. Bell, the employees make it easy to be positive and respectful. All of us really work well together.