Women With P.O.W.E.R. Tools: Fidelity Bank at Women Build

What began as a partnership to process partner family mortgages has evolved tremendously over the last decade and a half. Fidelity Bank has become one of NOAHH’s biggest supporters in the community in the last 15 years, from working on and with our board of directors to sponsoring build days to regularly donating time and support. This year and last, they joined Women Build as sponsors, bringing their new program Fidelity P.O.W.E.R. to Women Build 2018 as joist sponsors.

“The group of women who participated last year, we got so much out of it,” said Liz Broekman, team leader for Fidelity. “It was so awesome to meet Monica and see her reaction when it was all done. We go tto work with her and got ot meet her and her kids. It felt so good to be able to do something. So when we found out they were doing two houses this year, and they were getting more women, we were like, well, of course!’ We’re gonna do this and we’re gonna get more people and we’re gonna tell more people about it.”

Fidelity P.O.W.E.R. stands for “Potential of Women Entrepreneurs Realized,” and the program is for women in the local business community.

“It’s a perfect fit for the bank. We have this fabulous program called P.O.W.E.R.,” said Katie Crosby, Chairwoman of Fidelity Bank. “It is focused on women in business and helping them in anyway we can, and so this is a wonderful opportunity for the women of Fidelity to participate in making two women homeowners. I love working with the homeowners. I love meeting them. I love learning their stories. I love their how committed they are. The time and energy they give to building their houses and helping elsewhere at Habitat, whether it’s the ReStore or other people’s houses, I think it gives them the real commitment. I think it really creates a lovely bond between the people helping to build their house.

For Fidelity, working with Kina and Brittani is important not only because they are women in the community, but also because they are both–like many Habitat homeowners–hospitality workers.

“It’s fantastic that they’re both in the hospitality industry, which is another industry that we’re passionate about at Fidelity Bank,” said Liz. “The people in the hospitality industry are running our community, and we’re a community bank. We’re here for good. They’re here putting in their sweat equity. They are working hard to build their own house. They have a vested interest in it, and they’re doing their best. I’ve been inside working mainly with caulking and patching the holes, and Kina is doing the same thing. I’ve been able to work side-by-side with her and get to know her. That’s been my favorite part.”

Women Build was also a learning experience.

“A lot of us have not done stuff like this before, so some are saying, ‘oh, I don’t know if I can do this,'” said Liz. “I’ve heard that a lot today, but then I’ve heard, ‘Oh, look how I good I did’ or ‘I can’t believe I’m doing this.'”

“The thing I like about Habitat builds is I don’t know how many of them I’ve done, but it’s been more than a handful, and I’ve never been on a build where I haven’t learned a new skill,” said Katie. “This morning, I have been drilling screws into the floorboards to make the front porch. It’s a whole lot easier than a hand screwdriver and a lot more fun. I usually am using hammers. I think my arm will be a whole lot less sore using the drill.”

Working alongside other members of the Fidelity community provided a chance for them to bond.

“I was just telling Katie Crosby that it’s awesome to see a woman in her position who comes out here and sweats with all of us and puts in a hard day’s work every year we do this,” said Rachel Wilhelm, a Fidelity team member. “She’s always out here. Then seeing coworkers in a more relaxed setting, we’re a little looser. I’ve always been an athlete my entire life, and I think some of the best relationships are based on when you’re sweating and working hard with people.”

“The best part about today is working with my peers at Fidelity,” said Katie. “Being out here out of the office in a whole different atmosphere, you get to know people in a whole different way. That makes for great team building.”

Fidelity even brought some of the men from the bank out to help with the Pink Tutu Club.

“The men are awesome,” said Katie. “I love having the men help. We have Madison and Donald from Fidelity here today, and I think Madison saw that I was hot and sweaty earlier, and he showed up with a bottle of water. They are wonderful here. They’re supporting us in every way. They are feeding us. They’re giving us moral support. Madison even went and found me a new drill bit earlier. I appreciate their help.”

“We couldn’t do anything without Madison,” said Liz. “He is our chief everything, including chef. He cooks for us, he takes care of us, he make sure that we’re hydrated. We’ve got him and Donald and Robert out here that are here to support us, but they know they can’t touch the house.”