Galia Carrejo, Head of Employee Experience, signed on with local commercial painting contractor, Unforgettable Coatings Inc (UCI) in early March of 2020.
Within a couple weeks, she was navigating tough terrain with the potential for job losses at her new employer.
Responsible for the well-being of the 100 employees who work for the company in Southern Nevada, her role became critical as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. She became a resource to help employee families and even the broader Las Vegas community. Carrejo worked closely with management to assure employees would remain employed. UCI has not laid off a single employee since the pandemic started despite losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2020.
When she started with the company, Unforgettable Coatings’ Nevada office was expecting a big influx of jobs When the pandemic hit, many commercial painting projects were cancelled or postponed.
“Guys would call me and say ‘my neighbor just lost his job. Do you know if we will be next?’ We saw how people who worked for other employers lost their jobs immediately. Many of our painters were concerned,” Carrejo said. “We were able to adjust ourselves to a new way of thinking so we could keep everyone employed. We became very good at juggling personnel and jobs — trying to fulfill not just the needs of the company but also to keep everyone with a stable paycheck. It has been an amazing effort form all and a source of pride for me.”
Carrejo’s work became much more personalized. She stepped in to take an employee’s spouse to doctors’ appointments so the worker would not miss a day of work. Even today, she routinely steps in to support many employees in ways that are well beyond her job description. She helps immigrant workers in need of translation services. Carrejo has even helped job applicants who didn’t have the skill set for UCI find work elsewhere in the community. She gives to others selflessly, even as her husband battles cancer. To make the situation even more challenging, Carrejo and members of her immediate family contracted Covid-19.
Early on in the pandemic, as her community struggled, Carrejo encouraged each employee to find another person or family in the community in need. She then partnered with Cardenas grocery stores for an event where UCI gave away $150 grocery gift cards to those facing hardship.
She said she enjoyed being part of the company’s give back, empowering workers to help others in the community. “We recognized we had stability and we could help others. That was an amazing gift. Like so many other businesses, we struggled. The company chose to take losses to avoid laying people off. UCI continued to pay full health benefits and found ways to keep everyone working.”
Unforgettable Coatings CEO, Cory Summerhays, said “This disruption has provided us with an opportunity to demonstrate who we are. Investing in our people and in our community at a time of need is intuitive, and quite frankly incredibly fulfilling.”
Carrejo also organized an effort early on in the pandemic where team members were paid for a day of work to help others in the community. UCI teams gave out $15 gift cards to families waiting in long food lines and even helped pump their gas for them.
Carrejo’s efforts are meaningful to UCI beyond sales and profitability, Summerhays added. They are fundamental to the company’s core values of: Trust, Compassion and Gratitude. Prior to coming on board with UCI, Carrejo enjoyed 11 years of success in sales. She came to UCI because she wanted to be part of an organization that gave back to the community.
“I needed to feel more fulfilled when it came to my job. I knew once I had my first interview with Cory and the team, the way they talked about their employees and how they valued them, I knew I needed to work here,” Carrejo said.
Summerhays said of Carrejo, “She is expected to work with individuals who are employed with us, but she does so much more beyond that, all on her own initiative.”