Fireside with Retiree Cheryl Tristan

June 28, 2024 - After more than 24 years of dedicated service, HighGrounder Cheryl Tristan retires this month. Cheryl began her HighGround career on the investments team, later became Operations Manager, and serves now as Client Reporting and Trust System Administrator. Throughout the years, Cheryl has worked diligently and with keen attention to detail to serve HighGround's client partners. We sat down, fireside, with Cheryl to look back on her time here and to celebrate her many contributions.

What brought you to HighGround?  
HighGround’s Chief Investment Officer and Client Services Coordinator at the time, Ron Dugan and Collin Harbour, respectively, recruited me to join the Investments team, and the team turned out to be “just right,” as Goldilocks would say.

What part have you played in advancing HighGround’s mission through the years?   
While my title has changed over the years, my basic role or goal has stayed the same - to efficiently collect, accurately process, and timely distribute data or information from various applications in a format of value to our client partners and internal client team. My key contributions to advancing HighGround’s mission were in welcoming new employees through the first orientation program, conducting user-based technology training sessions, and being available to assist team members; working on system improvements and conversions across various departments; collecting and sharing as many details as possible to provide insight into the connections between departments, processes, and historical elements; and continually thinking about ways to become more efficient and client and user-friendly.

What about your work at HighGround have you most enjoyed?  
I have enjoyed the variety of assignments, enhancing my skills through advancements, and being a resource of information to assist team members with process improvements and system bottlenecks.

Tell us about a favorite memory or story from your time at HighGround. 
There are such fond memories of the people themselves, but I enjoyed the time when the entire staff would take time to gather over Friday donuts, build friendships, and show support for one another. Wayne Cherry would stand near the coffee maker nodding and smiling, and Lynn Craft and Joyce Bagley would join in at the largest round table. The laughter was often heard down the halls, and we learned trust and support during those special moments.

What is one of your most rewarding achievements or moments while at HighGround? 
My most rewarding point was having the professionalism of the Investment team of Joe, Kellie, Carol, Yvonne, Collin, and Ron to welcome, mentor, and encourage me during my tenure and having made lasting and supportive friendships. Of course, rewarding in a separate way were lunch outings, where the lunch bunch danced and sang in our chairs to the music of the moment, lifted each other up in prayer when circumstances gave us joy or pain, and stepped up to assist each other.

Which of HighGround's core values resonates most deeply with you and why? 
There are certainly pieces from each core value – Client First, Servant Hearted, Integrity, Innovation, Visionary, Professional Excellence – but I would say I minored in Innovation and majored in Integrity. I was continually pushing myself and others to use technology, look for opportunities, and share ideas for improvement while doing so with integrity, like making the effort to identify the contributions of others or presenting an opposite opinion.

How do you like to spend your time? What are your hobbies or passions? 
Sharing experiences and time with people that respect, appreciate, and/or love me is how I like to spend my moments in life. Gatherings bring me joy, so it seems spending time with family, friends, and their families and friends classifies as a hobby. Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." 

What are your plans for retirement? What are you looking forward to most? 
My retirement wish is to finally get to a point of relaxation while counting down the days until my supportive and loving husband, Francisco, joins me. I am looking forward to flexibility and discovery, and this is not a hint to join anyone’s spa day. 

Any parting thoughts for the HighGround team?
Thanks for the opportunity to give a good day's work.

Ephesians 5:16-20 (NLT): “Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”