July Employee Spotlight – Marissa Berends

  1. What have been some of the most important lessons you’ve learned throughout your career? You’re not going to always know the answer, but you can learn! I have been through several career changes, and each time I needed to learn a new set of skills for the workplace. This taught me that asking questions & asking for help is not to be looked down upon – it can lead to growth. I’ve also learned that mistakes will happen – it’s not the end-all-be-all to make a mistake here or there!
  2. Share a professional success story that you’re proud of. In my previous life, I was a closing assistant at a title company. We saw many complicated files come through, but I specifically remember a transaction involving probate, a persnickety real estate agent, an infuriating mortgage company, impatient buyers & the world’s kindest estate representative. It was not a fun time for me leading up to the closing, but after the file closed, the PR for the sell-side mailed me a letter of gratitude and a bookmark saying “You are appreciated.” Sure, it sounds corny, but that gesture made me feel good about my role at the title company. It makes me feel most rewarded when I know I have helped someone.
  3. How do you think your role continues to shape your team’s culture? I consider myself somewhat of a “yes man” –  I like to say yes when any opportunity arises (also, I love Jim Carey’s Yes Man movie). I have a passion for knowledge in this industry, and I generally love connecting with people. In 2023, I obtained my abstractor’s license in Minnesota, Nebraska, and North Dakota (it was a tough 8 months). I appreciate the growth and development that Capitol Lien has gone through since I have been aboard. I have been fortunate to work closely with Rachel since I started at CL, and she has been the best mentor. The evolution of the National Real Estate Department that I am a part of (which started off as a skeleton crew) has gained momentum, yielding an impressive amount of sales for its size.
  4. What do you love most about your job and why? This job helps me play to my strengths. Some days, I am quietly abstracting in my office at home, while others, I am at a convention, networking, and connecting with peers. This balance keeps me feeling valued and fosters a lot of my positivity. The other great thing is that I work alongside Joel, my partner of nearly 4 years. Being in this unique position has taught us both a lot about relationships and each other.
  5. What techniques help you stay organized and productive? I have learned that using my own system for organization fits me best. I don’t have the neurotypical brain, so my systems are a little unorthodox—but they work for me! I always like to be busy, so I enjoy offering help to my teammates or offering to help take on additional tasks. I find myself the most productive when my work queue is plumb-full because I tend to thrive under pressure.
  6. What do you love to do in your free time? My free time is mostly spent hanging out with Joel & our animals, binge-watching true crime, or playing video games – otherwise, if we feel like going out, we’d be attending a comedy show or concert. 
  7. What’s a cause that you are passionate about? I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2010, and I have been living gluten-free since then. My dad & brother also have Celiac, as well as several of my cousins – it is a hereditary disease. Celiac is estimated to affect 1% of the world’s population. I consider myself a resource for friends and family who are going through similar struggles with food allergies. If anyone needs any tips, feel free to reach out!
  8. What’s something most people don’t know about you? My sophomore year at UW-Oshkosh, I transferred to UW-River Falls to join the Wisconsin in Scotland program. I spent a semester abroad, living just outside of Edinburgh, Scotland. I would love to return to the UK & to visit Ireland someday.
  9. What is your favorite band or genre of music? Joel and I love live music – especially folk, Americana & bluegrass music – we have attended Eau Claire’s Blue Ox Festival for the past 4 years. We’ve probably attended 40 concerts together. Some favorites include Charlie Parr, Nathaniel Rateliff & Tyler Childers.
  10. Do you have any pets? I have 3 special girls – 2 loving pitbull/lab mixes named Scout & Blossom, and a sassy long-haired cat named Twyla (who is a total daddy’s girl)