Walk and Talk with Me: How EPIC’s Tandis Nili Broke Her Coworkers Out of a Pandemic-Induced Funk

When pandemic-related stressors pushed Tandis Nili’s brokerage team to the limit, they doubled down on forging stronger bonds and fostering new connections.
By: | July 25, 2022

Like countless teams working remotely at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, Tandis Nili’s team at EPIC Insurance Brokers and Consultants quickly began burning out.

The strain of dealing with isolation, endless “Zoom-a-thons,” and the volatility of the insurance marketplace resulted in several members of Nili’s team leaving EPIC. Longstanding clients also departed as Nili’s stretched team was unable deliver their customary high level of service.

Nili’s first step toward a solution was to foster a strong sense of connection with her team members, one by one.

She began inviting each of them to take a break and go for a walk with her while they were both on the phone.

“We used these Walk & Talks to discuss personal or professional challenges, brainstorm ideas, talk about ‘when things go back to normal,’ laugh together, and shed the occasional tear,” Nili said.

Over the ensuing months, Nili’s Walk & Talks expanded to group outings.

“Some of my team members even engaged their clients in this practice,” Nili said. Refreshed and more connected, Nili’s team began exploring opportunities to engage with other EPIC teams who had also been challenged by the effects of the pandemic.

“We started reaching out and connecting with our sister entities and other resources within the organization, demonstrating our deep knowledge base and white-glove client service approach, while simultaneously learning about their capabilities and service offerings,” she said.

“This approach quickly resulted in significant collaboration between our team and other sister companies.”

In the past, Nili shared, rather than seeking out services within EPIC, there was a tendency within her organization and other sister companies to hire external providers when needs arose. “That attitude has changed,” Nili said.

“As a result of our efforts and the shift in our focus over the past year, we were able to reverse the course of our operations and emerge as a stronger, more dynamic and growing team — both within the organization and the broader insurance industry.”

Throughout the two-year journey from burnout out to dynamic growth and development, Nili and her team found themselves experiencing EPIC’s founding principle of “People First.”

“If you focus on building and maintaining a meaningful relationship with your employees, colleagues, business partners and clients, and truly care about their success and well-being, the results will follow.” &

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Raquel Moreno is a staff writer with Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected].