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July 02, 2024 | 7 min read
Employee of the Month: Michele Brita


You pass them in the halls, see their faces on Teams calls, and exchange emails. You know their job title and department and might even know their extension by heart. But do you truly know who you’re working with? Get to know Michele Brita, one of our Directors on the Healthcare team and Tandym’s Employee of the Month for May 2024! 

Who are you?

I was born and raised in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Growing up with my younger brother and my identical twin sister, my parents threw us right into the Bethlemen education system – from preschool all the way to Bethlehem Catholic High School. For college, I went to Bloomsburg University where I studied Speech Pathology and Audiology. I excelled academically, earning the spot of top honor graduate as one of four valedictorians from my graduating class (I got it for the College of Science and Technology). 

I continued at Bloomsburg University for graduate school where I earned my Master’s in Speech Therapy and then worked as a Speech Therapist at a skilled nursing facility in Bethlehem until 2016. That year, I moved to New York City to join Tandym. I currently live in Tuckahoe, a town in Westchester County, NY, with my boyfriend-turned-fiance, John. 

Do you have any hidden talents?

I don’t think so. I guess if I had any sort of talent like that, I’d say I’m pretty good at trivia. I know a little about a lot of things – more specifically movie quotes, actors/actresses’ names, and all that stuff. Pop culture is my thing. I also pride myself in making a damn good chicken cutlet, but that’s not a hidden talent. I openly brag about that any chance I get. 

You’re a very family-oriented person. Give us a rundown of what’s being served at a typical Sunday dinner at the Britas household.

(Audible cheering) Okay, this question was made for me. We’re an Italian family, so you know we do it up. There’s got to be a dip to start off the gathering, usually a mayo-based one. Then, some fresh mozzarella and a charcuterie of some sort before we get into the good stuff. Chicken cutlets are a staple at my house – they’re my dad’s favorites and my mom makes the best ones you’ll ever have. With the cutlets, you have to have a side of pasta. The go-to in my house is an oil & garlic pasta, preferably with linguini. There are always tons of bread, a big salad, and, of course, plenty of wine. And, if we’re feeling crazy, maybe some meatballs. Mind you, all this is done by mom while she has her “cooking dirty martini with stuffed olives” – which is a must for her. Every Sunday dinner is better than the last. 

Who were your heroes / inspirations growing up?

I would say both of my parents for different reasons. My dad has been a hard worker since day 1. He’s always had a job since he was a kid and, when he became an adult, he dove right into the world of finance. He’s a “boots on the ground” type of guy with anything he does, so he put in his hours and made a name for himself. He now is running an entire team under him, but still is grinding like no other. 

My mother raised 3 kids and maintained a wonderful household growing up for us. And then on top of all that, she went back to school for education to become a teacher and then eventually the Program Director of the preschool at the same school where my siblings and I went to. Whether we were at home or school, she was always there. They both put in that hard work and now they get to go to the Bahamas all the time and have drinks while floating on lazy rivers. That’s inspirational to me! 

It’s hurricane season and you’re stuck at home for the weekend. What are you binging?

Honestly, it’s probably going to be a show I’ve already seen before. Something along the lines of “Game of Thrones” or maybe even “Grey’s Anatomy” so I can enjoy and brush up on my business techniques to recruit Physicians. Whatever it is, it has to be something I can do from start to finish. I absolutely hate waiting for another episode to come out. I need it all in one sitting. 

Did you find Tandym or did we find you?

Tandym found me! A former employee of the company requested me on LinkedIn to try and place me as an SLP. I worked at a SNF in Bethlehem, PA and, while I did love working with patients, I was more intrigued by the business side of it. I was also itching to move to a big city, and it was between Philly and NYC. However, I ended up passing on the opportunity to be an SLP at one of Tandym’s clients.  

Months go by, and that same recruiter posted something on LinkedIn about how the company he worked for was hiring. It took me over a year to pull the trigger, but I figured this was my shot. When I finally got an interview, I had to fake a family emergency to be able to come to NYC for the job. I came and only interviewed with the Physicians team – and they had me shadow someone for a few days and I got the offer soon after.  The craziest thing is I knew nothing about recruiting – the business, the terminology, nothing. This was the only place I’ve interviewed at that didn’t have to do anything with being an SLP (besides the time I got a job at Red Robin). I’ve got to say, it’s been working out well! 

If you could create a new app that doesn’t exist yet, what would it do?

Okay, hear me out: a way to check temperatures for places you’re about to go. And no, I don’t mean a weather app. I hate being cold. I’m always cold. So, If I’m going to a restaurant or movie theater and it’s going to be freezing in there, I want to know ahead of time, that way I can bring a hoodie, blanket, or something. Trust me, every woman wants this too. 

How did it feel to win Employee of the Month? And what advice would you give your coworkers who are looking to earn that title someday?

I wasn’t expecting it at all. I saw my boss, Katie Niekrash, go up to present to the winner, so I knew it was someone from our team. I didn’t think it was going to be me though. I honestly thought it was Adam Bottorff. But then she started describing one of the girls on the team, so I got suspicious. Listen, I’m not used to being the center of attention. Growing up a twin, I’ve become accustomed to sharing that along with accolades. So, when they announced my name, I was taken aback. At the end of the day, the best part is the gratification from my team and the people I work with every single day. It was amazing that they cared enough to nominate me. I had a full-on Sally Field moment, “You like me, you really like me!” 

If anyone asked me how to earn this nomination, I’d say show up – and not just physically being there but mentally too. Be a sponge, listen, ask questions, and accept the answers. Obviously do your job, but also soak up any information from anyone else along the way. During COVID, I worked with and interacted with Rahul Vyas a lot and learned from him and his work ethic. It’s also about keeping on going through the tough days. My dad always says, “take the day, feel your feels, and get back after it.” And especially with our group, we all work together. So just remember, you’re not on an island, we’re a team and use those resources. 

If you could invent a new holiday, what would it be and how would people celebrate it?

It would be called Pasta Day and it would involve just a day where everyone makes it a point to hang out outside, drink wine, and eat pasta. It must be a nice day for it to happen too. Maybe April 25th – because it’s not too hot, it’s not too cold – all you need is a light jacket. Did you just get that “Miss Congeniality” reference? But, yes let’s go with Pasta Day. And maybe we’ll allow gluten-free pasta, but that’s as far as it goes. No cauliflower pasta or anything like that! 

What are your goals for 2024 and beyond?

Just continuing to grow. Everyone says it, but obviously making it Chairman’s Circle is always a tier of success you want to hit. And on that journey to I want to make sure that I’m growing not only on the candidate side, but the client side as well. I want my team to be excited to work on my jobs whenever they come in and that means building all the relationships.  

Also – continuing to teach and help all the younger, newer people on my team. I love helping people and helping them succeed, but it also helps me refresh my skills and reteach myself things I might’ve been overlooking. I want to be that reliable source for my team for both business and advice. 

If you could be a character in any book, TV show, or movie, who would you be and why?

Well, it would have to be someone who has a good ending to their story. You know, a happily ever after type of deal. This is tough so give me a second. I think I would be Marisa Tomei in “My Cousin Vinny”. She’s stylish, funny, capable, smart, and doesn’t take anything from anyone. Plus, she helps solve a murder and is on her way to getting married at the end of the movie, so that’s great. Although – I don’t think I want to marry Joe Pesci. But hey, can’t have it all! 

(Side note: Michele Brita wrapped up this interview around 4pm on Thursday, June 20th. Two hours later, she was proposed to by her boyfriend. She’s on a roll!) 

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