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Inspiring Compassion: How Cris Houlihan and Lauren Czeshinski are Making a Difference at C&B

At Cottingham & Butler, our success is defined by the remarkable individuals who bring their talent, dedication, and innovative spirit to our organization. Two individuals particularly stand out not only for their professional achievements but for their passion to make a tangible difference in the community. By founding the C&B Better initiative, Cris Houlihan and Lauren Czeshinski have spearheaded an initiative that embodies the company's ethos of continuous improvement and giving back.

 

Finding C&B

 

For Cris Houlihan, his journey with C&B began in 2011 when he stepped into the role of a summer sales intern. Drawn by the company's reputation and opportunities, he found himself immersed in a culture that fosters growth and development. Through mentorship and unwavering support, he transitioned into a full-time sales executive role, navigating the complexities of the transportation industry with unwavering drive.



Lauren Czeshinski's path to C&B was just as serendipitous. Growing up in Dubuque, Lauren heard about the company, but it wasn't until she participated in a mock interview competition during her freshman year at Loras College that she discovered the potential of a career at C&B. Starting as a benefit sales intern, she swiftly made her way through the ranks to become a Senior Market Consultant, leveraging her expertise to drive impactful solutions for clients.

 

Cultivating Growth and Innovation

 

At C&B, the spirit of innovation thrives, empowering employees to explore new ideas and initiatives. Both Cris and Lauren found themselves at the forefront of this ethos through the concept of the C&B Better initiative. Inspired by a shared passion for community, they worked together to create a program that would channel the collective generosity of C&B employees towards meaningful causes.

 

“I thought it would be exciting to actually hear from the non-profits on where they needed support and how the money would be utilized,” said Chris. “Our people are exceptional and I knew they would want to come together in C&B fashion to give back to non-profits doing incredible work, whether it be bettering brain health, combating hunger, improving access to education, or addressing homelessness. I sent out an email to some employees I was close with and nearly everyone supported the idea.”

 

The genesis of C&B Better stemmed from a desire to make a difference, especially during challenging times like the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

He called me with this big idea of trying to create something that would bring C&B together to financially impact the communities that we work, play, and live in,” said Lauren. “It was like Christmas morning for me. We tossed around quite a few ideas and quickly realized this could be something very special and truly change the way we give back to the greater Dubuque community.”


 

Through collaborative efforts and unwavering determination, Cris and Lauren transformed their vision into a formal program and grant, rallying their colleagues to contribute $100 per quarter. What started as a simple idea blossomed into a fully-fledged program, with over $130,000 donated to 14 different non-profit organizations to date.

 

Lessons Learned and Future Horizons

 

The journey of building C&B Better has been a transformative experience for both Cris and Lauren. Not only has it opened their eyes to the myriad of challenges facing the Dubuque community, but it’s underscored the profound impact that collective action can achieve. Through their involvement, they've witnessed firsthand the generosity and commitment of their fellow colleagues, reaffirming C&B's ethos of making a positive difference.

 

“There are so many hardworking, passionate people in our community coming up with creative and innovative ideas on how to solve real problems,” reflected Lauren. “It’s incredible being able to give these organizations a platform to share the work they do and have a small financial part in moving them toward addressing the needs in our community.”

 

Looking ahead, Cris and Lauren envision an even brighter future for C&B Better. With a steadfast commitment to growth and expansion, they aim to surpass the $200,000 mark and extend their reach beyond Dubuque, amplifying their impact across diverse communities. Their unwavering dedication serves as a testament to the transformative power of compassion and collective action.

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