EMPLOYEE OF THE QUARTER: CAELA FUGATE

Whether you need help with a time-sensitive project or answers to a complex problem, Caela Fugate is considered your “go-to person” for solutions here at Priority1. We are proud to announce that Caela is our Employee of the Quarter for Q4, 2021! Joining Priority1 just under two years ago, she has been an absolute asset as our Executive Assistant. Her continued success at Priority1 includes writing our current blog feed with informative news articles and, most recently, planning our incredible Annual Sales Awards & Banquet held in Las Vegas! When asked what she loves most about Priority1, Caela expressed, “To put it simply, the people. We have an incredible group of individuals who strive for the utmost success every day. Outside of my family, my motivation also stems from witnessing such a young group of people create bright futures for themselves.” 

Among many things, she is responsible for completing numerous and varying tasks from start to finish for many members of the company. These tasks can include creating Pipedrive and ZoomInfo accounts, compiling and editing monthly blog posts, project planning and execution for high-profile events and corporate training, spearheading content creation for two websites, general reporting, assisting our CEO in vital tasks, and much more. Caela’s advice to new employees is, “There’s an endless supply of life lessons, successes, and opportunities at Priority1. Don’t simply search for them; seize every single one.” 

When asked about Caela, Dan Berardi, CEO, shared, “Caela has been a terrific fit for Priority1.  Caela is an excellent communicator, well organized, and has incredible follow-up skills. Her most significant strength is her ability to anticipate needs in the business before they become issues.” 

Caela graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a BA in Creative Writing and Professional Writing. She is a first-generation college graduate bred from a microscopic Italian family in the pit of Louisiana. Both a pastor and Marine’s daughter, Caela expressed, “I’m motivated by my long-standing goals and generational grit. Every day I take a moment to remind myself where I came from, what I’ve overcome, and the few who were always in my corner, including my incredibly supportive husband. He’s my biggest motivator, reminding me every day how proud he is of how far I’ve come in such a short period.” 

When Caela is not hard at work at Priority1, she’s with her husband, Grant Fugate, probably watching a Marvel/Disney movie and battling for space on the couch between her two dogs: Cleo, a four-year-old English Bulldog, and Koda, a one-year-old white German Shepard.  

If you’ve ever seen the hit TV show, ‘This is Us,’ you’d understand why Jack Pearson reminds Caela of her most admired person and the impact he had on her life, her father. After striking out on his own at 16, he entered the Persian Gulf War as a 19-year-old Marine and escaped an under-ground mustard gas attack in the Kuwaiti desert. As a result of the gassing, he was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s Disease at 35. Until the age of 18, Caela spent most of her time taking care of his medical needs and supporting his mental health before his passing in 2016. Caela says, “He was an otherworldly figure, and despite the crippling pain of his disease, I never once heard him complain. I’ll carry him with me always.” 

Caela’s passion for writing will ultimately lead to a personal goal of one day making a name for herself in the writing world and publishing a memoir. She lives by a personal mantra she first heard quoted while watching the late-great Robin Williams deliver it on screen in Dead Poets Society: 

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

Caela is undoubtedly writing her own verse here at Priority1, and we are excited to see all that she will continue to accomplish. Thank you, Caela! Tune in next quarter to see who we name as another rockstar here at Priority1!

By: Wendy Brightwell   

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