This is a River Run employee spotlight that you might find a little “cheesy."
When she is not leading the day-to-day and strategic Human Resources efforts at River Run, Samantha Buschman continues to make a name for herself as Wisconsin’s fastest-growing “Curd Influencer."
It was becoming clearer, as 2020 ended with increasing business and a recent acquisition, that HR was no longer a part-time gig at River Run. That is when the Operations team embarked on the mission to find a full-time HR Generalist.
And when Sam, as she likes to be called, applied for the role and interviewed well, it was clear that she was the “cream of the crop."
Sam had been very busy in the HR department of a restaurant group when the pandemic hit. She went from a fast-paced world of staffing multiple locations and compliance issues to eventually being laid off as COVID-19 took its toll on the restaurant industry. Not one to sit around feeling sorry for herself, Sam decided to get busy by working on her social media presence. And then, she had an idea that has “aged” very well.
"Restaurants started opening again. I was all about supporting local businesses, so once a week I was supporting restaurants," she said. "I got cheese curds and, for whatever reason, I decided I was going to make a video of me rating them."
"I've always been a cheese curd fan. I just thought it was a just a regular thing to eat cheese curds all the time," she said. "I want to go everywhere. I have a list of places I want try cheese curds at and it keeps growing."
Her list has more than 100 places to try cheese curds around the state. She rates them on a scale of one to 10 in four categories: breading, cheese, sauce, and overall. She has yet to find a 10 out of 10, but her top-rated so far are tied: Bonfyre Grill in Madison and Camino, Palomino, and Eagle Park Brewery in Milwaukee.
Even after the COVID-19 pandemic is over, Buschman plans to continue to grow her social media presence with this fun effort.
"It's a good excuse to get cheese curds with family or friends and help local businesses with their comebacks," she said.
And Sam’s posts, pics, and videos with her reviews and recommendations are easy to find on Instagram and Facebook with her account @wisconsincheeseplease.
Her following is growing, and other influencers are taking notice.
“Just last week, Charlie Berens, an actor and comedian famous for his folksy, midwestern schtick, followed me and said he might do a video with me. He’s hilarious.”
As much fun as Sam has been having away from work, her focus on culture and the team at River Run is already having a big impact. In her first two months, she has helped to hire and onboard five new employees, institute new wellness activities, update the employee handbook, commence a new compensation study, launch an automated PTO system, and improve the effectiveness of the employee engagement tool.
She is quite an influencer indeed. River Run is proud to have Sam on our team and can’t wait to see how she flourishes here while she and her Curd Crew ripen.
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