St. John Properties’ employees were definitely on the nice list this year.
To celebrate achieving a huge financial milestone in 2019, the American real estate company let its 198 employees split a US$10-million bonus.
A heartwarming video documenting the Baltimore-based company’s end-of-year holiday party shows employees being handed bright red envelopes and being instructed not to open them.
“Now is everyone excited about the surprise?” Larry Maykrantz, the company’s president, asked the crowd to an eruption of cheers. “All of us have hit a major milestone. We hit 20 million square feet in our portfolio, worth $3.5 billion.”
Edward St. John, company founder and chairman, then took over the mic.
“Everybody is important in this company and everybody performs in this company, they really do,” he said. “You’re all participating in a bonus, based on the number of years, of $10 million, and now you can open your red envelopes.”
The footage shows the moment the employees open their envelopes, which each detailed the amount they were receiving.
The camera pans around the banquet hall, catching the emotional moments full of happy tears.
“What happened tonight was magical,” Danielle Valenzia, an accounts payable specialist, said to the camera. “It is life-changing. It is, it’s really amazing. That is so generous.”
Valenzia told the Baltimore Sun she has five kids, five grandchildren and in-laws.
“I steer the boat but they’re the ones who run the boat,” St. John said in the video.
“Without the team, we are nothing. We are absolutely nothing.”
Some employees said they were planning to use the money to pay off mortgages, take dream vacations and send their kids to college.
The company was established in 1971 and started off as a small, local real-estate business that’s grown into one of the largest and most successful in the country.
Since 1998, the private Edward St. John Foundation has doled out more than US$60 million in grants to formal education programs.