Meet OceanFirst’s WaveMaker of the Month – Michael Messina

June 1, 2021

We’re pleased to highlight our OceanFirst Bank colleagues who are making a difference with the Foundation’s nonprofit partners – we call them the “WaveMakers” and they’re extraordinary leaders and volunteers.

How long have you been a member of the OceanFirst Bank team? What role do you play on the Bank Team?

I started my role as a Team Leader here at OceanFirst in late 2018, I was working from the Princeton office and the bank was half the size it is today.  Since then, the bank has doubled in size but the family feel and One Bank, One Team working together culture still continues to flourish today. In such a short time we have organically built a team of 5 lenders and moved them into our Philadelphia office.  I am proud to report Team Philadelphia has booked close to $500MM of loans to date.  Truly remarkable results, especially through an unprecedented year in 2020, shows what a remarkable team and winning culture we have built in the Philadelphia Region at Ocean First!

As a team leader here at OFB I pride myself on leading by example as a confident leader who exceeds his goals and motivates my team with a positive vision of what is needed to continue to be successful. I enjoy providing guidance for our clients and employees to help them meet and exceed their goals! I’m inspired by the continued growth of our organization and the strong teams of remarkable financial professionals we continue to build. We value different views and collaboration here at OceanFirst and are driven by a culture of quality work, reliability and exceptional customer service which is the reputation we have built in the Philadelphia Community!

If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life what would it be? 

Pizza.

What was the last thing that made you laugh?  

Our 16-month-old twins Michael and Viviana’s reaction after putting on Sunglasses for the first time – they are always making me laugh!

What has been your favorite volunteer activity – and why?  

Last month 9 wonderful members of OFB and I really enjoyed our volunteer day of giving back at the Philabundance Community Kitchen (PCK). PCK is part of a 21-year-old workforce development program for the low- and no-income adults which assists in moving people from crisis to thriving in Philadelphia through the PCK Ending Hunger for Good Program. We gave back to the Philadelphia community by volunteering at the Philabundance meal prep center in South Philadelphia by packing and sorting donated food and preparing it for distribution to our neighbors in need. In addition to volunteering, OceanFirst Bank was proud to present on behalf of OceanFirst Foundation a $5,000 Good Neighbor Grant in support of the Philabundance mission to end hunger in our communities!

Philabundance supports the Greater Philadelphia market including Burlington, Camden Gloucester and Salem counties for those individuals experiencing food insecurity. As you can image this past year, they have had a significant increase in individuals and families seeking food assistance while the cost of food and the supply chain were impacted.  The pandemic has challenged the Philadelphia community immensely!  We found it very rewarding assisting Philabundance’s mission and learning more about the many other programs they are offering for education, workforce development and healthy meals assisting the Philadelphia Community!

What has volunteering taught you?   

Volunteering helps me to maintain an attitude of gratitude and gives me a sense of fulfillment doing my part to help fellow members of my community! I am very grateful to OFB for providing the Wavemakers platform for myself and my coworkers to come together and have a fun filled day of working together to assist those in need in the Philadelphia community!

What is the last book you read?   

The Ride of a Lifetime- Robert Iger.

What is your favorite quote?

One of my favorite quotes is from NFL Hall of Fame Coach Vincent Lombardi who said: “Individual Commitment to a group effort- that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work!”

What year of your life would you redo and why?

2018- The year I married my lovely wife Natalie, went on our Honeymoon in Lake Como Italy, and attended Super Bowl 52 to watch my Philadelphia Eagles bring home their first Lombardi Trophy!

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