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How National Funding is Growing Success With an Employee-First Environment at The Plaza

When National Funding, a company that has been supporting small businesses with lending solutions since 1999, started looking for a new space in San Diego, they leveraged their long-standing relationship with Irvine Company to help turn their vision into a reality.

“We’ve had a multi-decade relationship with Irvine Company. When we needed to upsize or downsize, they’ve been there for us, and with this move, they truly understood our needs,” says National Funding CEO David Gilbert. “Culture to me is key. So we started with the employees first, creating an environment that prioritized their health and wellness.”

The opportunity to take a hands-on approach to bring this new space to life was something that Kurt Gering, Chief Human Resources Officer at National Funding, relished. “This was my first experience being able to basically build from the ground up. We’ve tried to create an environment where people want to be on a daily basis. A lot of that has to do with the design of the office. Creating natural light for everybody, getting rid of that old office mentality and opening up to the idea that the employees’ health and wellness is what’s important.”

Kurt Gering, Chief Human Resources Officer

“We focused on creating a space where every single employee, no matter where they are sitting in the building, has a view of the outside world.”

Kurt Gering, Chief Human Resources Officer

The ways in which The Plaza optimized their connection to the outdoors—and each other—was a huge selling point for David Gilbert. “When you come to The Plaza, you see the water, the fountains, and the opportunity for people to meet with their friends or family to have lunch. The Plaza is in a whole different league of its own.”

Along with the abundant outdoor spaces at The Plaza, its direct access to Westfield UTC has given employees a new level of convenience. “The Plaza has been game-changing for us and our employees because of its proximity to the mall, says Gering. “Also, it’s so nice having all of those amenities on the property for people to enjoy before and after work.”

“Access to natural light was really important to me,” continues Gering. “And bringing in that sense of fun and culture that we have here. We’re big on sports and games, so having places throughout the space where people can connect on a break to play a quick game of shuffleboard or ping pong, and build their relationships across the silos that are typical in other office spaces.”

Chief Credit Officer Sandra Otero says she’s received nothing but positive comments from other employees about The Plaza. “Everyone really likes the openness. They like the colors. You can feel the difference when you’re walking around. Our old office was a lot darker, so collaborating was challenging, but here everything is so open that it encourages people across departments to communicate and work together.”

As for the future, National Funding is keeping the throttle down on growth, expanding operations in Southern California along with plans to launch new initiatives on the east coast and throughout the country.

To hear Gering summarize the experience of relocating to The Plaza, it was seamless from beginning to end. “The Irvine Company team was exceptional. They facilitated us getting the optimal space that we wanted and then brought the design to life in a way that helped all of our employees experience something new, unique and powerful.”

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