Maple Grove woman uses unique artistic ability to bring laughter to fellow employees working from home
Like many people, Therese Linscheid has worked from home a lot this year.
"As an administrative services team, we wear many hats, and we can do this," she says. "I just felt like doing something a bit more fun."
Linscheid didn’t have to go far to inspire her Cargill co-workers. A few steps from her home office space are a walk-in closet filled with colorful outfits, masks and shelves full of hats.
"The first day we were working fully from home, I went into the closet and I took selfies myself wearing different hats from my collection," Linscheid says.
Then, on March 18, 2020, she took a giant leap in selfie fashion design. It involved a lot more than hats.
"I’m her Facebook friend and all of a sudden, she started doing these photos when COVID-19 started," recalls Barb Tedford, a longtime friend. "Every day I looked forward to seeing them and she just didn’t quit."
Linscheid used herself as a model to create caricatures of figures from popular culture or history. Her photogenic gallery of characters includes Fiona from the Shrek movies, the Godfather, Mr. Rogers, and even a French-influenced Gene Simmons, from the rock group Kiss.
"It was fun," Linscheid laughs. "I looked on youtube.com for how to do Gene Simmons’ face makeup and just went with that."
For 232 days, taking weekends and holidays off, Linscheid posted a new persona daily on her social media. Humor to help her co-workers feel a little more human during the pandemic.
"It was absolutely wonderful," exclaimed Reba Bisciglia-Johnson, a Cargill co-worker. "You never knew what Therese was going to be. So many of her costumes just made us laugh with joy, with how fun and unique and creative they were."
Linscheid says her grandmother was an artist. Maybe that’s where the inspiration comes from, she adds.
Her husband, Donn, usually gets a preview at home before Linscheid posts any pictures.
"I don’t know where it comes from — things just pop into my head," she says. "I wanted the reaction from my husband. I wanted him to say, ‘Oh my gosh’ so if he liked it — he’s not the easiest guy to surprise — that other people would enjoy it, too."
This is more than workplace synergy. Perhaps it’s a kind of costume camaraderie — the art in us.
"My favorite are the ones where she makes her face blend into a picture," Tedford says. "I just don’t know how she does that."
On March 18 of this year, Linscheid finally stopped. Maybe some more postings in the future, but she’s not sure when.
Still, Linscheid has clearly enjoyed sharing her special gift of helping people get through these times with creativity and humor.
"It does make me feel good," she says. "I think that when you smile, or you have that type of release, it makes everything just a little bit better."