Karissa O’Brien – Research Administration
June 29, 2022 • June 2022, Serve Others First, valubility, VOTM
Valubility of the Month June 2022
Nominated by Yonina Robinson for Serve Others First
Our team walked to Tuk Tuk Thai to celebrate our new coworker’s first day on the team. Unbeknownst to any of us, rain was in the forecast, and none of brought any rain gear. As we left the restaurant, everyone walked outside, except me. As an African-American woman, rain will revert my hair back to its natural, unmanageable state taking more than 3 – 5 hours to make it professionally presentable again. I immediately shared with the team that I couldn’t get my hair wet. In her own compassionate way, Karissa immediately offered to let me wait under the restaurant awning while she walked back to the Bailey building to get her car, or she offered to go back inside the restaurant with me to get a plastic to-go bag that I could use to cover my hair. (Ironically, the latter is a common go-to solution for African-American women in this situation.) When I told her that I could use a plastic bag, she walked back into the restaurant with me, asked for the bag herself, and did not leave until I had my hair securely under the plastic. As the team walked back, I thanked her for her compassion, and she simply replied, “I just want to make sure that everyone could feel like their best selves.” Her compassion towards me that day and her unwillingness to not subject me to professional embarrassment makes her not just a great supervisor but an exceptional human being.