Published: September 18, 2021
They are always living the value of Be Visionary by looking for new and unique ways to provide remarkable service to our students and SPH community. Two of the most recent examples are as follows: as our students are coming back to campus with more frequency Dr. Smethers and her team implemented a red, yellow, green wristband system to allow people to self-identify their social distancing comfort levels. This furthers the SPH’s culture of respect and sensitivity for all and allows us to be mindful of how others are feeling and where they are in the process of dealing with Covid. A second recent example is something that Dr. Smethers and her team do all the time, but is often unseen and unsung. She sent out an email notifying all of the very specific dietary preferences and allergies of every student, faculty, and staff in the School of Public Health. If you’ve never ordered food for groups of people you cannot fully appreciate how challenging it can be to accommodate all the specific preferences people have. Dr. Smethers and her team never shy away from that challenge. Instead they embrace it as a way to help our community feel even more welcome at SPH.
Nominated by Elizabeth Heyerdahl for Be Visionary
When the pandemic hit and our campus offices closed, remote work situation was not always easy. Laura recognized that engaging the team, communications and encouragement was necessary to keep the spirits up. She took charge of having team meetings and encouraging others to converse about their work arrangements. For Christmas, she had everyone send a picture of their workspace and then had a quiz to match pictures with team members. Later, she arranged for everyone in the team to receive a snack box. This was highly appreciated by everyone. On her own dime, Laura sent popcorn to all the staff members to keep up their spirits. These have been noticed by the team members and highly appreciated. More recently, we had two new team members join. In order to make them feel at home, Laura started a “Get to Know Me” board where each team member posts something unique about them, their hobbies, favorite movies, favorite food, etc. You could see conversations develop in the team from that initiative. All of these examples are testimonial on how Laura is going above and beyond in putting others first and encouraging teamwork.
Nominated by Dr. Jamboor Vishwanatha for Serve Others First
Kalei stepped into a new position within the library and took on the role of not only learning how to do the required tasks, but finding better, easier, and more logical ways to do them to serve the entire department. She jumped right into the position with a passion for learning. She works with all of the staff to make process improvements. Within the first few weeks on the job, Kalei had implemented a more efficient process for tracking and communicating expenditures while working with others to integrate departmental needs. She tackled training to increase her knowledge of system processes and insisted upon another member of the library staff knowing how to do her job duties ensuring redundancy and transparency. Kalei never shrinks back from taking on a new challenge or learning a new procedure, all while displaying kindness, integrity, and respect. I chose ‘Be Visionary’ as the primary value only because it seems to encompass best all of the UNTHSC values she displays.
Nominated by Elizabeth Speer for Be Visionary
Nicole serves as the SR Executive Assistant for Dr. Nash in the Office of Educational Programs. Nicole consistently finds ways to recognize and highlight the achievements of each OEP team member. She works effortlessly to meet the department’s needs, often lifting burdens from others without them knowing due to her being proactive to find solutions to problems timely. What stands out the most about Nicole is that she tackles issues head-on and holds herself accountable for ensuring the day-to-day functions of our department run smoothly. She makes it a high priority to recognize team member accomplishments and strives to offer team-building activities during our monthly divisional meetings. What is most impressive about Nicole is that she takes action just because it needs to get done. She also does this with a positive attitude, compassion and with no complaints. Nicole helps keep the entire OEP team connected despite our different functional areas (GME, OMSS, FDC).
Nominated by Melva Landrum for Respect
Patricia is a breath of fresh air, especially since the return to campus in May. She was ready to return (though she was never really gone for long, coming into the office at least once weekly) to get busy taking care of business and people in a much more personal manner. My office sits extremely close to her desk, so it’s easy for me to witness over and over and over how she deals with others on the phone and in person. It’s unfortunate that I was able to choose only one value as primary because she exhibits at least three every single day: serve others first, respect, and collaboration. She’s the perfect go-to person for things you need to have done properly and quickly. I’m tickled by her infectious laugh and inspired by her desire to treat others respectfully. She and I have worked together on several projects, which has been a pleasure, and I love it when she points out the strengths in others and attempts to build them up with words and kindness. One thing that stands out is that in her job, she is constantly seeking ways to save the department money, going to extremes that the average person wouldn’t either think of or take the time to do.
Patricia is such an asset to our department! She always seems to have a positive attitude, and treats everyone with respect and care. She is highly motivated to do her job well, and serve all those that she works with. She is cheerful and friendly and truly makes it a better place to work. I’m so glad she’s a part of our team.
Nominated by Dr. Kendi Hensel, Dr. Katrina Roop and Toni Allen for Serve Others First; Integrity