Employee of the Month posts displayed by tag

With Hard Work and Passion for Kids, Kareem Wins Employee of the Month

When asked if she ever gets overwhelmed as the assistant director and curriculum coordinator for the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) CURE Scholars Program, Lauren Kareem, MEd, smiles serenely and admits, “Every day.”

But you would never know it.

“Her calm and reassuring temperament is an asset in our high-energy, fast-paced, often-precarious community outreach work environment,” said Robin Saunders, EdD, MS, executive director of the UMB CURE Scholars Program.

Kareem recently was named UMB Employee of the Month for October and was surprised with the award by President Jay A. Perman, MD.

“I want you to know what people said about you, and I pulled out a few phrases — consummate professional, seeking additional responsibilities, attending to details, tireless work ethic,” Perman said. “I have seen those things in action … and your passion for the kids.”

Kareem has been with the University since June 2016. Previously, she spent five years teaching science, math, and special education in Boston and Washington, D.C. She was looking to teach robotics over the summer when she learned about this position.

“I thought, ‘That’s very, very cool,’ ” she said.

Her primary responsibility involves creating curriculum and activities for UMB’s Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE), a pipeline program that is preparing 80 West Baltimore middle schoolers for health and research careers this year and will continue with an additional 25 middle schoolers each year while funding is available. She also is responsible for communicating with the parents and families of students in the program, the teachers and principals at the three feeder schools, and the University partners and stakeholders. She even does a little teaching occasionally, explaining that no two days are the same.

“I love how dynamic it is and the amount of freedom I have. As a teacher, I had my hands tied a lot,” she said. “[Here] I have a lot of latitude to do what is best for the students, to be creative. … I feel like the job is so important. It matters, and it makes a huge difference and is incredibly fulfilling.”

Saunders said that Kareem relates well with students, parents, teachers, colleagues, and community partners. When asked to describe her, one mom of a CURE scholar said, “You can tell she really cares about my son because she sends out weekly messages and responds to all my calls. She has helped him to work hard and helped our family get through hard times.”

Kelly Quinn, PhD, coordinator of UMB’s Community Engagement Center, said Kareem is “excellent” to work with.

“Part of what I admire is how she nurtures these relationships with families, cheering for their successes and helping through challenges,” Quinn said. “Our work is hard, and Lauren makes things go smoother with grace and humor.”

Kareem admits that the job can be stressful and she puts in long hours, including evenings and most weekends.

“The amount of work she handles truly is astounding and yet she gives the appearance of handling things seamlessly and without deviating from UMB’s standards of excellence,” said Malinda Hughes, BSN, MA, chief of staff in the Office of Academic Affairs and the Graduate School as well as a UMB CURE mentor to several middle school scholars.

Kareem credits her mentor teachers for her work ethic. She explained that as a teacher, you don’t get much recognition for the work you do. At UMB, however, there are amazing resources and an incredibly supportive team that is passionate about its job and the program’s goals and missions. She was surprised to win the Employee of the Month award, but reassured that she must be doing the job well.

“It requires a lot of effort to do it the right way, but our children are worth it,” Kareem said. “It’s definitely a labor of love for me. There is no way I could do this if it weren’t.”

— Betsy Stein

  
Betsy Stein Collaboration, For B'more, People, UMB NewsNovember 1, 20170 comments
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Can-Do Spirit Lifts McMorris to UMB Employee of Month Award

Yvonne McMorris is a kind and trusting soul. Therefore, when her Carey School of Law colleagues told the faculty support manager she needed to attend a learning and development meeting on the 14th floor of the Saratoga Building on Sept. 28, she believed them.

She still believed them when UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, entered the conference room and sat beside her. When he said she did a great job, she thanked him and waited for the meeting to start.

When Perman stated he had a lot to say about McMorris, she softly asked, “This is not about learning and development?” Even several minutes after being told she was UMB’s Employee of the Month, she still could not get over the fact the scheduled meeting was a hoax, saying, “And I came here with notes and everything,” to the delight of the cheering and laughing group assembled for the occasion.

“One of the faculty wrote that you are both the most competent and the most dedicated faculty assistant with whom she has ever worked,” Perman told McMorris. “She talks about the fact that when faculty are working against a deadline, it’s almost always you volunteering to stay late to finish the work.”

After receiving a plaque, a letter, and a promise of $250 in her next paycheck that brought her to tears, McMorris leaned back in her chair, still in disbelief, and answered questions about her UMB career.

An Inquiring Mind

A legal secretary in New York before moving to Maryland, McMorris came to the law school in March 1999 to do secretarial work. A diligent worker, she quickly showed a “thirst for knowledge,” according to Mary Alice Hohing, director of administration and operations, taking classes to improve her skills, earning promotions to administrative assistant II (2001), coordinator for faculty support (2006), and office manager (2014) after obtaining her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Baltimore.

Curious by nature, McMorris says it’s impossible to work at the school and NOT learn something. “I tell staff when your professor is writing something, engage them, ask them what it is they are writing about, and become interested in what they are doing,” she says.

She said that professor emeritus David Bogen, LLB, LLM, educated her about black history and slavery while he was writing a book about it. “Just sitting there and listening, gaining the knowledge that he has — that is how it is when I am with each professor,” McMorris says. “If they are writing, I like to ask them questions.”

In addition to reading articles, books, and manuscripts for the professors, McMorris puts together recommendation letters, assists with research — “whatever faculty needs” — and helps train her fellow staff members.

Her efforts are most appreciated.

Professor Donald Gifford, JD, who calls McMorris the most competent and dedicated faculty assistant with whom he has worked in nearly 40 years in legal education, says, “When some other assistants are faced with a challenging task, they respond, ‘It can’t be done.’ In contrast, Yvonne’s response is always ‘I do know that can be done. Let me see what I can do.’”

Professor Paula Monopoli, JD, adds, “Yvonne is a role model for all the other administrative assistants whom she helps to supervise. Her willingness to pitch in at any time demonstrates her excellence as a team player.”

Professor Andrew Blair-Stanek, JD, says, “She is immensely professional, hard-working, and conscientious.”

“I often say that great law schools are made up of great people — great students, faculty, staff, and alumni,” says Dean Donald B. Tobin, JD. “Yvonne McMorris is a perfect example. She represents our excellence. She is always willing to lend a hand; thinks ‘yes’ before ‘no’; and is always willing to take on new challenges and learn new things.”

When she read some of the faculty’s comments, McMorris smiled and said, “Wow, I’ll have to thank them.”

Dedication and Appreciation

Although she never expected to be August Employee of the Month, McMorris admits, “I give a lot.” She tells of running into an associate dean at midnight at the school when they were working on deadline projects, of students she has watched “blossom,” of longtime faculty such as William Reynolds, JD, and Daniel Goldberg, JD, who have given her as much as they have received. “I am fortunate to be able work with such wonderful people,” she says.

She attributes her work ethic to her faith and her parents.

“First of all, I’m a Christian, and the Bible states that I can do all things through Christ because He strengthens me. While living in England, my mom left nursing school to take care of her family. After my sister, brother, and I graduated from high school here in the United States, my mom went back to school full time for nursing, while she had a full-time job — it was now my mom’s turn. My mom gave me the inspiration for going back to school because she was my role model. She set the example. And she always says, ‘America is the land of opportunity.’ ”

With a wistful look, McMorris looked around the president’s conference room and exclaimed: “I am going to tell my children what happened today! I can’t believe this!”

— Chris Zang

  
Chris Zang Collaboration, Contests, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeOctober 11, 20170 comments
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Employee of the Month

Matthews Steps Up, Named Employee of Month

For someone who was born across the street at then University Hospital and raised just around the corner, Arnold Matthews has come a long way at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB).

On April 27 he took paperwork to the President’s Office as part of his “daily run” only to be met by his Francis King Carey School of Law colleagues Dean Donald B. Tobin, JD, Mary Alice Hohing, Barbara Gontrum, JD, MS, Mary Jo Rodney, Joanne Macenko, and UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, who told Matthews “you are the UMB Employee of the Month.”

Perman went on to tell Matthews some of the wonderful things in his nomination form. For instance, when the other member of the two-man Carey Law facilities team had to go on medical leave “you worked extra hard, you never complained, you did your job, and more,” Perman said. “That’s an extraordinary example for all of us.”

After the president, dean, and supervisors had left the conference room, Matthews let out a sigh, smiled, and said he had just done his job while his colleague was ill. “I figure if I had gone down [sick], my co-worker would have stepped up. I don’t feel I did anything different than anyone else would have done,” said Matthews, who has worked at the law school since 2006. “OK, I might have put in a couple more hours, but that’s not here or there. It needed to get done and I did it.”

That kind of “can-do” attitude has ingratiated Matthews to his Carey Law colleagues. Hohing, director of administration and operations, said in her nomination, “Arnold is a joy to work with; he has a terrific attitude and no job is too big or too small. He is extremely dependable. He does whatever is needed, timely and efficiently, and works to make sure the law school is always seen in a good light.”

Besides delivering materials all over campus, his duties include making sure instructors have all the supplies they need, monitoring the building every day for needed repairs and safety issues, moving furniture, handling small handyman projects, distributing mail and maintaining the postage equipment, changing toner in printers, delivering copy paper, summoning University helpers for things he can’t fix — “all the little things to help keep the law school running,” Matthews said with a smile.

Dean Tobin clarifies that there is nothing “little” about Matthews’ contributions. “Arnold is truly amazing and is essential to our success,” Tobin said. “He is a hard worker who cares deeply about the institution and members of its community. Basically Arnold will do anything asked to make something great.”

That includes Matthews’ favorite part of the job: helping with events. He takes pride in making sure they come off without a hitch, not only preparing rooms for dinners, receptions, and meetings at the law school, but doing whatever is needed to guarantee the event’s success. “There’s a lot of things going on over there,” he said. “Sometimes I bartend, other times we set up food and help with the decorations,” said Matthews, whose multiple talents are appreciated by his co-workers.

Rodney, Carey Law’s director of special events, said, “Words alone cannot express how grateful we are to have Arnold on our events team – not only is he an effective member of the team, he is truly a wonderful person.”

Matthews, who received a plaque and an extra $250 in his next paycheck, appreciates the platitudes, but says he’s just doing his job — a job he likes a lot.

“I came from construction, it’s a lot better than carrying bricks,” said Matthews, who also worked in a factory and served in the military. “I did construction of some sort — plumbing, irrigation, bricklaying — for like 16 years before I came here. Now sitting at a desk I never thought – I just always said I’m not that kind of person. I’ve got to be outside doing things, you know? But this is much easier on my body.”

Not that he spends much time sitting. He’s only at his desk long enough to check his emails to see where he is needed next.

Told that Dean Tobin had mentioned his “friendly, customer service-oriented approach” Matthews replied, “Well, that’s the job. When you’re working with the public you’re supposed to put on a good face and [create] a good atmosphere. Being grumpy and mean all the time — that isn’t me because then the other person is mean. If you show you’re a good person the other person will show they’re a good person, too.

“Things work smoother that way,” Matthews added with a smile. “That’s the way I was brought up.”

Photo caption: Arnold Matthews accepts his plaque with law school colleagues (from left) Mary Alice Hohing, Barbara Gontrum, Dean Donald Tobin, Mary Jo Rodney, and Joanne Macenko.

  
Chris Zang Bulletin Board, Community Service, Contests, Education, Research, UMB News, University LifeMay 8, 20170 comments
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Employee of the Month

SON’s Voytek Named Employee of the Month

Donors feel appreciated, nursing students feel hydrated, visitors to the Living History Museum feel nostalgic, and colleagues feel like chirping — all thanks to the efforts of Lorrie Voytek.

Voytek, assistant director of development at the School of Nursing, was surprised on March 20 when what she thought was a group picture at the President’s Office with her development colleagues Laurette Hankins, Stacey Conrad, and Cynthia Sikorski turned into an Employee of the Month celebration for her.

UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, mentioned Voytek’s work at the museum and on sustainability with GreenSON. “I also know getting back to donors is a point of emphasis with you,” he said. “And making sure that the students who benefit from the donors get to meet them and vice versa. I always tell a story about a donor at Northwestern University [Louise Ploner] who enabled me to go to medical school. I’m forever grateful to her, of course. But I never got to meet her. I never got to say thank you. So I particularly understand the importance of doing that, and I’m grateful you do, too.”

As UMB’s March Employee of the Month, Voytek received a plaque and an extra $250 in her next paycheck. Asked about the award later, she shared the plaudits with the development team (“Cynthia, Stacey and Laurette – that is our team”) and explained why she thought the group picture ruse was totally legit.

“We had 81 endowments that were created when the UMB Foundation offered a 50 percent match, which was the most of any of the UMB schools,” Voytek said. “So I thought the president wanted to thank us for that. I remember thinking ‘why isn’t Dean [Jane] Kirschling here?’ Because she is such an integral part of our success. She hand-writes thank you letters, which I think has made a tremendous impression.”

Voytek also is known for going above and beyond. Before the interview the quasi curator gave a tour of SON’s Living History Museum on the second floor just above the main security desk. The state’s only museum dedicated to nursing, it chronicles the continuing story of the profession.

Voytek, who manages the museum docents and gives tours herself, pointed out the wall of history on the left, education in the back, and research on the right. A 1928 “Flossie cap” is on display that was designed from a pattern given the school by Florence Nightingale, Voytek pointed out, adding how they were starched and fluted. “The new nurses like the antiquated instruments like the Texas Instruments calculator,” on the research wall, she added.

She shrugs off praise for her museum work, saying it falls into “other duties as assigned.” Yet that list has been growing in recent years after some cuts in the development staff. Hankins in her nomination said Voytek “has taken on approximately 50 percent of the duties of the other coordinator position, cheerfully becoming our ‘go to’ person for ordering supplies, paying invoices, reimbursing travel expenses, and helping with our many events.”

Voytek insists she’s just doing her part and is privileged to serve the students, staff, and “amazing” leadership at SON. Putting the students in touch with the donors brings her particular delight. “Most of the students are more than happy to do so and are so appreciative,” she said. “It gives you insight into a group of nurses who are going out into the workforce. I feel very comfortable and confident that we’re in good hands.”

One of the ways Voytek has repaid the students is her work with GreenSON, the School’s sustainability organization, which she co-chairs. It was formed soon after she came to the school 4 ½ years ago. With a degree in conservation and resource development, seven years on the conservation committee in her previous development job at the National Aquarium, and working with the Piney Run Nature Center before that as a stay-at-home mom, Voytek found GreenSON to be a natural fit.

“I shared with them a lot of things we were doing at the National Aquarium that we could be doing here. Slowly but surely we have accomplished several initiatives that we’re pleased with.”

The biggest one is the bottle-filling station on the first floor, so students and employees don’t have to bring bottled water. Filtered water has replaced “those big bottled jugs that would kill your back to lift.” Triple station trash cans are planned to separate trash, one for the landfill, one for cans and bottles, and one for paper. Periodic office swaps allow groups to share supplies, cutting costs and helping the environment.

Voytek, who gets off the Metro and sticks fliers in bikes to promote SON’s third annual free bike repair with Joe’s Bike Shop on April 19 to celebrate Earth Week in the School courtyard, admits conservation “has always been a focal point of my life. It’s important to the students, too. The students are asking for it so we should be providing it.”

So why do Lorrie’s SON colleagues “chirp” their praise of her? “I am a birder, I love to go bird-watching,” Voytek says with a wide smile. “They’re always giving me pictures of birds, bird books. We’ll be having lunch outside and I’ll say ‘did you hear that ovenbird?’ since I can identify birds by their sound. So they get a kick out of that and I appreciate that it makes them more aware of their environment.”

— Chris Zang

  
Chris Zang Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, People, UMB Go Green, UMB News, University LifeApril 3, 20170 comments
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Employee of the Month McLean

Pharmacy’s McLean Honored For Audiovisual Rescue

When William McLean was asked to go to the President’s Conference Room to offer advice on upgrading the audiovisual service there, he thought nothing about it. Problem-solving is all in a day’s work for McLean, who for nearly 10 years has been multimedia manager at the School of Pharmacy.

UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, listened to McLean’s suggestions for several moments on Feb. 9, then changed the subject, letting McLean know he had been chosen as UMB’s Employee of the Month for February.

“I understand there was a big crisis in the pharmacy school,” Perman said, “and the vendor that you’d been using couldn’t handle the problem and you saved the day.”

“Well, I don’t know about that,” McLean humbly responded. “I just did my job.”

“More than your job,” emphasized Perman, who gave McLean a letter, plaque, and assurances that an extra $250 would be in his next paycheck. After Perman left the room, a smiling McLean told three School of Pharmacy colleagues, “Well, that was unexpected.”

Picking up the Pieces

When asked, he explained in detail the “big crisis” Perman had alluded to. In the summer of 2016, the School of Pharmacy was upgrading its $3 million audiovisual (AV) system and had contracted with a company to take out all the old analog technology and replace it with full digital technology before the fall semester.

“The project went out to bid and we don’t have a lot of control over that,” said McLean, who as multimedia manager handles AV systems for the school, which has a satellite campus and does a lot of videoconferencing, recording of lectures, and interactive applications. Awarded the upgrading project in May, the contractor didn’t begin until the end of June and by late July had only completed the demolition, leaving the 45 to 50 lines running throughout Pharmacy Hall that carry AV signals — content, video, audio, control — still not working.

“Classes start mid-August. So it quickly became apparent, due to the fact I’ve been doing this for 20 years, I knew they weren’t going to be able to get this done,” McLean said of the company, which had the contract terminated with the lines still not functioning.

He learned the day before students returned that the integrated system wasn’t working. “It was interesting,” said McLean, not one to get flustered easily.

Beginning the PharmD classes the next day without audiovisual services was not an option. The school’s satellite campus, the Universities at Shady Grove, is fully dependent on distance-learning technology. Had the classes started in Baltimore and not at Shady Grove in Rockville, there would have been an equity issue. So McLean and his three-person team — Jerry Adney, Erich Gercke, and Brian Hall — jumped in with both feet.

Past Experience

Fortunately, they were not strangers to such disasters. A flood in 2011 almost took out the AV control room at the school. A ruptured pipe in 2015 flooded the north end of Pharmacy Hall, taking out AV service to several of the main lecture halls.

“We had disaster carts we had developed for the old [analog] system,” McLean recalled. “Modifying them, I had to come up with a way to do videoconferencing and recording of lectures in the rooms without an integrated system so I built a series of videoconferencing carts and mediasite recording carts that I then tied into the existing systems in the rooms to get us up and running.”

After some long days and sleepless nights, the crisis passed, with the next-in-line bidder coming aboard to help with the task, which is ongoing.

‘School Is Indebted’

“Bill was up to the challenge and fashioned an improvised AV infrastructure to allow the delivery of PharmD courses, keeping the curriculum on track at both the Baltimore and Shady Grove campuses,” said Tim Munn, assistant dean for information technology, and Shannon Tucker, MS, assistant dean for instructional design and technology, in nominating McLean.

“Bill’s creativity and leadership of the School’s AV group ensured that coursework continued on schedule eliminating any need to consider alternate facilities, compressed course schedules, or an extended semester. The school is indebted to his leadership and technical skills during this trying time.”

McLean said he was honored to be Employee of the Month.

“In a position like mine you tend to hear all the bad things and you don’t very often hear the good things, so it’s just very nice,” he said. “Your story isn’t long enough to thank everyone, but I would like to thank my group for all the hard work they do and making me look good. I’d like to thank Tim and Shannon for nominating me and, of course, Dean Eddington and Bill Cooper [senior associate dean for administration and finance] for agreeing to finance the upgrade and to support our advanced programs.”

— Chris Zang

  
Chris Zang Clinical Care, Collaboration, Contests, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeFebruary 15, 20170 comments
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EOM Elm Image

Milani Named UMB’s October Employee of the Month

Jacqueline Milani, MS, MBA, CPP, director of Pharmaceutical Research Computing (PRC) in the School of Pharmacy, thought she was attending a meeting about a new project on Oct. 5. Instead, President Jay A. Perman, MD, walked into the Saratoga Building conference room and surprised her with a special honor: UMB’s Employee of the Month Award.

Perman gave Milani a framed certificate and thanked her for being a great leader and being a wonderful team member — one of the qualities that earned her the award. “The word team is very important to me,” Perman said. “It’s what I want to see throughout the University. People who work to create a feeling of team are very important to me.”

Milani, who also received $250 as the Employee of the Month for October, is described by Eberechukwu Onukwugha, MS, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research and executive director of PRC, as an accountable employee. “When one intermediate project deliverable was projected to be delayed, she provided early feedback to the client, allowing them sufficient time to adjust to the updated timeline. She is solution-oriented and this attitude is critical.”

Ideal Manager

In addition, Milani is described as the ideal manager: caring, driven, respectful, a cheerleader and staff advocate, and committed to excellence. While she never runs out of ideas, she is open to suggestions and contributions from others and happily welcomes idea from the staff.

As director, Milani has impacted PRC from soup to nuts in less than one year. The computing center provides world-class support for impactful, inspired health services research at the school, University, and Veterans Affairs Medical Center and beyond. She has streamlined the process for how project estimates were tracked to how PRC closes out funded projects.

‘Can-Do’ Attitude

“Those who know Jacqueline will agree that she gets things done. She brings a refreshing energy, excitement, and eternally optimistic ‘can-do’ attitude to all aspects of her work,” Onukwugha said.

Grateful for her award and for her teammates, Milani said, “Thank you so much. I honestly don’t know what to say or how to react. This group makes it easy to work together as a team. Their commitment overflows.”

  
Sarah RebackPeople, UMB News, University AdministrationOctober 14, 20160 comments
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Keare

‘Sunny’ Guard Shines As Employee of Month

If you look in the dictionary under the word “stunned” you might just see security guard Keare Johnson’s picture from June 15. That’s when UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, entered the Saratoga Building lobby, as he does numerous times a day. Only this time, joined by a crowd of people, he stopped and pointed to the personable Johnson, saying “so this is about you. You are UMB’s Employee of the Month.”

Johnson’s jaw dropped and a look of disbelief crossed her face as she let loose a shriek that likely was audible on the roof of the parking garage. The applause that followed from the 15 or 20 people representing the UMB Police Force, Human Resources, the Office of the President, and more made it clear that Perman isn’t Johnson’s only fan.

“I and all the people who work in this building are greeted with sunshine when we see you,” Perman said to Johnson, who was assigned to Saratoga a year ago after two years as a floater. “It’s a sunny day no matter what the weather is outside once you walk into this lobby. You are a real professional. You take care of us, you watch over us, and at the same time you present the best public relations because you are the first person people see and the impression has to be right. You do that in a way that is an example for the rest of the institution.”

Personable Plus

Security supervisor Clarence Fields cited her “friendly demeanor” in nominating Johnson for the award. In addition to keeping the Saratoga Building secure and demonstrating the core value of excellence, Fields said, “Ms. Johnson never fails to greet me individually no matter how many people are in the lobby. She always has a warm smile and a greeting to start my day off on the right foot. Ms. Johnson contributes to increased morale on campus with her encouraging smile and heartfelt love for her job.”

Indeed, Johnson appears to know everyone on a first name basis, wishing them well as they come and go. She sees such friendliness as part of her job. “Yes, I think security is part of customer service so I think you need to have a good rapport with the people you are working with, the people who you are protecting.”

Many important visitors pass through the Saratoga Building, which houses the Office of the President. But Johnson said they get no preferential treatment. “No, we just basically treat everybody the same,” Johnson said. “We maintain our professionalism and offer service with a smile.”

In addition to Johnson receiving a plaque, Perman told her there would be another $250 in her next check, eliciting another shriek from the appreciative Johnson.

Thankful to Serve

“I’m surprised and happy,” said Johnson, still beaming 15 minutes after the award ceremony. “It’s good to know they appreciate what I do. I just want to thank all my co-workers, every one of them, and the people who nominated me.”

Antonio Williams, MS, associate vice president for public safety and chief of the UMB Police Force, said it was a proud moment for his team, especially the 80 security officers and supervisors at UMB.

“I’m grateful to Security Officer Keare Johnson for the great service she provides UMB,” Williams said. “She is professional, conscientious, and kind. She sets an example for others to follow. I am proud of her recognition as Employee of the Month.”

  
Chris ZangBulletin Board, People, UMB NewsJune 20, 20162 comments
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ElmEOMMay2016

Hughes ‘States’ Her Case as Employee of Month

UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, usually works from a nomination form when he gives out Employee of the Month awards. But no notes were needed for the May 19 ceremony in the Saratoga Building, where Malinda Hughes, academic program manager in the Office of Academic Affairs (OAA), was honored.

Employee of the Decade

“I don’t need a write-up for you,” said a smiling Perman. He did, however, wish he had a bigger award for Hughes, who proved indispensable during the 2 1/2-year Middle States reaccreditation process.

“As I say Employee of the Month, it seems not completely sufficient for you,” he said to Hughes. “Maybe Employee of the Decade. The way you do things, which is always just to a T, what you did with Middle States, and over the couple of years preparing for it, is astounding.”

Stepping Up During Middle States

In addition to her regular duties, which include managing the interaction between OAA and UMB’s schools in matters of faculty appointments, promotion, tenure, and leave, Hughes stepped up during Middle States, coordinating logistics for events ranging from retreats and town halls to the site team visit.

When the nine-member Middle States evaluation team came to Baltimore for four days on April 3, Hughes planned out every detail, from hotel accommodations to the team’s many meetings with UMB leaders, faculty, students, and staff across campus.

“I know from leading these kind of event visits, it makes all the difference how well things are organized and how the visiting team is treated,” Perman said. “In many ways, you won this for us. The least we can do is honor you with this award and the $250 that comes with it.”

In fact, Middle States evaluation team chair Denise V. Rodgers, MD, FAAFP, vice chancellor for interprofessional programs at Rutgers University Biomedical and Health Sciences, singled out Hughes for special praise when delivering a glowing preliminary report to UMB on April 6.

“We need to add a special and heartfelt thanks to Mrs. Malinda Hughes,” said Rodgers, “who coordinated our visit and attended to all of our needs while we were here in Baltimore. Malinda, please be recognized.”

Simply Outstanding

The applause from that day continued at the Employee of the Month celebration, where chief accountability officer and Middle States co-chair Roger J. Ward, EdD, JD, MPA, added to Perman’s praise. “Malinda has been simply outstanding from the first time she came to Academic Affairs,” Ward said. “She is so capable and competent and I knew she could take the Middle States challenge from beginning to end. Thank you for the good work, especially around Middle States, but all of the good work you do that people aren’t aware of.”

Chimed in chief academic and research officer Bruce Jarrell, MD, FACS, “Malinda has this great training as a nurse, and it comes out in all of her activities. She is meticulous and at the same time always sees the important strategic question. She is a pleasure having on the team.”

Small Part of a Greater Team

Hughes, who began working at UMB in 2011, quickly pointed out she was a small part of a much greater team, with hundreds of people helping UMB to hit dozens of Middle States milestones.

“I don’t even know where to begin,” Hughes said at the ceremony. “The first person I have to thank is Roger Ward. Two and a half years ago, he sat me down and we were talking about my career goals and I said I think I want to work on Middle States and he let me run with it.

“I just want to let you know, Dr. Perman, that everyone that I contacted immediately responded with ‘happy to help. Is there anything else you need?’ So I may have coordinated the visit, but it was an army behind me that helped us.”

by Sarah Reback and Chris Zang

  
Chris Zang & Sarah RebackPeople, UMB News, University AdministrationMay 26, 20160 comments
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March EOTM

Pharmacy’s Currier Is Employee of Month

Don’t expect to see Lindsay Currier on a ski slope after she retires many years from now. She’s had enough of the white stuff. As the coordinator for scheduling at the School of Pharmacy, Currier has been responsible for rescheduling all the pharmacy classes at the Baltimore location and at the Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville, updating the 25 Live scheduling software, and sending out emails to all involved when classes are canceled or delayed, largely because of inclement weather.

“Snow is one of my least favorite things on so many different levels,” says Currier, a UMB employee for 13 years, “because I also have two little girls so, inevitably, not only am I dealing with work stuff, but they’re up early and excited because it’s a snow day, running around the house like maniacs.”

She has an early morning ally on snow days in UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, who surprised her at a supposed 25 Live meeting on March 23 to tell her she was UMB’s Employee of the Month.

“It was good to read that since I have to get up to receive a phone call at 4:45, you’re waiting at 5 a.m. for the verdict,” Perman told Currier. “And I understand you do a very good job of juggling things.”

IPE Supporter

Perman also pointed out that Currier helps facilitate his passion for interprofessional education by coordinating the School’s academic schedule so pharmacy students can participate in the President’s Clinic and UMB’s Interprofessional Education Day. “Your School is always there when we have an activity,” Perman said. “In fact you probably know I have a bunch of pharmacy students every week in my clinic. Your colleagues talk about you as a collaborative, knowledgeable, gifted, concise communicator. Simply put, they say ‘without Lindsay we would be lost.’ So congratulations on your honor!”

Shannon Tucker, MS, assistant dean for instructional design and technology at the School of Pharmacy, nominated Currier, citing her day-to-day contributions, core values such as accountability and collaboration, and her proactive nature to solve problems “before colleagues even know they exist.”

And on snow days?

“Lindsay makes literally thousands of changes in the School of Pharmacy scheduling platform so students can get back to studying and faculty back to teaching, research, and service as fast as possible,” said Tucker, who accompanied Currier to the surprise “meeting” in the Lexington Building along with Richard Dalby, PhD, associate dean of academic affairs at the School of Pharmacy and professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

“Lindsay’s work requires diplomacy, collaboration, and civility under pressure; then, once a recovery plan is devised, the details must be meticulously entered into 25 Live for distribution to our community,” Tucker added. “One mistake could be catastrophic — integrated courses could become out of sequence, students could end up in the wrong room and miss key instruction prior to scheduled rotations, or an exam proctor or the AV and IT support on which faculty rely for support could be missing. Due to Lindsay’s hard work and diligence, this almost never happens.”

Surprised and Pleased

Currier, who manages the scheduling of School of Pharmacy activities at UMB and USG such as academic courses, student events, special events, and any meetings that need conference rooms, takes pride in her work. She was surprised, and very pleased, to be the March Employee of the Month, which comes with a plaque, $250, and makes her a candidate for the Cecil S. Kelly Memorial Employee of the Year Award, which will be given at the Employee Service Awards Luncheon on April 7.

“I’m excited to be recognized,” said Currier, who began working at the school as coordinator of mental health programs. “I feel like I work really hard to do really well, but sometimes you’re not sure if it’s helping anyone.”

Now she has a plaque to prove it.

— By Chris Zang

Pictured above from left: Shannon Tucker, Lindsay Currier, Dr. Perman, and Richard Dalby.

  
Chris ZangABAE, Collaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University AdministrationMarch 25, 20160 comments
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FebEOMPic

Sauer Crafts Employee of the Month Honor

Robert Sauer, multi trade chief 3 in the Office of Facilities and Operations, thought he was attending a routine meeting on March 3. Instead, University President Jay A. Perman, MD, came in and surprised him with a UMB Employee of the Month Award.

Perman gave Sauer a framed certificate and thanked him for always being professional and respectful. “You are a very talented Facilities team member,” Perman said. “Your colleagues and I think that you are a wonderful guy and that’s just one of the reasons we are honoring you today!”

Problem-Solving Skills ‘Irreplaceable’

Sauer, who also received $250 as February’s Employee of the Month, is described by his supervisor, multi trades manager Wayne O’Donnell, as someone who utilizes his talents to complete projects of varying sizes and complexity, doing whatever is needed. A recent project involved him carrying many sheets of drywall up three flights of stairs to build a suite of offices.

On another project “his efficiency and effectiveness allowed the SMC Campus Center to accomplish many projects under budget that were operationally necessary,” O’Donnell said. In one case, he fixed a leak in the parking office in the campus center. “After five years,” O’Donnell said, “Rob is the person who took the time to figure out why it was leaking, where it was leaking, and how to implement a long-term solution.”

Such problem-solving skills are also what makes Sauer irreplaceable. “Rob uses his knowledge to create solutions for problems that aren’t in any textbooks,” O’Donnell said of Sauer, who joined the UMB team 2 ½ years ago.

Embodying Core Values

In addition to providing excellent work quality, Sauer consistently demonstrates University core values such as accountability, collaboration, excellence, knowledge, and leadership with his carpentry skills, dedication to the task at hand, and customer service, even cleaning up after himself instead of calling on Housekeeping. Sauer “lives the UMB core values,” O’Donnell says, and “is an inspiration” to others around him, colleagues and clients alike.

According to Scott Swank, DDS, curator at the National Museum of Dentistry, Sauer “went well above and beyond the tasks at hand and did an exceptional job of keeping us informed of the impact of the work, progress toward completion, and he followed up on issues that were only tangentially related to the work.”

Grateful for this award, Sauer stated, “First off, I would like to thank my father for the patience and time to teach me a valuable craft. It has been very rewarding over this 37-year span. Second, I would like to thank everyone who took the time to vote for me.”

  
Sarah RebackPeople, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeMarch 10, 20160 comments
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EOM-Epps

Epps Named UMB’s Employee of the Month

Anna-Marie Epps, administrative coordinator at the Health Sciences and Human Services Library (HS/HSL), thought she was attending a University child care meeting on Jan. 14. Instead, she was surprised with a special honor: UMB’s Employee of the Month Award.

President Jay A. Perman, MD, gave Epps a framed certificate and thanked her for her teamwork — one of the qualities that earned her the award. “There’s no word that impresses me more than ‘team,’ because you get a much better result when people work together and accomplish something.”

Epps, who also received $250 as the Employee of the Month for November, is described by M.J. Tooey, MLS, AHIP, FMLA, associate vice president for Academic Affairs and executive director at HS/HSL, as someone who “jumps right in, taking on tasks and responsibilities, completes all of her contributions, and then circles back around to help everyone else across the finish line.”

Program Powerhouse

Epps demonstrated these traits during the Deadly Medicine Exhibit, the AIDS Exhibit, and at HS/HSL’s recent Native Voices Speaker event. “Not only did she help with planning the events, she worked on the exhibits committee to create unique displays to complement the exhibits by researching content, and creating engaging display materials,“ Tooey says.

Co-nominator Aphrodite Bodycomb, MSM, MBA, associate director for administration and operations at HS/HSL, said Epps is always part of the solution. “If I pass her desk with a problem or a question, the answer magically appears from her with a solution or option,” says Bodycomb. Even as HS/HSL’s events take place, Epps watches over and addresses issues that arise, most times with others not even knowing that an issue existed.

Sharing the Credit

At the end of the ceremony, Perman made a point to thank the other HS/HSL staff members. “People who do wonderful work are often surrounded by people who do wonderful work and are committed to excellence, so I wanted to thank all of you,” he said.

Epps had praise for her colleagues as well.

“Even when things become difficult, the amazing people I work with make it easy for me to stay motivated and encouraged,” says Epps, who has worked at UMB since 2012. “I am grateful that all my hard work and dedication has not gone unnoticed.”

  
Sarah RebackBulletin Board, For B'more, People, UMB News, University AdministrationFebruary 2, 20160 comments
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DecEOMELM

‘Role Model’ Isaac Honored as Employee of the Month

When President Jay A. Perman, MD, walked into his conference room on Dec. 1, it was packed with employees from General Services and Housekeeping. “One person in this room needs to be surprised,” Perman said mischievously. Then he turned to housekeeper Towanna Isaac and told her she was UMB’s December Employee of the Month. “You look like you’re surprised!” Perman said. “It must have worked.”

Demonstrating the University’s Core Values

Perman gave Isaac a framed certificate and thanked her for demonstrating the University’s core values. “We have these core values at the University. You especially represent civility, leadership, and excellence in what you do. You’re a role model for the rest of us and you deserve to be the Employee of the Month.”

Isaac’s drive and leadership are among the reasons her supervisor, Angela Gross, housekeeping assistant manager, nominated her for the award. “What stands out the most about Towanna is her mentoring and leading of the Project Search students and employees,” Gross explained of the program that teaches workforce and career development skills to adults and students with disabilities. “She is to be commended and recognized for the care and educating she shows with these young men and women.”

Providing Positive Guidance

Gross pointed to one Project Search example. First Isaac showed, explained, and demonstrated the tasks she wanted the young lady to perform. Then she told the young lady to perform the duties by herself. After the young lady finished, Isaac shadowed her to double-check that everyone’s service was OK. “If that wasn’t enough, then Towanna provided the young lady positive guidance and a few areas to improve,” Gross recalled. 

Exemplary Customer Service

Isaac, who received $250 as Employee of the Month, also was described by her supervisor as being a reliable team player. “There is not a time that she is asked to support someone in any area of the campus that she fails to do so. She is sometimes asked to do things that are not in her realm. She extends exemplary customer service to our internal staff as well as external visitors,” Gross said. “In other words, Towanna is just an all-around nice person.”

Isaac said she was “very surprised” by the award. “You never know who’s watching when you work and it’s good to be recognized. I work with a dedicated crew that works hard. Many of them have been here much longer than me,” said Isaac, a five-year employee. “It’s nice to represent them as well with this award.”

  
Sarah RebackPeople, University Administration, University LifeDecember 11, 20150 comments
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Calm Leadership Earns SOL’s Boggs Employee of the Month

When the Freddie Gray riots forced the Francis King Carey School of Law to rearrange its final exam schedule on short notice, Steven Boggs, JD, stepped up in a big way. For these efforts, along with his typical excellence and leadership, Boggs, director of law records and registration at Carey Law, was chosen as UMB’s Employee of the Month for September.

“His exemplary achievement this year was his quick, effective, and creative approach to administering exams in connection with the closure of the University in late April,” Susan Krinsky, MPH, JD, associate dean for student affairs at the law school, said in nominating Boggs. “Steven is a team player with amazing problem-solving skills.”

Keeping His Cool in Chaos

Boggs thought he was attending a meeting on the student record database when he went to the Lexington Building on Sept. 22. Then UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, walked into the room and surprised him with the award.

“You were calm and showed true leadership when law students were taking their exams in the midst of chaos,” Perman said. “Even Dean [Donald B.] Tobin conveyed that you embodied the core values of the institution — how to collaborate and be civil under stress. I’m particularly appreciative that we have the chance to honor you.”

Excellence and Professionalism

Krinsky said Boggs consistently demonstrates excellence and leadership. One of the law school’s goals is to educate the next generation, and Boggs’ excellence in running the registrar’s office, along with his commitment to students, will help to achieve that goal, Krinsky said.

After the ceremony, Boggs was grateful for more than the certificate and $250 he received.

“I appreciated being able to share the moment with the ladies that I work with most closely on a daily basis,” he said. “I am grateful to be the registrar for the law school and all the demands that come with the job because I feel supported every step of the way.”

  
Sarah RebackFor B'more, People, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeSeptember 30, 20150 comments
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Helen Edmond

Edmond Named August Employee of Month

“So who is Helen Edmond?”

University President Jay A. Perman, MD, posed that question upon entering a Saratoga Building conference room outside his office where a group from the School of Dentistry was waiting.

One woman sitting in the center raised her hand, tentatively, with a quizzical look on her face. She had just arrived for the “meeting” — several minutes late, in fact. Was she in trouble?

Perman smiled, approached Edmond, and with a slight tap on her shoulder said softly, “You are the Employee of the Month.”

Edmond, an accountant in the payroll office at the dental school, was nominated for going above the call of duty, adding a colleague’s responsibilities to her own when the colleague retired in 2014. Edmond also has been an immense help to the school’s new HR manager. From the loud applause that greeted Perman’s announcement, Edmond clearly is popular with her colleagues at the School, where she has worked since 1981.

“They tell me you’re just a model of excellence,” Perman said. “You embrace the University core values because you demonstrate respect for the people around you. Another thing I care about is people say you are a team player. Team is very important to me, and to this University, and I appreciate you being an ally of mine.”

Edmond has handled a myriad of duties in her 34 years at the dental school. She began by entering grades as a data entry operator in the Office of Clinical Affairs, and then was a receptionist in the undergraduate clinic. She backed up the School computer system and worked as an accounting clerk III in the insurance department for Clinical Support Services before joining the SOD payroll office in 2004. “It’s good to learn new things,” she said simply.

“Helen has consistently exceeded requirements and accepted the additional responsibilities diplomatically,” payroll manager Beverly J. Huebel, herself a 42-year UMB veteran, said in nominating Edmond for the August award. “Helen contributes significantly to the dental school’s success and adds values beyond expectations. She demonstrates a high degree of expertise and serves as a model of excellence among her peers at the dental school.”

After the ceremony on Aug. 21, Huebel and David L. George, DDS, MBA, FAGD, associate dean of finance, clinical operations, and institutional planning at the School of Dentistry, were all smiles, having successfully surprised the honoree, delaying her arrival with what Edmond described as “working on something for Dr. George that came up at the last minute.” “You were very sneaky,” Huebel told George, who kidded Edmond during the ceremonyyou thought you were safe sitting next to me. You should know better.”

George said in the nomination “Helen has successfully maintained the functions of an understaffed SOD payroll office without disruption. I can count on Helen to consistently provide quality work.”

Edmond was grateful to all her colleagues after the ceremony.

“I really appreciate being nominated,” she said. “I have really great co-workers. I could not do my job without their assistance. We all try to assist people as much as possible. If I don’t know I try to get the answer. I have stayed late many evenings to make sure we meet deadlines for processing employees’ payroll paperwork. I think it’s important to be a team player when you’re working with people. And you’ve got to have a good working relationship with those around you. I enjoy working at the school.”

Told that that’s fortunate since she has been there 34 years, Edmond smiled. “Yeah,” she said, gazing around the president’s conference room. “It’s been good.”

  
Chris ZangEducation, People, UMB News, University LifeAugust 27, 20150 comments
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A ‘Powerhouse of Purposeful Action,’ Kathleen Palmer is July’s Employee of the Month

Kathleen Palmer, RN, BSN, nurse coordinator in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Nutrition at the School of Medicine (SOM), thought she was attending a group photo shoot on July 14. Instead, she was surprised with a UMB Employee of the Month Award.

University President Jay A. Perman, MD, gave Palmer a framed certificate and thanked her for fiercely protecting the rights of research study participants. “I found your nomination to be very compelling,” Perman said. “UMB needs people like you — people who will advocate for our study volunteers — and I’m very pleased to be honoring you with this month’s award.”

Essential Contributor

Palmer, who also received $250 as July’s Employee of the Month, was described by the Program in Personalized and Genomic Medicine (PPGM) team as someone who attacks her work, takes on monumental tasks with blinders on, and fearlessly presents new ideas. Palmer has been a key contributor to accomplishing the translational medicine mission of PPGM.

“She assembles and leads multidisciplinary teams and interfaces with stakeholders at all levels. Kathy is a powerhouse of ‘purposeful action’ geared toward overcoming the myriad obstacles to advancing personalized medicine,” said Alan Shuldiner, MD, John L. Whitehurst Professor of Medicine, associate dean for Personalized Medicine, and director of the PPGM, who nominated Palmer for the award.

Inspiring Others

Palmer recently revamped the division’s approach to staffing and monitoring clinical research projects. Within six months she evaluated, reshaped, and ensured Institutional Review Board compliance for multiple projects.

Not only has Palmer’s excellent work elevated the University of Maryland Medical Center and the SOM’s national profiles, her dedication has been an inspiration and made her a role model to others in the PPGM. “Her dedication and commitment to her role in the program has inspired others,” Shuldiner said. “She goes above and beyond expectations and is always willing to accept and carry out additional responsibilities, not only for the good of the program, but for the campus community as a whole.”

“I’m very shocked and very happy,” an emotional Palmer said after she accepted the award. “I’m so honored that all of you would think so much of me to recommend me for this. You know how much I care about what I do and I love working with all of you.”

  
Sarah RebackPeople, UMB News, University LifeJuly 31, 20150 comments
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