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Employees Supporting EmployeesSeptember 29, 2014

Hello DHS,

Last week I announced the latest two Director’s Excellence Award winners, and a message I got back from one of the award winners really got me thinking about the people who are nominated -- and the people who make those nominations. Lauren Mitchell, here in Central Office with Aging and People with Disabilities, sent me this email last week: “I just won the Director’s Excellence Award, which is very much an honor, and I am so humbled to have been nominated, but I am wondering if I might be able to decline the award for myself and instead give it to the APD/AAA field staff and managers. These folks are out in the trenches every day working in almost impossible conditions. The fact that they have kept their compassion, sense of humor and focus on the people we serve is what should really be getting the award. I feel that we don’t often enough to recognize the amazing service that they do every day and the tremendous stress that they are under. I happen to be in a more visible position, but they are the ones who are doing the hardest work.”

First of all, Lauren’s message makes it even more clear to me that I picked the right person for a Director’s Excellence award. But Lauren’s note also shows an important trait I’ve seen over and over here at DHS: you work very hard to support your fellow employees in order to provide what our clients, customers and their families need.

That commitment to your colleagues isn’t something you learned in training or a class. It’s not something that you do because it’s part of your performance appraisal from your supervisor. It’s in your hearts to reach out and help. I’ve seen it so many times in offices across the state – your commitment to service and support for each other and the Oregonians you serve. The people and work units who’ve been nominated for the DHS Director’s Excellence are a reflection of those who MAKE the nominations, too. Those nominations are for folks who have gone above and beyond our expectations in this work, but they are nominated because their colleagues and partners want to show recognition and appreciation for them. It’s a beautiful thing – a two-way expression of care and commitment to service.

We have one more round of nominations for the awards for 2014, and I’ll make that announcement in December. I encourage you to think about your work mates and the support you provide to one another. Is there someone or some group that stands out? The Director’s Excellence Awards are one more way to express your appreciation for the work they do. Just be sure to remember that your nomination also shows me know that you’re living our Core Values in your day-to-day work. 

Thank you for everything you do. This week, I’ve been especially proud to work with you all.

~ Erinn

The 2014 DHS Director’s Excellence Awards Nominations are open – deadline Friday, December 5

  1. Any DHS employee or agency partner may make one nomination for a Director’s Excellence Award per calendar quarter. There is no formal nomination form. A nomination consists of a letter explaining how the nominee’s work meets the goals and criteria described below. The nomination must include concrete examples and should be between 1-3 pages in length.
  2. Nominations should be sent to Gene Evans, DHS Communications Director, by the end of the day on Friday, December 5.
  3. Submissions received after the deadline cannot be considered.
  4. We will confer with appropriate program Director to ensure they approve the nomination.
  5. Final Selection will be made personally by the DHS Director.
  6. The recipient(s) of the DHS Director’s Excellence Awards will be announced at the end of December.

The Director’s Excellence Award continues a DHS tradition by honoring excellent employees of the agency. Any DHS employee or agency partner may nominate someone for this award, which is given four times per year. Awards may go to individual staff members or to small work groups. Recipients must be permanent DHS employees, but they can work at any level of the organization. Awards may go to staff who work with clients, communities and partners or to employees who work internally to provide high quality programs, services and supports -- any permanent DHS employee at any level. The DHS Director’s Excellence Award recognizes employees for: outstanding work that moves DHS toward its mission of helping Oregonians in their own communities achieve well-being and independence through opportunities that protect, empower, respect choice and preserve dignity; Innovative ideas and continuous improvement efforts that increase the agency’s ability to produce positive outcomes; Exceptional efforts that make a demonstrable, positive difference in people’s lives; and Exemplary demonstration of our Core Values in action: Innovation, Integrity, Professionalism, Respect, Responsibility, Stewardship and Service Equity.

Director's Messages:  2013, 2012, 2011