2012 HR Infinite Mile Award Recipients

2012 HR Infinite Mile Award Recipients

Creativity and Innovation
Children's Scholarship Database Redesign Team: Julienne Dean, Lakitha Garrett, Anne LaFleur, Ken Paul

Collaboration and Community Building

Pension Connect Team: Laurie Bryce, Olivia Contrada, Kathleen Flynn, Diane Gipson, Diane Johnston, Chuck Pizzano, Maureen Ratigan, Janet Walzer, Clayton Ward

Kathleen Flynn

Leadership: Growing a Culture of Development
Lianne Shields

Initiative and Customer Focus
Jane White
Paula Sammarco.

Creativity and Innovation

Children's Scholarship Database Redesign Team: Lakitha Garrett, Julienne Dean, Ken Paul, Anne LaFleur

Our first award goes to a team that was asked to replace a database with different technology. Instead, they took the initiative to do a complete redesign of the system, and dramatically improved its usability for HR staff and MIT employees.

The new database is resource efficient in a number of creative ways that came out of this team's collaborative efforts.

  • It automates the identification of participants whose eligibility may have changed.
  • It stores letters electronically, enabling easy retrieval for review and saving paper.
  • It allows Benefits to update the system themselves, quickly and easily.
  • And after a member of MIT's Audit Division joined the project team, the system can now identify participants who have exhausted their benefit or lost eligibility.

As one nominator states, "This undertaking represented the best possible partnership between the business owners of the project and the business analysts, with many hours dedicated to targeted questioning, free sharing of knowledge, and careful listening. Through this cooperation, HRIS was able to understand the business requirements so thoroughly that they could design a wildly successful solution."

For creating new concepts and improving work efficiencies, it is a pleasure to award The Children's Scholarship Database Redesign Team with an Infinite Mile Award for Creativity and Innovation: Julienne Dean, Lakitha Garrett, Anne LaFleur and Ken Paul.

Collaboration and Community Building

Pension Connect Team: Clayton Ward, Maureen Ratigan, Diane Johnston, Diane Gipson, Olivia Contrada, Laurie Bryce, Chuck Pizzano, Kathleen Flynn, Janet Walzer

The first award in this category goes to a team whose members worked diligently and meticulously to accomplish their goal. This was a complex task, involving multiple systems, multiple data points, and multiple stakeholders. There was no room for error with this project, so accuracy was critical. At the same time, the solution had to work for the entire MIT community. This project was characterized by close and successful collaboration within HR and between HR and VPF, HR-Payroll, IS&T, and Lincoln Lab – as well as with our outside vendor.

One nominator wrote, "Thousands of participants have been using PensionConnect, generating tens of thousands of personalized retirement projections. This would not have been possible just a year ago. In addition, we now have improved processes in place with better quality control."

I want to acknowledge the incredible effort this took – and the result is that we have a much improved record keeping system with fabulous tools for employees.

For collaborating strategically and crafting a deliverable worthy of MIT, this Infinite Mile award goes to The Pension Connect Team: Laurie Bryce, Olivia Contrada, Kathleen Flynn, Diane Gipson, Diane Johnston, Chuck Pizzano, Maureen Ratigan, Janet Walzer, and Clayton Ward.

Kathleen Flynn

The second award in this category goes to an individual who has worked on some of our biggest projects this year and kept them moving along while still making sure all team members had input.

She brings a wealth of technical, business, and project management expertise to HR – but with those resources at hand, she is not content to move forward without first gathering input and making sure that everyone at the table has a voice in the process. Even under rigorous deadlines – when more input often takes up more time – this nominee made time for group-decision making processes.

Some of the projects she has worked on just this year are:

  • The I-9 Project
  • PensionConnect
  • Total Compensation
  • MAP project and faculty offer letters

As one colleague outside of HR noted, "We usually call her with tough process questions that have tight deadlines and deliverables. She is always pleasant to work with. She has a positive attitude and always can be counted on to suggest well thought-out recommendations. I am always confident in these recommendations and I value her judgment. She works so closely with my team that I view Kathleen as an extended member."

For keeping major projects on schedule without sacrificing a collaborative approach, it is our pleasure to recognize Kathleen Flynn for the Infinite Mile Award in the Collaboration and Community Building category.

Leadership: Growing a Culture of Development

Lianne Shields

This individual has been a role model and active teacher in showing leadership values and traits to the MIT community. Whether it is formally in the classroom or by assuming responsibility for ongoing or needed projects, this recipient takes an active role in leading her fellow MIT employees to their best potential.

Her nominator writes, "In her training work, (she) shows creativity, persistence, and dedication to growing a culture of development -- both by providing opportunities for employees to learn more, and by addressing concerns that can impede employees' engagement."

She has worked with the HR community to explore and develop classes and training to address very specific needs, like Stress Management for Busy People. She has sought off-site locations for classes, so that HR staff can better prepare for professional testing, and most recently, worked on a new training module for Facilities on harassment and incivility in the workplace. This training was presented in 18 sessions, some beginning at 4:45am, but they were well received because they were engaging and employee-focused – and also brought to light issues that may have never been addressed.

For being an example of a leader invested in a culture of development, I am pleased to present this Infinite Mile award to Lianne Shields.

Jane White

The first award in this category goes to a recipient whose customer focus and project ownership skills have meant greater accessibility to training at MIT. She has been the business lead for this work for several years, taking the Enterprise Learning Project through three “go lives” in the past 6 months. The one-stop shopping convenience of the MIT Learning Center has meant learners are welcomed with user-friendly functions and can access needed information from one location.

To achieve this, this recipient reached out to many constituencies through meetings, live demos, and conversations. As one of her many nominators noted, "It is (her) style to do a great deal of legwork and then offer her customers’ options to choose. She has a strong sense of what it means to provide customer satisfaction. The fact that the project was a roaring success attests to the fact that Jane did a phenomenal job at all this."

For striving to understand and meet the needs of many customers, we are happy to give this Infinite Mile award to Jane White.

Paula Sammarco

Our second award and final recipient for a 2012 Infinite Mile award is someone with whom I daily trust with the public and private face of Central HR, and who does not disappoint when it comes to juggling schedules, priorities, and proactively approaching projects. She is the spinal cord to not one, but many teams in HR, providing a structural framework that allows the department to function well.

She is diplomatic and knowledgeable in navigating every imaginable situation, and her positive manner means that she is always accessible to those inside and outside of HR.

One of her nominators wrote, "Paula is a wonderful mentor to other admin staff, thereby extending excellent customer service. She’s a true problem solver and always maintains a professional and personable demeanor. She’s strategic and understands the HR brand and the role we all play in terms of representing that brand. She always goes the extra mile and treats everyone as a customer. She’s the ultimate ambassador for HR."

I can personally attest to this recipient’s professionalism, dedication and outstanding service to this department, and I am delighted to present this final award for Initiative and Customer Focus to Paula Sammarco.