2015 HR Infinite Mile Award Recipients

2015 HR Infinite Mile Award Recipients

Congratulations to the 2015 Award Recipients!


The 2015 HR Infinite Mile Award Ceremony

Initiative + Customer Focus

Disabilities Services Team: Theresa Howell, Sarah Peterson, Dianne Sacco, and Elliot Richman

Presented by Lorraine A. Goffe-Rush at the 2015 HR Infinite Mile Awards

The first recipients of the Initiative + Customer Focus award are a dedicated team who serve all of the Institute in an exemplary manner. Their work entails sensitive concerns and very confidential information. They demonstrate daily their respect and understanding of the privacy needs of their customers which is very reassuring for those in the midst of a difficult time.

Dealing with individuals who are ill, or injured requires a very special set of customer service skills. Employees dealing with these issues are experiencing many emotions including fear, anger, distress, and frustration. This team must gauge the emotions the customer is experiencing while they are interacting and determine the best approach in responding to their needs. This requires excellent listening skills, patience, kindness, caring, and an ability to communicate complex information in a way the customer can understand based on their emotional state.

On a daily basis, members of this team will listen to their customers vent, support them when they are in tears about their situation, and then guide them through the complex policies and laws that will help support them during a trying time in their life. The team not only supports the employees, departments, and the Institute on these challenging matters, they support each other, in the challenging work that they do.

We are very pleased to congratulate the Disabilities Services Team: Theresa Howell, Sarah Peterson, Dianne Sacco, and Elliot Richman for the Initiative + Customer Focus Award!

Creativity + Innovation

HR Web Team: Clayton Ward, Laurie Bryce, Moses Blumenstiel, and Jackie Cancell

Presented by Kelly Conners at the 2015 HR Infinite Mile Awards

This team is deserving of this award because of their work on a meta and mesa level to make HR programs more accessible to the large and diverse population at MIT. This year, they took on a major redesign of the HR online presence. The new online look is clean and consistent and makes the significant amount of information housed there, much easier to access and search.  The site is useful not only for new hires, faculty and students at MIT, but also serves as an online resource within Central HR, where staff can quickly find links for information that may be buried somewhere on the ‘R’ drive.

On conjunction with the new design, the team took the time and effort to arrange a photo shoot of HR personnel so that photos of actual HR staff could rotate through the pages. The photos convey the professionalism (and bright smiles!) of the staff – but more importantly put a face on Central HR. How rare is it to go into a department and recognize someone seen on their website? What may seem like a small detail adds an especially human touch to “human resources.”

The behind the scenes aspect also carries over into the team’s approach to new ideas and the level of research they apply so that projects can come off well. As the nominator wrote, “They were thoughtful and resourceful in discussing desired outcomes and laid out areas where more exploration was needed. They were clear on what could be done easily and quick to send results on the short solutions. One of the more complex issues, was followed up on right afterwards to convey the results of a team meeting around one of the ideas discussed. The team had considered the idea from the user point of view and raised some important questions. Instead of dismissing it entirely, their research had continued for the technical side of the operation, while we worked on some of the communication pieces for it.” 

Have you guessed who the team is yet? The HR Web Team is truly deserving of the award for Creativity + Innovation.  Please join me in recognizing: Clayton Ward, Laurie Bryce, Moses Blumenstiel, and Jackie Cancell – congratulations!

Collaboration + Community Building

Work-Life Seminars Team: Ronnie Mae Weiss, Maura Rizzuto, Anna Robinson and Erin Roche

Presented by Maureen Ratigan at the 2015 HR Infinite Mile Awards

This team worked creatively and collaboratively to reach new audiences in areas of need, in particular by forging powerful collaborations within MIT to pool resources to address the work/career/life issues of all of MIT’s young professionals -- staff, post docs, and students. The team was interested in developing resources for staff, and developing connections across the Institute through a seminar series.

The team led planning discussions, researched topics and speakers, coordinated communications, and managed every detail of each event to insure success. Each team member contributed uniquely to the success of the project, and through their efforts, seminar registrations reached an all-time high, exceeding 1,800 faculty, staff, post docs, and students, with 50 registrants per seminar on average, and over 100 registrants for several seminars. The new, innovative, and highly successful "Young Professionals" seminar series met a real need, and took collaborations with staff in the office of the Vice President of Research and MIT Global Education to new levels. Due to the very high quality and outstanding success of this series, our partners and co-sponsors have pledged ongoing and increased support for next year.

Feedback from advisors, sponsors, and community participants has been exceedingly positive. In the words of the young professionals who originally approached the Center, "The creation and execution of the Young Professionals Seminars series … [was] forward thinking and responsive ... The Young Professionals seminar series ... is of immense importance to the MIT community. Our attendance has been growing, and colleagues I know and those I’ve chatted with at these events are incredibly enthusiastic that they exist ... The work ... is doing is filling a very important gap on campus."

For building bridges across MIT and into the Institute’s young professionals population, we congratulate the Work-Life Seminars Team: Ronnie Mae Weiss, Maura Rizzuto, Anna Robinson and Erin Roche for their success in launching a program of such great value to an important segment of our MIT community!

Initiative + Customer Focus

Mandy Chan

Presented by Wayne Turner at the 2015 HR Infinite Mile Awards

This individual symbolizes the CARES acronym. She consistently owns projects and follows through completion. She is very professional, respectful, resourceful and proactive. She anticipates problems and she is always looking for better alternatives to help the customer, and to improve processes even when they are outside of her area. Additionally, she is very accessible and she has an open door policy. She is a star in her area, not only for her extensive knowledge but her willingness to share it with the community in the most professional and caring way.

She can handle very sensitive situations with empathy and care, always looking for the best solution for the Institute and the customer. She is also very efficient when resolving customers’ problems. She is able to multitask and prioritize according to the urgency. She is also flexible and responsive to the needs of the customer. She cares about the wellness of the community and her cooperation goes above and beyond.

She is the main contact for those employees working overseas especially faculty, research associates, and postdocs going to Singapore. This has required dealing with employees on campus and remotely on a weekly basis. One contributor notes that this recipient is “very responsive and patient. Sometimes employees can be high maintenance, and patience and friendliness are still her best approach. Mandy has done a good job maintaining her composure with several of our more difficult situations. Her customer service is excellent, she has done a good job for the collaboration.” And this is just one of many contributors for her nomination.

Mandy Chan is a stellar employee who through her 7 years at MIT has made great contributions to the Benefits dept and to Human Resources. Congratulations on receiving the Initiative and Customer Focus Award!