2016 HR Infinite Mile Award Recipients

2016 HR Infinite Mile Award Recipients

Congratulations to the 2016 Award Recipients!

See a gallery of photos from the May 20, 2016 HR Infinite Mile ceremony.

Initiative and Customer Focus

The Compensation Team: Kelley Connors, Lisa Coviello-Foster, Adrienne McCosh, Mary Nnoli, and Joanna Tieu

Our first award goes to a team in the category of Initiative and Customer Focus. The following is from the nomination: “Imagine you’re a team of HR professionals with many customers who rely on you every day to provide information, data and advice in a timely manner. Your customers are making offers, determining merit increases, weighing job promotions – and they need accurate data, specific benchmarking, and overall guidance to get it right. Those customers rely on this team to drop everything to fulfill their time-sensitive needs. But that’s only half the picture.

The other half…. this team is doing all that plus reviewing every job description known to MIT. They’re involved in a total make-over of the Compensation structure as we currently know it. The amount of time and effort are breathtaking in scope. The review/revision of job descriptions is just one piece of the multi-layered Comp Initiative. They regularly meet and communicate with the Sponsors, an Advisory Group, and a consulting group, to name just a few.

The Comp Initiative is so time-consuming because this team is tirelessly working to meet the needs of the community. Every step of this project, there has been feedback (and in some cases, pushback) that the team has addressed and will continue to address until the mission is accomplished.

With deep appreciation, we congratulate the Compensation Team: Kelley Connors, Lisa Coviello-Foster, Adrienne McCosh, Mary Nnoli, and Joanna Tieu for their Initiative + Customer Focus! Congratulations!


Chris Frechette

This next recipient is also a recipient in the category of Initiative + Customer Focus. This nomination was supported by several contributors, and all made note of this person’s integrity that underlines every interaction.

One contributor wrote: “What an outstanding colleague. He cares deeply about the work and cultures of the groups he supports, works hard to understand their challenges and needs, and clearly articulates and shares that information with others in a way that supports positive change and creative thinking.

Another contributor noted, “This is someone you can always count on for getting things done in a high-quality, effective, creative and through manner. His skills in negotiating, delivering difficult news, thinking creatively, finding solutions to problems, and doing all his work demonstrate a great deal of respect for all, and infusing his great sense of humor to lighten things up. Among his many and varied issues he handled, he can always be counted on to give sound advice and counsel.”

Congratulations to Christopher Frechette on his award for Initiative + Customer Focus!


Melissa Kavlakli

Our next recipient exemplifies the impact that a behind-the-scenes role can have on customer satisfaction.

The core of this staff member’s job involves managing requirements that enable MIT to be compliant with a host of internal and external regulations. At MIT, these requirements are intricate and interrelated, and they change over time.

While all of that competence makes this recipient special, it is really her unwavering focus on the customers that takes her performance to a different level. She advocates passionately for her customers, and is known on a first-name basis all over MIT. She dives deep into providers’ requirements, never satisfied until she understands exactly what they need to do and why. Whether it is the requirements for financial administrators in SOE, or grad students trying to complete their requirements before they start in a lab, or faculty confronted with an expiring training course while overseas, she brings these situations to resolution without fail, always with tremendous respect for the perspective and priorities of those she supports.

Congratulations to Melissa Kavlakli on her award for Initiative and Customer Focus.


Mike Peretti

We have heard some great examples of the kind of customer service that HR provides and I am happy to share another example through our next recipient.

This next recipient of the Initiative + Customer Focus Award has made enormous contributions to Human Resources over the years, but this past year was even greater. “He has a deep understanding of the different functional areas of HR and can support them from a technical as well as business perspective - which he did exceptionally well all year. He brings a high level of energy, collaboration and cooperation and has proven he works effectively across departments and functions to advance projects with a high level of efficiency. His position has become an increasingly critical role within the Institute in the transmission and usage of HR data.” 

His work has been especially helpful as the new Massachusetts sick leave law has been implemented.  One contributor noted, “He provided helpful input into the design of the sick leave tracking tool that IS&T created. Most importantly, he has taken on the implementation of the tool. This is not yet automatic so this involves reviewing and loading monthly feeds of new staff members, a painstaking process. He has responded cheerfully to all requests from DLC contacts. He always shows the mindset of both resolving the issue quickly and continually improving the processes for the employee, the DLC, and HR.”

Congratulations to Mike Peretti, on his Initiative + Customer Focus Award!


Innovating and Improving

Kathleen Flynn

The Innovating + Improving category recognizes the need for creative problem-solving, for proposing new methods or technologies, and for leveraging knowledge to achieve measurable results. 

Our recipient embodies every aspect of this award. She is a leader in moving projects forward, and continuously improving them along the way. Her nomination includes support from many members of the MIT community – one noted: “In her role with the design phase of the Atlas Service Center, she is proving to be invaluable. She is relied upon heavily for her knowledge of business processes and systems and together with her strong project management skills, has the project on course for early 2017 delivery.

This project is a cross functional initiative, and she is proactive and takes the initiative to see details through for activities that may or may not be her direct responsibility. Another contributor adds, “She is an incredible driving force; very innovative; and exceptional in pulling people together to break ground where we’ve never been before. A good portion of what the Atlas Service Center will deliver to the community will be because of her efforts.”

For her excellent example of Innovating and Improving, congratulations to Kathleen Flynn!  


Everyday Leadership

Jennifer Walsh

This awardee is in the category of Everyday Leadership.  Recipients in this category motivate and energize their area or team; they promote respect and collaboration, and make others successful.  Our next recipient does all of that and more.

One of her nominators wrote, “She is the driving force behind our team, and through her efforts, she personifies the category of “Everyday Leadership” by her outstanding example. She shares her deep knowledge and expertise of ER policy, procedures and MIT history so that her whole team can have a shared framework. She demonstrates respect by listening to our input and reaching decisions in a highly collaborative style. She is always supportive and concerned with our well-being. She demonstrates a commitment to continuous learning. Whether we learn from her, from each other, or by listening to a speaker or webinar, she wants us all (herself included) to continuously learn, improve and achieve. “

She still maintains a full case load even as she manages her team. She understands that sometimes there is no happy solution to a problem. In those situations, she respects our occasional need to simply vent until we feel ready to go back and deal with it.” Though this is part of her role, we cannot emphasize enough how she never makes us feel as if we are imposing on her as she helps with our work issues while she is conducting her own work.

For such exceptional work as an Everyday Leader, congratulations to Jennifer Walsh on her Infinite Mile Award!


Collaboration and Community Building

Janet Walzer

This recipient receives an Infinite Mile Award for Collaboration and Community Building.  Recipients in this category ensure that different points of view are considered; they share knowledge for a more impactful outcome; and they leverage networks and maintain community.

This recipient works in those ways every day, seamlessly bringing together stakeholders, forging new connections where needed, and providing support across HR. One of her nominators wrote, “Although she does have a leadership position, her efforts go beyond her role.  She is a community builder sharing her expertise that results in success for whomever she supports.  She consistently shares her knowledge. She is a great sounding board. She makes every member of HR feel valued and respected.”

Another nominator continues, “She is an amazing resource for figuring out how to say what is needed.  The number of times I have (and still am, and still will) gone to her to figure out a careful, or respectful, or firm, or sensitive way of reaching out to someone are too many to count.  She knows how much this is a constant need in HR, and she is ridiculously timely given everything else she is called on to do. She will drop what she is doing, and provide me, or another staff person with just the right wording to get an email out on a deadline, or prep for a meeting. I think this happens at least a few times a day, and I have never heard her turn anyone down.”

For your constant Collaboration and Community Building, we congratulate Janet Walzer.