Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. For some exceptional individuals, difficult times can bring out the best in them, and lead to lasting and far-reaching outcomes which positively impact their team, organization and entire community.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kimberly Duke, Administrative Assistant at Otonabee Conservation, has gone above and beyond to support the physical and mental wellbeing of her coworkers and clients. When the office first closed in March 2020 and staff were making the transition to working from home, Kim initiated a regular virtual coffee time meeting so colleagues could continue to see each other’s faces and interact in a more casual way. For some, this was the only adult conversation in their week, and an important way of keeping Otonabee Conservation’s close-knit staff of 18 connected. An invitation to share funny things that happened to everyone at the end of the week also ensured that staff had an opportunity to share a collective laugh, again providing some much needed relief from the monotony of quarantine.
Maintaining 18 virtual offices and three work locations requires a significant amount of effort and coordination. Kim played a lead role in supporting everyone to ensure that their IT infrastructure functioned and any challenges were addressed quickly. Ensuring that supplies were ordered and shipments received during the office closure was also a challenge, and Kim’s home became the new destination for deliveries. As restrictions were relaxed, the need for PPE became apparent to ensure all staff were able to return to work safely. Kim was instrumental in sourcing, purchasing and coordinating distribution.
“Responding to the challenges related to working during COVID-19 has definitely brought out the best in Kim, and she is our hero for ensuring our staff are supported, protected and connected”, shares Denyse Landry, Manager of Corporate Services at Otonabee Conservation.
“Kim’s actions to reach out and support her work colleagues had a positive impact on how well we have collectively been able to live through the pandemic”, says Dan Marinigh, CAO at Otonabee Conservation.
In these unprecedented times, it takes a special person to step up to confront new workplace challenges and find innovative ways to support their organization and its people. Kim, you have taken action to maintain business as usual in an environment where it is anything but. Thank you for your commitment to your organization and colleagues – you are a true Hero at Work!
As we can all appreciate, it’s important to spread positivity and share good news stories during times of crisis. Focusing on the positive and celebrating successes, no matter how small, helps us come together (at a safe distance!) to navigate difficult times as a community. We know Ontario’s workers and organizations are out there doing amazing things. This is why we’re recognizing some of them as our weekly Hero at Work. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.