Celebrating JCC Chicago’s Best
Tuesday was one of those exceptional days that remind me why working here, at JCC Chicago, is such a special experience. During our quarterly All Staff Meeting we did something we’ve never done before … we introduced the first ever JCC Chicago Employee Recognition Awards.
A few months ago, we asked our staff to reflect on their colleagues who demonstrate what we call JCC Chicago’s Four Core skills: self-leadership and accountability; creativity and innovation; customer service; and team work and collaboration.
I knew our staff would participate, but I was touched by the number who took time to beautifully and thoughtfully nominate their co-workers. Some wrote about people on their own team, while others reached across departments to highlight the incredible work of an individual in a different area of the agency. The nominations came in droves and, with each one, I was reminded of the exceptional talent, integrity, passion and community spirit that shapes our organization.
On Tuesday, the four winners were announced in front of a packed house. We loved sharing something about each unknowing awardee and seeing their surprised, humble and emotional faces when they came up to accept their awards.
So who are these special people? Get to know them in some of the words of their colleagues and friends:
Self-Leadership and Accountability Award
Winner: Leanne Nathan
Director of Early Childhood at “Z” Frank Apachi and program manager for JCC Chicago’s Early Childhood program.
What her co-workers say: Leanne operates with the utmost integrity, and always keeps our families and children at the forefront. She is respectful, kind, empathic, non-judgmental, and a wonderful collaborator and problem solver.
Creativity and Innovation Award
Winner: Cassaundra Dolan
Aquatics Director for Bernard Horwich and Mayer Kaplan JCCs.
What her co-workers say: For the creation and success of the All-In Swim program at JCC Chicago. Our agency made one very big step forward when she said “I have a child with autism I’m trying to teach but our typical teaching model isn’t working for him. I’d like to think about how I might modify our program so that he can be successful.” And that was the beginning of a revolutionary new program for JCC Chicago.
Customer Service Award
Winner: Susan Sak
What her co-workers say: Susan has created a community of caring at JCC Chicago. She provides every one of our members outstanding customer service and talks to each person before class. If a member is not at class for a few days she will reach out to make sure that the member knows that she/he was missed and to check on the person’s well-being.
Teamwork and Collaboration Award
Winner: Wendy Singer
Director, Bernard Horwich JCC Day Camp and Chavayah Overnight Camp
What her co-workers say: Wendy works on multiple teams and manages her workload exceptionally. She is a true team player in every sense of the word, willing to lend a hand whenever she can. She raises up others and always motivates and inspires those around her.
We all come to work every day to build a more inspired, connected community. Thank you Leanne, Cassaundra, Susan and Wendy for leading the way.
Written by: Todd Braman, Vice President, JCC Chicago