By Barbara Pearson
CANI Family Advocate
Special to Frost Illustrated
I would like to highlight what I believe to be one of the greatest opportunities in the world.
More than 22 years ago, I was blessed to be hired by CANI (Community Action of Northeast Indiana Inc.) Head Start—an agency that delivers on its promises to our customers, who are the valuable parents of children ages three to five years old.
During my time of employment here, I have had the good graces and fortune to work a person whom I believe to be the most inspiring, kind, innovative, knowledgeable, analytical and equable across the board with all people manager in the world, Mrs. Pamela Mason, and it is she I would like to highlight in this article.
Some may want to inquire as to how I can make such a profound statement. Well, let me present to you what I see as evidence to support this very claim:
• In observing how she speaks to people of all cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds, she treats each one with respect. She does this by the genuine “you’re important tone” she uses when speaking, or addressing any issues or person. Does this make her without faults? No, but in my response as to what makes her exceptional in this area, it is that she is always willing to admit a wrong and move on when sometimes she misses the mark and makes mistakes. Hence, my claim of being inspiring and kind across the board is supported.
• When I first became a family advocate, I watched as Pam took 12 very diverse people from different cultures, African, African American, Caucasian, German and Hispanic and helped to form one of the strongest teams I have ever seen. She did this by listening, truly listening to everyone and she did what few people do. She heard what we said and gave credence and validity to our input. How did she do this? By making the necessary changes when appropriate and by giving a substantial reason as to why a thing could or could not be done when not feasible. Hence my claim for her being equitable across the board is noteworthy.
• A family advocate job consists of working with people whom we value, paperwork, files, reports and more paperwork! As anyone knows who has ever worked in a people business, “you can get drowned in paperwork up to your ears.” Well, this fantastic manager who was a supervisor at the time (before being promoted to manager) gave us a way to handle paperwork by creating a virtual no-mess filing system that made our work life so much easier. How did she do this? Well, let me tell you. She purchased, through the agency, three-ring binders that made locating paperwork, sectioning off important forms and retrieving what was most needed at any given time without struggle and foolproof! This, I believe, substantiates the claim of being innovative and analytical.
• Last, but not least, her evaluations of employees are regularly discussed among the employees themselves. Oh, not the confidential part. The discussions go something like this: “Wow, she gave me neat new ways that I can improve my areas of challenges,” or “Wow, she had the insight to see what other things or situations I could possibly shine in,” or “I just needed to get direction on some things I was confused about and she really helped me, she gave practical information.” Thus, evaluation with your supervisor became a hopeful anticipation, and even sought after opportunity! Now, that’s something to shout about! I think this concludes the supportive evidence for my claim of the most inspiring, kind, innovative, knowledgeable, analytical, and equable across the board with all people, manager in the world, Mrs. Pam Mason!
Thank you CANI Head Start for giving me the opportunity to work for and with such a terrific person as Mrs. Pamela Mason!
This article originally appeared in the Sept. 11 print edition.