Serving since 1992

Staff spotlight: Forum recognizes administrative professionals

March 26, 2015

This month’s staff spotlight is dedicated to acknowledging our hardworking administrative professionals. We’ve profiled a few of our outstanding department administrators here so you have an opportunity to get to know them a little better. Please remember to mark your calendar for Administrative Professionals Day on April 22, and thank your department administrator for all the work they do behind the scenes to keep the University running smoothly.


 

JenniferWashington
Jennifer Washington. Photograph courtesy of Katie Turner.

Jennifer Washington
Business Officer
Romance Studies
1 year of service

Please tell us a little about your background before coming to Carolina.

I came to UNC in late 2013 from UNC Wilmington, where I served as a Business Coordinator for Business Affairs. Before that I was in the United States Navy, which were some of the best years of my life.

What is your favorite part of working at Carolina?

My favorite part of working at Carolina is the pride that people have here. Also my office is truly great. It doesn’t feel like work which of course is the goal.

If you could change one thing about Carolina, what would it be?

Carolina is a great school. I think if I could change one thing it wold be the administrative processes at Carolina. Also the fact that the administrative bands are some of the lowest paid considering the amount of work these dedicated people do.

Tell us one-three things about you that your co-workers aren’t likely to know.

I have a twin sister who lives in Charlotte.
I love to bake muffins.
I have a serious obsession with the entire Marvel Universe.

If you could choose one administrative assistant from pop culture (television, movies, etc.) to draw inspiration from, who would it be?

Michel Gerard, played by Yanic Truesdale on Gilmore girls. He takes pride in his work and makes me laugh.


 

paulagoodman
Paula Goodman. Photograph courtesy of Katie Turner.

Paula Goodman
Department Manager
Undergraduate Education
6 years of service

Please tell us a little about your background before coming to Carolina.

Right before I came to work here, I was working for Pinellas County Emergency Management That particular position was my first “management” position. I was responsible for all departmental accounting, human resources, and payroll, as well as supervising volunteers and staff members. While working there, I finished my Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources at Barry University. Prior to that I had jobs in various administrative roles from medical to the recruiting industries.

What is your favorite part of working at Carolina?

There are so many, its really hard to name just one. However, if I had to narrow it down I would say what I tell my friends, “I have been a Tar Heel fan most of my life. Now, I get paid to be a Tar Heel! ”

If you could change one thing about Carolina, what would it be?

I would have to say that I would like to see more equal treatment for SPA employees. I feel as though sometimes SPA staff feel as though they are not as important as EPA.

Tell us one-three things about you that your co-workers aren’t likely to know.

I am a kidney cancer survivor since 2007!
I am a single parent and worked while raising my two children as well as putting myself through college to earn my bachelor’s degree.
I like to crochet!

If you could choose one administrative assistant from pop culture (television, movies, etc.) to draw inspiration from, who would it be?

Matt LeBlanc, aka Joey from Friends.


 

shameciapowers
Shamecia Powers. Photograph courtesy of Katie Turner.

Shamecia Powers
Business Manager
Anthropology
1 year 3 months of service

Please tell us a little about your background before coming to Carolina.

My love for Carolina developed during my time as an undergraduate student (class of ’05). After graduation, I entered a dual master’s program at Georgia State University and received my MBA in May 2006, and my MHA in December 2006. After working as the manager of a legal services clinic at Georgia State, I returned to UNC in December 2013 to take the reins in the department of anthropology.

What is your favorite part of working at Carolina?

I equally enjoy the beautiful campus and the amazing people.

If you could change one thing about Carolina, what would it be?

I would make it spring year-round.

Tell us one-three things about you that your co-workers aren’t likely to know.

I have recently taken up quilting.


 

Katherine Max. Photograph courtesy of Katie Turner.
Katherine Max. Photograph courtesy of Katie Turner.

Katherine A. Max
Executive Assistant
Diversity & Multicultural Affairs
2 years of service

Please tell us a little about your background before coming to Carolina.

Before coming to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I worked in the corporate industry for many years as an office manager and executive assistant for pharmaceutical and telecommunication companies. In that capacity, I supported executives, engineers, and lobbyists. I received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from North Carolina Central University. I am a Notary Public.

What is your favorite part of working at Carolina?

Meeting so many bright and intelligent young people from different backgrounds. I enjoy being a part of their day to assist in any way possible.

If you could change one thing about Carolina, what would it be?

The traffic and parking.

Tell us one-three things about you that your co-workers aren’t likely to know.

My favorite comedy television show is The Big Bang Theory.
My favorite movie is Now Voyager.
My favorite television drama is Empire.

If you could choose one administrative assistant from pop culture (television, movies, etc.) to draw inspiration from, who would it be?

Andrea Sachs from The Devil Wears Prada.

 

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Students organize National Adjunct Walkout Day protest

February 26, 2015

adjuncts

By Katie Turner, Public Relations and Communications Committee chair

On Wednesday, students, staff and faculty gathered on the steps of Wilson Library to raise awareness about adjunct faculty working conditions. The event was part of National Adjunct Walkout Day, an organized protest across the country aimed at educating the public and higher education institutions about contingent faculty issues.

The average wage for adjuncts nationally is approximately $3,000 per course. At UNC-Chapel Hill, most adjuncts average around $7,000 per 3-credit hour course, significantly higher than most universities. However, adjuncts do not accrue benefits unless they teach a course load equivalent of four classes per semester, which is a heavier course load than tenure-track faculty.

For more information about adjunct labor issues and National Walkout Day, check out the following stories:

Photograph courtesy of Anne Mitchell Whisnant, deputy secretary of the faculty

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Carolina Campus Community Garden announces spring workshops

February 25, 2015

gardenBy Arlene Medder, Employee Forum delegate

As part of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill community, the garden also has education as part of its mission. One method is to hold workshops.

The first workshop of the new year was held on February 22, 2015, with a full list of attendees. It was taught by Greta Lee, a certified permaculture instructor, and Claire Lorch, the CCCG garden educator. The workshop covered what vegetables to plant for a spring garden, when to start planting, as well as protecting plants from freezing and getting more harvest from a small growing space. There were twenty-one participants, most of whom were new, or fairly new, to gardening.

A composting workshop will be held on Wednesday, March 18th from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Carolina Campus Community Garden. It’s a free workshop and will cover composting food scraps, what to compost, and what not to. It will be taught by Muriel Williman, the Orange County waste management educator. She will also demonstrate the ease of starting vermicomposting, or worm composting. The class will be held rain or shine so people should dress appropriately.

Another workshop in March will be on growing shiitake mushrooms. It is also free. This is a hands-on workshop, preparing eight logs for the Carolina Campus Community Garden. Aaron Moody, a geology professor who grows mushrooms on the side will be leading. It is scheduled for Sunday, March 22, 2015 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Carolina Campus Community Garden, with March 29th scheduled as the rain date. No experience is necessary and children are welcome. Participants also get to sample shiitake mushroom dishes. It is requested that if you have one, to bring a charged cordless drill, bit size 5/16 or 8mm.

There will also be family-oriented workshops on honey bees. Anne Cabell, one of the CCCG’s beekeepers, will be giving a tour of the honey beehive on Sunday, April 19, 2015 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and again on Sunday June 7, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. If it rains, it will be rescheduled to Saturday June 20th. The workshop is free and will take place at the honey beehives at the Carolina Campus Community Garden. Bees are responsible for pollinating approximately a third of the world’s food as well as producing one of the sweetest treats.

For more information please contact Claire Lorch at clorch@email.unc.edu. More information about the garden can be found at http://uncgarden.web.unc.edu/ .

Photograph courtesy of Clare Lorch.

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Staff spotlight: Clarissa Goodlett, Program and Communications Manager at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History

February 25, 2015

Interview by Katie Turner, Employee Forum public relations and communications committee chair

GoodlettClarissaI recently had the pleasure of serving on a hiring committee with Clarissa Goodlett, program and communications manager at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History. Through the hiring committee, I got to know Clarissa and found out that we have a lot of the same interests–everything from social justice movements  to reality television shows and pop culture. Clarissa was kind enough to let me interview her for InTouch so you all can have the opportunity to get to know her and the work of the Stone Center, too.

Hi, Clarissa. Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed for InTouch. You and I have known each other for only a short time, but I feel like I already know a lot about you. For those staff who don’t know you, can you talk a little bit about what you do at the Stone Center?

As the Program and Communications Manager at the Stone Center, I’m responsible for the planning and execution of more than 40 programs and events the Stone Center produces yearly. In addition to managing our program logistics, I also serve as the lead on Stone Center public relations and communications activities including promoting Stone Center events and activities, media relations and constituent relations.

What did you do before your time at UNC, and what surprised you most when you started working here?

Prior to joining the Stone Center team, I worked in variety of organizing and communications positions in government and politics–including U.S. presidential and senate campaigns and the North Carolina Governor’s Office. I’m an activist at heart, and I’ve held roles in community outreach and political advocacy at several non-profit organizations, such as ColorofChange.org—the nation’s leading online racial justice organization. Before stepping into politics, I worked as an engineer for an information technology consulting firm. My undergraduate degree is in industrial engineering.

I’m surprised the most by how much I love working with UNC students and what an integral role they play in the work that I do. I’m not in a teaching position, but I frequently find myself in a mentoring and teaching role and its one of my favorite parts of the job. Our students are really what makes UNC special, and I’m fortunate enough to be reminded of that every day.

What is the best part about working at UNC, and what would you change if you could?

Because of UNC’s world-class reputation, we are able to bring to campus and have access to acclaimed artists, authors, performers and scholars– many of whom have been brought to campus by the Stone Center. It’s been pleasure and privilege to interact with and engage these thought leaders.

February has been a busy month for you since you’ve been doing a lot programming for Black History Month. Can you talk a little about some of the programs the Stone Center has planned?

As part of our mission to educate the campus and surrounding community about the arts and culture of the African diaspora, we are committed to producing program and events that meet that mission year-round. Of course, February is no exception. We are fortunate because during February, communities tend to be more focused and interested in taking advantage of opportunities to engage these types of programs. We continue to produce our signature programs during the month including our Writer’s Discussion series and the Diaspora Festival of Black and Independent Film Festival Screenings. We recently featured Candis Watts Smith and her book, Black Mosaic: The Politics of Black Pan-Ethnic Diversity. Our complete program agenda is always available via our website and Facebook.

The Stone Center has played a major role in educating the UNC community about black culture. It has also recently had to defend its existence to the Board of Governors back in December. Have you felt an outpouring of support of the Center from the campus or have things been quiet? What can staff do to show their appreciation and support for the Center?

We certainly felt support from all corners of campus and community—students, faculty, staff and other Stone Center supporters in the community. I believe staff can support us by attending our events and programs. A visible show of support for the events that happen at the Stone Center is a clear reminder that the Center and its activities are providing a unique value and service to our campus and the larger Chapel Hill community. When you come, bring your friends with you!

That’s a wonderful idea, Clarissa. Thanks for taking the time out to be interviewed. I look forward to seeing you at Stone Center events!

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10 ways to celebrate ‘Love your Library’ month

February 23, 2015

by Tammy Cox, Employee Forum treasurer

Don’t wait until February to enjoy libraries with their rich resources for knowledge and entertainment. Here on campus, your One Card is the key to any of the many libraries available to staff, students and faculty.
During Employee Appreciation Day, the UNC Libraries table provided handouts with “10 Great things to do right here at your library.” Listed below are 10 of the ways to enjoy the offerings:

1. Check out recent best sellers from the browsing collection
2. Borrow DVDs, CDs, language learning CD,s audiobooks, cameras, Wiis, and iPads
3. Find sheet music for your singing group
4. Scan your family photos
5. Take home a children’s book
6. Research that big purchase in Consumer Reports before you make it
7. Read up before your vacation with travel guides
8. Take in an exhibit about NC history
9. Research your family history
10. Visit Mount Everest or the moon via Liquid Galaxy

Today is a great day to stock up on books or movies to entertain you when the weather is less than spectacular. Or even better, grab some travel guides to plan a trip for the sunny days ahead.

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9 wellness tips for 2015

January 9, 2015

As the holidays get further behind us and we start implementing our resolutions, it might be a good time to take inventory of our benefits and make sure we are maximizing them. This list contains some tips for how to take advantage of what Carolina has to offer its employees.

Photo courtesy of UNC News.
Photo courtesy of UNC News.

1. Take a class for free

Many Carolina staff aren’t aware that we can take up to three 3-credit hour courses for free per year across the UNC system. If you aren’t using the tuition waiver option, you are missing a great opportunity to enhance your experience here. A number of programs on campus are designed for working professionals. The Friday Center for Continuing Education offers two flexible options: Carolina Courses Online and Self-paced Courses. Ever wanted to learn HTML, but didn’t think you had the time or money? The Friday Center offers a self-paced course that allows you to complete the work in your free time. UNC Online also hosts a number of certification and degree programs offered by universities across the system. I’m currently enrolled in the School of Journalism’s Certificate in Technology and Communication program, and I can’t say enough good things about it.

If committing to a new certificate program or semester-long course seems overly ambitious at this point, Training and Talent Development offers a catalog of free professional development courses. Staff and faculty can register for the courses online. The courses range from a few hours to day-long seminars. The department maintains a thorough list of professional development opportunities for staff.

Keep an eye out for other opportunities provided by organizations on campus like Career Services, the Association for Women Faculty and Professionals, University Libraries and the Employee Forum Education and Career Development Committee. Many opportunities are listed on the UNC Event Registration page and the UNC Events Calendar (sort by audience: Faculty and Staff).

2. Get your finances in order

It may not be obvious since the economic recession, but being a state employee has its own set of financial perks. As you set up your annual budget, you can find ways to trim spending through employee discounts.

A staff member in the cash booth at Employee Appreciation Day, 2014. Photo courtesy of Katie Turner.
A staff member in the cash booth at Employee Appreciation Day, 2014. Photo courtesy of Katie Turner.

Discounts include savings on monthly cell phone service, food and dining, and shopping. If you purchase a membership with SEANC, you not only support your state employee colleagues but you can also access discounts from vendors across the state. Depending on how often you use those vendors, the membership may pay for itself.

If you are currently using online banking, I highly recommend Mint for budgeting and tracking expenses. It’s free to set up an account, and you can link your checking, savings, mortgage and credit cards to help visualize your income and expenses, assets, debt, and set a monthly budget. You can also create financial goals and track your progress. There are other sites out there that are similar to Mint, but you should be careful about with whom you share your financial information. I recommend Mint because I’ve used it since 2005 when an accountant friend recommended it to me. I’ve found it to be reliable, reputable and secure.

The North Carolina State Employees’ Credit Union is another excellent resource. NCSECU offers a number of options for interest-bearing checking and savings accounts. In addition, the credit union offers helpful services like tax preparation assistance, used car buying assistance, financial counseling and estate planning. Branches are conveniently located throughout the state.

Perhaps one of the best ways to cut back on monthly expenses is to trim your transportation budget. One of biggest day-to-day challenges of working at Carolina is something we all have to grapple with: parking. One of the best things I ever did for my wallet was to sign up for the Commuter Alternative Program, a program offered through the university that provides savings on alternative modes of transportation. As an added perk, CAP members receive discounts at local businesses. Through CAP, I received a free Triangle Transit bus pass and access to free parking at the Southpoint Mall park and ride lot. I’ve saved money on parking permits, gas, oil changes and maintenance. I also get to feel better about my impact on the environment and not contributing to the rising costs of parking on campus.

If you have budgeted wisely, but still want to reach your financial goals faster, reconsidering your entertainment budget might be a smart move. Often when money is short, people cut out vacation, recreation and entertainment spending, even though we all need time to recharge. Consider eliminating subscriptions to newspapers, magazines and cable, at least temporarily. Instead, access newspapers and magazines online through the University Library, and think about making the switch to a low-cost streaming service like Netflix or Hulu. Even better, check out the Media Resource Center‘s selection of movies and audio books that you can check for free.

If you aren’t sure where to start with your financial planning, check out 30 days to better finances at getrichslowly.org.

3. Take your community service leave

Sadly, most UNC employees do not use their community service leave. CSL provides an opportunity for staff to give back to the community in a number of important ways. It can also help you professionally if you use the leave to develop new skills or make connections with local organizations. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to use all of my service leave. Last week, I used two hours of leave to work in the Carolina Campus Community Garden, a volunteer-run garden on campus that raises produce to benefit the university’s lowest paid workers. During that two hours, I learned how to chop and turn compost, and I met a group of ambitious high school students who were working in the garden as a part of their environmental studies class. It was hard work, but very rewarding!

In the past, I’ve donated my hours to help plan a conference for the UNC Women’s Studies Department and to serve as a judge for the National High School Ethics Bowl, a wonderful program organized through UNC’s Parr Center for Ethics. There are a number of departments on campus that would welcome help with events planning or other projects, and community service leave provides a great opportunity to reach out to other departments across campus, meet new people and do something to serve your colleagues and local community.

4. Exercise more

Photo courtesy of UNC News Multimedia Library
Photo courtesy of UNC News Multimedia Library

We all know that we probably don’t get enough exercise, and we should make greater efforts to get to the gym consistently, to lower our stress levels and to eat better. Fortunately, working at Carolina gives us some good options for squeezing exercise into our hectic schedules. For those who enjoy cycling to work, you’ll be happy to know that UNC has earned a Silver designation as Bicycle Friendly University. Since many of us live too far away to cycle or walk to work, or have morning and evening childcare responsibilities, UNC Campus Recreation offers a number of lunchtime fitness classes during the work week. If you are like me and hate to exercise but want to test the waters of gym membership, Campus Rec offers a staff membership with access to equipment and fitness classes for $12.50 per month, or roughly the cost of taking one class at a private gym. Staff can also opt to have their membership fee payroll deducted.

5. Sit less at your desk

Standing desks have become increasingly popular in recent years as the mantra “sitting is the new smoking” has caught on. We’ve heard the list of health problems that sitting can cause from weight gain to taking years off our lives. If you are someone who sits all day at a desk, you might want to consider talking to your supervisor to see if you can get an adjustable-height standing desk installed in your workplace. Given budget constraints, it’s likely that most departments won’t have a lot of money to spend on new desks, so explore the possibility of retrofitting existing furniture. In my case, I used the top from my old desk and put an adjustable-height base underneath to save on the cost of a new desktop. I’ve also seen portable standing desks like this one that provide a portable, cheap alternative.

If a standing desk is out of the question, consider some of the tips provided in the following Lifehacker articles. Our office assistant, Matt Banks, has successfully tried many of these strategies and has reported feeling more relaxed and less achy at work.*

*Big thanks to Matt for bringing these articles to my attention.

6. Set a new professional goal

At a recent Employee Forum meeting, Vice Chancellor for Workforce, Equity and Engagement Felicia Washington challenged us delegates to set a new professional goal for the year. I thought this was a good idea because I tend to only think about setting new professional goals around performance review time in the summer. I usually save my New Year’s resolutions for personal goals like running a 5K or eating better. I imagine others do something similar. By January, we’ve probably forgotten what we pledged to do the year before back in May when we filled out our lengthy review forms and work plans. This might be a good time to revisit last year’s review documents. Have you already accomplished what you set out to accomplish? Can you add a new goal? If you haven’t made progress, can you identify obstacles and change your strategy?

Other goals might have to do with obtaining a new skill or refining existing skills. A goal could be as simple as taking the time to read a software help manual to master a particular program. For instance, there are certain things I’m sure that excel could do to make my life easier. This year, I’m going to resolve to take the time to learn more shortcuts that will save me time in the future. My future self will thank me later.

Employee Forum delegates pose for a silly picture.
Employee Forum delegates pose for a silly picture.

7. Make new (work) friends

Connecting with others and making room for social opportunities can positively impact your daily work experience. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to make new friends at work is to join a professional club or organization because you can form natural bonds with others through topical discussions, work on projects or organizing events. Unlike “networking” events, where extroverts tend to shine, organizations provide a safe place for introverts and newcomers. If you dislike “networking,” organizational work may be a nice and rewarding alternative for meeting people. At Carolina, there are numerous identity-based and professional service organizations, not to mention centers and institutes that provide social spaces on campus.

In early 2014, the Employee Forum delegates wanted to have more opportunities for staff to interact. Tammy Cox, Employee Forum treasurer, suggested that the Forum begin hosting a staff book club. We launched the book club with the support of Bulls Head Books and the chancellor. Shortly thereafter we attracted a dedicated group of readers from across campus who come together monthly. Through book discussions, the members have gotten to know each other and share personal stories inspired by themes in the readings. (See UNC employees build literary connections.) I look forward every month to our one-hour lunch meetings.

Here are some organizations on campus that might be of interest:

8. Plan a vacation

It was hard for me to look at my vacation time accrual this year after coming back to work after the holidays. At the same time, I know I needed that time in December to spend with family and friends and to think about my priorities for this coming year. I also know that I need motivation to do good work, and for me the reward is a nice vacation. Having something to look forward to is an important motivator. If you have a similar need to create a self-imposed rewards structure, take inventory of your vacation time now and begin planning a vacation for later in the year. If you don’t like to travel far, it might be a good time to start researching places in the area where you haven’t been that could make a fun day trip. If that’s overwhelming to think about, just plan to stay home. The point is that vacation time is important for reducing your stress levels and improving your overall health. We should all strive to carve out time to slow down, unplug and unwind.

9. Save time to do more of what you like

Find ways outside of work to save time in order to focus on things that you enjoy doing. We all have developed some handy strategies to maximize our efficiency at work, but what happens when we go home and are faced with cooking, laundry, family care and home maintenance? Sometimes it seems like the work never ends. We skimp on cooking fresh meals and eat out, which contributes to unhealthy habits for our bodies and finances. We spend time trying to save money and fixing things ourselves when it might make sense to hire a professional. There might be instances when spending money on a service that we hate doing ourselves is a wise decision. It depends on our resources and how much we value our “free time.”

One service I started subscribing to recently is called HelloFresh. (There are several other companies out there that offer a similar service, but I can’t speak to them because I haven’t tried them.) HelloFresh is a once-weekly grocery delivery service that provides fresh, organic ready to cook meals. All meals take under 45 minutes to prepare. The service is more expensive than I would like, but the benefits are that I’m less tempted to eat out after work and I get a nutritious, well-portioned health meal. I also don’t waste time menu planning and grocery shopping, which allows me to do other things with my time.

Amazon also has a grocery subscription service for non-perishables called Amazon Prime Pantry. For a low shipping fee with your Amazon Prime membership, you can order your non-perishables online and have them delivered to your home. Harris Teeter is now offering a similar pick-up service called Express Lane. Using your VIC card, you can shop online, apply coupons to your purchases, and schedule a pick up time to get your groceries. There is a small fee to consider for this service, but you save time you would otherwise spend milling around the grocery store, and you can use previous orders to spend up your online ordering process.

Those are all of my tips for 2015. What are your resolutions and tips for the New Year? Feel free to leave them in the comments section.

–Katie Turner
Public Relations and Communications Chair
Executive Assistant in the Office of Faculty Governance

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A new look for a new year

January 9, 2015

A note from the Public Relations and Communications Committee chair:

Dear colleagues,

As we embark on the new year, the Employee Forum is debuting a new look for its website and inTouch publication, as well as an ambitious publication schedule for the once quarterly printed inTouch. inTouch will now be a monthly, digital publication that will arrive straight to your inbox. We hope this will accomplish a number of goals: streamline our communications so that you get fewer emails from us, publicize events in a timely way, distribute important information about Employee Forum meetings on a regular basis and cut printing costs to better use funds to serve the staff. The monthly cadence of inTouch will provide us with an opportunity to stay in communication with our constituents to better serve you.

In this issue, we include a short feature about wellness resources to help you think about your goals for the new year. As Carolina employees, we have access to a number of benefits that can help reduce or manage stress and improve our physical and mental health. We also have a wonderful Training and Talent Development department dedicated to helping us reach our professional goals. Many staff are not aware that we have the opportunity to give back to our communities using our community service leave allocations.

We hope the 2015 year brings you peace and calm. It is, after all, the year of the sheep in the Chinese Zodiac. It may be the perfect time to think about ways you can decrease stress and enhance your well-being.

Sincerely,

Katie Turner

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