Special Events: Annual Meeting 2010

Two members from the Benefits, Health & Well Being team encourage one another as they climb the rock wall.
Two members from the Benefits, Health & Well Being team encourage one another as they climb the rock wall at the Radrick Recreation Area Challenge Course.

VOICES Annual Meeting 2010:
Meeting the Challenge

Meeting the challenge of sustaining staff engagement was the theme of the Voices of the Staff annual meeting held Friday, June 4 at the Radrick Recreation Area. Using the location’s Challenge Program course and activities as a backdrop for experiential learning and team building, the meeting focused on tackling that challenge through activities that required cohesive team work and problem-solving skills. Associate Vice President for Human Resources Laurita Thomas welcomed everyone to the challenge course and expressed her excitement about the VOICES’ continuation into its sixth year by celebrating the newest cohort of volunteers coming into the program, as well as those transitioning to the alumni team. A special highlight was the morning keynote speaker, former football coach Lloyd Carr. Carr fired up the crowd with a speech about the importance of wanting to be an active member in your organization and how every member of a team contributes valuable assets and individual skills to enrich a group experience.

Career Development Team members with Lloyd Carr.
Career Development Team members with Lloyd Carr.

Leadership Development team member Eric Bain, Business Manager for UMHS Environmental Services, commented on Carr’s message by saying: "When I listened to Lloyd Carr speak, it was easy to see why so many people wanted to perform well for him, on and off the field. Coach Carr expressed the importance of genuinely investing in people, and whether you are competing for a National Football Championship or to become a better place to work, the message remains the same: everyone needs to work together.  It speaks volumes that the same core values embedded in Voices of the Staff team members mirror those of a National Champion. I am proud to be a member of such a hard working and well respected group, and with the continued growth of dedicated professionals each year, the sky is the limit for what we can accomplish!"

Professor Joel Slemrod receiving a VOICES Champion award from Laurita Thomas and Lloyd Carr for his endorsement of exuberant VOICES volunteer and facilitator Mary Ceccanese (left).
Professor Joel Slemrod receiving a VOICES Champion award from Laurita Thomas and Lloyd Carr for his endorsement of exuberant VOICES volunteer and facilitator Mary Ceccanese (left).
Environmental Stewardship members working together on a challenge.
Environmental Stewardship members working together on a challenge.

Following the keynote, Carr and Thomas recognized the winners of the Voices Champion Awards by presenting trophies to six individuals and teams:

  • Provost Teresa Sullivan, for her support of VOICES as well as her leadership and contributions to the university community.
  • Joel Slemrod, Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy, for his support as a manager in allowing Voices alumni member and Work Climate team facilitator Mary Ceccanese, to remain an integral part of the program year after year.
  • Mary Caldwell, RN at the U-M Hospitals and Health Centers for her commitment to Voices and her dedicated service to multiple teams and change initiatives around the university.
  • The Diversity team, for their creativity and vision in developing a powerful video celebrating the difference that diversity makes at Michigan.
  • Melanie Barnett, Senior Executive Director of Executive Education at Ross School of Business, for partnering with VOICES to enable selected volunteers to participate in Executive Education programs.
  • Doug Hovey, the Business Process Technology Analyst in Financial Operations for his tireless facilitation of focus groups examining possible changes in retiree health benefits.
UMHS Senior Associate Director and Chief Operating Officer Tony challenged VOICES’ volunteers to continue to work toward their goals.
UMHS Senior Associate Director and Chief Operating Officer Tony Denton challenged VOICES’ volunteers to continue to work toward their goals.
Leadership Development team member Eric Bain, shown here with Lloyd Carr.
Leadership Development team member Eric Bain, shown here with Lloyd Carr, commented on Coach Carr’s keynote saying: “ It speaks volumes that the same core values embedded in Voices of the Staff team members mirror those of a National Champion.”

Participants then separated into their team challenge activities, illustrating how strong and cohesive the teams have become during the year. The team challenges consisted of various fun and exciting activities that encouraged clear team communication and problem solving.  The afternoon keynote was presented by Tony Denton, Senior Associate Director and Chief Operating Officer for U-M Hospitals and Health Centers. Denton commended the Voices of the Staff participants for their continuing commitment to staff initiatives and encouraged everyone to continue to work towards their goals in their individual teams and as the Voices of the Staff community.

Afternoon activities centered on team building and included old and new members who were encouraged to work together in motivational and problem-solving activities. The day ended with closing remarks from Laurita Thomas who thanked members for their participation and expressed her excitement about the difference that VOICES’ members make in sustaining employee engagement and making the University of Michigan a better place.

Participant comments:

“I really enjoyed meeting members of my team and working together with many of them on the team building exercises, which were pretty zany, fun and revealing about early team dynamics!”

- Marjorie Horton, Assistant Dean, Undergraduate Education, College of Literature, Science and the Arts, incoming Leadership Development team member

“I enjoyed the spirit of collaboration among the participants. I also very much enjoyed the support expressed by HR leaders and the project management team.  I think what I enjoyed the most was the interaction with my team members in the exercises designed for groups. I hope to learn more about how staff can have some influence in setting or modifying university policy for the benefit of all.”

- Danilo Gutierrez, Research Computer Specialist, Institute for Social Research, incoming Career Development team member

“I enjoyed meeting new people all of whom share the common goal of inspiring and empowering our U-M staff community to create change that will benefit us and the university on the whole.  I also enjoyed the beautiful natural setting which set a tone of peace, joy and serenity.”

Lisa Kelley, Office of Field Instruction Program Coordinator, School of Social Work, incoming Work Climate team member

In keeping with the “green” theme of the outdoor event, members of the Benefits, Health & Well-Being team arrived by bicycle.
In keeping with the “green” theme of the outdoor event, members of the Benefits, Health & Well-Being team arrived by bicycle.
Network team members assembled a rainbow at the end of the day.
Network team members assembled a rainbow at the end of the day.

Video clips from the event

Laurita Thomas
Laurita Thomas welcome

Lloyd Carr
Lloyd Carr

View these clips of the VOICES Champions…

Presentation of the Voices Champion Award to Voices Diversity Team and Professor Joel Slemrod
Presentation of the VOICES Champion Award to VOICES Diversity Team and Professor Joel Slemrod

Presentation of the Voices Champion Award to Melanie Barnett and Doug Hovey
Presentation of the VOICES Champion Award to Melanie Barnett and Doug Hovey

Presentation of the Voices Champion Award to Mary Cardwell and Provost Teresa Sullivan
Presentation of the VOICES Champion Award to Mary Cardwell and Provost Teresa Sullivan

Poster Displays and Video Presentations from the Annual Meeting

Benefits Health & Well-being Team Video
Benefits Health & Well-being Team Video

Career Development Team Poster Presentation
Environmental Stewardship Poster Presentation
Leadership Development Poster/A3
Technology/Best Practices Poster/A3
Work Climate Progress Report & Work Climate Resources Document