Special Events: Annual Meeting 2011
By Danielle Clair, HR Communications intern
The theme of “Team Transitions” could not have been more fitting for this year’s Voices of the Staff annual meeting, held Thursday, June 2 at the North Campus Research Complex. The large room was quickly filled with excitement and energy as eager new team members and members making the transition to alumni status arrived for a day of collaborative brainstorming, team building and planning.
Associate Vice President for Human Resources Laurita Thomas welcomed the group of over 150 staff volunteers, thanking them for their commitment to the university. “My gratitude goes out to each of you…for helping to advance the goals of our great university through your commitment to serving as a Voices of the Staff volunteer.”
Seven years after its inception in 2004, VOICES has recognizably flourished and become the powerful and respected staff forum Thomas envisioned it to be; tackling pertinent issues such as diversity, environmental stewardship and work climate and providing a sounding board for leadership to better understand staff interests.
David Brandon Keynote Stresses Value of Change
Thomas also introduced the event’s keynote speaker, director of intercollegiate Athletics David Brandon. Complimenting the day’s theme of transitions, Brandon focused on change. “If we want to get better, we have to embrace change.” A U-M alumnus and former student athlete, Brandon was a member of three Big Ten championship football teams under Coach Bo Schembechler. The importance of change is among the many lessons Brandon learned both on and off the field from Coach Schembechler. He recalls him telling the team, “You either get better or worse. You do not have the option of staying the same.”
Brandon challenged the members of VOICES to understand how important the work they’re doing at the university is and to continue to be change agents, individually and collectively. In response to Brandon’s speech, incoming Leadership Development team member Daniel Rife said, “Dave is a very motivating speaker and his passion for the university really shows through. I agree with his message and hope we all can make an effort to make changes for the positive.”
Following Brandon’s address, videos prepared by the individual teams highlighting the work they’d accomplished over the year were shared. Adding an engaging and interactive twist to the day, VOICES members voted for their favorite videos and participated in numerous polls using their personal smartphones.
VOICES Technology and Best Practices Team 2011
VOICES Career Development Team 2011
VOICES Work Climate Team 2011
VOICES Benefits, Health & Well-Being Team 2011
VOICES Leadership Development Team 2011
In preparation for the university’s bicentennial celebration in 2017, Laurita Thomas returned with her plan to celebrate, with the help of VOICES, the outstanding contributions, accomplishments and service of staff over the 200 years of the university’s history. Members were asked to share their ideas of ways to commemorate this milestone and to suggest the names of staff members who have made a difference during their years at the university.
VOICES Champion Awards
On hand this year for the presentation of the annual VOICES Champion Awards was UMHHC executive director and chief operating officer Tony Denton. The VOICES Champion award recognizes an individual, group, or unit that has supported and carried forward the VOICES of the Staff mission of staff engagement in a visible way. This year’s recipients were:
- Jeff DeGraff, Clinical Professor, Management & Organizations, Stephen M. Ross School of Business honored for his generosity and tremendous support of VOICES; promoting the program through his classroom, he provides opportunities for his MBA students to evaluate the program and make recommendations to move it forward to the next level of innovation and creativity.
- Reva Frye, Hospital Security Services, member of Career Development team honored for her wisdom, compassion, activism and determination in promoting career development and taking the lead in organizing the “Developing Your U-M Career” pamphlet, which has been widely used on campus.
- Ann Ross, UHR Strategy & Planning, member of Program Management team honored for coordinating efforts behind the scenes; ensuring that the program continues to thrive, strengthen relationships, build connections and improve communication at the university.
- Denise Stegall, HR Records & Information Systems, co-advisor for Technology & Best Practices and member of Program Management team honored for being an integral part of VOICES since its inception and greatly contributing to the success of the StaffWorks Technology Conference held in May.
After lunch, the teams gathered for the VOICES’ A-Mazing Race. Inspired by the CBS reality hit, the U-M history-themed scavenger hunt was designed to strengthen team cohesiveness. The teams raced with enthusiasm and friendly competitiveness from multiple locations on the complex to collect clues to solve the puzzles.
“The A-Mazing race was awesome in that it brought outgoing team members together with incoming members! I am looking forward to my experiences as an alumni team member,” said outgoing Career Development team member Gina Carter.
The day ended with closing remarks from Laurita Thomas, commending volunteers for their participation and support of VOICES. She encouraged teams to continuously remember VOICES’ mission as they move forward and work to sustain employee engagement, create a sense of community among employees and improve the university system for all.
"I am grateful that an entire day can be dedicated to an annual event, and am very impressed that current members, new members and those who are rotating off a team are all invited to this event. I appreciate the commitment and skills of the team facilitators, the organizing team from HR, and other people who are recruited to make this event so successful. Laurita's vision for Voices of the Staff is both welcomed and embraced by all who are lucky to serve."
Hospital Financial Services
Environmental Stewardship Team Member
Video clips from the event
David Brandon at 2011 VOICES Annual Meeting
Q & A with David Brandon at 2011 VOICES Annual Meeting