Human Services staff go glam for third annual People’s Choice awards

Published on June 30, 2017

Sparkling sequins, feathered hats and colorful leis were spotted throughout the audience — and to receive their certificate, winners strolled down a red carpet rolled out across the floor of Rocklin’s Seavey Center.

The Human Services Division of the Department of Health and Human Services held its third annual People’s Choice Awards earlier this month, celebrating employees for outstanding work in more than a dozen categories. All 230 staff members in the division attended the Oscars-inspired ceremony, complete with food provided by the Placer Public Employees Organization.

Those who received awards were nominated by their peers. A committee of staff volunteers selected the winners, this year from a pool of 146 nominations.

“The reason we’re a high-achieving organization is because of every one of you,” Health and Human Services Director Jeff Brown told the crowd. “You’re innovative, hardworking and dedicated, and to be honored by your peers, who are in the trenches with you every day — I think there is no higher honor.”

Marvelous Mentor
First – Shelly Alvarez

  • Quote from nomination: “She is always happy to share her infinite wisdom. Over the years, I’ve worked closely with her and was lucky enough to have her as a lead CSPS (Client Services Program Specialist) for a period of time, during which she was always willing to assist with questions and explain things in a way that made sense to me.”

Second – Paige Meade
Third – Diana Campoy
Honorable mentions – Kim Broyles, Patty Cortez, Greg Geisler, Patty Honstein, Jennifer Pettenger, Rhiannon Salondaka

Energizer Bunny
First – Liliana Ayala

  • Quote from nomination: “Whether she is working with other agencies, directly with customers, coworkers or committees, she always gives 110 percent at lightning speed and never stops. Sometimes we all have those days where we may forget to check up on something or send out an email — but oftentimes when this happens, I’ll find that Liliana has already taken notice and completed the task.”

Second – Ellen Walker
Third – Carli Krebs
Honorable mentions – Aimee Cannedy, Stephanie Kriegh, Karolin Miller, Lisa Sanchez

Duct Tape
First – Dave Cox

  • Quote from nomination: “Dave Cox is our “go to” guy! He is friendly and approachable and always willing to help “GIT-R-DONE” without all the government red tape!”

Second – Sean Delong
Third – Megan Lucht

Calm in the Eye of the Storm
First – Sawittre Gregg

  • Quote from nomination: “She is often times the only CalWORKs eligibility staff and no matter how many customers are applying (sometimes up to six in a day) she stays calm and ‘simply’ takes care of the situation with resolve, calmness and fortitude.”

Second – Crystal Durocher
Third – Talia Silva
Honorable mentions – Jennifer Balistreri, Medi-Cal Program

Rock Star Rookie
First – Alexis Richardson

  • Quote from nomination: “I want to clone her and work with her always! She provides service with a smile, is very agreeable, helpful to anyone who has a problem or question ... In her First year with our department she jumped in feet first.”

Second – Herman Barahona
Third – Stacie McNally
Honorable mentions – Liza Aushev, Vanessa Cardenas, Chelsea Carson, Jakki Cuffe, Marilyn Fisher, Brandi Freeman, Holiday Johnston, Shaena Kouza, Yessenia Nava, Melissa Quadrelli, Daniel Smith

All for One
First – Deana Sullivan

  • Quote from nomination: “I have heard people say that they did not know if they could do this or that and Deana replies ‘If anyone can do it, you can do it’ or ‘you got this!’ or ‘I know you can do it.’ That is the kind of encouragement that is needed in our stressful jobs and we are lucky to have her.”

Second – Michelle Kreeger’s Unit (Michelle Kreeger, Christine Heffernan, Terry Mixon, Andrew Gargar, Linda Martin, Jenelle Smith, Tina Potter, Talia Silva, Kim Martin

Outstanding Innovator

First – Donna Hallman

  • Quote from nomination: “Donna has worked hard to understand employment services policy and regulations. She has worked, and re-worked, the counselor’s data tracking spreadsheet to ensure usability and efficiency. She demonstrates her playful side by taking the time each month to add humorous photos or images of accolades within each counselor’s workbooks. These small touches add a little laughter to our day and demonstrate that not all excel worksheets have to be boring.”

Second – Bradley Bartholomew
Third – Carli Krebs
Honorable mentions – Whitney Verbin

Above and Beyond
First – Katie Kenoyer

  • Quote from nomination: “... Katie is a regular blood donor, a seasoned volunteer for the county elections office, a Sexual Assault Response Team member for Stand Up Placer (which requires her to be on-call in the middle of the night), a trained emergency responder for the Community Emergency Response team in Folsom, a board member for the Auburn Chamber of Commerce and the Foothill Employer Advisory Counsel, and was awarded Ambassador of the Year for both the Auburn and the Loomis Chambers of Commerce ... Honestly, I could list more but it’s exhausting just trying to think of everything she does.”

Second – Laura Bingham
Third – Jeri Bliss
Honorable mentions – Liliana Ayala, Mary Barker, Suzette Bodiot, Diana Campoy and Lupe Gamez, Sean Delong, Dara Hazen, James Mangus, Amanda Miller, Cynthia Ridley, Kayla Rooney, Marcy Schmidt, Jamie Sweeney, Danielle Winstead

Unsung Hero
First – Toby Bailey

  • Quote from nomination: “I was nervous about starting with a new county ... I was given a temporary desk to sit at, staring out of all these big pane windows. I looked up and there she was: A ray of sunshine and her name was Toby.”

Second – Patty Armenteros
Third – Bradley Bartholomew
Honorable mentions – Liliana Ayala, Crystal Durocher, Amber Hirsh and Marisa Yarmolyuk, Candy Gonzalez- Hernandez, Maria the Janitor, Helene Nakamura, Nancy Rea, Lourdes Renshaw, Talia Silva, Danielle Winstead, Mai Xiong, Marisa Yarmolyuk

Congeniality/Makes it Fun
First – Jamie Pellow

  • Quote from nomination: “I have seen her resolve conflicts and handle other difficult situations with remarkable patience and admirable tact...She regularly sends inspirational quotes via email to lift her clients' spirits.”

Second – Liliana Ayala
Third – Eric Hauke
Honorable mentions – Suzette Bodiot, Aimee Cannedy, Cara Cosentino, Carrie-Ann Laird, Karolin Miller, Christy Simkins, Kristina Swank, Jamie Sweeney, Carla Zuloaga

Customer Service
First – Martha Hyers

  • Quote from nomination: “Martha upholds excellent customer service every day, combining professionalism with a dash of humor and smidgen of spunk. I’ve overheard some of her intake interviews, and I must say how impressed I am with the tact and poise she displays.”

Second – Karolin Miller
Third – Connie Chrisos
Honorable mentions – Anna Denise Brown, Jennifer Pettenger, Jennie Sorber, Michael Tipoff

First – Linda Bridgman

  • Quote from nomination: “She is a wonderful leader. She encourages job and personal growth to each individual and takes time to actively listen to anyone who asks for her audience. No matter the employee or ... even those outside of Placer County, she will take the time in her very busy/demanding schedule to listen and counsel when asked.”

Second – Jamie Sweeney
Third – Tameca Dodd
Honorable mentions – Mary Barker, Denise Brown, Jakki Cuffe, Tameca Dodd, Ryan Fruchtenicht, Susan Kimbley, Michelle Kreeger, Logan Pratt, Rosey Rivera, Sarah Rutter, Krista Shalley, Carlos Urbieta

First – Rocklin CalFresh Intake (Nataliya Kurinna, Whitney Thompson, Susan Harris, Eric Hauke, Laura Mosher, Tamara Costa, Eva Jimenez, Liza Aushev)

  • Quote from nomination: “The workers of this team stand for one another and with one another to achieve great results…(They) are a real work family; they support one another emotionally to alleviate stressful situations and overload.”

Second – Rocklin CalFresh Continuing - (Debbie Lamantia, Carrie Valencia, Suzette Bodiot, Terry Landry, Chelsea Carson, Tracey Norris, Laura Bingham, Lisa Rasico, Kristina Swank)
Third – Auburn CalFresh - (Mary Barker, Aimee Cannedy, Sean Delong, Jeri Bliss, Christy Simkins, Marilyn Fisher, Candy Hernandez-Gonzalez)
Honorable mentions – BAN, Call Center, Auburn Intake, CalWORKs/Employment Services, Alan Kern, Kurinna/Vazquez, Post/DI, Shalley, Sunset Reception Team