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With Feathers and Beak, This Hat Speaks Engagement and Appreciation


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    By Michael R. Malone
    UM News

    Ibis-Award

    From left are Campaign and Donor Relations team members Darlene E. Gonzalez, Emily Wilson, Barbara Gonzalez, Hildee Wilson, and Ivette Mancha, who found the hat on ebay.

    CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 30, 2018)—When Ivette Mancha, events director for University Advancement, spotted the vintage Hurricanes’ Ibis hat—big droopy eyes, protruding orange beak and all—on eBay, she knew right away her team would love the idea. Mancha and colleague Hildee Wilson had been tasked with advancing the Campaign and Donor Relations team’s “one action” to better recognize and appreciate team players, and the quirky feathered hat was a sure winner.

    “We knew we’d have some fun with it—it was so ‘Cane spirited—and the hat was in great condition,” Mancha remembered. Five of the donor team’s members—including Mancha herself—have since donned the hat as proud winners of what has become the team’s Ibis Recognition Award.

    The award stems back to the Gallup faculty and staff engagement survey conducted in 2016. President Julio Frenk announced a summary of those results in a University message on February 16, 2017. While the University engagement level was “higher-than-average” and employees gave a high favorability rating and reported a “sense of purpose, clarity around goals and expectations,” the survey encouraged that University workplace culture be further improved by expanding collaboration and learning, welcoming feedback, and building better connections.

    Individuals and departments collectively were tasked to create one action based on the survey results.

    Samantha Dietz, executive director of programs in the Office of Institutional Culture, helped facilitate the donor team’s retreat last spring. “We were trained as ‘engagement champions’ and asked to help the teams interpret their results from the survey,” explained Dietz, who helped the team identify the area that would best support a stronger Culture of Belonging. “The conversation focused on the process of growing and developing together—improving engagement—which contributes everything to team success and achievement.”

    “As a team we scored well on the survey, yet because we’re always on the move, always planning the next event, we realized that one of the things we sometimes fail to do as much as we want is to recognize each other,” said Darlene Rebello-Rao, assistant vice president for Campaign and Donor Relations. “Our team is held to a high level of excellence, and that can get stressful. Yet we know that together we can get it done—and we don’t want to take that for granted.”

    The Ibis Recognition Award didn’t cost a lot of money, and the team has enjoyed the opportunity to experience and appreciate each other in a new, fun way. It has served in a light-hearted way to promote shared culture and values, while advancing the team’s mission to support philanthropy at the University through stewardship, events, development communications, and campaign planning.

    To date, Emily Wilson, Darlene Gonzalez, Barbara Gonzalez, and Mancha have all been recognized with the award. Another awardee will be named soon to wear the long-beaked peak performance hat.

    Wilson, the inaugural Ibis Recognition winner, suggested it would add to the fun to document the Ibis’ activities as it travels desk to desk. So the team began filling a photo album—Ibis with the turn-over chain, bundled up on a chilly day, sipping a macchiato, on holiday, on game day—wherever the “champion” takes it.

    What’s clear is that wherever the Ibis goes with someone on the Campaign and Donor Relations team, the hat helps to lift everyone’s wings just a bit and to encourage team appreciation and classic ’Cane spirit.

     

     

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