Our Current Employees of the Quarter
Texas State Library and Archives Commission Employees of the Quarter are nominated by their TSLAC colleagues and are selected by the TSLAC Employee Recognition Committee. Employees of the Quarter are presented with a Certificate of Merit and eight hours administrative leave at the TSLAC Quarterly Awards Ceremony.
Our Employees of the Quarter for the 2nd Quarter of Fiscal Year 2021
Virginia Vara, Asset and Print Coordinator, ADMIN.
Virginia began work at TSLAC in very tough circumstances coming onboard to fill the shoes of Jasper Winters, our long serving extremely popular Support Services guru who retired last May. Oh, and there was also the fact that she came onboard during a global pandemic when nearly everyone assigned to the Zavala building was working from home. Virginia, however, proved she was cut from the same bolt of cloth as her predecessor and in addition to reconfiguring the print shop to make it her own and to become an expert on any equipment she was not familiar with, she shared the Support Services duties to keep the agency running and moving forward.
That means daily runs to the Comptroller’s office, Shoal Creek facilities, accepting and delivering mail and other deliveries. And in the silent halls of the Zavala building, keeping tabs on the building with regular inspections and regularly running water fountains, faucets and flushing toilets to prevent the build-up of bacteria in the lines until more people returned to onsite work. And then, the other half of Support Services, Daniel Shallue, departed for employment elsewhere and Virginia took up his duties as well. Even with that added work for about three months, Virginia consistently turned print jobs around long before deadlines and responded to emails, facilities requests, and other issues almost immediately. She has also worked with TFC to get some safety-related improvements completed in the Zavala building and helped move furniture in preparation for a new door installation. Currently she is working on a project to convert the key inventory process from a manual paper-based system to a digitized one. Cheerful, willing to tackle any task with exemplary customer service skills, Virginia has become a cornerstone of our agency in less than one year of employment. Congratulations, Virginia!
Laura Tadena, Inclusive Services Consultant, LDN.
We knew we were lucky to have Laura join TSLAC in January 2020 because of her commitment to continuous improvement, strong collaborative skills, and her deep expertise in the area of equity and inclusive services. And then it became crystal clear how truly fortunate we are to have Laura on staff as she charted the course as the chair for the agency’s first-ever Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. The EDI committee was created in response to staff request last summer. Laura was asked by agency leadership to chair the committee and she graciously accepted. She has worked closely with Mark and the executive team and also with staff to move the committee forward in a careful, thoughtful way to ensure success. Once she established the parameters for the committee, recruited new members, and set up regular meetings, she looked for ways to ensure long-term sustainability, including bringing on co-chairs and bringing in an outside trainer to help the committee plan its next steps.
All the way her solid communication and collaboration skills helped the process and kept leadership and staff informed of the committee’s progress impressing many staff across the agency and thus resulted in her EOQ selection. She brings these leadership, communication and collaboration skills to every project and during the pandemic played an essential role in coordinating and facilitating regional conversations to provide library staff with opportunities to connect and learn from one another. She also coordinated closely with CEC and grant staff to ensure information about the CARES grants reached as many libraries as possible, especially those that could benefit the most. Laura is constantly searching for new opportunities to deepen her knowledge and improve her programs and projects. Her achievements during her short time at TSLAC are remarkable, especially since most of them occurred during a global pandemic.