After 20,000 Phone Calls - a farewell to a stellar teammate

You read that blog title right. Since January of 2014, Monika, our team mate and friend, handled more than 20,000 INCOMING phone calls in her role as an information and referral specialist for NC 2-1-1. When we specify "incoming" that means that these are just the calls that came into our call center, what it doesn't include are the thousands and thousands of calls that she made on behalf of those people in our community.

Monika, second from right, flanked by our NC 2-1-1 teamMonika is leaving us for a well-earned life of retirement. But before she left, we were able to thank her for a job well done and ensure that she knew just how much we love and appreciate what she's done for our community and our statewide system.

I will miss arriving early in the morning to see Monika, already hard at work, before the rest of our co-workers arrived. I'd pop my head in the door and, invariably, Monika would take a moment to share the kinds of calls she had recently taken as well as her own observations of the trends she was seeing in our community. This information helps me to remain grounded and continues to inspire me to work harder for those who sometimes don't have a voice.      - United Way CEO and President, David Bailey

One of the more powerful examples of Monika's compassionate leadership is epitomized by this story she tells:

For quite some time we would get a call from the same person and every time she called, she asked for the number to the same health clinic. Month after month, the same request. One day I suggested that she might want to write the number down on a post-it and put it on her refrigerator. She immediately responded "Honey, I don't have a fridge. I live in a tent." In all the time that she had called for that number, she had never indicated that anything else was going on in her life. It is so easy to make assumptions about where a person is coming from, and what they have to work with, but we can never, ever assume that we know.     - Monika, now former NC 2-1-1 referral specialist

(Pictured: Monika, second from right, flanked by her NC 2-1-1 co-workers.)