Workforce Essentials had another successful Employee Awards program and retreat on August 9th at Montgomery Bell State Park.  Focusing on professionalism and customer service, I believe everyone learned something that will make them a better person and employee.  I know that I did.  Hats off to our speakers, Emily Ellis and Linda Henley-Smith.  They both had positive messages that reinforced the work that we do every day.

I hope that everyone has taken the opportunity to read Professionalism is for Everyone.  It is a wonderful, simple read.  I particularly liked the Dos and Don’ts:


  • Serve Others
  • Find ways to be useful and helpful
  • Be courteous, friendly, and considerate
  • Be sincere and genuine in your service
  • Look for ways to help others and brighten their day


  • Wait to be asked
  • Begrudge helping someone
  • Be patronizing or antagonistic
  • Ignore people who need help or assistance
  • Treat customers as though they are an interruption to your work

You will find many more tips and suggestions in the book. 

I also want to take this time to congratulate all the outstanding employees that were recognized as Award Winners!  It is extremely difficult to decide who wins when you have so many outstanding staff members.  However, I can tell you that this year’s winners are most deserving of the recognition.  Congratulations again to this year’s winners:

 Essential Instructor of the Year:  Alan Mayhew

Business Services Award:  Dickson County

Business Services Employee of the Year:  Mary Ortiz

Witty in the Workplace:  Hector Adames

Great Communicator:  Helen Balthrop

Award for Leadership:  Darin Montgomery

Workfirst TN Employee of the Year Regions 1 & 3:  John Oakley

Workfirst TN Employee of the Year Region 3:  Felicia Smith

Workfirst TN Office of the Year Regions 1 & 3:  Montgomery County

Workfirst TN Office of the Year Region 2:  Haywood County

Workfirst TN Retention Award Regions 1 & 3:  Humphreys County

Workfirst TN Retention Award Region 2:  Crockett County

Newcomers Award:  Jo Highsmith, Amanda Manley and Thithialea White

Ambassador Award:  Michelle McCaleb

Support Employee of the Year:  Suzy Shepherd

Field Staff of the Year:  Melissa Counts

Career Center of the Year:  Cheatham County

Most Positive:  Dorothy Newble

People’s Choice 2011-2012:  Renee Hollis