Two Fort Sill civilians recognized as Army best
September 27, 2012
FORT SILL, Okla. -- When it comes to helping Fort Sill's Soldiers and civilians, these two are good. So good Rashonda Labrador won the Army's Employee Assistance Program Coordinator of the Year award and Jay Khalifeh won the Army Substance Abuse Program Manager of the Year award.
Labrador came to Fort Sill two short years ago and to win an Armywide award Khalifeh said is unheard of.
"It's like the rookie of the year winning the MVP. She's awesome, and now the Army knows it."
Labrador stepped into the Wellness Center and immediately went to work on what the people of Fort Sill need. She works hard with Red Ribbon Week, Impaired Driving, alcohol awareness month, and suicide prevention, but she has also done her homework to find innovative training that really speaks to her audience.
"It's not just the normal programs, but also bringing different things that appeal to the generation I'm working with. The civilian population is aging and we have a lot of different generations, so we have the generational workforce class," said Labrador.
Khalifeh won the award for ensuring employees, not only in his shop, but postwide felt they were making an impact.
"For the most part, people want to do something meaningful at work. One of the best things you can do for an organization is give them some purpose. When you deprive someone the opportunity to be great you're doing not only that person a disservice but your organization a disservice and the Army a disservice," said Khalifeh.
Khalifeh was a part of Fort Sill's process improvement committee. The organizational self-assessment revealed the post's biggest area for improvement was workforce engagement. So Khalifeh did his research and after three months he had a plan of attack.
"It was a labor of love I think because I was always interested in why some managers are great and some are just OK. I learned a lot along the way, and it helped me in different aspects of managing people as well," said Khalifeh.
He was able to get supervisors focused on how they can engage employees and the program blossomed into the employee covenant -- a promise to do just that.
Both Labrador and Khalifeh also made sure the people of Fort Sill were taken care of in a time where jobs were being eliminated and employees were moving into new positions.
"We knew people were going to have to revamp themselves," said Labrador. "So, we offered Team Sill Leadership Academy which gives people the chance to gain more skills so they can be prepared for a job that may be open."
The Army Substance Abuse Program was also in a time of transition as Khalifeh had to hire counselors for a clinic that was originally under MEDCOM and was moved to IMCOM.
"I told him how it's funny we have all these new people and they just fit right in," said Labrador.
Khalifeh said due to his research and the programs they offer he knew how to find the right people for each position.
"You look at the position you need and the talents, thinking talents, striving talents and when you're interviewing them that's what you're looking for," said Khalifeh.
The two also offer group facilitation where they mitigate any issues an office is having and work to get the employees to understand one another.
"We work with an organization that's not working well. They're having difficulties and challenges," he said. "It's about getting them to agree on at least what they disagree on, and also about what they do agree on and giving them a goal to shoot for. What we're interested in is if you're all interested in making it better and what would you be willing to do individually and what would you be willing to do collectively to make it better."
Khalifeh and Labrador were awarded for their creativity and passion, and their ability to make the community aware of the programs they offer.
"It's not just help for things like substance abuse, but also for work life. It's finding the whole total life balance," said Labrador.