I’m Thankful for These Colleagues

Employees share coworkers whom they appreciate to work with

The Fuqua School of Business' Admissions team snaps a selfie at a staff retreat. Photo courtesy of Shari Hubert.
The Fuqua School of Business' Admissions team snaps a selfie at a staff retreat. Photo courtesy of Shari Hubert.

With 41,000 staff and faculty working at Duke, there’s a lot of people to be thankful for. For Thanksgiving, we asked you to share shout-outs to colleagues you appreciate.

Here are some heartwarming stories. 

Admissions at the Fuqua School of Business

The Fuqua School of Business' Admissions team participates in a Halloween costume contest every year. Shari Hubert, who submitted a thank you to her team, is on the far left. Photo courtesy of Shari Hubert.
Shari Hubert’s appreciation for her team in Admissions at the Fuqua School of Business started before her first day at Duke two years ago. 

Hubert was living in Washington, D.C., when she was offered the position of associate dean for admissions at Fuqua. Future colleagues flooded her inbox with recommendations for places to live, eat and exercise in the Durham area. 

“I feel fortunate to be part of a team that celebrates colleagues on a daily basis for the small and big acts of kindness they share,” she said.

Hubert appreciates her team’s Monday “huddle” when they thank colleagues who have gone out of their way to help each other.

“Each day we are fortunate to be in a profession where we're making dreams come true for applicants, and I just want to say to my colleagues ‘thank you’ for making my dream come true by allowing me to live my purpose and passion every day with such support and generosity,” she said. 

Caroline Morales, Nancy Marie Outzs, Michelle Parks and Keiana Watkins
Duke Breast Oncology Research Program

Left to right: Caroline Morales, Nancy Marie Outzs, Heather Sperling, Michelle Perks and Keiana Watkins.
Heather Sperling, assistant research practice manager for the Duke Breast Oncology Research Program, is forever grateful to her team after a heart attack left her out of work from May to July of this year.

Sperling’s colleagues in the Duke Breast Oncology Research Program – Caroline Morales, Nancy Marie Outzs, Michelle Parks and Keiana Watkins – stepped up and covered her duties in addition to their own. They enrolled patients into 20 breast oncology clinical trials, documented and logged research data and trained new staff members. 

“We are family, and we take care of each other as we would our own flesh and blood,” Sperling said. “They truly live the Duke values each and every day. I cannot say or show enough how lucky Duke is to have them as employees.”

Linda Capers, Director of the Center for Multicultural Affairs; Minna Ng, Faculty Director for the David M. Rubenstein Scholars Program; and Colleen Scott, Director of the Baldwin Scholars

Left to Right: Linda Capers, Minna Ng and Colleen Scott.
Chandra Guinn, director of the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture, is thankful for her frequent Duke collaborators. 

Guinn works with Program Director Colleen Scott each year to interview candidates for the Alice M. Baldwin Scholars Program, a leadership program for female undergraduate students. 

“Colleen shows us what it means to have values at work and what it takes to live them out in each decision that is made via the leadership she offers,” Guinn said. 

Guinn also partners with Linda Capers, director of the Center for Multicultural Affairs, to organize the African-American Student Reception every fall and the Final Honors Ceremony each spring. 

“I am so grateful for Linda’s gentle delivery of lessons and how she leads the way with a spirit of respect and for inclusion,” Guinn said.

Finally, Guinn sends a thank you to Minna Ng, faculty director for the David M. Rubenstein Scholars Program, a merit scholarship for first-generation students. The two attend annual student engagement retreats together. 

“I am thankful for Minna’s tireless energy and the enthusiasm she demonstrates for her work,” Guinn said. 

Of them all, Guinn added: “I am thankful to know them and to have the privilege of working with them and watching them work with others. I learn from how they handle themselves and how they treat others and am grateful for them always.”

Angela Ikner
Duke Raleigh Hospital

Angela Ikner works as a service access manager for Duke Raleigh Hospital. Photo by Stephen McNulty.
Kenetta Evans, financial care counselor for Duke Regional Hospital’s Emergency Department in Durham, remains grateful for Angela Ikner’s positive attitude, even though the two no longer work together. 

Evans worked with Ikner, now a service access manager for Duke Raleigh Hospital, from 2015 to 2017. Ikner asked daily how employees were doing, stepped in to assist patients checking in when her team was swamped with tasks and answered every question with a smile. 

“Angela was so empathetic. It felt like she genuinely wanted to help us,” Evans said. “She was always willing to go the extra mile and would put on her running shoes.”

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