The Office Excellence Award, presented by the Post-it® Brand, is a quarterly award given to an administrative professional who goes above and beyond to keep their office running smoothly, and improve their workplace environment. We recognize this quarter’s winner, Renee Duncan, for demonstrating all the qualities of an expert organizer.
Renee is an administrative assistant for the benefits department of the Mesquite Independent School District, just outside of Dallas. Her office is responsible for administering COBRA vision and dental insurance for the entire district—about 5,000 employees—including custodians, food service workers, paraprofessionals, teachers and administrators. When they have a question, Renee is the first person employees speak with on the phone and the first person they see when they walk into the office. She fell in love with her current position about five years ago because she gets to put her exuberant positivity and unmistakable compassion to work helping people every day.
Renee also does all the ordering for her office, which means she needs to provide the tools to help colleagues manage the massive tomes of policy and protocol they are constantly consulting. When asked if they use Post-it® Products, Renee said, “Well, yeah! Who doesn’t use Post-it® Notes? We couldn’t survive without them!”
In particular, Renee is known for using Post-it® Products in the color-coding system she developed when she was tasked with organizing the district’s health fair.
Renee isn’t afraid to dig into a project and add her own sparkle. For the health fair she developed a color-coded mapping system for organizing vendors to make navigating the big event simple and seamless. The streamlined system made each step of the process run more smoothly.
Step 1: First she had to establish the floor plan. Using a Post-it® Easel Pad as a base, she assigned each vendor a color using Post-it® Page Markers so she could decide where each one would go. The Post-it® Page Markers made it easy to rearrange vendors as she worked out their final placement and allowed her to visualize the event space to figure out how everything would fit together.
Step 2: Once she had the floor plan figured out, she made a map of the event space that reflected her color coding system for each vendor’s booth. This made staying on top of things much simpler for her staff and provided attendees with an easy way to find individual vendors.
Step 3: Finally, to really bring her system to life, Renee made table signs for each vendor from Post-it® Super Sticky Notes, 4 in. x 6 in. and 4 in. x 4 in., that matched the colors on her map. This was the key step to fully integrating the color system into the experience of the event, ensuring people could effortlessly navigate a complex event.
Renee says the real trick for pulling off a big project like the health fair is planning. “The events you’ve been to that you noticed ran smoothly, there was a plan ahead of time,” she says. All of the work Renee did up front to develop and implement her system paid off on the day of the event. It helped the organizers stay on the same page, and made the experience more enjoyable for those in attendance.
And making things better for others is what Renee is all about. “You always want to bring the positive, no matter what’s going on, because you never know what’s going on in that other person’s life,” she says. We couldn’t agree more. Congratulations Renee! Thanks for embodying the spirit of the Office Excellence Award!
Renee’s organizational expertise is the result of a storied and diverse career. She has worked as the private executive assistant to the president of ACS, a Fortune 500 Company, as facilities manager for Jenkens & Gilchrist, and for over 11 years has co-owned a real estate inspection company with her husband. As the girls in her office know, she loves fashion, she loves make-up, and she insists “we all sparkle at the end of the day.”