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Good afternoon,

This week, as we near the end of a semester like no other, I want to take a minute to recognize the power of teamwork. This past Friday, the Operational Excellence team came together on campus for our annual retreat. While we aim to bring our team together every year, Friday’s event was made extra special due to the significant transition that OE has gone through over the past year. Since the end of 2020, we’ve welcomed four team members: Suzie Baker, transformation manager; Liz Billings, part-time continuous improvement consultant; Nicholas Sengstaken, program coordinator for Operational Excellence and strategic initiatives; and Amie Sigmann, Carolina Together Ambassador program coordinator. They join Mieke Lynch and Candace Reynolds, OE transformation managers, to make up a unit that continues to further the Operational Excellence mission of creating a high-functioning administrative operation that supports the University’s key mission of teaching, learning and research.

In planning our retreat, I reflected back on how thankful I have been to work alongside each member of our team throughout all of the complex and often challenging projects OE has faced. Moreover, I was reminded of the incredible outcomes reached due to six incredibly talented individuals coming together.

As such, at our retreat, instead of discussing current projects or action items, we focused on two activities: a reflective discussion of Tyler Waye’s video The Power of Teamwork and an egg drop activity. For the latter, I presented our team with a challenge (design a system to protect an egg from breaking after a significant fall using only simple materials) and had them work collectively (in two groups) to address it. I’m happy to report that due to the power of teamwork, five of the six eggs survived (sorry Candace!).

As we approach the holiday season, I hope you will take a minute to bring your team together in a similar manner, celebrate group accomplishments, acknowledge individual contributions, and focus on strengthening the relationships that power our institution.

Please feel free to share this email with your colleagues. You can also visit our website to learn more about Operational Excellence, read my previous updates and submit feedback. If you have any questions, please reach out to me at I read every email.


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