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Spotlight on CVM Staff Council Elections

The CVM Staff Council is excited to highlight the CVM Staff Council Elections in the November 2018 edition of CVM eNews. The 2019 election process has officially concluded, and we are eager to highlight the incoming 2019 CVM Staff Council Representatives along with the outgoing 2017 CVM Staff Council Representatives.

The CVM Staff Council was established in 2012 with the main objective of providing a mechanism for non-academic staff to effectively provide input to College Leadership on matters relating to the work environment. The Staff Council works closely with Human Resources and the Dean’s Office to facilitate communication between staff members and College Leadership; provide a forum for staff participation in relevant and important decisions; and assist in building a cohesive community, where the contributions of staff are recognized. CVM Staff Council representatives have a direct impact on the community and its 600+ members; they serve as a voice for their colleagues and help make change happen. Each elected candidate serves a two-year term beginning on January 1. All non-academic staff are encouraged to participate by way of attending monthly meetings, proposing topics for discussion, volunteering at CVM Staff Council events and interacting with staff from around the college. Please email the CVM Staff Council for information on how to become more involved.

CVM Staff Council voting booth located outside of the CVM cafe.

The CVM Staff Council collected over 30 nominations for 2019 representation between October 11 and October 19 with voting occurring between October 29 and November 9.  There were 24 staff members that accepted nominations this season, and over 300 votes were cast during the election process! A big thank you to all members of the community that nominated a colleague and/or participated in the voting process; this year’s process was a huge success because of you!

The CVM Staff Council would like to thank Becky Callan, Marie de Roos, Jacque Nelson-Harrington, Diane Kilts and Katie Stevens for serving on the Council from 2017-2019.  Each member was asked to share their experiences serving on the Council over the past two years.

Becky Callan (current Chair)

Becky Callan

“Serving on the CVM Staff Council over the past two years has been such a wonderful experience. I chose to run for a seat because I believe in the work the CVM Staff Council does; providing educational opportunities, supporting recognition events, being a voice for the staff, and building a sense of community. I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to meet and work with some of the most amazing members of our College Community through participation with the CVM Staff Council. I am also incredibly thankful to College Leadership, including Dave Howe, Mary Beth Jordan, and Dean Warnick, for seeing the importance of the CVM Staff Council and for investing in its success. I would encourage anyone interested in becoming involved with the CVM Staff Council to reach out to both current and past members to ask questions and/or share suggestions. Just get involved!”

Marie de Roos (current Treasurer)

Marie de Roos

“The role of Staff Council is to be a bridge between staff and administration. One way in which it fulfills that role is in building community in order to make the Vet College a more welcoming, hence better, place to work. That was an important focus for me, and one of the reasons I wanted to join Staff Council. Participating in planning social events expanded my world beyond my role in the Accounting Service Center. I made friends with people whose paths might not otherwise have crossed mine. The beginnings of new community for me and for them. Becoming an Ambassador through the Staff Council Ambassador Program gave me a direct way to make a positive impact on a new employee’s experience at College of Veterinary Medicine. This is one way of being connected. How can you connect? Staff Council can help!”

Jacque Nelson-Harrington

Jacque Nelson-Harrington

“During my 2 year term on Staff Council, I feel many goals were achieved.  Our outreach has greatly expanded and many more employees are aware of Staff Council's presence. I also thoroughly enjoyed working on the Wellness Committee; we had fantastic turnouts for the annual Spring in Your Step challenges. The implementation of the anonymous suggestion box on our webpage was a very meaningful achievement that I hope will continue to increase in usage. I also very much enjoyed working with the other members of Council. The overall enthusiasm and willingness to participate was very motivating. Staff Council can do more and I hope the CVM staff community will reach out and tell the Council what they need or would like to see.”

Diane Kilts (current Vice-Chair)

Diane Kilts

“I joined the CVM Staff Council to be part of the larger environment at the Vet College and to help promote a community spirit and support staff engagement. I am most proud that we created the annual Dionne Henderson award to recognize staff who exemplify the engaging values that Dionne embraced. I am also happy to have been involved in creating the Staff Council magnet. It was a collaborative effort that symbolizes who we are as a group. Coordinating the “Spring In Your Step” wellness initiative and choosing the various campus destinations was really fun to do, especially in warm spring weather! The outreach of the Staff Council and its ability to promote social, wellness and educational opportunities for Vet College staff and faculty is truly unique! It provides a wonderful opportunity to work together with other members of the college community.”

Katie Stevens

Katie Stevens

Katie Stevens chose to run for Staff Council so that she could be more of a voice for her fellow staff members in the Cornell University Hospital for Animals. As a team lead in large animal surgery, Katie has a better understanding of what the staff both want and need. Katie was most interested in focusing on staff pet care costs, improving work areas, and lumbar support education. Additionally, she was very interested in participating in the fun events hosted by the CVM Staff Council!

New Members

The CVM Staff Council would like to welcome Scott Butler, Omyia Damaj, Christine De Leonardis, Brittany Laslow, Kevin Lyon, and Leslie Planck, whose appointments begin on January 1, 2019 and end December 31, 2020, to the team.

From back to front, left to right: Kevin Lyon, Brittany Laslow, Scott Butler, Christine De Leonardis, Leslie Planck, Omyia Damaj.

Scott Butler has been with the College for 24 years. He currently works as a Research Support Specialist in the Biomedical Sciences Department and was one of the founding members of the CVM Staff Council. Scott would like to focus on increasing the exposure and availability of the Council, continuing to build avenues for staff recognition, and continuing to support new and/or transitioning staff.

Omyia Damaj has been an employee of the College for the past two years and currently works as a Medical Technologist in the Animal Health Diagnostic Center. Omyia would like to focus on wellness, educational programs, and increasing awareness among staff regarding the existence and mission of the CVM Staff Council.

Christine De Leonardis has been with the College for 25 years and currently works as a Medical Technologist in the Animal Health Diagnostic Center. Christine would like to focus on wellness and sustainability.

Brittany Laslow has been with the College for the past two years and currently works as a Laboratory Manager in Molecular Medicine. Brittany would like to focus on making sure staff suggestions and concerns are heard, finding new and exciting ways to get staff involved, and focusing on staff appreciation.

Kevin Lyon has been with the College for the past five years and currently works as the Department Manager in Molecular Medicine. Kevin would like to focus on providing more opportunities for CVM departments and support units to share best practices, materials, and procedures, promoting onsite professional development opportunities tailed to fit the needs of the CVM Community, and creating events that would alleviate work stressors and allow staff to network with other departments.

Leslie Planck has been with the College for the past 17 years and currently works as an Accounts Representative in the Accounting Service Center. Leslie is interested in focusing on how the newly renovated CVM space is being used, reducing the CVM carbon footprint, and ensuring staff, students, and faculty have support in terms of wellbeing.

The CVM Staff Council would like to encourage all staff members to get involved. Have suggestions? Email the Staff Council or submit your suggestion anonymously on the CVM Staff Council webpage. Better yet, reach out to one of the Council members and have a conversation!

Do you have ideas or suggestions for an upcoming Spotlight?  Email us at!

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