The superheroes of Harris County Resources for Children and Adults and other Harris County offices are the administrative support staff (administrative assistants, cooks, cleaning staff, etc.), according to the speakers and theme of the annual Dianne Bynum Administrative Support Staff Conference.
"You take care of us; you take care of the office," said Harris County Resources for Children and Adults Executive Director Joel Levine. "You are our first contact (with the public) in many cases. How that client, that stakeholder, that public is treated, that tells a story about our agency -- or your agency."
Participants packed the conference rooms of the Harris County Department of Education building on June 2. This year's theme was: "Supporting the Superhero in You."
The Training Institute of Harris County Resources for Children and Adults has organized the conference for the past nine years to both train and celebrate support staff from organizations throughout the county.
The conference was named for Dianne Bynum, a former Harris County Resources for Children and Adults board president who championed the conference
In a unique arrangement, leadership from participating organizations agree to take care of the office while their support staff members enjoy a full day of training -- the same as any other staff member would.
“It shows their commitment and appreciation to us, by doing our work for us,” said Valencia A. Linton, who works at the front desk of the main Harris County Resources for Children and Adults building. “And it gives us a chance to learn what we need to help them on a regular basis.”
Attendees first heard from keynote speaker Dr. Tamra Lewis, a motivational speaker who spoke about how to be “The Captain of Your Own Ship.” Through colorful tales of her own life, Lewis told the audience their lives are in their own hands and very few obstacles should keep them from manning the helm.
Participants were then given choices on which breakout sessions to attend for the remainder of the day. Sessions included on-the-job skills, such as phone etiquette and dressing for success, and lifestyle classes to aid them in their financial and health successes.
The conference will continue to return each year, Levine promised the crowd.