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NIEHS Recognizes Administrative Staff

By Eddy Ball
May 2010

An African-American woman speaks to a group of seated people
Taylor endeared herself to her audience and worked the crowd like the revivalist preacher she often is in the course of her motivational ministry. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Three women listen to a speaker off-screen. Focus is on the lady in the center.
Like her colleagues in the audience, NIEHS Administrative Specialist Fran Wagstaff, center, stayed engaged as Taylor described her personal search for meaning and satisfaction in her life. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Three African-American women pose for a photo.
Following the talk, Taylor, center, posed with NIEHS admirers Biological Aid Essie Jones, left, and Project Officer Jennie Foushee, right. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Two African-American women pose for a photo.
Taylor stood with Radford, right, as the two looked back on a successful event to celebrate the people who make the wheels turn at NIEHS. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

NIEHS celebrated Administrative Professionals Day on April 20 with a day of events dedicated to honoring the Institute's clerical, administrative, secretarial, and technical (CAST) employees. Individual supervisors expressed their appreciation for their staff, and the Institute scheduled a special morning motivational seminar and an afternoon cake and ice cream reception as what was billed "a special thanks to the administrative staff for all you do."

The morning presentation featured inspirational speaker Jewel Diamond Taylor for a talk sponsored by NIEHS Employee Services and hosted by Employee Services Program Specialist Cynthia Radford. Known to her audiences as "The Minister of Motivation" and "The Self-Esteem Doctor, " Taylor has spoken to thousands of people worldwide at corporate headquarters, conferences, churches, campuses, and government agencies, delivering a message of hope and personal transformation.

NIEHS/NTP Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., welcomed attendees to the morning presentation, telling the employees there, "We could never run the institute without you." She also thanked the administrative professionals "for being you and for being here."

During the main part of the program, Taylor, who looks and acts much younger than her sixty years, interacted directly with her audience nonstop, from the beginning of her talk right up to the end. She delivered on her promise that "today we're all going to another level" as she shared her "pearls of wisdom." At the beginning of her narrative, Taylor admitted that what she would say wasn't anything the audience hadn't heard before, "But you just haven't applied it yet."

Over the 90 minutes she was on the floor working the crowd, Taylor joked with her audience and challenged them to "aim to be above average" by taking control of their lives and accepting responsibility for how they play out. "We have to like who are... [and] quit blaming others for our disappointments," she said.

During the afternoon reception, members of the NIEHS leadership turned the tables on themselves by rolling up their sleeves and serving cake and ice cream to CAST employees.

Birnbaum took her place behind the serving table with a group of familiar figures - NIEHS Office of Management Deputy Associate Director Chris Long, Acting Scientific Director John Pritchard, Ph.D., NTP Associate Director John Bucher, Ph.D., and Deputy Ethics Counselor Bruce Androphy, Ph.D.

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