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Volume XXVIII, Number 5892
Wednesday, Jul 03, 2013

Parks Salutes Its Employees Of The Month (Part III)

Elissa Connors is the Public Programs Employee of the Month for May.
Elissa began her career at Parks as a seasonal Lifeguard in July 2008. She continued working for the Agency as an Intern for Central Recreation during the summer of 2011. Elissa was soon hired as a Recreation Specialist in May 2012 and worked at the McCarren Play Center until she was selected to work in Assistant Commissioner Annika Holder’s outer office in September 2012.
Elissa’s duties have ranged from developing and executing fitness classes to conducting in-depth analysis of citywide recreation center membership trends. Elissa has taken the lead in Public Programs’ new branding strategy. She has helped streamline how the Division develops and produces all types of branded materials. She works closely with the Agency’s Marketing Division to ensure compliance, and has established herself as the Division’s go-to person for branding.
Elissa’s perseverance was recently put to the test when she was tasked with locating and inviting the relatives of Gertrude Ederle to attend the re-opening of the Gertrude Ederle Rec Center. Her meticulous research yielded positive results when she not only located several family members, but also landed a speaker for the event; one of Gertrude Ederle’s nieces who wrote a book about her famous aunt.
She has played an important role in assisting the Recreation Chiefs in establishing firm membership goals and has also utilized her strong writing skills for grant, report and letter preparation. Developing a reputation of being able to produce high quality work in a timely manner and promptly responding to each and every email sent to her, Elissa has gained the respect of her peers throughout the Division.
For her unwavering enthusiasm and passion for Parks, Elissa was nominated by Assistant Commissioner Annika Holder and Deputy Commissioner Robert Garafola.

Vera Jacobs is Management’s Employee of the Month for May.
Vera Jacobs has been with the Parks Opportunity Program (POP) since September 2008. As a job developer for POP, Vera is tasked with matching job ready trainees with full-time employment opportunities while simultaneously building relationships with potential employers. Vera is an experienced job developer who maintains an excellent rapport with her clients by providing them individual attention. She spares no time and effort to understand her clients’ employment goals and provide them with the guidance and support they need to achieve self-sufficiency.
Vera’s performance over the last year and a half has been exceptionally strong. Her commitment to POP’s mission, coupled with her strong drive for success has been instrumental in her not only achieving, but exceeding her personal goal of making 100 placements this year! To date, Vera has assisted 105 POP participants transition into full time employment. She is now among the top producing POP Job Developers. A fun fact about Vera is that she rings a cow bell when her clients find employment. This just goes to show how Vera is always celebrating other people’s success.
Vera is always looking to develop new lasting partnerships with businesses and organizations to secure attractive employment opportunities for POP trainees. As a highly successful job developer, Vera is involved in a task force to improve the process of identifying and implementing best practices for job developers. Vera has proven successful when working independently, but has also demonstrated great team spirit by readily accepting to take on the responsibilities of other staff members when needed.
For her commitment to POP and the impact she continues to have on our JTP population, Vera was nominated by Director of Job Development, Katia Zaharieva, Liza Ehrlich, Chief of POP and Deputy Commissioner Robert Garafola.

Andrew Newman, Leigh Spiro, and Tom Hughes are the Commissioner’s Employees of the Month for May.
Andrew started his career with the Prospect Park Alliance in 2007. Four years later, he became the Program Manager for Million Trees NYC. Leigh began her career at Parks in 2008 and is currently a Web Designer for our agency. Tom started with Parks as a computer aide in 2006 and is currently New Media’s User Experience Manager.
Andrew is a dedicated Parkie who is committed to informing the public about the great work being done through MillionTreesNYC. As a true public servant, he always advocates for our urban forest and often elects to work at weekend events to promote the agency. He is always patient in the face of critics and answers all constituent’s concerns thoroughly and respectfully. As a certified Citizen Pruner, Andrew spends his free time pruning local street trees in his neighborhood of Park Slope.
Leigh is a diligent and dedicated web designer who ensures that information on Parks’ website is clear, readable, and attractive to the public. She has a keen eye for detail and has proven to be a real asset to Parks. Her organizational and stylizing skills are enviable and her hard work can be recognized by anyone with an internet connection. She is a forward-thinking problem solver who takes on every project with grace and enthusiasm.
Last but certainly not least, Tom works tirelessly to make sure that our website’s design and function are created with park-goers in mind. He enhances the user experience by making our website more user-friendly and efficient. His work can be seen through easier-to-use permit applications, improved site navigation, and the attractive homepage that we all admire on a daily basis. He is passionate about using new media as a tool to increase our outreach and improve the lives of everyday New Yorkers.
Together, these winners contributed to the redesign and implementation of the MillionTreesNYC website. With over 60 pages of content, the website is a critical source of information to the public about our programs and rationale behind this campaign. With Tom and Leigh working towards the challenging and complex design elements of the site and Andrew updating the site map, coordinating with DoITT, and copying all content and coding into one management system, an incredible job was accomplished. Their product is an excellent example of divisions working together to achieve impressive results. We would not be able to present the new website without their many hours of hard work and dedication.
For their incredible reliability, teamwork, and persistence, Andrew, Leigh, and Tom were nominated by Program Director of MTNYC Morgan Monaco and Commissioner Veronica White.


“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

J. K. Rowling
(1965 - )

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