A variety of activities took place on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community April 24–29 during Administrative Professionals Week, to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the Community’s administrative professionals. The grand finale was April 29, when Valerie Manuel was named Administrative Professional of the Year for 2011.
Currently a legal secretary in the Defense Advocate’s Office, Manuel has worked for the Community for almost 22 years; she worked for the courts for 15 years, and after a break began working for the Defense Advocate’s Office. Her nomination form consisted of five pages filled with positive attributes. The work of the Defense Advocate can be a very intense, but those who know Manuel say she handles her job very well. Attorney Vince Barraza, who until recently was acting director for the office, said, “Valerie is an excellent mentor. She is patient and effective.”
Manuel said that she was surprised that she was nominated, and even more surprised that she won. She said, “I didn’t expect to win because there were so many nominees up there.”
One of the biggest challenges Manuel has faced while working with the Defense Advocate’s office is helping start a new SharePoint database, which allows files to be stored and organized electronically for easy access. She said, “When I got there, there was no system to keep track of their records other than the filing system.” That was back in 2006.
During her interview with Au-Authm Action News, Manuel talked reservedly about herself; she is dedicated to serving the community and wanted to focus on how she is here for her Community.
Barraza added, “Valerie Manuel’s integrity, selflessness, enthusiasm and devotion to her work make her an invaluable asset to the Defense Advocate’s Office. Her spirit and commitment [are] instrumental [in contributing] to the [successful protection of] people’s constitutional rights within the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Great Job, Val!”
Along with her award, Manuel was presented with a 47-inch television.
During Administrative Professionals Week, fun-filled activities were arranged to show appreciation to the administrative assistants for the many services they provide to their Community departments. Activities included Zumba, massages, a fondue station and games.
This year the Administrative Professionals committee consisted of Crystal Banuelos, Rito Lopez, Diane Cashoya, Celia Castro, Robin Enos, Melissa Gonzales, Katherine Halstead, Rebecca Makil, Mercedes Morgan, Cecelia Nash, Henry Osif, Paula Thomas and many others who volunteered their help with the preparations.