When you meet Center for Human Services (CHS) Director of Operations Kathryn Inman, you probably wouldn’t guess that she’s worked at the agency for more than 30 years.
“She started when she was 12 years old,” Executive Director Cindy Duenas joked at a recent all-staff meeting.
Kathryn is CHS’ longest-serving employee ever. And at the end of May, she retired from the agency to spend more time with her husband who lives in Hawaii and her new granddaughter in Washington.
“I’m super grateful to have had these last 30 years at CHS,” Kathryn said. “I know I’m a better, stronger person because of it. It’s truly been an honor.”
Her career with CHS started as the office manager in 1987 when there were only 18 staff members. She quickly rose to administrative manager, then was promoted to Director of Administration in the 1990s, which was later reclassified as Director of Operations.
“In her role over the years, she has set the bar very high for us,” said CHS Executive Director Cindy Duenas. “She does everything with all of herself and she’s our #1 culture setter. She has helped us define the high standards that we have professionally as an organization – from personal appearance guidelines to the way we handle ourselves, the way our sites look, and how professional we are in the community.”
At the core of her work is the people – those we serve as clients, as well as employees.
“You want to watch your son’s ballgame? Go, you need to be there. If you’re caring for your elderly parents, we support you. When your child graduates from high school, we celebrate with you. It’s a mutually respectful and supportive relationship between leadership and all team members. We believe in shared and servant leadership and I love that I was able to contribute to that valuable practice.”
Kathryn balanced professionalism with warmth. Her welcoming and humble demeanor nurtured lifelong friendships within the organization.
“Kathryn taught me so much, guided me through the difficult times and was always very insightful,” said Maria Lopez, CHS Administrative Manager. “She was a true mentor and role model for me. Our relationship held no barriers. We have great respect for one another and the trust was never questioned. This enhanced our work relationship in such an extraordinary way.”
It’s those relationships and the laughter that make up Kathryn’s fondest memories at CHS.
“When you work as hard as we do, you have to have some fun and the folks I work with have kept me laughing,” Kathryn said. “There’s something inspiring about working with passionate, driven people. It’s the best place to work ever! We all show up every day and keep fighting the good fight, we serve our community and send a message of hope.”
Even with the excitement of carefree days in paradise, a new grandbaby to cuddle, and travels ahead, Kathryn says she will miss her CHS family.
“I also know that when I walk out of these doors, a piece of my heart will stay behind.”
Literally and figuratively. Kathryn loves inspirational quotes and one of her very own will adorn the wall near her old office:
“It’s a feeling, it’s a passion, it’s a heart thing … Revel in it, be fierce for it and never settle for less than your very best.”