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George Mason Ombuds Office Anniversary and Ombuds Day Celebration Reflection

By, Sarah Ahmed Atif,
Program Coordinator, George Mason University Ombuds Office

The current George Mason University Ombudsperson, Kimberly Jackson Davidson, was introduced in February 2022, and the Office Charter was signed in October of the same year by University President Gregory Washington. We identify this moment of a signed charter as the official act of launching the Office. This October, completing one year of operations, the Office celebrated its anniversary by hosting various programs for different audiences.

The office hosted an Ombuds Gathering for academic ombuds from the DMV area at the beautiful Potomac Science Center on October 20. This program was an effort to bring the academic ombuds in one room to have a dialogue on events pertaining to the field. Following were the program topics: 

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In Memoriam: Jared Lee

We have some very sad news to share, on behalf of IOA member Jennifer Moumneh:

It is with great sadness that I’m writing to share the news that our team member and dear friend, Jared Lee, passed away unexpectedly last week.

Jared Lee

Jared was a key member of UC Irvine’s Office of the Ombuds, a wonderful colleague, a rising star in the Organizational Ombuds profession, and an overall amazing human being.  He will be missed dearly.

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The Creative Energy of a Federal Ombuds

As an Associate Ombuds for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Dr. Belinda Robinson utilizes poetry as a creative outlet. She gracefully presented two examples of how she uses this medium to share appreciation for the role she has within the Ombuds community. The following was shared at the Coalition of Federal Ombudsman (COFO) conference in 2021 in recognition of Ombuds Day 2021:

The Federal Ombuds
By Belinda M. Robinson, Ph.D.
October 15, 2021

Trying times throughout the years
Erase your doubts
And calm your fears
The Federal Ombuds are here
Confidential, neutral, and informal
That’s how we do it everyday
Independent in every way
But we still managed to have
Our own day
And today we celebrate
Ombuds’ Day
Diverse in people, agency mission and vision
Yet, united in the way we work
Providing service before self
And, we’ve even added articles and books
To the Ombuds’ body of knowledge shelf
No matter the weather, crisis, or pandemic
Bring us your challenging dilemmas
And we will stand up in it
To help you determine the best way to handle them
While we provide fair and equitable resolution
Of your concerns
The Federal Ombuds are who we are
Visit us in person or virtually
Let us help you
Cause it’s what we do
Happy Ombuds’ Day
To all of you!

 

The next poem was also shared in recognition of Ombuds Day 2022 (It was originally embedded in a slideshow and was reformatted to present in this post):


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Highlighting the Creative Energy in our Ombuds Community

Being able to engage in creative problem solving is key to our role as ombuds. This level of creativity is further fostered by engaging in creative endeavors outside of our role. Creative endeavors can also allow us to refresh our mind after days of high intensity conversations.

For those of you who attended the IOA conference in Seattle, I hope you were able to experience the various displays of creativity shared by our IOA members. There were the many visual displays exhibited within the Experience on Display program; we had the lovely performance of the George Gershwin tune Summertime by Sana and Chuck Doran; and the conference was opened by Ellen Miller sharing the video with Andisile Best reciting his poem that follows:

As we wake up here by the fireside,
Our hearts and minds open wide.
We shared our stories, joy and fears,
And shared some tears that washed our cares.
For some of us, the wounds were fresh,
But comfort shed felt like a curse.
We were reminded of our vital roles.
To serve with dignity, compassion and goals.
As ombuds we may feel forgotten,
But our solutions will last forever unbroken.
Our work may not make headlines,
But it has power to heal and change lives.
So let us celebrate the work we have done.
As we heal our wounds one by one.
For the fireside chat reminded us all,
That our impact will be felt for generations to come.
By, Andisile Best

 

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UM Awards Ombuds Who Fought to Protect Employees’ Confidentiality After UM Emails Series

By Ashton Pittman, Mississippi Free Press (reposted with permission)

Headshot of Paul Caffera in a suit

The University of Mississippi awarded Ombudsman Paul Caffera as one of 12 “outstanding staff members” at its May 30, 2023, Staff Appreciation Week Awards Ceremony. He fought the university in a lawsuit between 2020 and 2022 as he sought to maintain the confidentiality of employees who had sought his office’s services. Photo courtesy Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

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Reflections from OMV Petrom’s Ombuds Team

By Ion Anghel, Head of the Ombuds Department of OMV Petrom, Romania

Ion Anghel, Head of the Ombuds Department of OMV Petrom, RomaniaOver the last decade, I have been involved in the life of this department on a constant basis, first from the outside (as an advisor to its activities) and then from its core, as Director of this function. Looking back over time, I can say that the Ombuds’ mission here in OMV Petrom was never an easy one. This statement may surely be confirmed by all international Ombuds colleagues who have had the difficult task of launching an Ombudsman program in a company (or even more, a country) with little or no experience on this topic.

Moreover, the last years have been particularly challenging, as we have seen the whole world deal with the effects of the Covid pandemic. I think that in this new era, the importance of having somebody to talk to and address your concerns has proven to be so much more significant than before. For this reason, we have tried to stay in contact with the people in our organization even when physical presence became scarcer than before, to prevent the feeling of isolation and help build the necessary bridges to move forward. At the same time, we have had to re-invent ourselves on both a personal and professional level, as probably many of you have been required to.

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