Gratitude: One Year Anniversary of Sandia Ombuds Office Re-launch

By Ronnie Thomson,
Corporate Ombuds - Sandia National Laboratories

Have you ever felt the excitement of a new adventure plus the doubts of whether you’re ready? What is the purpose of that internal voice murmuring doubts? Perhaps it’s a catalyst to bring your best self, pursue excellence, and watch the beauty of the adventure unfold. Or maybe that catalyst is spurring you to ask for support. Upon the one-year anniversary of the Sandia Ombuds Office Re-launch, I am reflecting on my current adventure with its mountain-top highs and valley lows, plus the pursuit of excellence and the support I have found. I’m hoping that my sharing this reflection will be of help to you.

Beginning at the Trailhead 

The Sandia National Laboratories Director re-launched and chartered the Sandia Ombuds Office to again provide the workforce with an independent, informal, impartial, and confidential resource. Admirably, the Labs Director even made suggestions to strengthen the agreement before he signed it. Sandia’s Chief of Staff located options for the construction of the office in Albuquerque, NM, established the budget, and supported my launch plan which included my own orientation to a whole new world of premier research and national security with a targeted soft launch for virtual and phone visits during the pandemic. For the first few months, my husband remained in Texas as I navigated my new surroundings working at a military base for the first time in my career, having no colleagues working anywhere close to my temporary office (a bit lonely), and house shopping at the peak of a low inventory, high priced market.


Support came in many forms including exceptional marketing professionals who caught the vision, developed a fresh logo, a brochure, office wall art, and signage. The communications expert who wrote copy and a plan to keep the Ombuds Office in the company news. An interior designer who listened well and found the perfect furnishings, wall colors, and blinds. The expert administrative professional who knew how to overcome each obstacle from ordering supplies to scheduling travel to holding an Open House after the office construction. The senior leaders who welcomed one on one meetings with me and the many directors and managers who invited Ombuds Office overviews and introductions to their teams. The many HR, ER, Ethics, DEIB, EAP, Health and Legal professionals who have educated and informed me. Plus, the Coalition of Federal Ombudsman (COFO) who gave expert advice. What a gift to find such a valuable network of relationships.


Visiting with close to 200 Sandians in the first year, listening to their experiences, and helping them navigate their way through their difficulties, confirms once again that I have found my calling, especially at Sandia, whose workforce delivers exceptional service in the national interest. I am grateful that I have found a place in which humility and service are valued, where early conflict resolution is preferred over dispute resolution. And my own internal voice that murmurs doubts? I believe it has undergirded my own pursuit of excellence and even helped me realize, that yes, I was, and am, ready for this adventure. Let it be so with each of you who help your organizations pursue peace. All the best to you in your own great adventures.

With gratitude,

Ronnie Thomson



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Comments on "Gratitude: One Year Anniversary of Sandia Ombuds Office Re-launch"

Comments 0-15 of 4

Johnny Armijo - Friday, October 28, 2022

Congratulations on a wonderful first year! Albuquerque is my hometown and I hope you have enjoyed NM. I am in my 5th month starting a new Ombuds office at The University of Northern Colorado. I appreciate your thoughts about your experiences during your first year. I wish you continued success!

Reese Ramos - Thursday, October 13, 2022

Congratulations on the re-launch Ronnie! As some of the rocket folks there would say, "Mission Success".

Mrs. Janet D. Hill - Thursday, October 06, 2022

Congratulations, Ronnie, on finding your new calling and place to assist the people of Sandia with early conflict resolution. I’m delighted that you were welcomed and assisted by so many who have helped to make the path an easier one. My best to you as you continue your travels and adventures.

Ronnie Thomson - Thursday, October 06, 2022

For those who are interested, here is the link to the Sandia Lab News article -

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