Shirley Skisano, production center coordinator, has been named Lakeland's Diversity Award winner for 2020 for exhibiting a deep respect for the diversity of people.
At Lakeland in particular, she has contributed to expanding the understanding of those with a different life experience than the rest of us. Not only in the marketing communications department and the production center, but in the entire college as a whole.
In her role, she touches every department, ensuring that both large- and small-scale projects get done on time. But she also took on another role as a 'buddy' to a very special member of the team.
Andy Patterson, who has Downs Syndrome, joined the production center in 2005 and Skisano immediately took him under her wing. Under her watchful eye, he took great pride in filling the literature racks around campus, stocking paper in the storeroom and other random but necessary tasks.
In the words of one of her nominators, "I have witnessed Shirley guiding Andy step by step through his assigned duties. Even though he has been a part of the team for more than 10 years, he still needs gentle reminders about how to perform his tasks. She exhibits patience and understanding when working with him."
Skisano worked closely with Patterson's mother to determine his schedule and monitor behavior. When his mother was struck with an illness that ultimately took her life, Skisano was there for him. Every year on the anniversary of his mother's death, she reminds the staff so that they understand that he will not be quite himself during that time.
Patterson has become a part of the Lakeland family. In January, he celebrated his 37th birthday in the production center complete with candles, cake and whoopie cushion shenanigans.
Congratulations on your honor, Shirley!