Thursday, May 1, 2008
Luncheon honors Giglio
By SUE WATSON
The Byhalia Area Chamber of Commerce (BACC) chose Mary Giglio of Merchants & Farmers Bank as Staff Person of the Year.
She was recognized at the chamber luncheon last week held at Byhalia United Methodist Church fellowship hall.
The tradition of honoring and showing appreciation for an outstanding employee began in 1952 with the organization of Secretaries Week. Then in 2000, the name of the occasion was changed to Professional Secretaries Week to include administrative professionals.
Today there are 4.1 million administrative assistants in the United States and 8.9 million in administrative support roles.
The Byhalia chamber has issued calls for nominations for seven years and selects one person to recognize at the annual staff appreciation luncheon.
Giglio joins Kay Brownlee, Teresa O’Hearn, LaTish Ambrose, Waurene Going, Joe Dunning and Lyn Coleman in receiving this award.
“Nominations came in in abundance this year,” said Sarah Sawyer, executive director of BACC. “The recognition goes to those who go the extra mile in providing customer service.
“She went back to school late in life and graduated from Northwest Community College with a 4.0.”
Giglio performs several tasks with the bank including teller, auditing new accounts and customer service.
She and her husband Leon live near Lake Center east of Holly Springs. They moved to Marshall County 21 years ago after being laid off from work with Sharpe Manufacturing in Memphis when the jobs went to Mexico, she said. She had worked with Sharpe over 16 years where she met Leon. When they lost their jobs they began looking for land in real estate magazines.
Giglio said she had married young and didn’t finish her education until she was laid off at Sharpe. The company included two years of college tuition in the company’s buy-out package.
She worked on and completed her associate degree with Northwest majoring in office and business technology.
Giglio was chosen as most outstanding student leader in her major - office and technology -while attending Northwest at the Oxford Campus in 2003. Giglio was a member of Phi Theta Kappa.
“I think the older students tend to try harder,” she said.
Her husband Leon retired after working at the local prison.
Together, the Giglios have five children, 10 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
Giglio said she enjoys decorating, flower and vegetable gardening and traveling.
They are “big Tiger fans,” she said and like to follow the University of Memphis basketball team.
With Merchants & Farmers Bank for nearly four years, Giglio said there is a lot of togetherness and teamwork at the bank.
“We are like a family here,” she said, describing herself as a people person.
“I enjoy my customers,” she said. “They are special people to me.”
Surprised at being chosen for distinction, Giglio said she has placed her plaque out for everyone to see.
“I am just so surprised,” she said.
Bettye Coward, president of Blue Mountain College was the invited speaker for the day.
She congratulated Giglio and added, “The deserving people are the ones who didn’t expect it (recognition). These people perform complex tasks and make it seem seamless and easy.”
A liberal arts college, Blue Mountain was established to serve the educational needs of women in 1873 by a general from the Civil War. Mississippi Baptists took the college in 1920.
Originally serving women and a few men going into the ministry, in 2005 Blue Mountain opened its doors to all men.
Enrollment stands at about 450 and a graduate program has been added.
Coward chose the theme “Making a Difference in Lives by Our Ministry.”
“I believe all of us have within us a desire to make our lives make a difference,” she said.
As a person gets past middle age, the desire to make every day count increases as one ages, Coward said, because of a basic urge to find meaning for life. The older ones seek to find ways to contribute to life instead of taking from life.
Reviewing some universal elements in those who make a difference in the workplace, Coward discussed six common ingredients:
“The calling reflects a deep yearning to make a difference with our lives,” she said.
A person who considers working a privilege, not an entitlement, and knows they are blessed to have a job enjoys their job, is a person who has been called to minister unto others.
It is necessary to continue to acquire new skills. Technology and the computer age have added to the skills needed in the workplace, she said.
“My parents taught me to just get something and stick with it,” she said. The attitude toward careers is changing as the work environment changes rapidly and the old shoe does not fit today’s generations.
“Today, I cannot imagine working without a computer,” she said.
Coward was introduced to computers in the early 1990s.
“Embrace change, seek opportunities to grow, and stretch to become better,” she said.
She said those who do not stay abreast of change may find their jobs disappearing.
But the ability to think critically, problem solve, and teamwork are skills that empower a person for a lifetime, she said, as do a strong sense of ethics and values.
Willingness to do work that is demanding and difficult is part of the work ethic, Coward said, an ethic she acquired as the daughter of a dairy farmer who arose early to milk the herd.
“There are positive results of growing up on a dairy farm,” Coward quoted a retired dairy farmer as saying. “You learn to work, and you learn to work hard.”
“Consistency is important in parenting because it gives children a sense of predictability,” she said. “It is comforting to know an individual will be there physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. In Christian culture we refer to them as ‘Salt of the Earth.’ ”
Character is at the core of who we are and provides context for our lives, she said.
“I believe strongly the way we can make a difference in our lives is to serve others.”
For more information call the Byhalia Area Chamber of Commerce (662-838-8127) or visit online at www.gobyhalia.com
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