A Lesson on Excellence with Amielee Farrell: An Examiner Spotlight


CONGRATULATIONS! You are this year’s recipient of the Examiner Excellence Award. How do you feel?

First of all, thank you! I am feeling a lot of things over this award… giddy, honored, humbled, proud, grateful and most importantly energized. I am giddy and grateful to be recognized for long hours, hard work, and the contributions I have tried to ensure are meaningful to an organization that has helped to grow and development me over the last few years. I am honored and humbled because I stand in a long line of tremendous people who have been recognized before me – to be put alongside these folks makes me prouder than words can express. Finally, I am feeling energized – which could not have come at a more crucial time with the new training cycle upon us!

In addition to your service on site and in trainings, you serve on the Examination Committee. What are some of the things you do on that Committee and its various subcommittees, and what do you gain personally from it?

As a member of the Exam Committee, I get the privilege to work with talented and experienced Examiners to ensure we make progress on the Board’s Strategic Plan, continue to improve processes, find creative ways to engage the Examiner corps, and help some of my off-the-wall ideas sprout life – like the virtual Examiner Recognition Ceremony – special thanks to Norma Krech for breathing life into what I thought was a small idea!

In the last year, it seems as though I have found a way to weasel into and contribute in some small way to many of our subcommittees. I participate in the Social Media committee, where we work to leverage the various platforms to engage Examiners, applicants, and the performance improvement arena. With the Leadership committee, I assisted in improving the Team Leader Project Management Tool, finalizing the Career Pathing Tool, and participating as a mentor to new Examiners. Alongside the other Resources committee members, I drafted our first Stratex User Guide to help Examiners on assessment teams and the Leaders of those teams navigate our rather new software. In this effort, I continue to work with the CEO and programmers of Stratex to enhance the system to meet our requirements/desires and interlace the Examiner Handbook with the Stratex User Guide for this upcoming assessment cycle. With my work in and exposure to the Stratex system, I am assisting with the transition plan and fine-tuning of our fully virtual assessment process for this upcoming cycle.

In September, you are teaming up with your boss and fellow Examiner, Bob Goehrig, to deliver morning and evening training on the Sterling Management Framework (or Criteria 101, as it is often shortened). What, in your opinion, is the most exciting part about facilitating this training from home? And conversely, what will you miss the most about seeing everyone in person? 

Since Bob opted for an evening session, I am actually most looking forward to him cooking me dinner! I cleverly made that a stipulation because I know we both aren’t morning people, and he is VERY good at cooking. But seriously, I am excited for a chance to grow my facilitation skills to meet the nuances of virtual training/learning. I am also excited for the time our Examiners are going to get back because they won’t have to commute or commit a full day away from their paying jobs to participate. I will sincerely miss, however, the chance to meet and talk with our Examiners while on breaks. The friendships born from networking through even a short event like a one-day training with like-minded individuals from varying sectors is invaluable.

Every other Tuesday, you help coordinate, facilitate, and participate in #talktuesdays, a casual biweekly lunchtime event to talk best practices, lessons learned, etc. on various topics relevant to the Sterling Criteria and the workplace. What, even above discussing specific topics, is the best thing to come out of #talktuesday?

Why should people tune in? The sense of community and belonging growing from these events is empowering. I feel like I can share my mistakes and lessons learned without judgment. Everyone has been showing compassion and care through all of these discussions. Maybe it’s because we are living in a world where just about everything seems different and new from 6 months ago… maybe it’s because we all understand the pain in the growth process is necessary in improving. But I like to think it’s because we are all committing our time to come together and nurture a community that we love being a part of.

You’re six months pregnant with your second child and even still, you plan to continue your Sterling journey. Where do you find the passion and the energy for performance excellence as a Sterling volunteer when the daily rigors of your day job, of motherhood, etc. are at the forefront?

This question was the most difficult for me to answer. I have written and deleted about 10 different answers at this point… but I think it really comes down to one thing. I believe so strongly in the concepts, core values, and criteria – the entire Sterling framework essentially – I find it consuming me, in the best way possible. I could talk for hours about the nuance of the criteria, the importance to the organization strong leadership and a well thought out strategic plan brings, the value given to the customers from efficient and well managed processes, and the meaningful engagement and feedback you can achieve with your team when managing performance by fact.

Not being a part of this community – I just can’t imagine what it would be like… and I don’t want to imagine it. It makes me sad, actually, to think about it. I love being a mother and I love being a manager, but those are things I am doing for the benefit of others. Being a Sterling Examiner – I do that for me. Because I make the time for the things I love, I am able to give to others (my work and home families) without feeling depleted. This kind of self-care helps fuel my passion and energy.

When you’re not at the workplace, we can most likely find you working out and eating healthy. Got a couple tips to save us all of the Quarantine 15 (or 50?!)?

The biggest tip/trick I can give you is to maintain discipline once a week. We do one large grocery shopping trip on Sunday for the family for the upcoming week. We plan out breakfast, lunch and dinner for the entire week and write up a list. I NEVER food shop hungry – so I won’t be inclined to impulse buy items that are not on the list. Then throughout the week, if I get a craving for an unhealthy food or snack, it isn’t available to me. So I don’t have to be disciplined to say no throughout the week, just one time a week when I am in the grocery store.

My second tip/trick, and if we are friends on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter you probably already know, I get my workout in immediately upon waking up in the morning. In this way, I only need discipline for the time it takes to turn the lights on and get dressed. I plan my workouts for the week on Sunday evening – so once I drag my butt out of bed in the morning, I grab my notebook, go to my garage, and put some work in for 40 minutes. Because I workout first thing, I don’t have the opportunity to come up with various excuses to skip a workout throughout the day.

If you could give “Just Getting into the Workforce Amie” / “On the Frontline Amie” any advice, what would you tell her? 

I would tell her to give herself the same amount of patience and latitude for mistakes I have grown to give my team because it is in these mistakes we learn and grow the most. I would also tell her to not worry about the unknowns – it’s okay if she doesn’t have a plan for the future – just keep working hard because doors will open for you more beautiful than the ones you are able to envision right now.



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