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November 2016: Jeanie O’Neil

Our November employee of the month has been with Council on Aging since early 2013. Being a hard worker, energetic and positive are just a few of her attributes. In addition, she is very dedicated to Council on Aging’s mission and is always known to take that extra step. Her work at the Family Justice Center has been admired by so many people. We are so lucky to have Jeanie as part of our team at Council on Aging and the team at Family Justice Center. Congratulations to Jeanie O’Neil on being November’s employee of the month!

October 2016: Jocelyn Duran

Jocelyn Duran started with Council on Aging in 2015 as an intern through the SAY program. She worked in our Nutrition department assisting with whatever she could. In need of a part time employee to fill an Assistant Office Manager role it was no question that Jocelyn was the perfect candidate to fill this need. Jocelyn jumped right into her duties with ease. In addition to being a joy to work with, she gives 100% every day, always has a smile on her face and has wonderful interactions with our clients. We are lucky to have Jocelyn as part of our team at Council on Aging. Congratulations on being our October employee of the month Jocelyn!

September 2016: Lisa Liggett

Lisa started with Council on Aging at the beginning of  2016 as a temp to fill our Nutrition Admin position.    We quickly realized that we had a great replacement in Lisa and she would make a great addition to our team.  Lisa was hired as a regular full time employee in March of 2016.

Coming into a position with a lot of moving parts can be intimidating at times but Lisa came in and handled the transition with such ease and grace.  Along with her amazing qualifications and organizational abilities, she is very positive to work with.   Lisa is always cheerful and friendly and even on the busiest of days she maintains her smile and positive attitude.  She goes out of her way to assist where ever she can and believes in our mission here at Council on Aging.

We are very lucky to have found Lisa!  Congratulations on being September’s Employee of the Month!

August 2016: Roberto Perez Oros

Roberto is an essential member of COA’s kitchen, where he does food preparation and packing for our Meals on Wheels program. He helps ensure that the meals are ready on time for distribution by our drivers. Roberto is a team player, possesses a strong work ethic and always has a positive attitude. Congratulations and a well-deserved thanks to Roberto!

July 2016: Kim Grindell

Kim came to us almost a year ago to take over the Care Coordination position at the Family Justice Center. Kim took on a brand new program to support abused individuals that had not existed before and was able to make it blossom. Kim started right away reaching out to Council on Aging’s many community partners to inform them about Care Coordination services and how it can help victims of elder abuse. Kim also created Circle of Hope, a support group for the victims of abuse and is hopeful that someday she will have support groups in different parts of Sonoma County to serve victims in outlying areas. Kim deals daily with secondary trauma through the experiences of victims and is able to maintain a positive attitude which is reflected back to her clients which intern gives them hope for the future. Kim is also one of those employees who knows the parameters of her position well, without being asked always gets her paperwork and reports in a timely manner.  Council on Aging is lucky to have such an exemplary employee.

June 2016: Miguel Perez

Miguel Perez started work with Council on Aging almost 14 years ago. His dedication to his position in the Meals on Wheels kitchen has proven time and time again to be invaluable. Miguel is a true team player who is always willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that our seniors get their daily meals. His knowledge of all aspects of how the kitchen operates means that he is able to fill in wherever he is needed, which he gladly does. Miguel is a wonderful asset to our organization and he truly deserves to be our employee of the month for June, 2016. Bravo Miguel!

Carrie Holowell

May 2016: Carrie Holwell

Carrie has been with The Noble Spoon for just over a year. In that time she has taken on greater responsibility and pressure all while keeping a very positive attitude. She has a great working relationship with all the staff and is quick to volunteer to take on additional work and special projects. Congratulations Carrie on being May’s Employee of the Month!

April 2016: Theresa Strickland

Employee of the Month for April is Theresa Strickland. Theresa has been with COA for about 18 months. In that time she has been instrumental in organizing all our processes and making sure our clients receive the attention they deserve when they call in.

She is always cheerful and friendly and brings snacks at least once a week. She retired from her main career several years ago and now works with us and we are very happy she is here. Congratulations Theresa!

March 2016: Jacque Hogan

Jacque Hogan is a wonderful asset to COA. Jacque is the driver for Sebastopol and West County MOW clients. She knows all of our MOW clients (about 80 clients) on the 5 routes we cover. Jacque is loved and respected by our clients, volunteers and coworkers. Jacque is thoughtful, dependable, considerate and a real a pleasure to work with.

Congratulations Jacque on being March Employee of the Month!

February 2016: Carole Bratton

Employee of the month for February is Carole Bratton. Carole started in the Mental Health Department as a contracted employee, and then transitioned to an official employee. Her enthusiasm for the program has been infectious.

Carole approaches her Administrative Support position with determination and passion, she steps up to every new challenge with complete confidence.

Carole’s desire to be part of a team demonstrates itself by every trait mentioned: service to others, positive attitude, working well under pressure, working well with the Peer Support representatives, and her creativity.

Congratulations Carole!

January 2016: Cheri Lieurance

January’s employee of the month Cheri Lieurance is very conscious on anything she does. She takes into consideration how her work will have an impact to the agency, individuals lives, and to the community. Cheri always has a positive attitude, she is very creative, and her team player attitude has helped COA into moving our marketing, Derby Day, and planning our 50th Anniversary celebration into the 21st century. We are very fortunate here at COA, congratulations Cheri!

December 2015: Colleen Nolan

December’s Employee of the month is Colleen Nolan. Colleen came to COA after working for Exchange Bank and graduating from Sonoma State College. She immediately picked up the job skills necessary to do an amazing job as Financial Case Manager. Her positive attitude makes working with her a pleasure. She is always willing to help when another member of the team needs help. She is a pleasure to work with and is a great addition to the Social and Financial team! Congratulations to Colleen!

November 2015: Tina McKenzie

Tina McKenzie came to COA and flawlessly stepped into her position as Administrative Specialist. She has shown she can and will step in and help whenever necessary. She has become an integral part of out team. She wears many hats, is very approachable and has a positive energy. During Meals on Wheels Derby Day, she stepped in and was a huge help to the volunteers and staff. Congratulations, Tina!

October 2015: Arlene Irizary

Arlene Irizary, Senior Nutrition Assessor, came to Council on Aging with an extensive amount of experience in social work. She knows every resource available in Sonoma County, from Veterans Administration services to medical support groups.

Arlene always makes sure other people in Nutrition Services are kept up to date on the outcomes of her home visits. She is a true professional and stays calm in some very difficult situations. All of these qualities, plus her passion for following through, are what makes her an obvious choice for Employee of the Month.

September 2015: Valerie Lietz

Valerie Leitz is an amazing person, both in her daily position as Dining Site Manager in Cloverdale and out in the community. Valerie cares about and is invested her Cloverdale community…from the connection with her friend at the florist shop who delivers flowers for special senior client occasions, to caring for her elderly mom, to the special bond she has with the volunteers at the Cloverdale Dining Site. Valerie works tirelessly to make the dining experience wonderful for her seniors. Each day without fail Valerie works to create delicious soups, salads, and desserts to enhance the daily meal and dining experience. Valerie is a gem!!!

August 2015: Ann Gueulette

Ann has been employed at COA for almost 29 years. She really cares about out senior clients and the quality of food they eat. Every day Ann does quality control on the meals and advises the chef if things should be changed. She is the supervisor of Santa Rosa home delivered meals Her duties include managing all of the staff Meals on Wheels employees but the volunteers as well. She is treasured and highly valued. Congratulations Ann!!

July 2015: Sue Tasselmyer

July’s employee of the month, Sue Tasselmyer, started with Council on Aging in March of 2011. She has been instrumental in coordinating the expenses that flow in and out of Council on Aging. She takes great pride in what she does and holds herself to very high standards on her accountability.

For Derby Day she assisted in finding new ways to streamline the event registration and check-out process. Her research, problem solving, and monitoring of these aspects of the event have taken Derby Day to new levels in terms of the attendee experience. Her work is top notch and she has welcomed taking on additional duties as Controller. Recently, she has also taken over many responsibilities of the Chief Financial Officer position until a new CFO is identified. Congratulations to Sue for being named Employee of the Month!

June 2015: Katy Spyrka

The June Employee of the Month is Katy Spyrka. She is a person who goes above and beyond to ensure her clients are getting everything they need. She stays connected so she knows what is going on with them at all times. She was asked if she would like to become a licensed fiduciary to be able to take on the APS clients, and in April, passed her test! Congrats Katy! Her gung ho attitude and sense of humor makes her a pleasure to work with. Congratulations to Katy on being our Employee of the Month.

May 2015: Susan Hartley

Susan Hartley is an assistant at the Healdsburg Social Club. When the manager of the club needed to be out of town due to a family emergency, Susan stepped in to keep the club open. If not for her selflessness, the clients in Healdsburg would not have had a place to come during these weeks.

She is always positive and is a great addition to our team. She is willing to jump in and help whenever needed, even if it is at another social club site. She is a team leader to our volunteers and a friend to our clients. She is essential to the success of our site!

Susan Hartley has been a God send! Congratulations Susan!

April 2015: Leigh Galten

Leigh GaltenLeigh is the key person responsible for the Sonoma Wine Country Games. She is responsible for every aspect of the games, encompassing 20 sports, 1250 participants and 100+ volunteers! She manages this juggling act, putting in many hours to be sure everything from booking venues, arranging insurance, port-a-potties, and supporting the commissioners and tournament directors with a calm and easy demeanor. She has the ability to manage all of this and still know when it is time to go home and be with her family.

She is well liked in the Council on Aging offices and always has a smile on her face. She is an amazing problem solver and is never frantic in the face of obstacles, choosing to find solutions instead of dwelling on the problem. She is a gem of an employee doing more than a full time job!

March 2015: Rebecca Aliotti

Rebecca Aliotti is the Information and Referral Specialist in the Social and Financial department. She has been with COA for 1 ½ years. She is the first person to take incoming calls to help direct people to services. Rebecca was originally hired to ease the financial case managers of spending days in the office answering calls. Having Rebecca has enabled them to be able to go and visit clients needing Council on Aging services.

Rebecca has also been instrumental in helping seniors get emergency funding from Season of Sharing. This is a program, through Salvation Army, that helps give people funds when they are unable to pay in emergency situations. The paperwork for this can be very daunting to our elderly and Rebecca is there to help them through the process. She has received many praises from the Season of Sharing folks on the work she is doing to help. She is both professional and caring to the clients she works with and has been a huge contributor to the department and COA. Congratulations Rebecca!


February 2015: Lee Gunn

Lee Gunn began working for the Council on Aging as a Meals on Wheels Drive, quickly learned his routes, and began to take on new tasks and responsibilities. He approached each new responsibility with humble dignity, and quiet resolve. Whenever he was needed to cover for staff due to emergencies, vacations, or illness, he was there ready to do whatever was needed of him in the same quiet manner with a can do attitude. Any issues were quickly resolved without incident or drama.

Lee was recently promoted to the pack-up supervisory position because of the faith his managers had in him. We are proud of Lee and his many accomplishments as a COA employee.


January 2015: Jeanie O’Neill

2015.01_Jeanie ONeill2

Jeanie is the Elder Advocate at the Family Justice Center. Council on Aging has two employees housed at the center to help with the seniors needing help when in a crisis situation. When the COA employee, who formerly worked in this position, left on medical leave, Jeanie volunteered to step in until a new employee could be found. As it turned out, Jeanie was an amazing fit for the position. She advocates for all clients she meets and is amazing at following up with them to ensure they have all their needs met. She goes above and beyond in everything she does!

Jeanie also donates her time for the COA Derby Day and represents COA for special events, such as Health Fairs. She has a great sense of humor and is sensitive and caring to all coming in contact with her.


December 2014: Victoria Shipley2014.12_Victoria Shipley_72dpi

Victoria works in the kitchen and is in charge of ordering all food to produce our Meals on Wheels, Congregate and Stage meals. In addition she has been instrumental in developing our highly successful kitchen volunteer program. Without the assistance of our volunteers it would be extremely difficult to produce, package and get out the door the thousands of meals we do each week. Victoria consistently volunteers for other duties at Council on Aging and greets all staff and volunteers with a smiling face. Congratulations Victoria.


November 2014: Sheri Haessler

Sheri is a very important and integral part of our agency and department.2014.11_Sheri Haessler_72dpi_web

She is always very willing to provide assistance to me, my staff and the agency when there is a problem that needs to be solved, a form completed and financial information for our clients or for our fiscal department and she willingly fills in at the front desk when needed.

Sheri is a dedicated employee and has gone the extra mile as a part of the Employee of the Month Committee.

Sheri is the “party sole” of the Council on Aging.

Some of Sheri’s favorite things are family, fun and vacations, vacations and vacations.

I really enjoy working with Sheri and cannot imagine what my day would be like if I didn’t have her outside my office.

October 2014: Frank MeisseFrank Meisse

Frank, a kitchen employee, works on the pack-up line and ensures our kitchen is clean and organized – but has done so much more since his first day on the job. Frank is friendly and well-liked by all the staff and jumps in without hesitation when help is needed. Frank also provides great input on problems and helps create solutions that work well. Congratulations Frank!




September 2014: Scott PotterScott Potter

Congratulations to Scott Potter – Cargo Driver and September Employee of the Month. Always to work on time, always in a good mood, always positive and kind, with a great attitude. Scott also will switch routes and cover other drivers when they are on vacation.

The Dining Site Managers love to have him on their delivery routes because he “is friendly and willing to go the extra mile to help in any way he can”, and is “pleasant and easy to work with”.

Scott is attentive to the clients and always reports back if there is an issue or if he notices a client needs a check in. Last year Scott was delivering meals in the Sonoma area when he noticed the meal from the day before was still in the refrigerator. He called down the hall to the client and asked if she was ok… she said yes. Still not happy with the answer Scott pressed and kept asking. After a few minutes Scott told the client he was going to come check on her. He found her on the floor where she had fallen the day before… she was embarrassed and did not want him to see her that way. Scott quickly called 911 and waited with her until assistance arrived. He was a true hero that day… and is our hero every day.


August 2014: Diane Faulkner2014.08_Diane Faulkner_cropped

A Nutrition department staff for 8 years, Diane juggles more in a given day than most of us could handle. Her top priority is seeing that meals get out the door and are properly distributed to each dining site and to the doors of our Meals on Wheels clients. There are so many opportunities for something to go wrong each day and Diane is there to solve the problem if they do. Thank you Diane for what you do each and every day.


July 2014: Heidi Darling2014.07_Heidi Darling_cropped

When Heidi Darling started working at the Council on Aging, we were amazed at her immediate dedication and enthusiasm. She began advocating for her clients on her first day, and continues to be their best champion. She is willing to tackle difficult situations and face many obstacles to improve client’s lives. Heidi has been instrumental in growing the Trust and Conservatorship Program, and is a California Licensed Professional Fiduciary. When the Family Justice Center was built, Heidi’s connections helped them secure furnishings. Heidi is always looking for opportunities for Council on Aging to expand its reach. We are delighted to have Heidi on the team, and grateful for her positive attitude, hard work and dedication to the agency.


June 2014: Melissa RobertsMelissa_color2

Melissa only started last August but has made a big impact since then.  A graphic designer for many years, Melissa redesigned all of our brochures giving us a much more professional look and feel.  She designed all of the Derby materials, Wine Country Games materials  and works on the websites.   In addition, without ever attending a Derby Day she assumed the challenge of creating a streamlined check in & check out process.  For the first time ever – we had no lines!  Melissa is all about creating processes that make us more efficient.  We are lucky to have her as part of our team.


May 2014: Shannon HolckShannon Holck_cropped

Shannon Holck has been a COA employee for 10 years.

Her commitment to the Council on Aging and the seniors is unparalleled. Shannon LOVES her job, and the seniors LOVE Shannon!

Shannon is the “go to” person for anything and everything. She volunteers at all of our fundraising events like Derby Day, Wine Country Games, CigarBQ, and Summer Run. She also maintains the fleet of vans and is diligent in getting repairs, new tires, service, and anything else needed to keep the vans on the road delivering food to the Senior Dining Cafés and Meals on Wheels to seniors. Shannon takes the time to recognize clients birthdays and special occasions with cards and meaningful gestures of kindness. A few words that staff have said about Shannon: Positive, Great Energy, Helpful, Good Co-worker, Pleasant, Enjoyable, Kind-hearted, Team Player.

April 2014: Sharon BoyceSharon_color

Sharon works in the Nutrition Department as the Meals on Wheels Coordinator.

She has been a valued Council on Aging employee for over 27 years.

Sharon’s commitment to our clients is unparalleled. From the first phone call she receives from a senior for Meals on Wheels Sharon treats them with a kind, warm, caring style of professionalism.  Sharon’s personality is to always look on the bright side, and to stay positive even with the most difficult of situations.

Sharon is also in charge of training the many Nutrition Assessor Volunteers and has developed a robust training plan that allows the volunteers to feel at ease yet well prepared for the task. She encourages the best from our volunteers, and they have a high regard and respect for her.

March 2014: Kristina Turner


Congratulations to Kristina Turner, our March Employee of the Month. When Kristina became a member of Council on Aging’s Social and Financial Services team, we knew that we had met a high energy, positive person that would add a new level of professionalism to our Agency and Department’s records management, and who is bilingual as well. Kristina takes on every new challenge we hand to her and she does so with a smile. The agency has moved forward to being much closer to a more “paperless” business. Kristina is also one of our in-office go-to persons for technical questions and we have dubbed her our “whiz kid.” Kristina truly exemplifies who an employee of the month looks like in that she goes beyond what she is asked and is on board with our mission and roles.


February 2014: Terry CondonTerri_Condon_72dpi

Terri Condon has been an employee at the Council on Aging for 6 years.

In a recent conversation with Terri she said “I just love working for the Council on Aging, and I love what I do. I feel it has made me a better person”.

Terri is the Dining Site Manager of the Sebastopol Senior Dining Café located at the Sebastopol Senior Center, and her responsibilities include managing the many Meals on Wheels delivery routes for all of West County. “Every client is important to Terri” says COA Cargo Drive Shannon Holck. She is a real people person which is reflective of the way she cares about our seniors who dine at the center, or receive meals each day.

Her warmth, positive energy and caring attitude win over staff, volunteers and seniors alike.


January 2014: Margarita Alvarezm.alvarez

Margarita Alvarez is the COA January Employee of the Month and was overwhelmingly nominated by her peers:

Margarita has been a dedicated employee of Council on Aging for nine years and works in the main kitchen. Margarita continuously goes above and beyond in her job and is very much an asset to the daily requirements of the kitchen.  Her main responsibility is dish washing, but when needed out on the floor she helps out prepping meals and working the food assembly line.  At the end of the day everything used in the kitchen passes through Margaritas hands.  When she goes home for the night, the kitchen is always spotless.

“Margarita is a true treasure” –Laura Colgate



Employee of the Month

The first Council on Aging Employee of the Month was announced on January 3rd, 2014.

Process – Each month, nomination forms are submitted by employees who feel a member of the staff has exhibited exceptional qualities and contributions to their department. An employee committee then reads the nominations and selects a winner.

Funding Sources

Funding Sources

Donations: 37%

Government Funding: 43%

Program Fees: 20%

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