An Attitude of Excellence on the Job Spotlight on: Miranda Hora, Helen Keller International

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May 04, 2016

An Attitude of Excellence on the Job Spotlight on: Miranda Hora, Helen Keller International

Miranda Hora, Manager, Global Operations, Helen Keller International

By Alexia Kime

InsideNGO Program Associate

The American motivational speaker/writer Ralph Marston has said, “Excellence is not a skill, it’s an attitude.” The NGO sector is strong because it is full of individuals who embody this maxim, and who foster a spirit of continuous learning and innovation. As we approach this year’s Annual Conference, we are excited to turn the spotlight on one of these individuals, Miranda Hora, who won the Excellence Award: Emerging Leader in 2015. Miranda was recognized for her role in helping the relatively new Global Operations Department within Helen Keller International (HKI) move from its highly decentralized model to developing and standardizing operations and systems across the 25 countries in which they work.

Q: Tell us how you felt when you learned that you had been selected as an Excellence Award winner.

A: I was honored and humbled to be selected to receive such a prestigious award. I was grateful for the tremendous support of my operations colleagues in all our offices who work tirelessly to support our programs with an unwavering spirit and determination. The commitment to excellence across the entire organization is inspiring.

Who nominated you for the award?

I was nominated by my supervisor, Ric Plaisance, Vice President, Information & Operations Systems and our President and Chief Executive Officer, Kathy Spahn. I had worked very closely with Kathy for 6 years in the Executive Office and Ric for the last 2 years in Global Operations, and they were very familiar with my work. I admire their work ethic and intellectual generosity, and to be nominated by them was an honor.

Have things changed for you at work since you received this award?

Absolutely, I believe the Emerging Leader Award has raised my visibility within my organization and I have been given more responsibility at work in leading initiatives and dialogues among our global operations areas with Regional Directors, Country Office Representatives and Headquarters staff. I gave a presentation at a member organization on my experience related to the design and development of our new intranet and was asked to share lessons learned in establishing a global administrators’ community of practice. But reflecting, I think what changed the most for me was realizing that I am a role model for many of our administrative and operations staff. I can have an impact by sharing my passion for learning and high standards of excellence while supporting them through operational challenges.

What are the biggest operational issues/challenges you’re currently dealing with at work?

We are currently engaged in designing, developing and rolling out a range of major operations systems and tools that are global in nature, but also sufficiently flexible to work in a variety of local settings. Rather than the rollout itself, I think the biggest challenge is ensuring staff capacity to absorb and utilize the new tools, given their already demanding workload.

Has this recognition in any way created or fostered an environment where excellence in operations is recognized within your organization?

I feel this recognition played a role in strengthening the presence of our local administrative and operations staff across our organization. It reflects the entire organization and I believe it energized this group to want to help make the organization operate more effectively and efficiently. Ultimately it has led to a thriving global administrators’ community of practice.

This year, you’re serving on the Selection Committee for the 2016 Excellence Awards. Any specific advice for members who want to nominate their colleagues?

For me, the recognition and knowledge that people are behind me at this stage in my career was a turning point in helping me realize who I want to be professionally. And I am forever thankful for the nomination. So, please don’t hesitate to nominate someone who deserves an award, especially an emerging leader. This recognition has the potential to be an honor for the entire organization, those that work around the individual(s) selected, and the recipient.

Miranda Hora is currently Manager, Global Operations with Helen Keller International (HKI). She has been with HKI since August 2007, and moved into the Global Operations Department in February 2014.

Do you know an individual or operational team who is having a significant impact in your organization? You have until May 18 to nominate them for an Excellence Award.

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