Our mission at the Department of Community and Human Services is to provide equitable opportunities for people to be healthy, happy, self-reliant and connected to community. At DCHS, we manage a range of programs and services to help King County’s most vulnerable residents while working to strengthen our communities.
Now more than ever, our administrative staff play a crucial role in the success of our organization. We have started an Employee Spotlight series to feature some of our amazing administrators who will chat about some of their work and success providing support and direct services to internal customers as well as the public.
Today we are featuring Patti Gravel who works with DCHS as an Administrator II and has been with King County for over 23 years.
Where are you from and how did you land in local gov?
I am a Seattle native who worked many years in the private sector service industry. After 17+ years the company I worked for was shutting their doors and I became a dislocated worker. It was really devastating and yet, I knew my heart desire was to dive deeper in service; public service where I could be a part of contributing to the needs in our community. I am so happy I landed with King County DCHS and proud to be a part of this team.
What do you do in your admin role?
As an Administrator for the Tukwila site, I manage the WorkSource front end services for adult customers in our community seeking services with unemployment insurance, basic food assistance and job search assistance. I am also responsible for the day to day Tukwila site needs and ensuring compliance and oversight of the ADA requirements and safety protocols as well as provide administrative support to staff from policies and procedures. Additionally, I help with support for Isolation/Quarantine sites as well as the new Health Ambassadors Program.
What do you enjoy the most about your work?
I love being a “go to” in providing administrative assistance and support to my colleagues onsite and offsite. It’s a great sense of joy to build relationships with an amazing group of individuals who value one another in service to others.
For example, the “Renton Move” was quite a successful collective project. In late 2017, after 10 years occupancy, WorkSource Renton, YouthSource and the King County Veterans program moved from Renton to Tukwila. With 80 plus staff, the exorbitant amount of inventory to stage, account for, plan and move was quite a feat. The case files and paperwork alone were mind boggling. And yet through this process we remained committed and open to serve our community; providing adult and youth case management services, veteran services and unemployment services up until the final few days in Renton.
What would you want your coworkers to know about administrative work?
I would want coworkers to know administrative work is a foundational anchor for our department in providing “everything admin” with the best assistance and support to coworkers. Administrative staff are truly the “glue” with a fairly limitless “can do” approach. To a new person I would say, “Be a great listener with a positive attitude. Remain open and flexible to the ever-changing tasks at hand.”
What’s an issue that DCHS is addressing and what motivates you to work toward that?
There are so many, and yet homelessness and combating racial disparities involved to provide effective housing motivates me. I believe the security of a safe place to call home is such an essential element to the health and wellbeing of youth, adults and families in our community to thrive.
The diversity, resilience and fortitude of people in our community who strive for better for all inspires me. It inspires me to continue to embrace and stay involved to improve opportunities for folks.
List three favorite things!
Spending time with my family, my love of horses and watching football. Go Seahawks!
Thank you, Patti for sharing with us some of your valuable insights and advice. Our DCHS admins work in all areas of the Department and we would love to hear from more of them soon!