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.
Now more than ever, our administrative staff play a crucial role in the success of our organization. The responsibilities of admins have changed with the landscape of the economy and advancing technology—the daily duties and skill sets needed to move any workplace forward have evolved!
We have started an Employee Spotlight series to feature our amazing administrators who will chat about their work and success providing support and direct services to internal customers as well as the public.
Today we feature Ramika Toms
She works with DCHS as Confidential Secretary for the Housing, Homelessness and Community Development Division and has been with King County for over a year!
Where are you from and how did you land in local gov?
I’m a Seattle native who’s lived in the South End and the Central District. I’ve worked to provide equitable opportunities for over ten years, starting with an internship at Rainier Beach High School in supporting students navigate middle school to high school. Then I took a position in Bellevue in Racial Equity & Human Services in 2014. I wanted to be a part of a larger community to support more individuals and families—which brought me to King County.
What do you do in your admin role?
My role supports the Division and Assistant Division Directors. I draft Human Resources correspondence as well as respond to the day to day needs of the division. I have worked in partnering with community agencies on opening shelters for people experiencing homelessness, supported the standup of the Affordable Housing Committee meetings, set up the Coordinated Entry Conference, and helped the Prevention and Diversion teams with their projects. I am looking forward to supporting the work for our new upcoming initiatives!
What do you enjoy the most about your work?
I enjoy the balance of supporting my division with admin work and then having the opportunity to be in leadership meetings that shape the foundation of how our division will complete our projects.
Let’s take a break—list three favorite things!
I love spending time with family and friends, FOOD and my plant babies! A typical day for me is starting with drinking tea, greeting my plants, burning incense while my computer starts up. 🌱🌱🌱
Name something that inspires you about King County—and I don’t mean the workplace! Literally, King County, WA.
Oddly enough, what inspires me about King County is the weather! We may complain about the overcast most of the year, but there’s something about the beautiful skyline we have in King County while looking at Mt. Rainier—something magical about experiencing every season with nature which unconsciously creates seasons within ourselves that support our growth too.
Tell us about what you find the most challenging work?
I miss our HHCDD outings! Once a month each section or team would choose a location for our whole division to visit as an opportunity to build relationships with each other and learn together! Not being able to do that has been a challenge as our division continues to grow.
What would you want your coworkers to know about administrative work?
Administrative work is so much more than being the go-to person when things are not working or if you have a question; we provide a unique atmosphere to the team that is unmatched. We are the foundation and the glue of the team. Paying attention to detail and the ability to read the room well when things aren’t communicated is a special gift!
What advice would you give to the newbie?
I would tell new colleagues to stay positive, don’t take things personally—to listen to verbal and even nonverbal communication, as there are folks that need help but aren’t sure how to ask for it. Have confidence to give advice and guidance where its needed. Stay open-minded.
What’s an issue that DCHS is addressing and what motivates you to work toward that?
DCHS is addressing racial equity, and as someone who has lived in King County her whole life, I am grateful to be a part of the many attempts it will take to evolve as a community. Racial Equity to me is when institutions give opportunities to everyone and not just some. And no, I don’t mean giving equally, or even giving people the same things, but ensuring EVERY individual has EVERYTHING they need to live healthy, have stability and opportunities to succeed!
Thank you, Ramika for sharing with us some of your valuable insights and advice. Our DCHS admins work in all areas of the Department and we will be hearing from more of them soon!