Lori Russell: 2021 Outstanding Staff Award

Lori Russell’s leadership skills as The Institute of Optic’s administrator were sorely missed when she took an extended absence while she addressed a major health challenge. Those leadership skills have been even more appreciated since her return. “Throughout the COVID-19 response, Lori has been a safe harbor in stormy seas for our staff,” says Institute director Scott Carney.

Lori RussellLori has brought new organization and order to the Industrial Associates program, managed accounting and post-award grant management, and cultivated cohesiveness and collegiality among Institute staff members–supporting their career development, for example, by organizing them to take Chinese language classes at lunch.

After she completed a course in executive coaching and leadership through the Warner School, Lori cheerfully shared the lessons of the course “and in doing so improves everyone around her,” Scott says.

In short, “Lori defines the call of duty,” Scott adds. “She sets a standard no one else thought they could meet and then she lifts all of us to that standard.”

And that defines a worthy recipient of the Edmund A. Hajim Outstanding Staff Award, says Hajim Dean Wendi Heinzelman. “Lori has shown outstanding dedication to the success of the Institute of Optics for many years, and is a true leader, providing exceptional support to the faculty and staff in the Institute.”