Keeping Faith & Balance with Nilda Meono: An Examiner Spotlight

This Examination cycle, your Team Lead nominated you for a Rookie of the Year award. Congratulations! How do you feel and what does it mean to have your efforts noticed in such a way?

Thank you. I am honored to be the recipient of the 2020 Sterling Challenge Rookie of the Year Award. Completing a virtual assessment for the first time is no small task. Therefore, being recognized for my hard-work and dedication during unprecedented times for many of us makes this award more significant and motivating for me. 

We were told you “brought a very seasoned understanding of the Criteria to the table.” What is your advice for a first year examiner having to apply the Criteria for the very first time?

My advice would be to focus on basic questions for the criteria first. This provides an overview of what the criteria is addressing. As you familiarize yourself with the basic questions, you can begin to understand the underlying questions that help to assess the type of information the applicant may provide as a response. 

Lastly, the item notes for each criteria item is very helpful. The notes provide clarification, give guidance and examples for responding to the criteria. 

What, so far, has been your favorite part of the Sterling journey? Why?

My favorite part of the Sterling journey is having the opportunity to be part of an assessment team. This allows for continuous learning, and development of key leadership skills such as communication, teamwork, business acumen, critical thinking and systems thinking. As Pasco County continues its journey to performance excellence, my knowledge on the Sterling Management System and experience as an Examiner, gives me the opportunity to share best practices and help others within our organization to better understand what are the key components of a high-performance culture, and what role do they play in helping us achieve our vision of becoming Florida’s Premier County. 

As a Performance Development Analyst for Pasco County Government, what is one way you apply the Sterling Model into daily assignments and how does that methodology typically affect your results?

The Sterling Criteria emphasizes four major systems (Leadership, Work, Performance Improvement and Governance). As a Performance Development Analyst (PDA), I touch upon all of them. However, the majority of my responsibilities would fall under the Performance Improvement System. As the PDA for the Public Services Branch, I work closely with the Assistant County Administrator and departmental leaders to prioritize process improvement initiatives based on departmental goals and action plans that align with the overall strategic plan. I evaluate and assist in improving the effectiveness, efficiency and capability of key processes by applying process improvement methodologies, such as Lean Six Sigma and incorporating the Sterling key process characteristics (ADLI+I). The Public Services Branch is forward facing and addresses citizen and community concerns and needs through essential services or programs, education, outreach activity and collaborations and partnerships. Applying the Sterling concepts and process improvement methodologies into my daily assignments, ensures that Voice-of-the-Process (process measures) and Voice-of-the-Customer (customer requirements) are in sync and integrated into our organizational process management approach therefore translating into higher customer satisfaction. 

You managed to not only survive, but excel at your first completely virtual site visit – all why homeschooling and working from home. Got any advice for other parents in this situation?

Completing a virtual site visit was a huge undertaking, but what helped me was having the support of my examiner team, coworkers and family. This combined with key organizational and communication skills is essential.  As we continue to navigate through these unprecedented times and try to think about and plan for tomorrow and even next week, I remind myself that no one that I interact with daily expects perfection. If I am focused on each task, I know I will have a positive outcome. Whether I am working on a work project, or assisting my daughter with her schooling, I am dedicated and committed to the task at hand. I’m minimizing distractions and not multi-tasking. Essentially, it’s a balancing act that when its fine tuned shouldn’t feel burdensome or stressful therefore allowing you to be productive as part of a high-performing team. 

What is one thing this year has taught you?

One thing this year has taught me is unwavering faith. Faith can easily be taken for granted. Unwavering faith to me is about trust, hope and confidence. Now more than ever, faith keeps me going even though I don’t know where the road is taking me. I wake up knowing that my faith may be tested, but it will not falter because of the devotion and belief I have in prayer. These times of uncertainty are trials and tests that help strengthen my faith. It provides me peace, patience, courage, optimism and reassurance that I don’t need to know what is going to happen, because I am where I need to be. My family & I will prevail!




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