Photo by Johanna Huckeba
While many are greeted by her smiling face, hundreds more know her only by her professional, calm voice. She is none other than Maribel Sanchez, who has skillfully managed the Ability360 “nervous system” as its full-time receptionist for 15 years. She has touched thousands of callers and visitors, deftly guiding, directing, assisting and reassuring them on a daily basis. Perhaps no other employee knows the ins and outs of Ability360 programs like Maribel does, allowing her to quickly and efficiently direct callers and visitors alike to our programs and personnel. Sometimes affectionately referred to as Ability360’s “Director of First Impressions,” Maribel often performs the duties of translator for any callers in need of a Spanish-speaking team member. Maribel’s grace and poise under pressure conceal how busy and hectic the front desk can be.
Q: For people outside of the organization, what do you do?
A: I answer lots of phone calls, greet every visitor, handle incoming and outgoing mail and jabber away with a lot of people that come by. I’ve made lots of friends with people in all of our offices.
Q: What brought you here?
A: I wanted to work again after taking time off to care for my children and answered an ad in the paper.
Q: What unique traits do you bring to your work here?
A: Personality! I like to be treated nicely wherever I go, so I try to treat other people with the same respect. I help a lot with home care services, calling consumers who need to speak to someone who speaks Spanish, and staff members likewise transfer phone calls to me. I handle a lot of information and referral, giving out numbers to community resources. I know about all departments. I’m so used to it and like it, but others who take over for me to get a break can be overwhelmed. One team member said, “Now I know what you do, Maribel!”
Q: What do you like most about your work?
A: What I like the most about my work is all the people, consumers, home care providers, volunteers, and Ability360 partners that I have met and become friends with. My coworkers are the best people to work with…I really mean that.
Q: Will you share a little something about your family?
A: I am the eighth of nine kids. I have two children: a 16-year-old son and 18-year-old daughter who will be attending Grand Canyon University in August. My large extended family means that Easter is like a reunion every year, with over 80 people in attendance.
Q: Will you tell us about your best day ever?
A: I have the distinction of being the only daughter my dad danced with at her wedding. He was not the dancing type, so I didn’t even know he knew how to dance until he asked me.
Q: What are people most surprised to know about you?
I can’t think of anything that would be surprising; I’m an open book to my coworkers.
Q: Will you tell us about your dream vacation?
A: I do not like traveling much, but if I had dream vacation I would go to Spain. I love their accents and old, historic buildings.
Q: Any final comments?
A: I’ve always been happy here…I never have to drag myself here. I love my job and the people I work with.