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76
SEPTEMBER 2013
|
THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
AFSA NEWS
During Mikkela Thompson’s
frst overseas assignment
as an O ce Management
Specialist, she set about to
“make Embassy Dhaka so
well run, so luminescent with
positive atmosphere, that
bidders will vie to get posted
here,” declares her nomina-
tion for a Delavan Award.
“And in doing so, changed
the mission.”
Mikkela embodies the
true essence of a selfess
OMS, dedicated to improving
morale, the workplace and
the lives of everyone around
her. She believes that a mis-
sion flled with happy people
makes the Foreign Service
more efective. It is clear that
Mikkela focused on the word
“service” when she chose a
Foreign Service career.
Many people fnd it dif-
fcult to adjust to Dhaka,
but Mikkela jumped in—
smile-frst—to explore life in
Bangladesh. Within a month,
she had organized a weekly
restaurant group, which has
tried more than 100 restau-
rants. Mikkela’s blog (M’s
Adventures, madventures.
me/author/mikkela/) about
all things Dhaka is a popular
resource and attracts bidders
to post.
“I designed and launched
“Star of the Mission” and
“Section of the Month”
programs to help the ambas-
sador recognize performance
Mikkela Thompson Redefnes the Word “Service”
AFSA EXEMPLARY PERFORMANCE AWARDS : THE NELSON B . DELAVAN AWARD
FOR A FORE IGN SERV ICE OFF ICE MANAGEMENT SPECI AL I ST
and inject fun and commu-
nity building into the mis-
sion,” Mikkela explains. “The
program ofers neither cash
nor certifcates; instead, the
‘Star’ is allowed to pick the
next ‘Star,’ and display a trav-
eling trophy. It has become
the embassy’s most popular
award program.”
A colleague of Mikkela’s,
Monsur Elahi, summed up
her popularity with the locally
engaged staf when he chose
her as the star. “I chose
Mikkela in recognition of her
exceptional service and com-
mitment to excellence,” he
said. “No matter how di cult
a day she may be having, she
always manages her work
with the greatest smile for all
to see.
“I love my job,” Mikkela
declares. “Every day when I
come to work, when I am out
exploring and certainly when
I’m volunteering at a slum
school, I say a silent thank-
you to the Foreign Service for
bringing me to Dhaka.”
By her very nature,
Mikkela simply cannot idly
stand by as a colleague
struggles—whether with an
overwhelming workload or a
complicated computer appli-
cation—without ofering to
help, regardless of rank, the
ambassador, a family mem-
ber or the janitor. From Mik-
kela’s perspective, “I am only
able to do my job because of
my colleagues, American and
Bangladeshi. We have a great
team in Dhaka.”
In Ambassador Dan Moze-
na’s words: “Mikkela defnes
the platinum standard for
‘service” in the Foreign Ser-
vice. She is my close partner
as I endeavor to boost and
sustain morale in this most
di cult living and working
environment. Simply put,
Mikkela exemplifes the best
of the Foreign Service.”
n
NOMI NATE SOMEONE FOR AN
AFSA AWARD NOW!
GO TO
WWW. AFSA .ORG/AWARDS
TO SUBMI T YOUR NOMI NAT I ON
ONL I NE .
DEADL I NE I S
FEB . 28 , 20 1 4
Mikkela Thompson is presented the Nelson B. Delavan Award by Amb.
William Harrop for her extraordinary performance as Ofce Management
Specialist in Dhaka.