The Foreign Service Journal - September 2014 - page 63

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
|
SEPTEMBER 2014
63
AFSA NEWS
In the Office or Broader Community,
Carol Backman Is Indispensable
AFSA EXEMPLARY PERFORMANCE AWARDS : THE NELSON B . DELAVAN AWARD
FOR A FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICE MANAGEMENT SPECIALIST
When any of the more than
1,000 staff at Embassy
Ankara had a dilemma—
whether they were U.S. direct
hires, family members or
local staff members—they
typically turned to Office
Management Specialist Carol
K. Backman for help. One col-
league described her as “the
most competent, hard-work-
ing and generous Foreign
Service professional I have
had the pleasure to work with
in my career.”
As OMS at Embassy
Ankara, Backman, winner of
this year’s Delavan Award,
used her exemplary com-
puter skills and management
skills, “combined with her
unbounded spirit,” according
to her nomination, to make
an impact on the mission
community.
She took ownership of the
post’s contact management
database, identified incon-
sistencies and overhauled it.
She then trained others to
manage the program and ran
missionwide troubleshooting
sessions.
As a result, Embassy
Ankara became one of the
first 10 missions worldwide
to implement a single con-
tact database management
platform for the entire mis-
sion. She also streamlined all
management files and then
shared her skills in Share-
Point, Excel and Word with
anyone who asked.
“I have always
believed that my job was
to do whatever made the
lives of those around me
easier. I might not know
how to do something, but
I certainly know how to
find out,” Backman says.
“Backman’s willing-
ness to solve problems,
and serve the commu-
nity in any way she can,
is called upon daily,”
her nomination states.
“Trouble figuring out the
Turkish mail, banking reg-
ulations or bus routes…?
Carol has the answers, or
will get them for you.”
Her voluntary contribu-
tions to the broader com-
munity are also impressive.
Under her leader-
ship as chair, the
Embassy Recre-
ation Association
was transformed.
The ERA’s man-
agement now has
a real understand-
ing of the organi-
zation’s financial
standing for the
first time in nearly
a decade, and was
able to give the
CLO a budget for
morale-boosting
events and pro-
vide support to
locally employed
staff affected by
the furlough.
“I am particularly honored
to be the recipient of this
award because of the award’s
focus on community,” says
Backman. She joined the For-
eign Service at the age of 22,
immediately after graduating
from college.
“The Foreign Service has
been all I have ever known in
my adult life, and the mem-
bers of the Foreign Service
are my family,” she says. My
husband is in the Foreign
Service…and my friends are
all Foreign Service. It is truly
my home.”
Carol Backman’s husband,
Tom, is a career informa-
tion management specialist,
and they have a 4-year-old
daughter. She has previously
served in Kuala Lumpur,
Minsk and Canberra.
n
Office Management Special Carol K. Backman, center, with her family at the AFSA Awards
Ceremony on June 18. Far right, at Embassy Ankara, directing database training.
AFSA/JOAQUINSOSA
COURTESYOFCAROLBACKMAN
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