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UCOP colleagues share their gratitude

Heather McHugh (née Pineda), benefits administration manager 

Benefits Administration Manager Heather McHugh (née Pineda) at her wedding in the Sierras.

Last week, we asked Link readers to share what they’re grateful for this year. Here’s what you said.

“I am grateful for my whole team in Budget and Finance. It has been such a challenging year —personally, with COVID, and professionally, as we have embarked on a new system implementation. The whole team has been engaged, dedicated and committed throughout it all. I hope everyone has a lovely Thanksgiving break!” — Éva Goode, director, UCOP Budget and Finance

“I am grateful for the technology available to help us stay connected while we must stay distanced physically.” — Lucy Tseng, 2020-2021 staff advisor designate to the UC Board of Regents

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to experience working from home. Less commuting means I get to spend more time on things that I enjoy more than driving. I am thankful for the great support from coworkers of different teams. I’ve enjoyed the online games and gatherings — and this year’s virtual benefits fair that gives a lot of useful information.” — Angeline Kornelus-Nguyen, payroll tax & reconciliation assistant, UCPath

“I am grateful for my new husband, who has helped me become an intrepid backpacker.  We eloped, just the two of us, to a very small town in eastern California.  We were married in masks on the courthouse lawn at 12:15 on a Tuesday… because the judge only comes to town one morning a week.  Our honeymoon was a five-day, 70-mile backpacking trip through Evolution Valley, deep in the heart of the Sierras. Can’t get much more socially distanced than that! The scenery was gorgeous. The funny thing was, we had made the whole plan before the pandemic.” – Heather McHugh (née Pineda), benefits administration manager 

“What I am grateful for this year is improving my ukulele playing. In Fall 2018, I began learning to play the ukulele with lessons at Music Works in El Cerrito, then lessons at the West Contra Costa Adult School, then lessons from Ukulenny at the Albany Adult School. I regularly played with in-person meet-up groups in Richmond, Oakland and Pinole. After the shutdown, I now get to play with groups or take lessons on Zoom from folks in Denver, CO; Catskill, NY; England; Sheboygan, WI; Tigard, OR; or stay local with groups in San Jose, San Francisco, Richmond, Pinole and Oakland. Every group plays different music so there is always something to learn.” — Kathy Kirkpatrick, HR materials coordinator

“I’m grateful for all my UCOP colleagues, particularly in my department (Internal Communications), division (External Relations and Communications) and UCOP Learning and Development. Especially during this challenging year, it’s been such a relief and joy to work with such supportive, funny, honest and inspiring people. Although we’ve been working at home since March, I’ve continued to feel as connected as ever to the UCOP community.” — Michelle Simone, communications strategist

“This year I am grateful for the time I have been spending with my 3.5-year-old son on various arts, crafts and baking projects. Among the many things we have done include painting ceramic dinosaurs, creating our own slime, crafting Star Wars/Disney characters out of Play-Doh, building things with magna-tiles and Legos, as well as baking different desserts like banana bread and chocolate-chip cookies. Our projects may not have turned out perfectly each time, but we had fun and laughed a lot in the process — and to me that is something I will be grateful for when I look back on 2020.” — Melanie Carr, Manager, Systemwide Human Resources Policy

Didn’t have time to share your gratitude last week? Please feel free to chime in by adding a comment below!

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