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Stanford Report, April 14, 1999

Estellita Hall: Amy J. Blue Award winner


Photo by Linda Cicero

Being just a working stiff, Estellita Hall never paid any mind to the Amy J. Blue Awards.

"I always thought that they were for somebody who has contributed a lot to Stanford, not someone at my level," she said.

Many of her colleagues thought otherwise and enthusiastically nominated Hall, a client services assistant in the training and organizational development department within human resources, for the annual award.

And now she is among the trio of winners for the coveted staff honor. From now on she might take a second look at the nomination form that has crossed her desk for the past nine years only to be shuffled around awhile before ending up in the recycling bin.

If you've experienced the staff rituals of new employee orientation and the reimbursement process of the Staff Training Assistance Program (STAP), then your path may have been paved by Hall. Colleagues say she makes the going easier for those frustrated by the bureaucracy who are lucky enough to encounter her.

Hall's duties include course registration, classroom setup, production of materials, catering arrangements, processing STAP payments and planning the annual Halloween party.

"In terms of her commitment to people, Esti is routinely viewed by others as someone who is highly approachable, who will do whatever she can to help out in a situation, and who has so much knowledge about working at Stanford that she is frequently tapped for her wisdom," Valerie Beeman, online learning specialist, wrote in her nomination.

Hall, 35, a statuesque woman with a ready laugh who is given to dramatic hand gestures, loves to help out.

"In dealing with STAP, I'm just giving out information," she points out. "If I make someone happy, then it makes me happy."

Hall's upbeat attitude is something to marvel about, considering that after the San Francisco resident leaves the campus at 4 p.m. each weekday, she heads for her second job, as a client services assistant at the Opportunities Industrialization Center West in Menlo Park.

But first, Hall, a single mother, makes a stop to pick up her soon-to-be 3-year-old son, Owens, who will stay with her through her shift ending at 8:30 p.m. -- and the weekend shifts every other week. "You know, life is a routine," Hall notes with no trace of bitterness when referring to her schedule. "It's just become a part of my life."

She's been at the Menlo Park center for 12 years, and has been a permanent member of the Stanford staff since 1984. For two years before that, she worked on campus as a Youth Opportunity Program student.

Hall, a native of Jamaica who moved to East Palo Alto with her family when she was 13, is hoping to lighten her commute by locating a new place to live that is closer to her work sites.

She'd like to use her cash award prize for moving expenses. SR