Three Questions for Arica Chhay and Suksham Barun

April 14, 2021

Physical Sciences Senior Administrator Arica Chhay and Molecular Foundry Administrator Suksham Barun are co-chairs of the new Operations Career Development Employee Activities Association (EAA) Club. Learn more about the club’s goals and their inaugural event, Operations Career Development & Networking Workshop, on April 23.

What is the Operations Career Development and Networking Employee Activities Association (EAA) Club and what are this club’s goals?

Suksham Barun: The mission of the Operations Career Development and Networking Club is to assemble our peer group to work together to enrich the Berkeley Lab community, champion the interests of operations staff, and provide more opportunities for networking and development. Natalie Roe, Associate Laboratory Director for Physical Sciences Area, has kindly agreed to act as the group’s Executive Sponsor.

Arica Chhay: We have three primary goals as an EAA Club:

    • Ensuring staff are aware of existing resources related to learning, onboarding, pathway requirements, and other tools;

    • Establishing a culture of continuous feedback and education in alignment with key partners across the Lab; and

    • Building a sustainable, scalable approach to workforce development and skills training for operations staff.

Why was this group created and how does it support the Lab’s mission?

Arica: Since the beginning of shelter-in-place protocols, non-scientific operations staff at Berkeley Lab have successfully met many work-life challenges with their colleagues and supervisors’ help and support. During this uncertain period, affirming senior-level support for operations staff has become more critical than ever further to support our organization’s overall health and goals.

Suksham: Through various channels such as the LBL Admins Google Group, operations professionals expressed interest in exploring internal or external career development training and award program opportunities.

Arica: To date, there has never been a Lab-wide career development event aimed toward non-scientific staff, so we are now presented with a well-timed opportunity to respond. The benefits of engaging and supporting staff in discussions about their career are plentiful:

    • Promote bonding and growth of staff by encouraging their success.

    • Provide and summarize professional development and networking opportunities.

    • Facilitate comprehensive performance management process discussions.

    • Establish Berkeley Lab as a leader in workforce development and engagement.

What are you looking most forward to in your role as co-chair of this working group?

Suksham: We are very excited for our upcoming inaugural event, the Operations Career Development & Networking Workshop on Friday, April 23, 2:00-3:30 p.m. The purpose of this and future workshops is to highlight and serve the interests, talents, and professional development of current and future business operations and administrative staff at Berkeley Lab.

Arica: As co-chairs of this EAA, we partnered with HR, Learning & Organizational Development, IDEA, and the Early Career ERG among others, to develop our mission and workshops. Our aim is to serve as a conduit between staff and organizational leaders to provide input on dynamic constituent interests requiring business operations support. We are looking forward to leveraging networks and partnering with other groups across the Lab to further support and elevate common issues and objectives.

Suksham: The workshop will feature opportunities for future engagement and networking. All are welcome to attend and support our initiatives. Please visit our website to learn more and REGISTER HERE by COB on Friday, April 16 to receive a calendar invitation. See you then!

Connect with other employees at the Lab by joining the Operations Career Development & Networking Club and register for the April 23 workshop by Friday, April 16.