Take 5 Spotlight – Karin Ostroske

July 29, 2021
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Cliches aren’t necessarily just a lazy writer’s crutch. Sometimes they accurately convey a person’s character. In the case of SMART’s Office Productivity/Business Process Analyst Karin Ostroske, the phrase “Still waters run deep” is a bullseye.  For example, here is her take on what previous positions have taught her. “I’ve learned that people are people. Whatever skills I have to offer pale in comparison to the importance of meeting people where they are, eye to eye, soul to soul.”

That’s not only deep, it’s true.

In her role at SMART, Karin often meets people at the intersection of computer-use and frustration. Not only does she provide general computer support, she administrates Zoom, analyzes processes, and automates solutions. This includes training both staff and volunteers around Microsoft apps. Kind of important stuff.

Her work helps reduce stress for co-workers and allows them to meet complex challenges with a greater chance of success. Her success is intricately tied to SMART’s effectiveness.

Here are Karin’s responses to the Take 5 Spotlight questions:

  1. Are there tasks you perform regularly during your workday? Each day offers unique situations, but I have scheduled time every day to process and respond to requests for help with meeting verifications and Zoom licenses.
  2. What are a couple of the ways you interact and coordinate your job with other national office staff? I listen, I ask, I cheer, I empathize.
  3. What is one of the ways that you think you personally make a difference at SMART? By pitching in, finding easier & more efficient ways to do things, keeping an eye for detail and staying positive while calmly helping others, I do the best I can where I am.
  4. What is your message to all those dedicated SMART volunteers across the country? Don’t let the muggles get you down. Seriously, we who serve run the risk of neglecting ourselves. I remind myself often of this quote from Iain Thomas: “And every day the world will drag you by the hand yelling, “this is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!” And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, “No, this is what’s important.”” It’s okay to say no, it’s okay to ask for help, it’s okay to breathe. Thank you for caring for yourselves as you care for others. 
  5. What kinds of things are you interested in outside of work? I savor music & theater, I renew myself through writing, sewing, reading and spending time in the woods & by the lakeshore, and I thrive among my family and friends – especially when we play board games like Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan, and Sentinels of the Multiverse.

While it may not be typical for someone to talk about meeting a colleague soul to soul, Karin’s attitude and actions support such an outward expression of her personal values. Her authenticity runs deep, even as her busyness at SMART doesn’t always amount to being still.

Learn more about the Take 5 Spotlight series and see others who have been profiled.


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