In many ways, Kristin Maybriar is just starting her career. At 28, she is an employment services coordinator with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, where she has been for the past three years.
But Kristin is carrying on the lifetime legacy of her mother, Kathy Maybriar, who worked at the same agency for 15 years. It’s a legacy that Kristin cherishes – because it’s all about going above and beyond for unemployed Ohioans, offering them great customer service and helping them discover their valuable skills to get back on their feet.
“My mom used to say that if there was one Ohioan out of work, then we still had a job to do,” recalls Kristin, who is a member of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association (OCSEA/AFSCME Local 11). “That has become my mantra.”
After a decade-long battle with cancer, Kathy passed away in June. She’d been hard at work, helping Ohioans until close to the very end. Kathy’s career in public service, including time she spent working at the county level, spanned nearly 30 years.
Kathy’s legacy inspires her daughter every day. And Kristin’s passion for customer service rubs off on some of her co-workers.
Paige Perigo, a friend and colleague, says Kristin makes everyone else want to give a little more.
“The training we provide directly impacts job seekers, and Kristin goes above and beyond to ensure that she is delivering the kind of training and technical assistance that will make our community stronger,” Perigo says. “No matter what task she’s assigned, Kristin takes the extra step to see it to the end.”
Many of Kristin’s co-workers once worked with her mother.
“When my mom passed away, I was overwhelmed by the number of people that reached out to me from across the state to offer their condolences and to tell me what an impact she made in her field,” Kristin says. “It made me realize that one person really can make an impact in their field when they’re passionate about what they do."
Kristin is passionate about what she does. She thinks of great customer service as giving that little extra, like the free cookie at the end of a meal at a restaurant, because it makes a person feel valued. What matters above all, she says, is meeting people where they are, treating them with empathy and seeing value in what they can achieve.
“Many unemployed people who come looking for assistance are absolutely terrified,” she says. “They’re running out of options and need a paycheck. Many older people from rural Ohio, older folks who had been employed at one place for 20 years, all of a sudden they find themselves laid off. How scary is that?”
Kristin is making an impact, just like her mother. She is a winner of AFSCME’s Never Quit Service Award, which recognizes public service workers who go above and beyond the call of duty in serving their communities.
“My mom truly inspired my passion for customer service,” she says. “These lessons are things that I will carry with me throughout my career, and I’d like to think that I will honor and respect my mother’s legacy by holding fast to those values.”