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Office manager Sheryl Riddlestorffer helps uplift her division in challenging times
By Stephen Wilson
It’s common in workplace culture to want a sweet treat in the later afternoon. Many reach for a candy bowl, but only a few use that candy to inspire a team.
Sheryl Riddlestorffer, office manager for Admissions and Financial Aid, wanted to find a way to make the team feel connected and less alone. So during the first week of remote work, she sent a thank you note to members of the team who had to remain on campus in order to complete acceptance decisions for the Class of 2024.
Then she had an epiphany when she opened a piece of Dove chocolate, known for its messages inside the foil.
“Why not use that message to create emails with deeper messages to help uplift others?” she says.
So every day around 2:30 p.m. Riddlestorffer swirls the candy bowl, takes one, sits at her computer, says a little prayer, and uses the message inside to inspire a longer message. She has written about going in new directions, being “fearlessly authentic,” laughter, and dreaming big.
The team has loved them (and doesn’t want them to end when we eventually return to campus), and when Riddlestorffer has felt others are down-and-out or stressed, she sends to people beyond her team.
“It provides me with an opportunity to step outside my usual role at Lafayette and use the other side of my brain, the thrilling creative side,” she says. “During this time of isolation, anxiety, and the physical disconnect from everyone, at least I am able to connect with a daily message that hopefully will find its way into at least one person’s heart and lift them that day.”