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We are so pleased to welcome Karen Ruiz to the Shift team! As our Senior Program Specialist, she will be instrumental in helping execute the Hybrid Advising Co-op project. Learn more about Karen, what her experience in social services has taught her about centering people, and her love of the Green Bay Packers! #GoCheeseheads!

What is your title? What does your role entail?

I’m Shift’s Senior Program Specialist and I primarily work with the Hybrid Advising Co-op. My role is designed to support the operations of the Hybrid Advising Co-op to ensure that all participants have a smooth and meaningful experience.

What’s different about the way Shift works?

Shift is really intentional and thoughtful about how it works within our team and with our partners. Everyone’s feedback is taken into consideration, and there is a great deal of time dedicated to thinking processes through before implementing them. Coming from the social service provision field where work was crisis-driven and reactive, it has been a welcomed change to see how Shift works.

Do you apply improvement methods to your life? If so, how?

Yes, without even knowing it! It’s important to be open to learning and change as needed. I love finding systems and routines to make my day-to-day more organized and efficient. When it comes to organizing my home, I give everything its own place to live, make use of organizational tools to accommodate the specific shapes and sizes of my belongings and have specialized notebooks for different types of tasks and to-do lists. This is a trial-and-error process where I test to see if these processes and tools meet my needs and reassess to ensure all is organized in a way that is intuitive and efficient.

Shift principle resonates the most with you?

One of the Shift principles that resonates with me the most is Embrace Feedback. Embracing feedback is necessary to enable true systems change. This principle calls us to reflect on the impact of our work—we want our efforts to resonate, be relevant, be successful, and matter to our partners and our team. Feedback and collaboration are essential to ensuring our work has the intended impact.

How do your past experiences positively impact your work at Shift?

Coming from the social services field, I value centering the people at the heart of the issues we work to address, and I hope to bring that value to the team. Social services also taught me about working with an “all hands on deck” approach because no job is too small to do. My past roles also taught me the impact of resource scarcity on an organization’s systems and processes. These are all skills I believe can serve our partners well!

What is your hidden talent?

Memorizing song lyrics.

What type of music is on your current playlist?

If you shuffled my music, you’d feel the rollercoaster effect. For example, my current favorites are the Top Gun: Maverick soundtrack, Harry Styles and Bad Bunny.

What’s your favorite sport/sports team?

I have been a lifelong fan of the Green Bay Packers. #GoCheeseheads

What was the last book you read?

My partner’s draft of the novel she is writing. It’s a thrilling mystery novel, so I can’t reveal too much! But I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to see where the final plot twist goes.

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

Learn how to fly a plane! I would buy an 80’s brown leather bomber jacket and aviator sunglasses, and then give all my friends and family free trips.

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