Friday, October 4, 2019

Giving back: WCC Director Bridget Talebi earns national leadership award

On Sept. 19, Bridget Talebi, director for our Washington Conservation Corps (WCC), was named 2019 Outstanding Service Program Staff Member by America’s Service Commissions. The national nonprofit, nonpartisan association represents 52 state service commissions from across the United States and its territories.

For nearly two decades, Bridget has selflessly served the residents of Washington, first as a member of our WCC starting in 2001, then in multiple roles serving the WCC including operations manager and now director of the 350-position strong statewide service program.

Bridget Talebi (WCC Director, pictured center) with Amber Martin-Jahn (Executive Director of the Serve Washington Commission, pictured right) and Jenny Benson (Program Officer for Serve Washington Commission, pictured left).*

Every year, America’s Service Commissions recognizes the leadership and accomplishments of state service commissions and their commissioners, staff, service programs, and legislative champions around the nation.

The organization’s 2019 national leadership award recognizes Bridget for her long-standing commitment to give back to her community while also strengthening the WCC, the national AmeriCorps program, and other programs in Washington providing national service to the public. Bridget is the first recipient for this new award category.

“I’m so proud to see Bridget Talebi of Washington Conservation Corps receive this national honor,” said Amber Martin-Jahn, Executive Director of the Serve Washington Commission, who nominated Talebi for the award. “Bridget is the epitome of a team player and has been a remarkable change agent for AmeriCorps culture in the state of Washington. Most recently, Bridget has done incredible work to make sure AmeriCorps recruitment and staff hiring practices are as inclusive and equitable as possible.”

WCC offers young adults and military veterans hands-on opportunities to gain experience in environmental restoration, monitoring and research, local and national disaster response services, and education projects.

Bridget’s tireless efforts on behalf of the WCC have been instrumental in helping restore and preserve hundreds of acres of riparian habitat as well as improving water quality and salmon habitat across the state.

In words of colleague Gordon White, who oversees our statewide shoreline protection and environmental review activities, “Bridget is WCC at her core. There are countless examples of Bridget digging in through difficult times. Whenever there is difficult work needing done, she is the first to volunteer.”

WCC also responds around the state and across the country to help recovery efforts in communities affected by wildfires, floods, mudslides, hurricanes, tornadoes and other disasters.

Her work has touched the lives of thousands of Washington residents, including hundreds of current and former WCC members—many of whom chose to work in environmental careers after their service.

“We are delighted to recognize Bridget Talebi as this year’s Outstanding Service Program Staff Member,” said Kaira Esgate, CEO of America’s Service Commissions. “This is the first year we have given an award in this category, and we feel that Bridget’s commitment to excellence and innovation at the Washington Conservation Corps is the perfect representation of what a great AmeriCorps program staff member can be.”

*Photo by Laura Schlabach

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