The news of being chosen as the September “Employee of the Month” by the Little Falls Area Chamber of Commerce came unexpectedly to Michelle Athmann, human resources (HR) recruiter at CHI St. Gabriel’s Health in Little Falls.
“I was surprised. It is a truly an honor to be recognized as there are so many more deserving people than me,” she said.
It wasn’t until late she found out that it was her then HR manager Lisa Smude who had nominated her for the recognition. It is something Athmann is very grateful for.
“It means a lot. Lisa is a great mentor who looks for opportunities to serve our employees every day,” she said.
Athmann started working at CHI St. Gabriel’s Health 11 years ago. It was the opportunity of focusing on the recruiting aspect of HR that drew her to the job, he said. She had previously worked at various departments, including human resources, at Tri-Community Action in Little Falls.
Athmann’s dedication and passion for her job has not gone unnoticed by Smude.
“She is our go to person on our team. She is always so patient and positive — no matter how busy the day is,” she said.
Smude said when Athmann took on additional recruiting duties within the company on a much larger scale, the process was very smooth.
“She didn’t miss a beat. She always goes the extra mile with our new employees and goes out of the way to make sure they feel appreciated and welcomed. She is also very generous with her time and volunteers often with our organization in the community. Thanks, Michelle, for being a stand out employee and community member,” Smude said.
Athmann said she is grateful to be working for a strong faith-based agency and really enjoys recruiting for an organization that provides many great services to the community.
As a recruiter, Athmann’s responsibilities are to review the applications job seekers have sent when they applied online. She then forwards those who meets the qualifying criteria to her manager who then, after interviews, lets Athmann know who she wants her to offer a position to.
Calling applicants to offer them a job is one of Athmann’s favorite things to do.
“You can hear the excitement in their voice,” she said.
In addition, there are several steps that follows, such as criminal background checks, mandatory drug tests, lift assessments and more to be completed.
What makes her job even more enjoyable besides meeting new applicants, are the people she works with.
“They are so wonderful, dedicated and professional. They are very hardworking, but also like to have fun. I feel very fortunate to be working for this organization,” she said.
Although the job requires a strong work ethic it is an area she excels in. It is a trait she credits being raised on a farm for. She grew up at Andora Farms, a dairy operation north of the Morrison County Fairgrounds in Little Falls.
“I loved getting up in the morning to milk the cows and to watch the sun rise,” she said.
Eventually the family became involved in raising chickens for Gold’n Plump, which she also enjoyed.
But growing up wasn’t always easy. When she was eight, her mom, Gloria Doroff, died suddenly at the age of 34 as a result of complications during delivery of two twin boys.
It left her dad, Bob Doroff, then 35, not only a widow to farm alone, but also to raise their seven children on his own.
“One thing I think about often was mom’s love for life and the importance of living life to the fullest, which she did in her short life. I try to live my life like mom lived hers. I have been blessed in so many ways,” Athmann said.
Athmann recalls how much their family, friends, neighbors and the Little Falls community helped them after Gloria died and several years after.
“My siblings and I learned, at an early age, the importance of faith, family, friends, hard work and the importance of helping others. We are truly grateful,” she said.
When she is not working, Athmann enjoys spending time with her husband, Paul, and their children, Jake, Tyler, Kristen and Jenna.
She also enjoy attending various activities their children are involved in, reading, cooking, baking and more.
Athmann said some of her favorite adventures include traveling, skydiving, parasailing, backpacking across Europe with her cousin and spending a spring break with her college roommates riding Amtrak trains across the United States.
As Employee of the Month, Athmann will receive gift certificates from Bursch Travel Agency, Design Electronics, Fitness Connection, Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, Fresh Hair Professionals, Friends of Pine Grove Zoo, GoldSmith Jewelers, Linden Hill Historic Event Center, Perkins Restaurant and Bakery, Pine Ridge Golf Club, Pizza Ranch, Subway in Little Falls and Vacuum Cleaner Outlet.
She will also have a professional photo taken by Maddie B’s Photography.