Order of the Chocolate Fish December 2011

This month the UNC Eating Disorders Program makes history by inducting two dedicated faculty into the Order of the Chocolate Fish. The order was established in 2003 to acknowledge faculty, staff, or trainees who go beyond the call of duty to make a positive contribution the program. This month, we are pleased to induct Ms. Judy Mann, Vice Chair for Administration in the Department of Psychiatry, and Sara Hofmeier, MS, LPC, NCC, Assistant Clinical Professor. This tandem honor comes in part because these two individuals are behind the scenes engines that keep the program alive. Let me explain how.

Since our inception in 2003, Judy Mann has believed in our vision and mission. It is never easy forging new paths and the Eating Disorders Program always seems to want to try something that no one has ever tried before. Some administrators might just say, that’s never been done before, so forget about it. But not Judy. Every time we have come to her with a new challenge, obstacle, wild idea, or routine concern she has eagerly worked the problem and found a way to make the impossible happen. Judy has administrative responsibility for the entire Department of Psychiatry, but she always makes you feel like your concerns are front and center. She has the same uncanny talent that both Bill and Hillary Clinton have. When they speak to a room full of people, they make eye contact with everyone, and each person leaves feeling as if she or he has been spoken to directly and personally. What they do in world affairs, Judy does in administration. Without Judy’s intervention for the past 8 years, we simply would not be here. For her tireless dedication and generosity with her time and energy, we add Judy to the list of worthy recipients of the Order of the Chocolate Fish.

Perhaps it is the uncanny similarity between how Sara Hofmeier and Judy Mann approach their work that lead to this dual award. Like Judy, Sara never says something can’t be done. Sara finds a way and makes things happen. Equally effective in the research and clinical realms, Sara’s positive attitude and relentless problem solving keep us on track and organized, organized, organized. Always at the other end of an email, she can sniff out problems before they become problems and make them disappear before they are noticed by most. But there are lots of organized and efficient people in the world. Those two qualities alone are not sufficient for induction into the Order. What Sara enriches those qualities with is a passionate commitment to the welfare of all of our patients and their families, a determination for us always to be delivering the highest quality consistent care, and the ability to lead others in staying on task and excelling. Sara embodies our approach of “compassionate but firm” in all that she does. For these qualities together with her genuine warmth and delightful sense of humor, we welcome Sara to the Order of the Chocolate Fish.

The inductees will receive personal notification and their edible awards in December.