Insider Insights: June Lee

Corp Comms: So can you please tell me your name, your title, the department that you work in and where you are physically located?

June Lee: Okay, my name is June Lee, and I work at Sealaska headquarters in Juneau, Alaska. I am a receptionist for Sealaska, and I also work with shareholder relations.

CC: Can you tell me where you’re working now?

JL: Yes, I am working up on the fourth floor in the IT department, which is information technology. So we’re up here in the office, sharing their department.

CC: But that’s not where you’d normally be.

JL: Usually, my I’m up on the fourth floor, where Sealaska is, and I work at the reception desk. So when you come out of the elevator, I’m on the left hand side and my desk is right there. So people are able to see me and come to my desk, and we’ll get them to their destination.

CC: What was the reason for that move? Was that related to the pandemic?

JL: Yes, at first, I was able to work here. The pandemic started in March, and a few of the workers went home. I stayed, and there were just a few of us on the floor. I think later on, when the pandemic got worse and numbers were rising, we had to move from the office and work from home. So I was working from home from March or April, I think all the way up to July is maybe when I came back. And then from then on there were renovations and construction up here on the fourth floor, so we had to move again. And so I moved over here to IT. Then there was another request that people need to work from home due to the construction. So I ended up going back home for about a month and then coming back to the office.

CC: So it sounds like you’ve been through a lot – you’ve had to pick up and move a lot of times in the last year, haven’t you?

JL: Yes, yes, I’m lucky that I have a desk at home and a printer. So it was a pretty easy to move. All I had to do is grab a few things from here like our printer, an envelope-label maker and just some other necessities that I needed at home that I didn’t have. So it worked out pretty well.

CC: I was just thinking about how you’re somebody who probably had a lot of interaction with people all the time and now you don’t hardly have any, and I was just wondering what that’s like for you.

JL: Oh, I was thinking that same thing. It was easier for me when I started working at home because with other coworkers watching over me and just checking to see how I was doing because it was my first job as a receptionist, just getting a little more confidence at home answering the phones and directing them to the right person. (Learning) how to answer shareholders’ questions when the other coworkers weren’t available to answer their phones due to the internet WiFi problems they were having at home. So I got more familiarized with the department and just feeling a little better … feeling more confident answering their questions and able to do more with my job because I was in shareholder relations, and due to my work background – I have 10 years plus of customer service – they thought it would be better if I worked at the reception desk, which has been very nice working with shareholders. And I just really learned how to present myself in a professional manner, which has helped me out in a lot of ways.

CC: So given the circumstances, how would you say you’re keeping your spirits up and staying energized these days?

JL: So I kept in contact with the people at the Learning Connection. It’s where I was working before. And we’ve been taking walks together out to the glacier or out toward the airport trails, and probably downtown on the docks, and just taking walks and keeping in contact with them.

I also have been with my family members, cooking, doing a lot of cooking and getting better at it.

CC: Any particular recipes or types of cooking that you’re doing that has your interest right now?

JL: Mostly, it’s like fry bread and just like holiday cookies, and I’m trying to get better at the fry bread. So I have the recipes, sometimes it doesn’t turn out as well.

Oh, video chat. I there’s an app online, it’s called Marco Polo. My sister lives in California. My daughter lives here in Juneau. So we do Marco Polo almost every day. It’s where you do the video, and then they watch it and they do their, if they have any input or they tell us how your day is going and just back and forth. And that’s always looking forward to that.

It’s like a journal. So that  has helped out a lot.

CC: And so my last question is about … the question literally is ‘What part of the work from home experience will stay with you once we return to the office?’ But I think in your case, maybe a more appropriate question is, I guess what have you learned through all this adapting you’ve had to do in the last year that you think will be potentially beneficial to you once you hopefully go back to your regular post at the front desk?

JL: In my in my situation, this is my first real job. And this year, I was able to, or last year, in August, I completed my GED. So I achieved that. I was able to study for that here in the office, which was pretty awesome of the supervisor letting me do that and I had a lot of good support. So I’m pretty much learning new things.

At the beginning, before the pandemic, I was able to watch a lot of the other coworkers, how they presented themselves and how they held themselves up high. And how they always came to me and asked what can I do for you today? Or if you have any questions, you need any assistance, come and look for me and I’ll be happy to help you. At home, it was kind of difficult, but I was out there too. We have an app where we’re able to chat and say, ‘Hey, I’m not too sure about this, could you please help.’ And they were right on it. It was kind of different. But we did have some zoom meetings that I was able to attend. And it was just watching. Watching my coworkers, you know, again, how they presented themselves and just being very grateful for them and that they were there and a lot of good support from everyone.