Staff Chats: Sue Schafer, Human Resources

Hear from City staff about their COVID-19 work, how they're staying connected and what they hope to learn from community members like you.

What do you want community members to know about the City right now?

SS: I’ve worked for the City for 13 years and am prouder than ever to be a part of it. Our leaders are flexible, and responsive to changing conditions. I feel supported as a working parent. I feel that my work is important, and my talents are being called upon in new ways. I have seen our leaders become vulnerable, serve as cheerleaders and handle adversity with grace. This is an organization that cares for its employees and is willing to think outside the box to support the work we do. I think COVID has lowered fences and brought out the best in everyone.

How would you describe Fort Collins’ culture?

SS: In Fort Collins we have a culture of philanthropy and volunteerism. Everyone wants to help. In fact, we have the sixth highest rate of volunteerism for similar cities in the country—38.2% of residents volunteer! We like to say that this City runs on the power of volunteers—from youth sports coaches, to volunteer rangers, our community works together to make this a special place. This has never been more true than it is now.

What COVID-19 work – from your office or that you’ve worked on personally – are you most proud of?

SS: I am extremely proud of the Adopt A Neighbor program, which was repurposed to serve the needs of vulnerable residents during the COVID. Adopt A Neighbor volunteers were already active in helping with snow removal and lawn care, but after the City had to close Recreation facilities, we searched for innovative ways to help our community get the vital supplies they needed. With more than 400 volunteers helping across the City, the program has been incredibly successful and will continue to be necessary as we move into colder months.

Do you have a favorite Fort Collins neighborhood/neighbor story?

SS: We have a neighborhood with tons of kids. We have created a “bubble” with a few families and have enjoyed camping and other outdoor activities together. We are celebrating birthdays, learning new skills and supporting each other. I’m so grateful for our neighborhood!

What do you love most about Fort Collins?

SS: Access to nature! I have young kids and we have explored more of the natural areas, open spaces and trails than ever. During the Stay-at-Home Order, we explored our local natural area every day, getting to know wildlife and watching everything wake up for spring. We would have struggled more if we did not have our daily walks. Now, we camp, paddleboard on Horsetooth, enjoy our backyard wildlife and play on the trails every chance we get!

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