ArtsUNITE’s Essential Worker of the Month is a monthly feature that recognizes essential staff who keep cultural hubs safe while they are closed during these uncertain times. These individuals are working diligently behind the scenes navigating the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic, all while staying safe and balancing time for their personal life. This month we are speaking with Cindy Smith, Building Operator and Manager of Security and Custodial Services at Daniels Spectrum.
What do you like most about your role?
I am a natural problem solver and I like to solve problems that help people and communities have a better-lived experience. I also like to problem-solve to support my team members and colleagues.
What is it like being a Building Operator during this time?
Up and down, good and bad. I always say I love my building best when she is empty! But that is certainly not sustainable. Myself and my colleagues on the Facilities team have used this time to complete projects we have had on our list for years in some cases. And the buildings will be better for having endured this difficult time.
What should tenants do to help keep you safe?
They need to tell us immediately about potential exposure to Covid-19. It would be great if they all adhered to the recommended protocols regarding masks, hand washing and physical distancing when approaching us.
Are there any special protocols in place to keep Daniels Spectrum Tenants and the Community safe?
We have been rigorous here at Daniels Spectrum with cleaning and sanitizing. And we have had at least one staff member on-site every single day since the quarantine began. We are forward-facing and have been available to field questions and hopefully supply some support through conversations.
When you are not onsite keeping the hub safe, what do you like to do in your personal time that helps you get through these uncertain times?
This has been a wonderfully productive time for me personally. For the first time in four years, my daughter is local so we have been baking virtually and sharing recipes and food photos of our success and failures. She makes bread and the other day I made bagels, all from scratch. We have played a couple of games against each other which has been delightful. It’s been a nice time of sharing because sourcing ingredients has been tricky, like flour. My next interest is going to be in barbering so I have been doing tons of research. I follow about 10 high-profile barbers online in Europe, Asia and the United States and this is very helpful with studying technique. I am hoping next year I will be able to use my holiday time to take a compressed course in Edmonton.
What advice would you give to other essential workers taking care of public spaces right now?
Keep to your usual preventative maintenance and cleaning schedule as time and money allows. It takes no time at all for a building to fall into an unacceptable state. And it’s a domino effect when that happens.
Thank you for all that you do on a daily basis to keep spaces safe and preparing them for re-opening in the future!