Meet the Kindest Person I know: Kenya Cassell!

-By Paula Simpson

Wait a second! You may have already met her! Especially if you work in Deloitte’s Rosslyn office and have been to the 15 th floor. That’s where Kenya and I work together as part of a larger team who support our Government and Public Sector (GPS) proposal responses. While I am a writer, Kenya is an exceedingly talented Graphic Artist. As you can see below, she is hard at work on one of her contributions: graphic facilitation.

What makes Kenya one of the kindest people I know? It’s simple. Let’s say you’re an employee rushing through the office – on your way to a training, meeting, or an interview – and you walk by her desk. More importantly, you walk by her basket.

Kenya’s basket of goodies is unmistakable. It’s as if she is a magician waving her magic wand and conjuring up whatever nibble you need at that moment – from graham crackers to BBQ potato chips.

This basket is a constant source of kindness spilling over her filing cabinet; a basket that fills us in more ways than one.

I have had the good fortune to work with Kenya for five years. She is always first to applaud my successes, share a warm gesture, commiserate when I need it, and inquire about what’s going on in my life. There’s more, she writes the kindest, sweetest thank you notes when any of us do the same in return.

I asked her why she does all of this for everyone and she gave the most beautiful answer: “I truly believe that my purpose here on earth is to serve others in a way that most people overlook. I try to practice the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated…and then some.” Naturally this response was no surprise to us, her colleagues.

When I told other GPS Proposal Development Center folks I was going to write this article, I got a lot of responses saying, “no one deserves it more.” Shelley Harris, my fellow writer, didn’t hesitate and said, “she is the first to remember someone’s birthday, event, or accomplishment.” An alumnus of our group, John Hunolt, shared, “Kenya’s authentic kindness, generosity, and obvious concern for our wellbeing helps our group maintain cohesion and keep positive.” Her manager, Brian Doran Johnson added, “Kenya is a very talented designer and true professional, but what makes her special is her kind character.” Indeed, we are all lucky to know and benefit from her character. Everyone agrees – she’s one of a kind and a treasure for whom we are all grateful.

At her desk, Kenya’s got a drawer full of kindness, ready to go at a moment’s notice. In it, there is a birthday banner for the next employee birthday celebration. There are various cards: birthday, sympathy, “get well soon,” and thank you cards. And, of course, there are replenishments for that magical food basket. Sometimes she brings in food from home, sometimes she gets it from the catering food pantry on the floor, but typically it’s something she bought over the weekend specifically intended to share with colleagues she knows and those she has yet to meet.

So, if you happen to be in Rosslyn, Virginia and are able to walk by the magical basket and grab a ginger snap, say hello and thank you to the beautiful woman sitting behind it!

Kenya shared with me her mantra: “Look for ways to be a light in someone’s day. You never know when your thoughtfulness is the only kindness they receive all day.” If only we all had that as our guiding principle, the world – and not just the 15th floor in Deloitte’s Rosslyn office – would be such a better place!

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