1999 - Teresa Riseborough
couple of Escondido Village newlyweds are sleeping better because of
After two years of being denied a good night's
rest because of an uncomfortable bed, graduate student Todd Neller learned
that housing policy prohibited its removal. So he took his grievance
to Riseborough, then Escondido's facilities supervisor.
Riseborough, revered by colleagues for her resourcefulness,
found a way around the red tape, and a new bed was delivered to the
groggy couple. "We've slept so well since," Neller said, adding,
"She has the energy to make things happen and the generous, loving
heart to infuse those happenings with deep goodness."
Currently the facilities supervisor for Lagunita
Court, Governor's Corner and Lyman Graduate Residences, Riseborough
is responsible for care and maintenance of the buildings. She interacts
with students and staff, such as custodians, who will execute the work.
She initiates any work to be done in structures within her jurisdiction.
Since her 1982 arrival at Stanford, she has moved seven times but held
the same job title.
Take a two-minute walk with her and your conversation
will be punctuated with rings from her cellular telephone, or with a
spontaneous visit from a facilities worker who recognizes her as he
drives by in a truck.
Such workplace images are a far cry from the future
Riseborough looked ahead to while in medical school in her native Poland.
She postponed her medical career to marry a British physicist and never
realized her goal of becoming a soft-tissue surgeon (one who works on
When the couple moved to England Riseborough launched
her career in institutional management. While working as a nurse in
a private patient ward she "very quickly" began talking with
the unions and became involved in management issues.
"I discovered I didn't need to be a doctor
to help people," she said.
Riseborough and her colleagues acknowledge that
she can be hard on the 12 staff members she supervises, and hard on
herself. But she's also described as "fair" in her dealings.
Up until the deadline closed for the Amy J. Blue
Awards competition, Riseborough was campaigning with zeal for a colleague
she nominated. She was elated when she was notified he was a finalist.
"I wanted him to get it," she recalled, never realizing she
was a frontrunner herself.
And she said she was "humbled" upon
learning she was a winner. "It made worthwhile all the nights,
all those weekends, all those fights with managers over money."
Riseborough insists the main reason she was nominated
for the honor is because she is so visible, that other very deserving
staff members who do outstanding jobs aren't in the limelight. She claims
the award on their behalf as well.
In 1988 she was one of six people (from a pool
of 500) who received the Administrative Services and Facilities Award
Riseborough, now remarried, lives in Los Altos.
She has a grown son and a 12-year-old boy. Her 89-year-old mother, a
former journalist and university professor in Poland, shares her home.
Her brother, Zbigniew Stanczyk, works in the Eastern European archives
of the Hoover Institution.