Anna Riner

Employee Relations Specialist
at Goodwill Industries
Oklahoma City, OK
6+ months at Goodwill Industries

Through this initiative, we are advancing the way we collect and share the voices of workers we serve. The intent of this initiative is to develop a collection of interviews and professional images reflecting workers’ experiences. This interview is with Anna Riner, an Employee Relations Specialist at Goodwill Industries of Central Oklahoma. She has been with Goodwill Industries of Central Oklahoma for 6 months.

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On Her Career
“My values are kindness, creativity and courtesy, and I love that I’ve found a company whose values align with my own. I like working in human resources because I feel like it combines two strengths of mine. On one hand, I’m very analytical and I keep spreadsheets and budgets down to the penny. Then, there’s the creative side of me who loves people and coloring outside the lines. Human resources allows me to tap into these aspects of myself. I’m also very family-oriented and love watching my son grow and learn to express himself.”

On Her Background
“I share life with my husband, my grade school-aged son, and two dogs and two cats. As a creative person, I spend my free time playing piano, painting murals around my home and cooking. I do worry about my own health and our family’s finances.”

“The navigators were emotionally supportive and encouraging, but also very practical. My conversations with them weren’t focused on venting but on actually changing the situation.”

On Her Challenge
“Several years ago, I was diagnosed with a rare disease, and taking care of myself requires a lot of time, energy and money. Then, last spring, my husband broke his femur, and his recovery required surgery and significant additional healthcare expenses. To stay afloat, we looked at every resource we could think of – sending letters to charity organizations, reaching out to friends and family, creating a “gofundme” account, you name it – to help us get through this incredibly difficult time.”

 On Her Interaction with WorkLife Partnership
Goodwill had been very upfront about its partnership with WorkLife, and included the program in its onboarding materials, so I decided to reach out to a Resource Navigator. Shortly after contacting WorkLife, I got in touch with a WorkLife Resource Navigator and [specialized] Health Benefits Navigator. The two of them spent time getting to know me and my particular situation, and they really went above and beyond to find resources that could help me and my family.

The Navigator introduced me to the Dollar For program, a debt relief service connected to the hospital. While Dollar For wasn’t able to help us with our medical bills, [WorkLife] did provide us with a $300 grocery card that covered our groceries for an entire month. That really helped us tread water while we created a plan.

The Navigator also helped me work on the letter I’d been sending to ask charities for assistance. Because of my salary, I didn’t qualify for different kinds of financial support, despite most of my salary going toward my own medical bills. But the Navigators ended up providing me with a list of about 20 different ideas to consider, including additional organizations and resources I hadn’t yet heard of or reached out to, plus different tips or tricks I could try. We ended up being able to consolidate several of our accounts to help us negotiate payments.”

Where She is Now
“Partnering with WorkLife absolutely improved my well-being. By working with the Navigators, I was able to create space in my mind for work and for others, instead of being focused on my own problems, like if I had enough gas to make it home from work. We’re still struggling and it’s still difficult. But, we’re stable now and we have a plan – and WorkLife helped us create that.”

 

“I felt like I had partners that would fight alongside me, and their encouragement helped me believe we would get through this.”


What She’d Like Other to Know
“The navigators were emotionally supportive and encouraging, but also very practical. My conversations with them weren’t focused on venting but on actually changing the situation. Maria and Colleen helped me problem-solve and actually held me accountable to ensure I was following through on our plan.”

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