Michelle Henry admits that she loves to work. She says the credit for her work ethic and determination goes to her family, specifically to two role models — her mom Ruth Story and her aunt, Susan Barber, who works at UAB as a research specialist in obstetrics and gynecology.

“My mom and my aunt are my role models, just seeing how hard they’ve worked to get where they are. Nothing was handed to them,” Henry says. “You want to work for what you get. If you want something to happen, you’ve got to take steps to make it happen. Nobody else is going to make it happen for you.”
Henry has taken that to heart in her position of office associate in Pathology, earning high praise from her colleagues for her dependability, leadership, organization and self-initiative. Those qualities have led to Henry being named Employee of the Month for October.

“Those all are synonyms that describe her abilities as a support staff member,” says Myra Tidwell, division administrator in Anatomic Pathology. “She has vision to see the whole picture and how her responsibilities affect her sections, the division and the department.”

Henry, who began working in Pathology in March 2005, says she is very appreciative of the university honor, particularly knowing her co-workers think so highly of the job she does every day.

“I’m speechless as to what it means for them to nominate me,” Henry says. “The gratitude I feel for them doing this for me is huge – it’s recognition for hard work that you do and everybody loves that. I’m really excited my faculty members value what I do for them so much that they wanted to have me recognized.”

Gene P. Siegal, M.D., Ph.D., a senior scientist at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Gene Therapy Center and director of the Division of Anatomic Pathology, says Henry consistently shows she is an exemplary employee in all facets of the job.

“This is especially so because unlike most other Anatomic Pathology staff who work in a world hidden from the general public, she provides support for both our Dermatopathology and Oral Pathology faculty who direct patient-care responsibilities,” Siegal says. “Ms. Henry is always exceeding her responsibilities, irrespective of whether or not it is her diligence to task, and doing so with an outgoing demeanor and professional presentation.”

That outgoing demeanor and professional presentation is noticed by everyone Henry comes in contact with, says Nasser Said-Al-Naief, D.D.S, assistant professor in Anatomic Pathology and associate scientist at the Comprehensive Cancer Center and Center for Metabolic Bone Diseases.

“I can’t tell you the compliments I receive from clinic patients, coordinators, biopsy contributors and colleagues regarding how approachable and humble she is, yet extremely intelligent and confident,” Said-Al-Naief says. “She combines a unique mixture of humbleness, superb attitude, hard work, enthusiasm, respect and willingness to learn and teach others.”

Henry is humbled by the kind words of co-workers. And she hopes her attitude and desire make her mom and aunt proud.

“Seeing them surmount whatever struggles they’ve encountered and come out a stronger person . . . I hope I am the same way.”