Next up in our Meet the COG series is Barb Bacak!
Barb is the Administrative Assistant for the COG and she was interviewed by Rachael Benson.
What is your most notable on the job experience?
Barb stated her favorite part of her job is going to the Synergy conference each fall, put on by OSDA/PAR. She loves to see people she has met in years past and witness how they are changing and evolving. She stated her job duties normally keep her behind a desk, so she is grateful for this change that gives her a sense of renewal. Several years ago the COG’s Director, Nancy Richards, was nominated and won an award at Synergy. Barb remembers hearing people at her table and surrounding tables being so excited and hoping Nancy was the winner before it was announced. County board staff and individuals we serve all had their own reasons why Nancy had made a difference in their lives. Seeing firsthand how happy people were for Nancy made Barb realize how important the COG’s work is in a lot of people’s lives, and she is so thankful she gets to be a part of that. Not one to like being in the limelight, she really enjoys her role as more of a “back-up singer” for the COG, and she loves being a part of “Team Awesome.” I think we would all agree at the COG, that Barb takes good care of us and we would be lost without her!
If you could make a 20 second phone call to yourself at any point in your life, present or future, when would you call and what would you say?
Barb would call herself when she is 18 years old to encourage herself to go to college. She comes from a large, working class family at a time when hard work and dedication were all you needed to succeed. Barb did go on to receive her associate’s degree a little later in life, but regrets that she did not continue her education.
If your childhood had a smell, what would it be?
It is very ironic this question was picked for Barb, because she was born without a sense of smell and has no idea what things smell like. Impatient even then, Barb was born ten weeks early and her sense of smell never fully developed. Because she doesn’t have a sense of what things smell like, she doesn’t miss it. So the normal things we take for granted, smells of pizza, cookouts, flowers, popcorn popping, etc., Barb cannot smell it. On the bright side, it means she can’t smell anything offensive either!
She told a funny story of when she was younger, and was going out to her car to go to a job interview. As she walked around her car to get inside, she came eye to eye with a skunk that was lurking by her car door! The skunk turned and ran away, but she wasn’t sure if she had been sprayed or not. She had to go back into the house to ask her mother if she smelled like a skunk. Luckily, the skunk was feeling friendly that day, and she hurried to her interview. Imagine the interviewer’s reaction if she had been sprayed and then arrived acting as if nothing was wrong! Talk about first impressions!
It never seemed like a big deal until she had to get a doctor’s note to excuse her from certain experiments in her high school chemistry class. It was then she realized that it would limit her in some ways.
Barb also shared that along with no sense of smell, her taste is effected too, but not as severe. She might be able to know if something is bitter, tart or sweet, but cannot enjoy the true flavor of something.
Would you rather live in the country or close by the beach?
Barb shared, if she had to choose, she would live by the beach. She loves the beach, sitting on the sand, enjoying the sun, the water….it just soothes her soul! She currently enjoys the best of both worlds, since she lives in the country with a ten minute drive to the beach.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years from now, Barb sees herself retired and traveling with her husband, who would also be retired. She would like to travel across the USA, exploring the national parks, Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls. She would also enjoy a trip to Italy, and hopes to get there one day.
Name some of your favorite things to do in your spare time, what are some of your hobbies?
Barb likes to garden, make baskets, sew, and paint pictures. She enjoys trying new things and takes classes when she can. She joined a local Quilts of Valor group and learned to piece quilt tops while making quilts that are awarded to veterans. She even had the honor of presenting one of the quilts to a Vietnam veteran. Next week, she is trying a fused glass class for the first time. She is excited to learn the process and what it is. Be sure to ask Barb how her class went the next time you see or talk to her!
Barb also enjoys redecorating her house from time to time. She can make her own curtains and furniture covers which allows her to switch up the feel of her home when she wants. Her husband jokes with her that he better not move around the house at night before turning on the lights, because she also has the tendency to move the furniture around too. Barb likes to keep things new and fresh!
It was a pleasure interviewing and learning about Barb. I hope you learned something new, I know I did!