This Summer, Vita said a fond and grateful farewell to Dottie Hence, who has been part of our team since November 2000. As Vita’s Data Manager (AKA “Data Diva”) for two decades, Dottie has been vitally important, and we will miss her welcoming attitude, hard work, and sense of humor.
Friend and former colleague Judy Schaeffer describes Dottie as Vita’s unsung hero for her role in tracking data on our students, classes, tutors, and teachers, and providing reports on demand to meet Vita’s needs. Her work has been vital to maintaining compliance with government rules, to keeping the decision-makers informed about what we’re actually accomplishing, and to securing funding. More recently, she and some friends also devised the specialty cocktails that were served at Vita’s 50th Anniversary celebration. Since this is not technically part of her job, we can only see it as proof of her commitment to Vita.
Asked about her career, Dottie recalls that when she first joined Vita, it was a smaller organization, with everyone crammed into half the office space. A lot has changed over the years: the Literacy and English as a Second Language departments have expanded, the Family Literacy program went from an idea to a core part of Vita, and three women have occupied the position of Executive Director.
What Dottie considers most noteworthy is not Vita’s growth, however. “Vita is like a family,” she says. “It’s just in the atmosphere.” She is confident that Vita will go on because the people here care about each other and look after each other.
What she does not say is that she herself deserves a share of the credit for establishing and maintaining that atmosphere. While Dottie makes it clear that she is not professionally irreplaceable, she will still be missed by those of us who knew her, whether briefly or for decades.
Dottie thanks her colleagues for years of friendship and teamwork. To that, we can only say: thank you, Dottie. We wish you good health and every happiness.