Clayton’s former volunteer earns top honor

ndunn@newsobserver.comMay 9, 2014 

Stephanie Lanzolla, administrative assistant to the Clayton town manager, is the Clayton Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 Administrative Professional of the Year.

NASH DUNN — ndunn@newsobserver.com

Just four years after filling out a Town of Clayton volunteer form, Stephanie Lanzolla is earning praise for her municipal service.

The Clayton Chamber of Commerce has named Lanzolla its 2014 Administrative Professional of the Year. She is the administrative assistant to Town Manager Steve Biggs.

It’s a recognition that surprised Lanzolla. Her colleagues, however, say it’s fitting.

“She has a rare ability to take on tasks that she really has no formalized training on how to accomplish,” Biggs said. “She trains herself up and accomplishes them and does it seamlessly without any continuing input or instruction from me.”

Lanzolla, a native of Charleston, S.C., moved to the area about a decade ago and eventually settled in downtown Clayton. In 2010, when the former Walmart employee found herself unemployed and looking for work in the midst of a mediocre job market, her husband, Vincent, suggested she volunteer at Clayton Town Hall.

“It quickly turned into something very big for me,” Lanzolla said, adding that she became the volunteer coordinator before taking a position in public works. In June 2012, Biggs named Lanzolla to her current post, formerly held by Brenda Schneider.

“I enjoy the challenges and being asked about something I might not know how to do, but by the end of the day, I do know how to do it,” Lanzolla said. “I’m not just sitting around answering phones, answering emails or making photocopies. It’s quite challenging, and I enjoy that.”

No day is the same, Lanzolla said, but some of her duties include:

•  Helping Biggs manage his calendar, which could include meetings with concerned citizens or a half-dozen business executives.

•  Drafting PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets and reports for the town manager’s office and other town departments.

•  Handling inquiries from citizens as they call or visit the town manager’s office. “If I can help someone I will, but if not, I will get them to the right person ... or do whatever needs to be done to resolve the situation,” Lanzolla said.

“Every minute of every day, she’s busy helping someone here in the organization,” Biggs said. “So even when I don’t need to call on her immediately for anything, she shows a lot of initiative and steps in and helps other folks with whatever they need to get done.”

Lanzolla’s municipal service has rubbed off on her family, as her husband and mother, Pat Angle, both volunteer with the town.

She and Vincent have an adopted son, who returned to his birth family when he turned 18. They are now expecting their first child, due Oct. 29. Lanzolla said she announced she was pregnant on April 23, the same day she won the chamber award.

“It was quite a big day for me,” she said.

Dunn: 919-553-7234, Ext. 104

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