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Smile! Corpus Christi just won municipal award

Showing off the Texas Municipal League for Excellence award recently won by the city of Corpus Christi are council members Debbie Lindsay-Opel (left) and Rudy Garza, Learning and Organizational Development analyst Megan Ysassi, Learning and Organizational Development Manager Liza Wisner, Director of Human Resources Steven Viera, Assistant City Manager Sylvia Carrillo-Trevino, and council member Ben Molina. Photo courtesy of city of Corpus Christi

If one of the city’s 3,000 employees recently made you smile then you just experienced a direct result from the City Champions Program, a training initiative recognized by the Texas Municipal League at its annual convention in Houston. Learning and Organizational Development Manager Liza Mucheru Wisner and Learning and Organizational Development analyst Megan Ysassi in the Human Resources Department were honored by TML for their “ongoing commitment to success.”

The City Champions Program began three years ago and includes a three-level training process. New employees go through Level 1 training to get started. Every year, every employee goes through Level 2 training, which changes as the city’s initiatives change. Supervisors undergo an additional Level 3 training each year as well.

“We are responsible for training employees on how to provide the best customer service and experience,” Mucheru Wisner told Corpus Christi Business News. “We came up with the title — City Champions Program — because we felt that all our city employees should aspire to be city champions, to exhibit the core values to be a champion.”

The training is not about job skills. Whether employees work in the field, behind a City Hall counter or on a call center phone, they are trained in how to use their own positivity to provide a good customer experience.

“We’re teaching you how to be nice to people,” Mucheru Wisner said. “How do you make people smile? How do you make someone walk out of the room or office feeling empowered to have an amazing day?”

Soon to expand into new areas, including training for residents, the City Champions Program awards employees and volunteers of the quarter and year to recognize the champions on staff.

The end goal of the program, which starts with attracting, training, recognizing and nurturing champions, is to create a city of champions.

“It’s all about being a good human being, having a little bit of kindness in your heart,” Mucheru Wisner continued. “It’s contagious, and each year, we try to make it better.”

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