By Barb Arland-Fye
(This is the first in an occasional series on staff and volunteers at the Diocese of Davenport headquarters, also known as the chancery.)
Lauren Angelica Flores is the cheerful person likely to greet you over the phone and at the front desk of the Diocese of Davenport headquarters.
An employee at the chancery since Aug. 12, Lauren, 43, holds the position of reception/finance office support. Her informal title is “Princess Front Desk.”
She is bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish, and is a native of Nicaragua. She and her family moved to the United States where her father, Miguel Flores, worked as a surgeon in Moline, Ill., until his retirement.
Lauren thought she wanted to be a journalist when she was growing up, but instead earned a degree in social work and went to work in that field. Later, she worked as a compliance officer at a bank and then took a position with the U.S. Post Office in Davenport.
She was working third-shift at the post office and missed being able to spend more time with her family, which in addition to her father includes her mother, Mercedes, a retired school teacher, her older brother, Miguel, and his wife, Andrea, and their two children, Lydia, 12, and Jarrin, 9.
She learned about the opening at the chancery through a classified advertisement, and teasingly says she thinks she wowed her future employers with her savvy business skills and her sense of humor. “God loves humor,” she says.
Her co-workers are what she enjoys most about her job. “My co-workers are great. They’re genuinely nice … I’m still waiting to get yelled at for paper clipping something with a big paperclip instead of a small paperclip,” she jokes.
Among the more unusual phone calls she’s received is one asking for help on how to pay rent and another asking for guidance on how to vote.
Other duties include updating the diocese’s online calendar, preparing checks for deposit, making deposits at the bank and working on miscellaneous projects.
The biggest challenge in her new job, so far, has been getting used to new computer software. Fortunately, the chancery is providing training for all staff.
The most interesting aspect of her job is being a part of the safety team, she says.
In the event of a fire or other emergency, armed with a walkie-talkie and first aid bag, she would be responsible for ensuring that everyone in the building was accounted for and that minor treatment was provided as necessary.
One of the benefits of working at the chancery is the revitalization of her faith life. “I was not a practicing Catholic before I started here,” she said. “Now I’ve started attending St. John Vianney (Parish in Bettendorf). I feel really at peace with it; I love it.”
Lauren is a firm believer that humor will get you through the day, and that family matters. “My family is a fun family; I love my family, they keep me grounded.”