Assistant Store Manager Inspires Co-workers, Employees

Goodwill Industries International Honors Darlene Hallam with the 2015 Edgar J. Helms Award for Graduate Staff

Portland, OR – Since 2002, Darlene Hallam has been an inspiration to both co-workers and employees at the Goodwill® retail store in Redmond, OR, where she currently serves as assistant manager. For empowering others and demonstrating the values of Goodwill’s founder, Goodwill Industries International honors Hallam with the 2015 Edgar J. Helms Award for Graduate Staff.
Hallam, a team member of Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette, freely offers support to employees who have disabilities, challenging circumstances or fragile support systems. Hallam uses her own stories of abuse and disability to show compassion for what others are going through.
Hallam lost her hearing as a child as a result of her father’s abuse. Hallam was later abused by her now ex-husband. In school and in the workplace, she was often ridiculed for her disability. When she worked as a manager at a major hotel, one of her employees who was hearing impaired was asked by upper management to wear a sign indicating the impairment so that the “guests would not be offended.” When Hallam stood up for the employee, she was warned that she, too, might have to wear a sign.
When Hallam found Goodwill’s Job Connection Center, she worked with an employment specialist to evaluate her skills and develop her resume. Within a short time, she was hired at the Redmond Goodwill as a sales associate and has been promoted several times.
“Darlene has never let her disability or the challenges she’s faced since childhood keep her from success,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “Her empathy for others creates a positive and supportive work environment for her employees. We’re pleased to have Darlene as an ambassador for Goodwill’s mission and values.”
The Edgar J. Helms Award for Graduate Staff honors a current Goodwill employee who is a past recipient of Goodwill services and exemplifies the mission of Goodwill Industries and its founder Rev. Edgar J. Helms’ values of unselfish service to people with disabilities or other disadvantaging conditions.