In celebration of our legacy HR system pioneers

With almost 80 years of public service between them, Jeanette Miley and Donna Lantz are two highly esteemed legacy HR systems pros who work alongside the Workday Project team every day. Not only are they technically savvy, but they are well known amongst their peers – and throughout state government – as the go-to people for all things that have to do with our personnel systems, records and files.

Jeanette, our PPDB Systems Manager, began her career with Oregon state government on April 18, 1977 as part of the Federal Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA). She ultimately chose state government as her employer because of stability and a lot of benefits. Through dedication to her role and her depth of expertise in many of our various systems, she held a variety of clerical, administrative, technical, and system management roles where she was crucial to many systems’ success across state agencies. Jeanette has touched more systems than most of us can even remember (and some that we do) like JAPI, APPI, NEOGOV, PED1, PPDB, and now Workday. Jeanette noted that her great success continues to come from a “love of trying to figure out how to make things happen for the agencies I serve” with every system implementation.

Donna, our PPDB Policy Consultant, started with the state in October 1979 as a seasonal Data Entry Operator where she worked on both the Applicant Certificate System and on data entry into the PED1 system. She started looking for a job because her husband was on strike and she chose state government because Department of Administrative Services was the first organization to give her an offer. She didn’t stop there, though. Donna continued to grow in her career through the roles she held in reporting and mass system updates. She pursued her interest in reporting by initially shadowing other people working with reports, then took a class and has been doing reporting ever since. Donna noted that “It’s easy to get up and come to work because all the people over here are just really great” and that she “never [has] a chance to get bored because [her] job always changes.”

Having always worked on statewide enterprise systems, Donna and Jeanette have seen our Oregon state government go through many changes and have been integral pieces to many successes. They noted that they’ve “always worked with a really great group of people.” They were recognized as setting “the example for teamwork” during the implementation of the PPDB system by administrator Dan Kennedy. And after one of their project completions, Donna and Jeanette fondly remembered getting dressed up for an invitation to have lunch at the Governor’s office in the capitol building. Their team was recognized for Donna and Jeanette’s work manually entering in all the Board and Commission members into the personnel system at the time.

With such successful and impactful careers, we asked both Donna and Jeanette if they could sum up their experiences with state government and maybe even share some advice. Here is what they said:

“It’s been a very interesting journey. Thinking back on needing 30 years to retire, I thought that would take forever, and now that time is gone. It’s been a fun experience the whole way. It’s really been a great adventure. Ending over here with the new system coming in, seeing one system fade and a new one come in is pretty exciting and an upbeat way to end one’s career. Not to mention it’s a great team too.” – Donna Lantz

“My career has been great. The people, the agencies, the support and the challenges have all been great. You always need to have a positive attitude when you face challenges. People should feel good about what they can contribute because no idea is a bad idea. Give change a chance. That’s the biggest part. Whether it’s PPDB, Workday, or something in your life, change deserves a chance. My career has been full of changes and challenges, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Especially with the younger generation I would say to give everything a try, enjoy what you do, and remember that family is important. Do the best you can and be ok with that.” – Jeanette Miley

Psychologists say that if you remain friends for seven years, you’ll remain friends for life. Well, what if you’ve been friends for almost 40? That’s how long Donna and Jeanette have worked together. Donna and Jeanette met on Donna’s first day in October of 1979. Neither of them knew that they would continue to work together for the rest of their careers and become inseparable as friends. When I asked them what was next, Jeanette replied, “Retirement is next, so that I can enjoy my grandbabies.” Once the impact of that sank in, Donna chimed in with a “Me too.”  No two people are more deserving of every happiness, and time with grandbabies, than Jeanette Miley and Donna Lantz.

Agency Directors recently nominated individuals who they believe demonstrate what it means to be an ambassador of public service who “exemplify the values of integrity, accountability, excellence, and equity in their everyday work.” Nominees – including Donna and Jeannette, naturally – will celebrate each other during a reception with Governor Brown at her residence in Salem during the first week of May.

Congratulations, ladies, and thank you for your service.

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