Christine Hovagimian was hoping her colleague would win.

But as the annual Employee of the Year Award was announced Dec. 9 at the 2015 Holiday Party, Hovagimian heard her own name called.

“It was very surprising,” Hovagimian said of winning the Keck Medicine of USC Employee of the Year Award. “I was rooting for another candidate. I was hoping she would get it.”

Hovagimian, an account representative at the Office of Revenue Cycle Management for the USC Care Medical Group Inc., was selected by the Keck Medicine leadership team from the 12 winners of “Employee of the Month” in 2015.

Hovagimian was chosen for her strong work ethic, harmonious and cooperative spirit, being a team player and for being a role model of our USC Keck Culture Values. She received a $2,500 check as part of the award.

Hovagimian has been with Keck Medicine for three years and said that she tries to promote an atmosphere of collaboration, respect and unity in the workplace.

“I was raised in that atmosphere — be respectful to your elders, be courteous and be kind,” Hovagimian said. “I don’t put differences between people and I’m more into unity than the individual. I try and create unity everywhere I go.”

She works in a “very hectic” environment — tending to a steady stream of phone calls and emails to ensure that billing is done correctly and on time. She is credited with leading an effort to decrease missing charges by 42 percent in the past 12 months.

“We make sure providers get rendered for services,” she said. “We make sure our patients are always happy and so are our physicians.”

Those who nominated Hovagimian said her willingness to share knowledge and technical expertise makes her a driving force within her department. Hovagimian, who had been named Employee of the Month in November, also displayed superior initiative and outstanding leadership.

Hovagimian said using effective communication was part of her success in the workplace. She also knows everyone’s name.

“I’ll remember the name of everyone I meet so I can put a face with a name,” she said. “Name recognition is a big tool.”

And about a year and a half ago, Hovagimian created a “Month End Potluck” — a small, informal gathering to bring people in her division together in the midst of a busy and often stressful time — the final billing day of the month. What started as a box of doughnuts and bagels at a cubicle for a few colleagues to share has turned into a monthly tradition that brings members in the nine departments across CBO together.

“We are so spread apart in our different departments, we would never associate,” she said. “This is a chance to bring everyone together.”

— Douglas Morino