Communications Coordinator for the City of Hastings Lee Stoffel was honored with an award for communication and marketing at the Leaders in Local Government Award Luncheon on Sept. 12.

The luncheon, put on by the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce, the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce and East Metro Chamber partners, gathered local leaders from the south and east metro to celebrate community accomplishments in business, communications, planning and public safety. Partnering with department heads, Stoffel communicates with the rest of the city to market events and happenings. Stoffel also works as the tourism liaison for Hastings.

To keep awards fair, the organizers of the event could not vote for the officials from their city.

"It really is a big honor to me. My job is more behind the scenes, so it is really nice to be recognized for my hard work," Stoffel said. "For someone to take the time to nominate me, it really means a lot."

Stoffel has worked with the City of Hastings for five years. At City Hall, Stoffel helps with both internal and external communications for the city.

One accomplishment that stood out to Stoffel in her years of service was bringing the different branches of the city government under one unifying message.

"I am really proud of the branding effort that I spearheaded. I worked really hard to align everything here when I started. Streamlining the look of the city website - making it more recognizable," Stoffel said. "I made some specific efforts to narrow down the voice that we had online. It has gotten us a larger following."

Another challenge at work that she faces is how to include "people who wouldn't engage in traditional ways, like going to city hall meetings," Stoffel said.

She said most of that is through online and social media. She saw social media engagement play a positive role in many projects, like the Vermillion Street Corridor and the redevelopment of Lions Park.

Stoffel has also found a "passion project" in the development of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative.

"I have a lot of favorite parts - I love my job. I love the people I work with. We have an amazing team of people here. They really collaborate with me and have grown to trust me with my crazy ideas. Everyone has pride in their work and doing it well," Stoffel said.