Libby Concord is a life-longer learner. She’s learned to play nearly any instrument you can think of and taught herself to knit everything from shawls to hats, mittens to cat toys. Concord is also a life-long teacher who finds joy helping others succeed. A five-year County employee, Concord helps give coworkers and members of the public the tools they need to thrive.
Can you describe your six-year career at San Juan County?
“I had just finished my PHD in musicology from the University of Victoria and I started looking for something that wasn’t a retail job. I wanted benefits and a retirement plan. That’s when I saw the opening at Public Works in 2017. I was the administrative specialist for about eight months and then worked for a year in records management before becoming the interim-head of the admin department.”
“I later transferred to the Auditor’s Office into Accounts Payable, then after eight months, was promoted to a Grant Administrator. Now, I’m the Grants Manager.”
You’ve had quite the trajectory – how did you climb the ranks so quickly?
“I seize opportunity when it comes. One of the things I like about the County is that I have a number of opportunities to advance in my career.”
“I loved working for the Roads – I never thought that it would be so interesting to learn about County infrastructure and what goes into everything we use on a daily basis. At the Auditor’s Office I get the opportunity to see a really big picture and dig into difficult problems of logic and numbers.”
What do you enjoy about your job?
“I love teaching people about things I’m passionate about. The County sometimes feels like a small university with each department as a satellite campus.”
“At the Auditor’s Office, we work hard and party hard. There’s a big sense of comradery and we’re very close. The work is intellectually challenging, and you certainly need to be independent and driven to succeed. I love that we’re all part of a machine and need to work well as a team.”
How long have you lived in the islands?
“My family moved to San Juan Island when I was four. As I grew up, I think that if you weren’t involved in a lot of extra curriculars you could get in trouble, so I did tennis, volleyball, theatre, band, and the pit orchestra.”
“I attended the University of Puget Sound, then the University of Bristol in the UK. I didn’t anticipate coming back to the islands. It’s been interesting seeing things from a different perspective now because I grew up here. I know about the islands’ weird history, and that really helps me with my job.”
You are one of the County’s best gift-givers. Can you share why?
“I think you’re talking about my knitting! Last year I knit something for everyone in my office – shawls and hats. I knit 11 shawls over the course of six months. I call them ‘Libby’s handmade hugs.’ It’s a good way to tell someone you’re thinking about them.”
What do you do for fun?
“I can play almost any instrument – percussion, anything with a reed, piano, and guitar. I have a music education degree and I took classes on every instrument you might see in a band or orchestra. I was in an Indonesian Gamelan – which is a percussion group like a marimba band, but Indonesian. Now, I’m involved with theater – I play in the pit orchestra and have acted in several shows. It’s so much fun."
This profile is part of a series spotlighting San Juan County employees, the work they do, and the difference they make. Follow along each month to meet the staff responsible for making the Islands a wonderful place to live, work, and play.