Illinois Administrative Professionals (IAP) recently honored Angie Coy as the IAP Member of the Year for 2020-2021.
Angie is the coordinator of stakeholder engagement at PRI and has been a member of IAP for the past 20 years during which she has held numerous leadership roles, including serving as president and president-elect, among several other positions. In addition to her career at PRI and her service to IAP, she also volunteers her time to the community by serving as a bell ringer at the kettle for the Salvation Army and volunteering at IAP's Toys for Tots event to help those in need pick out items for Christmas.
She recently answered questions about her career.
How does it feel to win this award?
IAP is near and dear to me. I have been a member of the organization for over two decades and have served on several committees, including serving as president. The organization is over 70 years old and is comprised of civil service members across campus. We have so many deserving members who work hard in their daily jobs and volunteer to help make IAP a success. Just to be nominated by a fellow member is a real honor and to win makes it that much sweeter. IAP has given me many opportunities to help me grow professionally. I have created a large network of close colleagues on campus through IAP, and I have made many friends that will be with me even after life at the university. I will always remember winning this award.
Tell us more about your role!
My role as the coordinator of stakeholder engagement is to help increase awareness and support for PRI among our stakeholders. This includes taking the lead in planning stakeholder activities such as workshops, special events, and meetings, as well as supporting our government relations efforts. In short, I am the primary liaison with our advisory board and legislative staff members.
What advice would you give to those just starting in your field?
There are not that many positions similar to mine on campus, particularly since there is not a department on campus like ours. But, for anyone starting in an engagement, outreach, or advancement field, I think the most important thing to do is learn to understand the organization and people that you are representing. You must engage with your internal stakeholders before you can effectively engage with external stakeholders.
What was your background before coming to PRI?
I joined PRI in August 2008, one month after the surveys joined the university (I am the only remaining original staff member in the OED today). I had been here on campus for ten years before joining PRI. I started as extra-help in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research (now the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation - OVCRI). I was hired as a Secretary III, which was the bottom of the clerical pool. I worked my way up through the clerical line, working in OVCR, the Office of the Chancellor, and then the Office of Sponsored Programs.
What is your favorite aspect of working here?
I do not have a scientific background, but I love the work of our scientists. I always make a point to ask them about the work that they’re doing, and what I appreciate is their ability to explain their work in layman’s terms. They make it very easy to understand. So many of our scientists love to talk about the work that they’re doing. Their excitement rubs off on me. That excitement will help me do my job even better. I’m looking forward to engaging with all our stakeholders regularly and reinforcing the important work that PRI is doing across the state.
What’s it like doing this job in the middle of a pandemic?
Just like everyone else, I’ve had challenges in my job. I’ve had to learn how to engage with stakeholders outside of the traditional method of in-person meetings. There is so much value in being able to sit down in person and talk about the impacts of our work across the state. Finding creative ways to deliver that message is something that I continue to work on with current stakeholders, as well as people and organizations that are not currently on our stakeholder list. Many across the state don’t realize the impact that we’ve had in their areas. Creating a plan to effectively deliver our message to those people and organizations involves some strategizing. The communication within PRI during the pandemic has been good, but there is nothing like being able to walk into someone’s office at a moment’s notice to bounce ideas off of each other. I look forward to being able to do that again with not only OED staff, but staff across PRI as well.
What are some personal/professional goals you hope to tackle in the future?
A personal and professional goal of mine is to finish my master’s in public administration degree. I took three semesters off, and I plan to return to get it finished.
Professionally, I want to visit with PRI staff regularly to stay informed about the work that they’re doing so that I can better inform our stakeholders. I started doing this in person before the pandemic. I hope that we can have more face-to-face meetings rather than virtual ones in the fall.
On a personal level, my goal is to get back to running half marathons. I’ve managed to run pretty consistently during the pandemic, but my pace has slowed, and my distance is shorter. I enjoy all distances, but my primary running goal is to run a half marathon in every state. Before the pandemic, I was able to scratch two states off per year. I hope to get back to that schedule this fall.