Q. What was your background before coming to PRI?
A. 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 10 years prior to joining PRI. I started as extra-help in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research (OVCR). They hired me 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.
Q. What will you be doing in your new role?
A. I am the Coordinator of Stakeholder Engagement. In this role I’ll 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 governmental relations efforts. I’ll be the primary liaison with our advisory board and legislative staff members.
Q. What is your favorite aspect of working here? Or What are you most looking forward to in your role?
A. 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 laymen’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 onto me. That excitement will help me do my job even better. I’m really looking forward to engaging with all our stakeholders on a regular basis and reinforcing the important work that PRI is doing across the state.
Q. What are some challenges you faced in your career?
A. I would say the biggest challenge I’ve faced, and I’m sure other administrative assistants have faced the same thing, is the constant changing of the guard which seems to happen a lot in higher education. Leadership always changes, but administrative assistants have always been the one constant in the offices during time of change. Some of the challenges include learning new work styles, methods of communication, and expected goals. Change is always good, but the ability to adapt to new personalities is critical.
Q. What work/project are you most proud of?
A. I am most proud of serving as President of the Illinois Administrative Professionals (formerly known as The Secretariat). We’re a 70-year-old organization on campus comprised of civil service members in various classifications. I have been a member of the organization almost as long as I’ve been an employee of the university. I’ve had many different roles during my time as a member, but leading and working with the members was very rewarding for me. We made real progress reinventing ourselves to adapt to workforce changes within the civil service system, while maintaining our original mission statement. My relationships with staff across campus were strengthened, and I had a chance to really grow my leadership skills that will carry over to my new role here within PRI.
Q. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
A. I’m currently enrolled in the master’s in Public Administration at UIS, and homework is always on the to-do list. I am an avid runner. I enjoy many forms of exercise, but I truly love running and all distances. My goal is to run a half marathon in every state.