Ashe Student Center
What is your role at UCLA?
I am in my 18th year at UCLA, and my 9th as Chief of Operations/Chief Financial Officer at The Ashe Student Health Center. In this capacity, I oversee all administrative, commercial, and clinical operations functions of the center.
Before joining UCLA, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
I spent a year traveling around the country with a small circus. I did juggling and escape tricks, and cleaned up after the monkeys.
How do you balance your career at UCLA and family?
I have always found that UCLA fosters such balance. I am fortunate that I don’t have to work many evenings or weekends, and it is easy enough to get away for important family and life events.
What was your first impression of UCLA? Has it changed at all over the course of your time at UCLA?
I remember being in awe when I first stepped foot on the UCLA campus for an interview. As I settled into that first job—as Director of Student Services at GSE&IS—I came to love the beauty of the campus and to appreciate all that it offered (cultural, intellectual, physical, etc.).
What’s your favorite aspect of your job?
I really like and appreciate (most of!) the people I get to work with every day. We’re a staff of 130, and take care of approximately 23,000 unique students who seek medical care here each year. This is a dedicated staff of caring professionals, and it’s a privilege to work alongside them.
When are you the most productive and why?
I have always been a morning person. I work out before work, 4 days a week and so am usually to my office by 7:15. It’s a quiet time when I can organize my day and be really productive.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? What is your proudest moment at UCLA?
Professionally, it would be that I was responsible for opening the new Optometry clinic/store and Pharmacy in Ackerman. Not only did they expand accessibility for students, they also allow us to now provide optometric and pharmacy services to UCLA faculty and staff. They are both beautiful facilities, with outstanding staff and I’m very proud of both. Personally, my favorite “achievement” is that my husband and I are now in our 24th year together, and that’s definitely something to be proud of!
If you could change one thing about UCLA, what would it be?
Although I understand why, UCLA tends to be very risk-averse. That sometimes manifests itself in a reluctance to deal with problem employees, or to decentralize certain controls. Still, I know that caution comes from years of experience on the part of the university. The bureaucracy can sometimes be a bit much.
Tell us about someone who has mentored or influenced you the most in your career path. In what way did he/she/they shape your decisions?
My first “boss” was Chery Tyler, who was the CAO of GSEIS. She took a chance on me and then really mentored me over the years. She was tough, and willing to make difficult decisions. We often have to be gate keepers, to say no, and to be the bad guy. She did it with a style that was not off-putting. I still think about how Cheryl would handle a difficult situation and try to emulate that. Although she’s been retired many years, we’re still close, and I’m very grateful to her.
What do you think is the most important quality you need to have for success in UCLA or in general?
I think if a person is willing to work hard, and has integrity, they can handle just about anything. I get both traits from my father—or at least I try to live with integrity and model a good work ethic—and it’s held me in good stead over the years.
What would you tell someone who is applying for a job in UCLA?
Be persistent and aim a little higher than you think you’re capable of/qualified for. Working at UCLA is an incredible career, for so many reasons, so keep applying!
Share with us something about you that most people don’t know but you would like them to.
I have an English Bulldog named Floyd who is just as ugly no matter which end you’re looking at. He’s either sleeping, drooling, pooping or eating random things. I love that dog. Know that about me, and you know most of what’s important.
How has AMG impacted your professional growth and development?
I used to be a lot more involved than I am now, mostly because of time. I’ve always appreciated how focused AMG is on building upon our resources—giving people the opportunity to network, build relationships, and prepare for higher leadership positions. It’s a great group.