Thursday, March 17, 2016

From Melody's Desk

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!

Are you the first person in your family to attend college? I am the first person in my family with a four year degree. Did you see the story on current UVA students and faculty who are first generation in yesterday’s UVAToday Daily Report? There is a page on the Provost’s web site where self-identified first-generation college graduates are listed. If you wish to self-identify as a first-generation college graduate, there is a link on the site to email the Provost’s webmaster.

Spring means that we are coming up on the awards portion of the calendar.  And in that vein, I encourage you to submit recommendations to the Leonard W. Sandridge Outstanding Contribution Award, the University’s highest honor for staff. Each recipient is publicly recognized and receives an engraved gift as well as a $1,000 cash award. Nomination forms are due by 5pm, Friday, March 25, 2016 and should be submitted either via email to or as hard copy to the Office of University Human Resources, PO Box 400127, 914 Emmet Street, Michie South.

Were you there on Wednesday when we revealed UVAFinance’s mission, vision, and core values?  I hope that you were very clearly able to see your imprint on this work. We had a great conversation and even made a few more minor edits thanks to valuable feedback from the team.  I appreciated all the frank feedback and would love to continue to hear from you.  A big thanks to Pat Hogan for joining us and sharing his viewpoint on our aspirations!  You can see the full presentation here, but I’ve also copied the most important parts below:

Mission:  UVAFinance provides the financial framework to accurately, effectively, and transparently steward University resources in a complex educational and healthcare environment. We are the source of financial expertise, information, solutions, and insight that informs internal and external stakeholders and enables University students, educators, researchers, and administrators to be their best.

Vision:  UVAFinance is the valued and trusted financial partner that the University community turns to first.

Core Values
   Impeccable source of information
   Service excellence
   Innovative action
   Collaborative partner
   Valued, high-performing teams

We learned that we have a lot of work ahead of us, now that we know which way our compass is pointing.  Each of us, as an individual, a team member, and as a leader, will need to commit to following these core values in all our work.  We have also identified a number of projects and committees underway or starting where you can participate.  New committees include:
We will also look to connect this work to our 2016 goals and competencies.  For more help on writing your 2016 goals, signup now for SMART Goal workshops.

A HUGE thank you for all who were involved throughout the process and to those who were able to help celebrate at the Strategy meeting on Wednesday.  I’m so excited at meeting this milestone and can’t wait to see where we go with this!!

Excel Tips & Tricks: More Data Validation

Here is more information on Data Validation in Excel—which can be used to create cells with a controlled vocabulary. This eliminates typing errors and allows for easier filtering and searching.

Here's an earlier example of this tip.

Thanks to Katie Lake from the MRP team for providing content for this Excel tip!

Free NCCI Coffee Break March 22

Cultivating Leaders Committed to Change and Innovation
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Carruthers Hall Conference Room E Conference Room A

PresentersKathleen Scott, Director of Organizational Excellence and Administrative Operations and Thomas Gaffery, Manager of Special Projects and Parking, both of California State University, Fresno

Fresno State has been implementing successful lean projects across administrative and academic units for nearly a decade. Our challenge was to move from individual projects to a sustainable culture of innovation and improvement. In Fall 2014, we launched a pilot program, "Creativity and Innovation for Effectiveness" (CAIFE).  CAIFE was designed to engage faculty, staff and administrators in the process of institutional transformation in order to build institutional capacity and harness and embrace a lasting culture of innovation and creativity. The program blends individual development with focused efforts to enhance organizational effectiveness. The pilot included three distinct phases:
  1. Bold Idea Challenge - an all campus call from the President for ideas to improve services to students, teaching or learning innovations or ways to fix an inefficient process.
  2. Implementation of ideas coupled with Professional Development focused on innovation, process improvement and change management.
  3. Showcase of Excellence. We will share lessons learned from the CAIFE pilot and where we are going from here.

What you will learn:
  • Understand how an institution can evolve from individual lean projects to an overall campus-wide program
  • How to build a culture of innovation and excellence
  • Learn how lean business process improvement and change management are linked and how they can both benefit each other
  • Develop an action list for steps to create a nomination based process improvement program

Registration instructions:
UVA is a member of NCCI, so you may register using UVA. On the registration page, click Event Registration (top of page). Enter email address and follow the steps. When registering more than one person, click Event Registration, enter your email address again and your demographic information will appear. Edit the information by entering it into the fields for the person you are registering, including their email address.

Volunteer Opportunities

Below are several upcoming volunteer opportunities that Elizabeth Carey in UHR is heading up. Please let her know if you would like to sign up for any of them. (434-982-1484)

International Rescue Committee
Friday, March 25, 9 a.m- noon
Organizing donated items in a large storage area.

Saturday, April 30, 9 a.m.- noon
Trail clean up behind their building

Charlottesville City Schoolyard Garden 
Saturday, May 14
This event at Jackson-Via Elementary only has two people signed up.  If you can please spread the word and get people to sign up for that day especially, it would be really wonderful.

Habitat for Humanity 
Date TBA

Thursday, March 3, 2016

From Melody's Desk

Happy March – tis the month of spring. I love the longer days, the smell of a spring rain, and the bright sunny yellow of daffodils… and March Madness!

I hope that everyone has the Staff Appreciation Pancake Breakfast on your calendar: Tuesday, March 8th. Breakfast will be served from 7 to 9 am, but if you want me to serve your pancakes, come by between 8:30 and 9:00. In addition to pancakes, I will be serving sausage, scrambled eggs, and fruit (including gluten-free options). One hour of parking validation at Central Grounds Garage will be provided, but carpool if you can.

Thank you so much for participating in the small group sessions in early February. I know that everyone is curious to see how their group’s patterns and aspirations compared to other sessions. Check out the summarized patterns and aspirations.

Last Friday, 41 team members gathered for the Dream-Design-Destiny Summit. The day was jam packed with activities as we worked, laughed, dreamed, and collaborated on this ongoing, iterative strategic planning process. We used the patterns and aspirations gathered during the Discovery Phase II to collect the key ideas for our mission, vision, and core values. During the dream phase of the day, we crafted dream statements. And by “craft”, I mean the team got their hands dirty with play dough, glue, markers, glitter, pipe cleaners, construction paper, and discarded magazines:

In the afternoon, small groups broke out to design initial projects that will help us achieve our vision. Projects included ideas such as accessible and accurate data, rewards and recognition, and job shadowing. 

What’s next? On Wednesday, March 16th, Pat Hogan will join the entire team in the Newcomb Hall Ballroom as we unveil the UVAFinance mission, vision, core values, and initial projects. You will have an opportunity to volunteer on the project teams, celebrate our success, and begin the journey to our ideal organization. 

The February 26th Dream-Design-Destiny participants included:  Mark Anderson, Greg Ball, Andrew Bedotto, Isaiah Behnke, Mike Beverage, Dave Boling, Chris Brazelton, Paula Campbell, ToShun Campbell, Paula Chapman, Eric Denby, Judy DiVita, Meredith Dixon, Sarah Doran, Linda Estepp, Aaron Flynn, Nita Graves, Kelly Hochstetler, Kobby Hoffman, Charles Kidd, Steve Kimata, Shenika Knox, Judy Mallory, Christine Maxwell, Malika Ouenza, Jessica Rafter, Alice Reuther, Lorie Strother, Xavier Wiltbank, and Sabrina Whitcomb

Stakeholders:  Ashley Feero (HR), Chris DiVita (ITS), Angela Sherman (SOM), and Sue Herod (SCPS)

A special thanks to our facilitators:  Alaric Hammell, Danielle Hancock, Ana Lynch, Erika Priddy, Dan Saint, Lynne Schwar, and Disha Venkatesan.

SMART Goal Setting Workshops

The 2016 Performance Evaluation year is upon us! As we enter the planning phase of the performance management cycle, we’re holding several optional SMART Goal Setting workshops. In this workshop, consultants from University Human Resources will cover a brief introduction and the philosophy behind writing SMART goals. Additionally, the goals outlined in the UVAFinance Strategic Plan will be reviewed, and you will have the opportunity to write one or two, and possibly more, of your own SMART goals for the 2016 performance evaluation year!

You are invited to enroll in one of the following workshops:

Click on the link to enroll via Employee Self-Service. (Please note: links to the Integrated System will not load in the Google Chrome browser.)

Also, check out the Performance Management Toolkit!  Here you will find resources to help you throughout the Performance Management cycle, from planning to evaluation. Resources including tools for help in writing SMART goals, selecting competencies, conducting a self-evaluation, and using the Lead@UVa system.

Musicians of PSDS

By day Lorie Strother is a SWaM Contract Administrator in Procurement and Supplier Diversity Services but by night she is a semi-professional blues singer known as, ‘The Dreaded BluesLady.’  Strother has performed her interpretation of acoustic blues since the early 1990s.  She has recorded several music compilations to include Homemade Blues, Raw G, and The Morning After.  Since 2008 she has performed with her duo Dr. Levine and The Dreaded BluesLady, accompanied by Stephen Levine.  In 2012, along with her W.C. Handy Award winning mentor, Gaye Adegbalola, Strother was awarded a 2012-2013 Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.  Strother’s blues influences include artists such as Bessie Smith, Memphis Minnie, and Sippie Wallace.  Critics have said that Strother “sings the real true blues…with a big booming, bluesy voice.”  Corey Harris described her as “a real blues woman [who’s] got soul” and Living Blues Magazine has touted her singing as “assertive, expressive and sensitive.” To find out more information about Dr. Levine and The Dreaded BluesLady, including upcoming shows, visit the website at:

What got you started playing/performing?  
“I decided that I wanted to be a performer after I received my first standing ovation at a PTA event when I was nine years old.  I sang solo Debbie Boone’s, ‘You Light Up My Life’ accompanied by my classmates on chorus.  The audience response was something that I never expected but I felt immediate gratification from it and I wanted to do it again.  It would take several years for this dream to come to fruition.  I discovered the music of blues singer Bessie Smith while a music major at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. Her vocals and simple piano and horn accompaniment in Empty Bed Blues Part I/II intrigued me.  Before discovering Bessie, I was thoroughly entrenched in R&B music which were major productions featuring full bands. After Bessie, I began to wonder about the possibility of my starting a group that featured limited accompaniment.  My first opportunity for such a group came about in the 1990s.”

Which artist(s) has been your biggest inspiration in what you do? Why?
“My biggest artist inspiration in blues music is Bessie Smith.  Bessie was known as the ‘Empress of The Blues’ and was the most successful female blues artist of the 1920s/1930s. I love Bessie’s music because of the command that she had of her vocals.  This command of voice is something that I have aspired to since I first started performing.  Gaye Adegbalola, formerly of the Uppity Blues Women, is a modern inspiration.  Gaye’s stage presence is phenomenal and is at a level where any artist would want to see themselves.  She draws you into her performance and takes you along for the wild ride.  Gaye definitely entertains you.  I want to be able to continually improve my stage presence and my ability to entertain an audience through interaction.  Thinking back, I wish that my apprenticeship with Gaye was much longer because her experience in those areas is invaluable.”

What genre would you most identify with and what about it speaks to you the most?
“As evidenced by the music that I’ve been performing for the past 16 years, hands down it is blues music that I most identify with.  Blues music is a genre that is filled with emotion.  It is this emotion that I attempt to connect to when I perform.  When I’m in the pocket, I’m able to convey the emotion to the audience and they feel it. I know they do because they approach me afterwards and tell me, ‘I felt that song,’ ‘You gave me chills,’ ‘You had me crying,’ as an artist, this conveyance of emotion is what I’m after.”

Jay Gallimore is a Web Application Developer in Procurement and Supplier Diversity Services who also plays the acoustic guitar, banjo, and mandolin. He is not a professional musician but does play with various groups on special occasions. He has performed twice with Willow Creek at “Art in the Park” in Staunton, Virginia and also for a 2015 fund raising event at Western State Hospital. In May of 2014, Jay performed with Acoustic Connections at the 1st Annual Seafood Festival in Deltaville, Virginia. For the most part, Jay’s performances are limited to the occasional open mic, back porches, living rooms, “open jams” with other like-minded musicians, and one YouTube video.

What got you started playing/performing?
“I’ve always loved music and I suppose I have a predisposition to it since both of my parents are accomplished piano players. I started playing guitar in my early teens. I played in several bands during high school and for a brief period after. During those early years, most of my performances were for small private functions. Two of my more memorable gigs were an appearance at Trax in Charlottesville and a fraternity party at Longwood College.”

Which artist(s) has been your biggest inspiration in what you do? Why?
“Tony Rice has been the biggest influence on how I approach playing the guitar. I was in my early to mid-twenties when I heard his music for the first time and I was immediately captivated by his style. Tony is known for his flatpicking style which is simply playing the guitar using a ‘flat pick’ as opposed to playing with your fingers or finger picks. Tony is often referred to as a bluegrass musician but his style and influence, span genres which include progressive bluegrass, new grass, and acoustic jazz.”

What genre would you most identify with and what about it speaks to you the most?
“I like all types of music but I most closely identify with folk and the genres that are associated with Tony Rice, especially acoustic jazz. My playing style is more folk and bluegrass oriented but I love listening to acoustic jazz and aspire to play in that style someday.”

Welcome, Pam Starsia!

Pam received her undergraduate degree in Politics from Princeton University in 2003, and graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in 2006.  Prior to joining OSP, she began her career in the New York and DC offices of the law firm Skadden Arps.  She has also previously served as in-house counsel to the government of a Native American tribe, a civil rights litigation attorney in Baltimore, and General Counsel to the Food Truck Association of Metropolitan Washington.

In addition to her law practice experience, Pam has been a Teaching Fellow at the Penn State-Dickinson School of Law, where she co-taught courses on Business Planning for Mergers & Acquisitions, Ethics for the Business Attorney, Federal Regulatory and Administrative Law, and Congressional Investigations.  She has also served as the Director of Academic Support at the University of Virginia School of Law.

Pam lives in Charlottesville with her husband, Joe (who is an assistant Men’s Lacrosse coach at UVA) and their two sons, Dom (2 years) and Luigi (4 months).  In her non-work hours, you can find her chasing Little Dom around Klockner Stadium, or trying to decide whether it’s good parenting to bring a toddler and a baby into a craft brewery.

How to Be an Inbox Ninja

Ever struggled to write a concise, action-oriented email that effectively conveys your message? You're not alone—many otherwise high-performing professionals still struggle with using email to accomplish their goals. Read more and download the infographic at EAB.