Wednesday, December 18, 2019

A Conversation with Augie Maurelli, UVAFinance’s new AVP

Augie, his wife Kristen (a VA native) and their two boys

We caught up with A. Leigh “Augie” Maurelli on his fourth day on the job in UVAFinance as AVP of Finance. Although his office was bustling with activity and visitors, he took some time to chat about his first few days at UVA. 
Q. You were at the University of Delaware for over nine years before coming to UVA; what interested you in this position with UVAFinance?

A.  I saw this role as a tremendous opportunity to work at one of the most highly-regarded institutions in the country just at the time they’re getting ready to go through Finance Transformation and the Workday implementation. I liked the idea of contributing to a project of that magnitude. This role also gives me the opportunity to oversee areas in which I had direct knowledge and experience, but also, to expand my portfolio and take a larger leadership role.

Plus, who doesn’t want to live in Charlottesville, Virginia?

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Q. Obviously, it’s early yet, but what are your impressions of UVA so far? 

A.  Higher education has a lot of similarities from location to location, but at the same time, every culture is unique. I’m trying to immerse myself and understand UVA’s culture. I know for sure that it has been an incredibly welcoming and hospitable environment. I’m excited to see an R1 institution that has a state affiliation that still manages to be decentralized in an effort to support the mission. That’s rare – when you have state and federal regulation, there can be a stifling of the institution’s ability to seek and serve. UVA is a pleasant surprise in that way.

Q. And how about UVAFinance? What is interesting or notable about your new department?

A. Well, for one thing, it’s reassuring that I’m not the only one who’s new! I’m coming in on the latter half of a lot of realignment, which means there’s lots of opportunity for business process improvements and system improvements, as well as an opportunity for all of us to come together as a team and approach finance holistically rather than individual functional departments.

Q. What are some of your immediate priorities?

A.  I recently shared with my direct reports my 30-60-90 day / one-year plan to my team. For the next 12 months, my strategy is to tackle the pressing tasks immediately and proceed methodically on the bigger projects. In addition, Im hoping to gain some consistency and standards regarding how UVA Finance conducts business across all of our functional areas

Q. You have an interesting dual background in athletics and finance. Do you see the two complementing one another?

A. I was a senior administrator in athletics when I chose to move to central finance several years ago. My past experience gave me a window into how the end-user perceives and values central finance, and that perspective served me well in my new role. Athletics is a time-sensitive, demanding environment, and I try to translate that urgency across the entire enterprise, including central finance. It’s a “both sides of the coin” type of thing: I’ve gotten to “run a business” with the help of central finance, and then apply what I learned in that role as a finance leader with a greater appreciation of how board and vast a University’s operations can be.

Q. When you’re not on the job, what activities keep you busy? 

A. Recently, it’s family that keeps me busy. I have two sons, ages two and four. My wife and I are both former athletes, and we attend lots of athletic events and stay socially engaged on the campuses where we’ve been and we’re looking forward to continuing that at UVA. I’m excited to be at a school in this conference – UVA has had an amazing run lately in basketball, lacrosse, soccer and so many other sports. Our student athletes do an amazing job representing UVA.

Q. What’s your favorite thing about Charlottesville so far?

A. Well, it’s only been four days, but I get the sense that Charlottesville has everything a major market has to offer without the major market challenges. Plus, it’s absolutely beautiful – just the best of both worlds!

Anchovies, Antiques, and Implementations: Meet FST’s Workday Lead, Jackie Tucker

Jackie Tucker’s experience with implementing Workday at Yale made her a natural pick for the Finance Strategic Transformation team, but her perfect fit for the position goes beyond that experience. Tucker’s passion is working with teams to understand processes and problems, make improvements, and implement software that truly addresses needs.

For most of her career, she has worked with applications, holding IT and technical support roles, running data centers, overseeing network operations, and guiding hardware purchases. She’s overseen both the functional side and the application side of tech in business.

At Yale, she worked on many system implementations in a variety of projects and came to appreciate and enjoy the process of clarifying the business requirements for the software.

"I absolutely love the implementation phase of projects,” she says.

“I feel about implementations like some people feel about anchovies on pizza – they love the pizza, but not the anchovies. Implementations are like the anchovies on the pizza and I say bring them on!”

Tucker says the fulfillment she gets from implementations comes from the energizing and rewarding nature of working in a team environment, understanding business processes and working with teams to find solutions. 

“It’s not a one-sided process at all,” she states.

“You really have to listen and understand. There are so many different people to learn from on an implementation, and I like seeing the end result of that collaboration.”

Another bonus to system implementations, according to Tucker, is the unique opportunity organizations have to influence project design. UVA, she says, is perfectly positioned to help shape Workday product for higher education as a design partner.

“Workday encourages design partnerships. They are very committed to providing higher ed specific functionality. UVA can step right up to the plate and help influence product design.”

Although she’s only been in Charlottesville and on the job for a week, she has found people in the area kind and welcoming, and the UVAFinance team cohesive and welcoming.

The love of making improvements while honoring the past runs deep with Tucker: when she’s not implementing systems or helping to make business processes more efficient, she spends time refinishing antique furniture.

“I’m actually not very good at it and that’s what attracts me to it,” she laughs, but admits she’s getting better all the time.

“My latest project was a refinished bureau – it started out rough, but now it looks like something that I might buy in a store!”

If her career path is any indication of her love to delve into a project while understanding and respecting the past structure, there should be lots of pieces in our area antiques stores that could have a new, refurbished future ahead of them.

Financial Operations Welcomes Steve Marciniak

Steve Marciniak has joined the Financial Reporting & Operations team as Senior Payment Card Compliance Analyst. Marciniak comes most recently from the Boar’s Head Resort, where he was Senior Systems Engineer for over four years. 
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Marciniak brings several years of experience in IT and systems engineering from roles at Sentara, Northrop Grumman and more. Although his new role is a career change, it builds upon a foundation of knowledge and experience he gained working with PCI Compliance at the Boar’s Head. His background in networking and IT support will serve him well as he now focuses more on finance control.

“Every organization is different when it comes to IT,” Marciniak says, adding that those differences have given him numerous opportunities to assess situations and figure out the best course of action.

Having been a “jack of all trades” during his IT career, Marciniak says he looks forward to his new area of focus and getting to know his new department and colleagues.

Besides the warm welcome from his colleagues, Marciniak is enjoying another benefit of his new role and diverging career path: a sizable workspace instead of a shared space with the hum of servers.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Operations Issue Resolution Team Tackles the Tough Problems

Since a few months after Workday Human Capital Management (HCM) went live at UVA, a cross-functional team has been working together behind the scenes to solve the most challenging problems experienced by stakeholders.

The Operations Issue Resolution (OIR) Team was assembled by EVP-COO J.J. Davis, VP of Finance Melody Bianchetto, Chief Information Office Virginia Evans, and Chief Human Resource Officer Kelley Stuck and initially charged with resolving lingering cases after Workday HCM go-live.

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The team was tapped with getting into the Salesforce queue used by the Solution Center to manage its cases and identifying those that were unresolved for over 90 days. The team’s membership includes experts from ITS, UVA HR, and UVAFinance --the right membership to take on these cases and resolve them quickly and thoroughly.

The OIR Team was also asked to develop standard work focused on 1) identify potential issues early and prevent future problems; and 2) effectively coordinate and resolve issues unforeseen issues.

With the help of the dedicated team at the HR Solution Center, most hiccups, questions, and issues post-go-live could be addressed quickly and efficiently, but not all issues were straightforward. The thorny, complex cases that involve more than one working area, and are the kind that usually cause stakeholders in the field the biggest headaches are the ones assigned to the OIR Team.
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As OIR Team member Kelly Hochstetler of UVAFinance says, the team serves an important role of optimizing across the “white space” between the three groups. Hochstetler says the OIR Team has worked closely together to resolve the complex problems and provide final, permanent fixes.

Even though the right experts are at the table working on the issues, fixes to these issues can be hindered by system limitations. Often, helping to resolve this type of complex problem involves building a manual, time-intensive short-term solution until a system or process change can be put in place to keep the problem from recurring. Even when the team is able to “solve” the problem from the stakeholder’s viewpoint, it can take an Oracle or Workday patch, or even a new integration or process that is still to come from Finance Strategic Transformation before the case can be considered truly closed.

"This has been a valuable experience to address complex issues across functions. It has increased the rapport and made it easier for awareness, as well as relationship building between HR, IT, and Finance," says Gabriela Garcia Largen, Director of the HR Solution Center.

"The number of issues resolved by the team demonstrates that the collaboration across functions makes a difference," she adds.

To date, the OIR Team has addressed 75 complex, cross-functional cases. One thing that the team is particularly proud of is that there has not been a recurrence of any of the problems it has addressed and officially closed.

Because of the team’s success, and the ongoing need for such cross-functional collaboration, the OIR Team is becoming a permanent, operationalized team, whose members will adapt to changing needs but continue to provide monthly and quarterly reports of activities and accomplishments to UVA leadership.

Hochstetler says the team functions kind of like a rapid response team: “We’re not delivering anything new or fancy,” she says, “we’re just trying to keep the trains moving.”

For many UVA stakeholders, those running trains will mean expedited resolution to problems, prevention of new issues, and even educational opportunities to help future issues from occurring.

FST Update: Wrapping up Phase 2; looking toward Phase 3

Not only will we ring in a new year this January, but we'll also ring in a new phase of FST.  Here are a few points to keep in mind as we look back at Phase 2 and ahead toward Phase 3.

Want to listen to this update instead of reading it?  Tune in to WFST Radio now!

Phase 2: Readiness

Phase 2 has been a time of intense work, together with our stakeholders and partners across Grounds.
One important happening is that The FST Steering committee voted in favor of expanding the Planning and Budgeting Pilot. Next, we'll need to decide which schools and business units will participate in the expanded pilot, and define a roll-out schedule

Additionally, a cross-functional working group has been working to refine the FST Design Principles, using feedback from the Advisory Committee and the Steering Committee. You can view the design principles here on the FST website. 

In Phase 2, we have sought to identify high-level change impacts through a variety of activities, including our Business Process Discovery sessions, the Chart of Accounts Straw Model, Workday HCM and Finance Integrations, and more. These change impacts will help us confirm the scope and budget of the project, understand and communicate what is changing, inform our change management plans, and guide further analysis during Phase 3.

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Phase 3: Implementation

FST is a multi-step journey. So what's next? In January, Phase 3 begins. And yes, that's "Phase 3: Implementation" -- remember that we have a long lead time before go-live!  Phase 3 stretches from January 2020 through June of 2021, which gives us a long time to plan, architect, configure and prototype, and to test the system thoroughly.

Visit the FST website for a more detailed look at the Phase 3 Timeline.

As we move into Phase 3, you'll notice the project team getting larger as we add the expertise and bandwidth this phase will require. As we've dug into Phase 2 these past several months, it's been terrific to have the partnership of schools and units, with folks sharing their concerns, their ideas, and questions. We're truly looking forward to what Phase 3 will bring, and to that continued work and partnership. 

Comments and questions are welcome in the online community, and here on the blog.

Visit FST on the web:

Email us at 

Thank you for your generosity!

Thank you to all who contributed to the Community Feast Project this year. Contributions from Carruthers Hall, O’Neil Hall, and the Dynamics Building helped to provide Thanksgiving meals to over 50 families in the Charlottesville area (over 20 were directly from our food and monetary donations). 

Your generous donations made it possible for these families to enjoy this special meal, which would have been impossible otherwise.

Brenda Nalley recognized by Organizational Excellence

Brenda Nalley of the UVAFinance FST project team was recently recognized with Organizational Excellence's Spotlight on Excellence for her continuous improvement efforts, specifically leading the adoption of DocuSign in UVAFinance. Implementation of DocuSign helped several units refine processes for better outcomes. The software made it possible to transition from paper to digital with a complete audit trail and improved security.
The Excellent Brenda Nalley

Nalley’s colleague Ruth Parcells said, “DocuSign has reduced to minutes what used to take weeks or months of work.”

In collaboration with Rachel Sliger from Enterprise Solutions in Information Technology Services, Nalley identified this application that met her colleagues’ needs and was already successfully in use at UVA. So far five UVAFinance units have implemented DocuSign, and the impact of Nalley’s contributions will continue to grow as more units do as well. She goes out of her way to share information about the product and train those interested in using it.

Congratulations, Brenda!

See past winners of OE's Spotlight on Excellence here:

Monday, December 16, 2019

Tax Form Updates from University Payroll

It's that time again:  time to start thinking about taxes!  Please review the tax form information provided by University Payroll on their site:

You're Invited: 2019 Legislative Forum

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UVAFinance Holiday Party Photos

These folks know how to plan a party!

Thank you to the UVAFinance Holiday Party planning committee for a festive bash on December 13!  We had a great time celebrating with our colleagues.

Click here to see pictures from the event. Thanks to Danielle Hancock for the great photos!

Congratulations to the Finance Outreach & Compliance/ ASG team for their winning Gingerbread House creation!


Mark your calendar to meet local SWaM firms!

The University of Virginia’s Procurement and Supplier Diversity Services is hosting a Meet Local SWaMs (Small, Women, and Minority Businesses) Day on Wednesday, January 15. 

We are inviting 15 well-established local SWaM firms (that already are doing business with your peer schools and departments across Grounds) to UVA for a free, single-day event to help all of us get better acquainted. 

We encourage you to drop by the Commonwealth Room from 12pm-2pm where tables will be set up to help these companies showcase their goods and services (e.g., custom screen printing, media and content marketing, batteries and bulbs, limo and transportation services, IT services and peripherals, big data solutions, cyber security, mobile shelving and high-density storage solutions, physical security, design and graphics, catering, custom banners, displays, and signage, full-color offset printing, state-of-the-art digital printing, bindery services, interior design, and interior landscaping (live plants).

Want to know more about working with SWaM businesses?

If your school or department would like to learn more about identifying and working with SWaM businesses to meet your ever-growing need for quality goods and services, contact Jack King (jek7s). He will be happy to come by your school/department at your convenience to discuss the benefits of identifying and developing relationships with small, minority-owned, and women-owned vendors.

Visit Supplier Diversity on the web!

See which companies are participating after the jump!

WFST Radio: Broadcast for December 17, 2019

WFST is your Transformation Station!

Today we bring you a quick look back at Phase 2 of FST, as well as a look ahead at what's coming in 2020 as Phase 3 begins.

Resources Mentioned:

Design Principles
Phase 3 Timeline

From the Carruthers Hall Green Team: Power down before leaving town!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Are you a multitasker?

Many of us like to think we're good at multitasking.  The bad news is, there's no such thing as multitasking, and the worse news is, what we're doing when we think we're multitasking is detrimental to our productivity, our creativity, and the quality of our work.  

Tune in to the latest episode of Finance Matters to learn how multitasking affects us, and how to cope with a world of distractions and "single task" instead.