Congratulations to Kimberly Stanley who has won the CoS Leadership in Action Award for her innovative and strategic leadership in the school.
Leadership in Action and Excellence in Leadership Staff Awards:
One $1,500 cash award and one or more $500 cash awards for exceptional contributions in one or more of the following areas:
- Innovative and Strategic Leadership
- Change Management
- Business Process / Continuous Improvement
- Special Project Leadership
- Similar Accomplishment to above
An Interview with Kimberly Stanley on Winning the Leadership in Action Staff Award
Edited by Cheng Mao and April McCruel
In 2013, I accepted the position as Administrative Manager in the School of Mathematics and within a year, I was promoted to Assistant Director of Business Operations. My decision to accept this position has proven to be very meaningful to me both personally and professionally. Throughout my time in the School of Math, I have had the opportunity to work with wonderful and dedicated faculty and staff. It is truly the people in the School of Mathematics that have enabled us to grow and thrive in spite of the many challenges we faced (and continue to face) during a global pandemic and its after effects.
As the Assistant Director of Business Operations, I am responsible for the day to day business and administrative functions in the School of Mathematics. I oversee the financial, payroll, hiring and HR components within the School of Mathematics. I supervise a staff of 11 motivated professionals whose commitment to the school inspires me daily. During the global pandemic, it was very apparent that business operations within the School of Mathematics would undergo major changes. Starting in 2020, the staff transitioned to a mostly remote working platform: however, the demands and obligations of the department were mostly unchanged. Financial reconciliation and tracking were still required, payroll was still being processed bi-weekly and monthly and HR transactions were still occurring daily. I needed an innovative plan in order to meet the needs of our faculty, keep up with the demands of the department and ensure that the staff could thrive in a remote and virtual environment. I decided to enact a three-pronged approach: communication, accessibility and flexibility.
Communication was definitely the foundation of my three-pronged approach. One of the challenges of moving to a mostly remote working environment is that it increases the chances that people will feel cut off and isolated. Communication was key to connectivity. For the past two years, I have met with each staff member weekly to check in with them, listen to their concerns, and make sure that weekly goals were realistic and manageable.
Accessibility was also a key component to my approach during the pandemic. I have always believed in an open door policy and being accessible during the pandemic was more important than ever. For the past two years, I have been accessible to faculty and staff via Microsoft Teams, Bluejeans, Zoom and cell phone. Even though I did not have many face to face meetings during the pandemic, I made sure that faculty and staff knew that I was (and continue to be) ready and available to address any business related issue.
Flexibility has also been essential to the success of our team during this challenging time. During the past two years, my staff and I have been very flexiable and open to new ideas, suggestions and ways of conducting business. Change can be difficult but it’s oftentimes flexibility that can change one’s perspective and enable us to embrace change.
The Leadership in Action Staff Award is a College of Sciences recognition awarded to individuals who have shown innovation and strategic leadership. Receiving this award and the recognition at the annual College of Sciences Spring Sciences Celebration was an honor and one of the highlights of my career at Georgia Tech. I would like to thank Dr. Rachel Kuske and Dr. Michael Lacey for their unwavering support over the years and especially during the pandemic. I would also like to thank my staff for their dedication and willingness to work with me to ensure that the School of Mathematics thrived during challenging conditions. Without teamwork and dedication, our successes would not have been possible.