Spring 2012 Employee Elected Trustee Candidate Profiles
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Jamie Duong (jd239)
As a CALS alumni, a former ILR employee and a current School of Hotel Administration employee, I have seen Cornell from several angles and have come to realize what works, what doesn’t, and what can be improved.
Employed by the School of Hotel Administration, served for one year as my fraternity’s alumni board representative, served for over a year for the Statler Sustainability Committee, currently serving my third year on the University Hearing and Review Board, previously a Volunteer IT Consultant for Slope Radio (student web radio organization)
Information Technologies, academic technologies, employee protections, diversity, and sustainability.
1.)A lack of clear communication from the central administration to the units; high employee dissatisfaction and low morale; too many unknowns about the future of the University’s administrative organization.
2.)As an employee trustee I would propose and support proposals that address improving the situation for staff at Cornell. In order to provide faculty and students with the tools necessary to keep Cornell at top of higher education it is necessary that support staff be given the resources and freedom to carry out their work. To further that goal I would also support initiatives that define clear objectives for the colleges so that they can plan for the future.
Greg Mezey (gnm5)
Whether my country, university, or community, I relish opportunities to meet others needs. My career in hospitality is service oriented. I have always felt a responsibility to contribute to the well-being of those around me.
My work to better Cornell doesnt end when I close my office door. I serve on boards where my involvement ranges from mentoring undergraduates to fiscal stewardship of longtime campus organizations. This, combined with my passion for everything Cornell, has developed me and brought me to a place where I know I am ready to serve you as Employee Elected Trustee.
Community involvement on campus:
I currently serve on several volunteer boards and have previously held many leadership positions in campus organizations. I serve as chapter councilor and member of the board of directors for the Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter on campus. I am also actively involved with my alumni class council, serving as vice president of gifts. I strive to always serve as an ambassador to Cornell, always seeking ways to better the campus through various relationships and involvement. I continually look for new opportunities and unique ways to get involved in my community and will continue to do so.
I enjoy cooking, traveling and volunteering my time to better my fraternity. Alongside other alums, I provide leadership training to our undergraduates and alumni across the northeast.
I have real passion for child nutrition. I believe our children are the key to our future and we need to provide them with healthful, nutritious food. I have worked with the National Food Service Management Institute spreading this message across the country by hosting a television series. I am also passionate about developing strong alumni relations to the various alumni groups I am a member of while keeping them engaged in university.
I will work to represent Cornell employees while ensuring the strategic success of the university and its stakeholders if elected employee trustee. With the results of the recent employee survey, it is a critical time to develop new solutions. I chose to work at Cornell because of the caliber of the employees at Cornell. As a graduate of Cornell I can attest firsthand to the importance of our staff in delivering a world-class educational experience. Our university is built upon four key pillars: Staff, Students, Alumni and Faculty. All these elements must stand united and strong for us to achieve success.
The recent employee survey shows us that we have some work to do. The top priority for the President, Trustees and all of us as employees should be to find short and long-term solutions to the opportunities identified by the survey. We must work with our senior leadership and the board of trustees to strengthen our workforce and ensure we correctly allocate resources necessary for our success.
As Trustee, I will ensure we look continually for input while finding new ways to recognize our employees and create opportunities for advancement. Having chosen Cornell for both my place of education and employment I have a deeply rooted understanding of the operations and goals of the university. This, combined with my passion for Cornell, has developed me as an individual and brought me to a place where I know I am ready to serve you as Employee Elected Trustee.
Alan Mittman (alm63)
As a Cornell alum, former alumni club president and Cornell Trustee Council member, experienced corporate litigation lawyer, past Employee Assembly Executive Committee member and present Director, Workforce Policy & Labor Relations, I am well prepared to advocate for employees as Employee Trustee. In my positions since 2002, I have addressed employee concerns involving employee/labor relations, discrimination/harassment and policies affecting all colleges and units. I have worked with leadership at Weill Cornell Medical College and will work on NYC Tech campus issues soon. I have the confidence and skills to present employee perspectives to trustees to serve the university’s best interests.
Community involvement on campus:
I served as Finance Chair and as Personnel Committee and Executive Committee member of Employee Assembly for two years helping redraft its by-laws, host an energy fair and president’s address to staff and recognize outstanding employee contributions. I served as HR Crises Manager, providing potential support around-the-clock for staff in need, and currently sit on the Emergency CARE Fund committee, helping to raise and allocate funds for employee emergencies. I am involved with students in my work and as a house fellow at Keeton House and periodically contribute articles to the Pawprint and Chronicle on matters of interest to staff.
My life’s focus has been on family, work and a love of learning. I am a proud grandfather, married to my high school sweetheart - an accomplished writer and artist - with two children, one, a Cornell grad, now professor of art history, and one a writer for television. Returning to Ithaca in 2001, I focused on giving back to Cornell and to promote fair and equitable employment and educational practices. Outside Cornell, I taught at TC3, served on the boards of The Kitchen Theatre and S.T.A.M.P., and acted as mediator for C.D.R.C. and volunteer attorney for Prisoners Legal Services.
Recently, 70% of us completed a staff survey and it was encouraging that 80% of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with working at Cornell. I agree with the President that such responses reflect loyalty and devotion to Cornell and that there is room for improvement. I will make it priority #1 to inform the President and Trustees about employee feedback while advocating for changes in the four survey areas the President identified:
- Managing increased and seemingly unfairly distributed workload - I
will keep our focus there.
- Feedback on supervisory performance and more participation in
decisions that affect employees —employees have much expertise to add.
- Inconsistent application of policy, including schedule-flexing,
wellness-activities and coursework — I work on policy and I am well-situated to change it.
- Enhance career development opportunities — a goal my unit is working on.
Nothing would be worse than failing to address the survey’s key messages. As an attorney, I have advocated with executives and professionals and am confident in my ability to represent and advocate for employee interests as Trustee. My work on Employee Assembly, HR Council and as the university’s labor relations representative will serve me well as Trustee as I regularly consult with, and am trusted by, staff, supervisors/management, union officials and senior leadership including vice-presidents and deans throughout the university. As a result, I am uniquely qualified to represent our employee interests arising from the survey and elsewhere, and to advocate for us to the Board and communicate its decisions/information.
Karl Smolenski (kws4)
I came to Cornell 25 years ago as an undergraduate and started working at Noyes Cafeteria, Uris Library, and Wilson Synchrotron Lab. These campus work experiences as a student shaped me as much as any lecture in the classroom. I earned a management masters degree through the employee degree program and have put it to use as a project engineer at Wilson Lab, where I’ve been involved in large-scale capital equipment and building projects involving stakeholders from across campus. Throughout my career Ive worked with broad diverse groups of people to implement solutions to complex problems.
Community involvement on campus:
- Member of Energy Recovery Linac team proposing to build $400 million accelerator on campus
- Analyzed financial viability of proposed West Hill wind turbine farm with CEE graduate students
- Mentor in REU programs for summer students and the FRESH program that gives STEM freshmen a look at careers on campus
- With The Learning Web brought local high school students to campus for research internships
- Introduced hundreds of visitors and local community members to Wilson Lab as tour guide during campus events
- Mentor to many student independent academic projects including FSAE
race car team
The CornellNYC Tech Campus offers a great opportunity to attract talented faculty and students from around the globe. We need to ensure Ithaca and Geneva employees are a vital part of this venture. I am committed to having employees involved in the planning of the new campus at every level, contributing the spirit and culture of Cornell with their participation. Employees should be offered the chance to participate through rotating assignments or brief appointments to the new campus. The project must offer opportunity and a positive impact on our existing campuses to be successful. For more information see http://www.smolenski.co/trustee .
Watching my wife graduate from Cornell was one of my proudest days. I could see in her face how important what she had achieved was to her, and how important the work all of us do is to the students we support. In the 25 years I’ve been part of the campus community, the experiences I’ve had working with great people and the events I’ve been part of, have shaped who I am. Whether traying on Libe Slope, celebrating Dragon Day, cheering on the Lacrosse team, or picnicking in the plantations, it is a deep and abiding love for Cornell that best prepares me to serve as a trustee.
Moving forward from the layoffs, cutbacks, and instability of the last four years we must provide opportunities for employee involvement and advancement. Employees are the backbone that holds campus together and keeps it running. How can we better include employees in the critical decisions that will shape the future of Cornell? Employees with decades of experience have limited openings for challenging their abilities and moving into senior positions at the University. How can we leverage the educational assets that Cornell and local colleges offer to increase the abilities of the staff? I am committed to increasing the number of staff in the Employee Degree Program to obtain credentials needed to move into higher paying positions. We need to ensure there are opportunities for training, self improvement, and promotion available for ALL employees.