Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Take 5 with Vernita ParkerComposed of a diverse array of faculty, staff and administrators, the Oakland University community is unique, creative, and dedicated. As part of a continuing effort to explore the various roles and lives of our Golden Grizzlies, the News @ OU website presents a new interview series. We invite you to share these stories and “Take 5” with OU.
By Katie Land, news editor
“Take 5 with Vernita Parker”
Vernita Parker is the executive secretary to the president. She joined the Oakland University community in 1994 in the Finance and Administration Division before moving on in 2000 to the Office of the President. Vernita was recognized last spring as one of the inaugural recipients of the Sharon Wilhelm Award. The Michigan native works to manage President Russi’s schedule, and to ensure the smooth and varied operations of the office.
1) What is a typical workday like?
The president’s office is always busy. When I arrive, I always check my inbox and emails to see if there are any notes from the president or the executive assistant that I need to handle right away, either by rescheduling or rearranging his day. I assist and greet guests to our office and keep the president on schedule with his back-to-back meetings, phone calls, and events. He has frequent breakfast meetings that often begin early, as well as dinner meetings and other campus events. I also work with others internally and externally to accomplish goals and respond to emergencies as they arise. Each day can bring a different set of challenges, which makes my job even more interesting. When everything finally lines up, I always feel good knowing that I have accomplished my goal.
2) What is something you are looking forward to?
I am looking forward to going on a cruise in the Bahamas with my family this year, as well as visiting family and friends out of state. I really love spending time with my family. I’ve never been on a cruise ship, so this will be a first-time experience for me. We like to take road trips in the summer, which I really enjoy because I don’t like to fly. It’s nice to be on the road, because I am able to see more and stop frequently.
3) Can you describe your typical Sunday routine?
My typical Sunday involves making breakfast for my family. Afterwards, we like to attend church together. I love to worship with my family. Sometimes we will go out to dinner together or with more family members. My husband and I visit with our parents. After resting, I begin to prepare my family and myself for the week.
4) What do you like best about working at Oakland?
Definitely the students. I love to see how the students interact with each other. There are so many personalities. I love to see the freshmen students arrive at the New Student Convocation every year, they are always so excited and new. It’s nice to watch them grow on campus together and finally watch them graduate at commencement.
5) What issues are important to you?
I wish that more people knew what resources were available for those with a low income. I don’t like to see people struggle for the basic necessities. Also, I think it is so important to say the right words and be positive towards others. You never know whose heart may be touched by your kindness.