As a child I used to break bread bag tags in half, notch them in my finger and flick them across the room. Strangely satisfying. That’s what today feels like.
It feels weird to have a day of only two meetings. I’m ticking off overdue tasks like a boss, while my colleagues over on the Advancement side work late counting all the Giving Tuesday contributions to VIU student assistance funds.
One of my long overdue tasks was to do a review. Ideally I’d do one every week, but I’ve been running so hard since I started my job at Vancouver Island University at the end of August, I haven’t had a chance to slow down, catch up, and take stock of what (if anything) I’ve accomplished in the last three months. Today was that day, (and also I started reading Working Out Loud) so here goes.
(Most of the events listed are ones my department is responsible for organizing, so you can imagine the work behind the scenes that goes into them. Many of them are community events at which VIU is expected to have a presence. I realized very quickly this job involves quite a bit of face-to-face relationship building; and no one works more tirelessly at this than our President, Ralph Nilson.)
Aug 24 | Started with Dan taking an entire morning to let me know what’s coming down the line for Fall events, projects, etc.
Aug 27 | Senate retreat – our University Secretary gave a Governance 101 talk for all new members, which was extremely helpful.
Various | Open House planning with my team. Feels like I’m drinking from a fire hose. Meetings. Lots of meetings.
Aug 31-Sept 1 | Board of Governors retreat
Sept 2 | Senior Management Group (SMG) retreat
Various | Rock the VIU (orientation day) planning with Enrolment Management and my team. Dan left to be a full time Dad for nine months, with instructions to call him to consult on the big decisions, and if I am really stuck and need advice. Meetings. I asked my assistant to book me onboarding meetings with Deans, Directors, etc.
Sept 8 | BC Business Council reception: First Nations Leaders and BC government cabinet members, plus hundreds of others, in Vancouver.
Sept 11 | Golf for Life fundraiser for the health district
Various | I realize government relations is a huge part of my job. Of course I was an ideal candidate as I used to work in government. More meetings.
Sept 17 | Community Futures event downtown Nanaimo
Sept 18 | United Way campaign kick-off breakfast
Various | still trying to get laptop, notebook, phone, travel to and from Vancouver, etc. all set up. Did I mention I go to a lot of meetings?
Sept 21-23 | Trip to Ottawa with my boss and representatives from two other Universities; two full days of meetings with various officials and organizations.
Sept 24 | Board of Governors committee meetings and regular meeting.
Oct 2 | VIU Open House wherein we invite the community to come and experience what we have to offer
Oct 2 | VIU Library 10th anniversary donor recognition event. I got to support my friend Tim Atkinson, the University Librarian and overall wonderful guy.
Various | Attempted break-in at the furnished apartment I had rented in Nanaimo resulting in a quick move to campus housing, in the midst of all the meetings. My colleagues are extremely supportive during all this.
Oct 6 | Newcomers to Nanaimo event at the museum downtown, attended mainly by international students from VIU and the high school at VIU
Oct 6 | Vital Signs report launch, Nanaimo Foundation
Oct 8 | World Remembers Project Launch
Various | Our marketing manager moved on to another job, so within a month and a half I am faced with a vacancy in my department. I decided to hire someone on a short term basis to do a marketing assessment, because I needed more time and data before searching for a replacement.
Various | Faculty Association collective bargaining agreement reached; preparing the department budget submission for next fiscal year; preparing goals for myself and my department. If there was an event this week, I must have missed it! But of course, the ever-present meetings.
Oct 20 | Chris Hadfield comes to Nanaimo! I greeted him at our VIU event in the afternoon, then attended his talk at the Nanaimo Port Theatre that evening. Afterwards, I got a selfie with him!
Oct 23 | VIU Report to the Community launch including a breakfast with Board/Donors, and a wider VIU community event during the day.
Various | Prepare Key Messages for 2015-16 based on President’s Report to the Community speech; prepare Q2 Variance report for Finance. Meetings meetings meetings.
Oct 28-29 | VIEA Summit: VIU hosted one of the keynote speakers, Shawn Atleo; also Premier Clark made an announcement related to VIU capital projects. Made for an extremely busy week!
Oct 30 | VIU United Way Campaign kick-off event
Various | After presenting my budget to the President and VPs last week, I was sent back to make some revisions. I did those and re-submitted.
Nov 4 | Nanaimo Airport Open House
Nov 5 | Nanaimo-Ladysmith Public Schools public meeting
Nov 9 | Toured Milner Gardens in Qualicum. Yes, VIU has a Gardens and teahouse!
Nov 10 | Travel back home to Vancouver for Nov 11 holiday.
Nov 12 | Back to Nanaimo – VIU Town Hall with the President – Nanaimo campus
Nov 13 | VIU Town Hall with the President – Cowichan campus (Duncan)
Various | meetings, meetings, meetings. Final touches on the VIU Magazine. We ramped up for the Indigenous Lecture Series event later on in November.
Nov 18 | Youth Futures Fund announcement in Victoria; wherein we could not drive to Victoria because of a horrible accident that closed the Malahat Drive into the city, so my colleagues in Advancement chartered a float plane to get 6 representatives from VIU there, including two students who were formerly in foster care, who have taken advantage of the Tuition Waiver program. It was an inspiring, adventurous day. We later got some sponsorship to help us out with the float plane costs. Have I mentioned how amazing our Advancement team is?
Nov 19 | BC Business Summit in Vancouver
Various | planning for the Indigenous Lecture Series and the CEO roundtable meeting with business and First Nations leaders, hosted by our Shqwi qwal for Indigenous Dialogue, Shawn Atleo.
Nov 25 | Young Professionals of Nanaimo Advisory Board. No, I’m no longer a “young” professional – they ask us oldsters for advice from time to time. I was honoured to be invited.
Nov 26 | Board of Governors meeting
Nov 26 | CEO Roundtable
Nov 26 | inaugural Indigenous Speakers Series lecture (to be broadcast on Ideas on CBC Radio One December 14); reception afterwards.
Nov 27 | Premier’s LNG Advisory Council in Vancouver
Various | Thursday was a long, long, long day. I spent the weekend recovering.
I set out to review accomplishments, and I realize most of these are events rather than accomplishments per se. But writing a coherent budget submission within 2 months of starting a job sure felt like an accomplishment to me, as did the myriad events, new people met, new connections made, new relationships that all those events and meetings represent. I have a stellar staff and lots of support. Conducting a review like this really puts all my body of work into perspective, and lets me take a realistic look at what’s possible to get done with the resources I have, in the timeframe I’ve got.
Early new year’s resolution? Do these reviews once per week. Now that I’m starting to get my feet under me, that seems more likely.