Campus News

Twelve employees selected for third cohort of Women’s Staff Leadership Institute

Twelve University of Georgia staff members have been selected to participate in the third cohort of the Women’s Staff Leadership Institute.

Launched in 2017, the WSLI is an annual program aligned with the Women’s Leadership Initiative launched in 2015 by the Office of the President and the Office of the Provost.

The program is administered through the Office of Human Resources’ Training and Development with the support of executive sponsor Jennifer L. Frum, vice president for public service and outreach. Allie Cox, director of training and development, coordinates the institute.

“Through this program, women staff members at UGA are gaining critical skills that will help them advance professionally and personally,” said Frum. “By networking they are naturally introduced to career paths that they may not be aware exist but that fall in line with their career goals.”

Juan Jarrett, associate vice president for human resources, agrees.

“This program helps address a critical need to support women in their careers and guides them through particular issues they face in leadership,” he said.“Human Resources Training and Development strives to help the university community succeed and flourish in their diverse and varied roles, and the Women’s Staff Leadership Institute is a significant part of that effort.”

The cohort includes employees from seven units and five schools and colleges. The 2019 program runs April to November. Participants are meeting monthly to attend workshops and discussions.

Members of the 2019 class are:

Siara Abdulla, the senior regional director of development in the Division of Development & Alumni Relations. Abdulla, who first worked at UGA from 2007-2013, returned to the university in 2014. She leads a team of regional development directors based in cities throughout the country with a focus on fundraising metrics, prospect management, engagement and travel. While expanding the university’s regional programs, she builds and maintains relationships with alumni and friends in an effort to raise leadership and major gifts for all of the university’s schools, colleges and units.

Cheri Bliss, the director of Graduate Student Services. She oversees all aspects of graduate admissions and enrolled student services for the Graduate School. At UGA since 1996, Bliss works closely with academic departments across campus to assist prospective graduate students in applying for admission to graduate programs and assists departments and students with degree completion.

Victoria David, the director of diversity affairs in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. She has worked for UGA since 2008. David supports faculty- and staff-led diversity and inclusion initiatives in CAES and campus-wide. She provides leadership and vision for the recruitment, retention and the development of support programs for underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students, and she responds to areas in need of multicultural outreach and engagement state-wide.

Jenna Jackson, the associate director of admissions and diversity programs for the School of Law. At UGA since 2015, Jackson is responsible for recruiting and admitting a talented and diverse student body to the law school. She also facilitates the development and implementation of programs that support diversity and inclusivity in the law school community.

Heather LaBarbera, the director of student services for the UGA ­Athletic Association. LaBarbera assists
600 student-athletes with personal development and leadership. She oversees numerous student-athlete events and initiatives, including the annual Honors Banquet, #MoreThanMySport: A Women’s Initiative and the student-athlete graduate assistantship program. She has been at UGA since 2002.

Toni Rogers, the director of instruction fiscal affairs in the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. She provides oversight and management of the budgets and day-to-day financial operations for the senior vice president for academic affairs and the vice president for instruction. At UGA since 1996, Rogers also leads business managers in the departments under the senior vice president for academic affairs and provost as well as the vice president for instruction by giving guidance and training on budget, financial and human resources policy issues.

Amanda Sale, the senior associate director of admissions for marketing and recruitment in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Sale, who has been at UGA since 2016, is responsible for the creation and oversight of multilevel electronic and print communication campaigns for undergraduate admissions. She facilitates statewide and national recruitment efforts for prospective undergraduate students, parents and high school counselors.

Rebecca Scarbro, the associate director for student conduct in the Division of Student Affairs. She is responsible for receiving and responding to complaints regarding alleged violations of UGA’s code of conduct and for resolving alleged violations of the code. At UGA since 2015, Scarbro provides oversight for all case ­assignments, budget management, office supervision and coordination of the office’s outreach initiatives, including all first-year and transfer orientation sessions. She also assists with the coordination and facilitation of the university’s student sexual misconduct hearings.

Sarah Sorvas, the special projects manager for the Georgia Center for Continuing Education & Hotel. Sorvas serves as chief of staff to the Georgia Center director and advises on business administration and operations. She manages university-wide collaborations for all special projects at the Georgia Center and is the primary liaison for UGA senior administration offices for all special events at the Georgia Center. She has been at UGA since 2016.

Jen Williams, the senior communications director in the College of Education. At UGA since 2011, Williams is responsible for the overall planning and direction of the College of Education communication activities. She promotes the college to its various internal and external stakeholders in support of the college’s teaching, research and service missions.

Beth Woods, the executive director for the Office of Information Technology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. As a member of the college’s administrative leadership team, Woods oversees the college’s information technology services and end-user support. At UGA since 2008, she also directs fiscal and technical operations within the Office of Information Technology and leads a team responsible for supporting the administrative, instructional and research computing needs over a diverse cross-section of UGA departments and disciplines.

Arzu Yilmaz, the senior project manager and team leader in the Office of University Architects. Yilmaz manages a range of projects, including the renovation of existing academic and auxiliary buildings and the design and construction of new buildings. Currently, she is the project manager for the Interdisciplinary STEM Research Building and Brumby Hall renovation projects. She has been at UGA since 2011.

“Programs such as the Women’s Staff Leadership Institute help build a pipeline of formal and informal leaders throughout the campus community,” said Interim Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Libby V. Morris. “I congratulate the members of this year’s class on being selected for this program and appreciate their dedication to the University of Georgia.”