Tina Whitehair sets the bar for going above and beyond both at work and home. An administrative associate at the School of Law, Whitehair provides support for 15 professors, countless students and even volunteers her time outside of the work week.
“I like helping people,” Whitehair said. “I like doing the little things that make everything easier for other people.”
At Georgia Law, Whitehair is involved with just about everything. She helps proofread for professors, sets up interviews with the media, handles take-home exams and recommendation letters, performs background research and much more. She also processes travel reimbursements, sets up class calendars and creates systems for students to pay for course packets using credit cards.
“I do pretty much anything that comes up and someone needs help with,” she said. “I’m kind of a jack-of-all-trades.”
Whitehair’s hard work and great customer service have not gone unnoticed. The School of Law’s staff council presented her with the 2013 Emma P. Terrell Distinguished Employee Award in December. The award is presented annually to recognize staff members who demonstrate an outstanding work ethic, a commitment to service and exceptional job performance in addition to the cooperation necessary to increase the quality of education and service provided by the law school. Whitehair received the award at a holiday luncheon.
“About two minutes before (the award) was presented Professor (Ronald) Carlson asked if I knew who won, and I said I didn’t know. Then they said my name, and I was sitting there like a deer in the headlights,” Whitehair said. “I was really surprised actually.”
The West Virginia native said that all her professors and many of the students with whom she interacts every day sent in nominations for her to win the award.
“It’s gratifying to know that, as much as I love my job, obviously they think I’m doing a good job,” she said.
Now that she’s been at Georgia Law for three years, Whitehair said she’s grown extremely attached to the students and faculty. She calls the professors her “cubs,” and she offers students a “safe den” to come to when they’re having a bad day.
“A few of my professors have made me swear an oath I won’t leave them, but I’m pretty sure I’m not going anywhere; this is like my family here,” Whitehair said. “I tell people you have to go through me if you have a problem with my cubs or kids.”
Outside of work, Whitehair volunteers with the nonprofit Random Acts, a global organization that aims to inspire and fund random acts of kindness. Whitehair originally saw an online video about the group and wanted to get involved. She currently volunteers as the executive assistant to the director, a position she was offered after she applied for a different volunteer spot.
“I basically have two full-time jobs since I do this here at the law school and then go home and help Random Acts,” Whitehair said. “It keeps me busy-but it’s a good busy-and it suits my personality to be helping people.”