Developing Relationships Through Involvement

By Liz Jusino

From my first day at Valencia, I became aware of the need to create strategic working relationships.  At employee orientation, I inquired about Valencia’s domestic partnership policy for employees and was informed that there was not one, meaning I could not extend any benefits to my partner. This instilled in me the desire to speak with the people that could effect change at the college to allow domestic partners to receive benefits.

The first avenue I pursued was the professional staff forum.  I understood that at the forum we could voice our concerns and the Professional Staff Leadership Team (PSLT) chair would inform the administration of issues that were discussed.  About two years after I initially addressed this issue, the definition of “dependents” was updated to include domestic partners.  (See the human resources “Definition of a Dependent” document.)

I was given support by my fellow professional staff colleagues during this struggle, and as a result I wanted to give back that which was offered to me. I decided to put my name forward for the nomination of the chair of the PSLT, and was honored to be selected by my peers to serve in this position. The trust and encouragement they gave me to represent them indicated that I had built strong bonds with my colleagues.

As chair, the strategic working relationships I have built here are quite significant. I’ve worked closely with Stan Stone, vice president of human resources and diversity, Amy Bosley, associate vice president of organizational communication and development, and Sandy Shugart, president of Valencia, to maintain effective communication between professional staff and college administration. We discussed issues or concerns brought forward by professional staff employees and the possibilities of how these may be addressed, seeking the best outcome for both the employees and the college.

In my role as PSLT chair, I also presented updates to the College Operations Council and developed programing and activities for the professional staff forums and luncheons. I have created a number of strategic working relationships through these experiences.

I feel very fortunate for the opportunity to create these support structures and to strengthen relationships with my colleagues through the college.  We are all here to help each other and do our best.  It is a pleasure to see changes that are the fruit of our work together and to know it all happens because we work with such extraordinary group.

The chair position of the PSLT has offered me a tremendous amount of opportunity to establish strategic working relationships as well as broadened my support structure at Valencia.

Liz Jusino, coordinator, career program advisor for business and accounting at the East Campus, served as the chair of the Professional Staff Leadership Team (PSLT) for the past two years.

The PSLT was formed as a platform to address professional employees’ concerns, provide doors of communication, and assist in professional development. It listens to and addresses campus and college-wide concerns/issues and facilitates discussions that reflect solution-oriented resolutions. Learn how you can join by visiting the PSLT website.

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