Paul Rooney, assistant vice president, operations, comes to work each day with the mindset that he has the ability to change lives. By leading cross-campus teams in custodial, security and operations, Paul knows he can make a difference by creating a safe, comfortable environment for students and employees alike — all of whom belong to what he coins the Valencia family. Paul also pays particular attention to the personnel under his leadership because, through respect, encouragement and recognition, he knows he can inspire his staff to find happiness in their work and, as a result, perform to the best of their ability.
We asked Paul about his transformative leadership style. Here’s what he had to say:
Q: How do you see your role as a developer of people?
A: Working for the Orlando Police Department for 28 years, I think I was proven over time as a developer of people. I rose through the ranks from an officer on the beat to chief of police with a lot of personnel and a lot of responsibility and, along the way, tried to always keep people in mind. One thing my dad always taught me was to “never forget where you came from and whatever you did, you didn’t do it by yourself.” So I always try to look back at how it felt to be at the beginning of my career and mentor folks, because I know how important that is.
It’s clear that Valencia also values that kind of mentorship with programs like Take Stock in Children/Valencia Promise, which I’m happy to be engaged with.
I am now at a place in my career where I have a little more time to reflect and enjoy my role as a developer and mentor of people even more so — something I consider to be a real gift. Every day, I try to take the time to mentor and connect with my team in a meaningful way and help them to see how important of a role they play, whether they are a custodian, security officer, painter, plumber or an electrician. What they do every day has a great effect on everyone’s experience at Valencia, so they should be proud to play their role.
For more Q&A about Paul’s leadership style, click here.