Sharon Cullen Is June Employee of the Month

Posted: June 1, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Ryann Doyle

Sharon Cullen
Sharon Cullen
Photo by Evan Cantwell

Name: Sharon Cullen

Current position: Executive Assistant to President Alan Merten

What she does: “My primary responsibility is to support the activities of President Merten. This includes all of his scheduling and the myriad details that encompass his commitments for George Mason University, the surrounding communities and beyond. I also serve as a troubleshooter, liaison, negotiator and collaborator; it just depends on the situation. There is no typical day in the President’s Office. I work extensively with the diverse university community and have contact with a wide range of organizations outside of Mason as well.”

What she enjoys most about her job: “Nothing is ever the same, and there is no predicting what will happen next! Every day is an adventure, and that certainly keeps me on my toes. The George Mason community has the uncanny ability to pull off what may seem impossible to other institutions. Being involved at this level of activity always presents a challenge, but it is also rewarding to see the result when the final product comes together. This wouldn’t be possible without the efforts of many and the leadership of the Mertens. It is a pleasure to work for two people who are dedicated to the university and consistently demonstrate their Mason spirit in so many ways.”

Life before Mason: “My husband of 24 years serves in the U.S. Army, so my life before Mason was fairly transient. Like most military families, we’ve moved more times than we can remember but we’ve also enjoyed the special friendships and memories created throughout each assignment. Fortunately, the experience I gained during these transitions, as well as at other educational institutions in various parts of the country and as a paralegal for many years, has served me well in dealing with the President’s Office activities and my responsibilities.”

First job at Mason: “I was the administrative assistant to Joe Wood, [former] vice provost for academic affairs, and then Linda Schwartzstein, who took on the position when Joe departed Mason.”

Best memory at Mason: “The over-the-top excitement of the NCAA run by the men’s basketball team. March Madness, or what I called Mason Madness, provided the opportunity to experience something like never before. It was a pleasure working closely with the athletics staff; each win brought a whole new week of excitement and chaos. This is something that will be remembered for a long time.”

Greatest accomplishment: “I am proud of what I have achieved in my personal and professional life, but I do not believe I have realized my greatest accomplishment. Hopefully, this is still yet to come.”

What she does for fun: “My 17-year-old son is an ice hockey goalie and plays competitively from early fall into late spring. Most of my free time is spent traveling from rink to rink watching him play and my husband coach. I also ice skate, roller blade and walk, as much as I can fit in.”

Personal statement: “It is a privilege to be recognized for all of the work that goes into this job, but I have to say that I am not able to do it without the support and contributions of my Mason Hall colleagues and the many people across the George Mason community. I sincerely appreciate the recognition of being Employee of the Month, but it seems unfair to recognize one person when I cannot do my job without relying on so many others.”

What others say about her:

“One of the things I admire most about Sharon is that no matter how busy her workload is, she always takes the time to stop and answer a question or otherwise provide assistance to her coworkers. She is truly a team player. Her loyalty to her boss and to George Mason University is unquestionable.”

—Jan Gouch, executive assistant to the senior vice president

“Sharon is a true professional and carries out her duties in a most efficient and exemplary manner. She knows how important each task is, and ensures that each task is handled in a manner that will reflect well on Mason. One of Sharon’s responsibilities is to speak with individuals who continue to voice concerns with a situation or decision. Very few people have the ability to do this, or are willing to handle this task. She handles these interactions with tact and calmness, but at the same time with the energy and vigor in order to get everything accomplished. Sharon sets the standards at the highest level and she deserves to be recognized as Employee of the Month. ”

—Donna Kidd, associate vice president for Budget and Planning

“Sharon is one of the most professional executive assistants I have ever had the pleasure of working with. She is courteous, smart and she helps all of us do our job better to benefit Dr. Merten and George Mason University. Even though her primary focus is to keep Dr. Merten ‘on the straight and narrow,’ she is a master at making sure those who need him to interact on a project provide him with everything he needs to perform at his best. I really appreciate that quality in her. She has been an invaluable colleague to me as I have navigated the relatively new waters of serving in the administration at Mason.”

—Christine LaPaille, vice president for University Relations

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