Human Resources Supervisors Selected for Staff Senate Award

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

By Ryann Doyle

Lori Ann Roth
Lori Ann Roth

For the first time, the Staff Senate chose two people at one time to receive the Outstanding Supervisor Award, and they both work in Human Resources and Payroll. Lori Ann Roth, director of training and development, and Pat Donini, employee relations director and deputy director of the department, were honored Thursday.

Roth’s co-workers enjoy the environment she creates at work each day. “We work in the ‘bliss’ section of the HR office,” says Rick Holt, trainer for HR and Payroll. “Our work area is referred to as the ‘bliss’ because Lori promotes a high-energy, dynamic, fun environment to work in. Other members of the HR team visit our area when they want to get reenergized.”

Emily Paton, a student intern working under Roth, expands on those remarks. “The way she communicates among her employees, the motivation she brings to the department, her leadership ability and the feedback she provides to all of us provide support to why I feel Dr. Lori Ann Roth is without a doubt, supervisor of the year.”

Roth came to Mason in early 2006. Her responsibilities include managing the training staff and providing training for the university’s faculty and staff. She supervises three interns and three classified staff members, and she works very closely with the entire HR and Payroll staff and liaisons to help people get the information and training that they need to do their jobs better and improve personally and professionally.

“The part of my job I like the most is working with my staff, co-workers and others at Mason because everyone is so nice,” says Roth. “My motto in life is ‘I am only here to help.’”

Prior to coming to Mason, Roth worked for Strategic Business Systems in Herndon, Va., where she started their training department. Roth earned a doctorate in human development from Virginia Tech, with an emphasis on adult learning and human resources management.

“For all that Lori contributes to Mason – top notch training opportunities and events, facilitation and development services, a wealth of training and communication knowledge and experience – and to her staff – a powerful vision, energetic support, sensitivity to our needs and goals – she deserves to be recognized as an extraordinary supervisor,” says Robyn Madar, training assistant for HR and Payroll. “It is a true pleasure and a privilege to be part of her team.”

Pat Donini
Pat Donini
Photos by Evan Cantwell

Pat Donini has been described by her co-workers as “the glue that holds us together and strong.” HR and Payroll has gone through many changes in recent years, and Donini has helped the department to develop a staff that has steadily improved and has raised the bar on their customer service standards.

“In our hectic daily work environment, Pat is our rock, our mentor, our advocate and our cheerleader,” says Jennifer Irvin, HR consultant.

Daniel Taggart, employee relations specialist, echoes these compliments. “She is not just a supervisor – she is a mentor, counselor, nurturer, leader, visionary, cheerleader and most importantly, a friend. It is hard for me to articulate the full impact that she has had on my growth as a professional.”

Donini joined the Mason community in December 2003 with more than 25 years of experience in human resources management. Donini has a BA in psychology from the College of New Rochelle, completed course work towards a master’s degree in counseling, and is currently working on a master’s degree in workplace conflict resolution at Mason to add theoretical concepts to her extensive experience in the field.

Donini says that throughout her experience in the field of human resources, employee relations has always been the favorite part of her work.

“Every single day, I get the chance to problem-solve, to help make the workplace a better place, to brainstorm solutions and to get people to work together more collegially,” says Donini. “Every day, I listen and bring people together to sort out their options. I have an opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives.”

And make a difference she does. Her employees say that she always motivates with them with confidence and warmth rather than anger or annoyance. Even on days when everything has gone wrong, she can always smile and laugh about frustrations.

“I have witnessed firsthand her showing great dedication to connect, understand, and provide resources and options for university clients, her colleagues and staff, as well as to myself,” says Ian Reynolds, HR consultant.

Donini feels Mason is a truly unique place to work. She enjoys an atmosphere that encourages openness, shares ideas and values all opinions. She says Mason offers a great deal of flexibility and opportunities to do all the things she wants to do for both personal and professional growth.

“It’s that combination that allows me to pay attention to the things that are most important to me,” says Donini.

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