Valerie Block Is July Employee of the Month

Posted: July 5, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Hope J Smith

Valerie Block, office services specialist in University Career Services, doesn’t want anyone to be fooled. When her nominators say her calm demeanor, even when dealing with a “difficult” person, is effortless, she’s quick to point out that “it’s only effortless from the outside!” Block, who is July’s Employee of the Month, manages a busy front office on the Fairfax Campus and the student workers who help her out. “It’s a skill,” she points out. “The more you work with people, the better you get at it.”

Block was attracted to the Career Services office because of the atmosphere. She likes to be in a place where learning is the focus, and she enjoys interacting with different people–students, faculty, staff, and employers who call the office. “I like to stay busy,” she says. It’s no wonder Virginia Wheeler, one of Block’s nominators, exclaimed, “I can’t imagine how we ever managed without her!” Wheeler says Block is “a treasure to us, the students, and the university at large.”

One might imagine that working with student employees could present its own difficulties, but Block doesn’t see it that way. “Student workers bring a lot of energy to the workplace. They have a good sense of humor and keep me laughing and working at a good pace.” She’s used to working with younger people, she says, and likes the way they keep her on her toes. But her relationship with them goes beyond that of friendly officemates, says Priscilla Williams, who also nominated Block. “Her genuine interest in our students and desire to have them master the different duties of our office makes for a warm, yet professional, exchange.”

Block says she is honored to receive the recognition, and that she “was totally caught unaware.” President Alan Merten presents her with a framed certificate at a ceremony in his office on July 6. As Employee of the Month, Block receives a specially designated parking space near her office for the month of July, a floral arrangement from Burke Florist, two tickets to a men’s or women’s George Mason basketball game, two complimentary meals from Crossroads Restaurant, two tickets of her choice to an event at the Patriot Center and an event at the Center for the Arts, and a $25 gift certificate to the University Bookstore. In addition, her photograph will appear in the display case in the Johnson Center Food Court and on the Human Resources website.

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