Everyday Hero: Aldona Gozikowski
Posted: July 2, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am
By Robin Herron
Editor’s note: This Daily Gazette feature profiles key people at Mason who “make it happen.”
Name: Aldona Gozikowski
Years at Mason: Almost 33
Position: Executive assistant to Provost Peter Stearns
Jobs She’s Held at Mason: Secretary to the chair of the business department; secretary to the dean of the (then) School of Business; and executive assistant to the provost, a position she’s held for the past 20 years
Number of Provosts She’s Worked For: Seven, including acting and interim
What It’s Like to Transition from One Boss to Another: “I’ve always worked to the best of my ability. If you treat people the way you want to be treated, they’ll usually treat you the same.” She adds, “None of them really intimidated me.”
Photos by Evan Cantwell
What She Thinks Her Most Important Function Is: “Maintaining the provost’s calendar and prioritizing his appointments. Because he is so prestigious in his field—he’s written over 80 books—he frequently receives calls for interviews on NPR [National Public Radio] or from organizations that would like him to be a keynote speaker or to be on a panel. Scheduling for such a busy person could be a full-time job in itself.” She also handles the paperwork for academic promotions and tenure, which occupies most of her time from January through March.
What She Likes Most about Her Job: “The variety. No two days are ever the same. I like interacting with people. It’s also very interesting to see how the provost’s initiatives are carried out and to see what it takes to run the academic side of the university.”
Her Biggest Challenge: “Keeping up with my boss. His calendar is scheduled from 8 until 5 and usually through lunch. He has so much energy. He’s thinking and planning 24/7.”
Her Work Ethic: “To be a conscientious, dedicated, and loyal employee—giving 100 percent when I’m on the job.”
Biggest Change She’s Seen in Her Years at George Mason: The number of buildings on campus. She’s worked in five different buildings since 1971.
Her Most Memorable Experience at Mason: Being named Secretary of the Year in 1987. “Dr. King was provost at the time—it was the year before he died. He was a very quiet man, and I was shocked that he nominated me. It was a very nice gesture.”
What Most People Don’t Know about Her: “I’m bashful. I really have to work hard at being outgoing.”
What’s Kept Her at Mason All These Years: “I love my job, I love the people. My boss has a terrific sense of humor, and he’s a very nice man to work with. All the people I work with on a daily basis are fabulous—and they’re caring.”
About Her Name: Her first name is Lithuanian. “Actually, I’ve never liked my name. Even my mother once said, ‘Why don’t you change it?'” Her married name is Polish.
Her Family: Husband, two daughters, and two grandchildren: a five-year-old boy and a one-month-old girl.
What She Does for Fun: Collects figurine rabbits and Annalee dolls; does gardening and bike riding in the summer, reading and baking desserts in the winter; visits her grandchildren.
Her Personal Goal: “At this age, I’m looking forward to retiring, having fun with my husband, and traveling. When I retire, my girls and my grandchildren will be my top priority. I’ve lived a full life—I’ve been blessed with my job and my family. God has been good to me.”
What People Say about Her:
“Aldona is most obviously intensely dedicated to her job and the interests of my office and the university (which are, of course, one and the same). She’s also smart and imaginative and deserves great credit for careful work and creative ideas.”
—Peter Stearns, provost
“Aldona is a genuine friend and a very thoughtful co-worker. I admire her tireless dedication and commitment to Mason. She has built an amazing network. If I am ever in a pinch and need the name of a contact or other immediate information, Aldona is the first person I will call. She serves as an exemplary role model for staff.”
—Jeanmerie Townley, administrative assistant, University Relations
“She is a wealth of institutional knowledge and history. She remembers everyone who has ever worked at George Mason and almost everything that has ever happened here. She’s always willing to listen and to help solve any problem at work. Aldona has a very positive impact on our daily work environment. I can’t stress enough how great it is to have her as a co-worker and friend.”
—Jan Gouch, administrative staff specialist, Office of the Senior Vice President