Everyday Hero: Carol Henderson

Posted: September 2, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Fran Rensbarger

Editor’s note: This Daily Gazette feature profiles key people at Mason who “make it happen.”

Carol Henderson

Name: Carol A. Henderson

Current Position: Training and staff development manager in Human Resources

Years at Mason: About 9. “I’ve been doing the same job all that time, but it is always changing as the needs and direction of the university change. There’s always something I’d like to add to the program.”

What She Does: Henderson plans and presents some training classes, arranges other presentations related to Human Resources, and creates special sessions for small groups or department staff meeting training. An example is the class on editing and proofreading she’s currently designing for the English Department. She also provides training materials that a unit may need for planning its own sessions. Her special recurring projects are the new employee orientation and the Supervisor Series. Finally, she markets the classes.

How She Meets Training Needs:Recently, Henderson partnered with the Staff Senate on its request for information sessions on work-life issues such as credit, identity theft, and events planning. The Staff Senate does the groundwork; Henderson brings in the speaker and does the marketing. “By partnering with the Staff Senate, I’m finding out what people need. If you offer really good training classes, but they don’t meet anyone’s need, what’s the point?”

What She Likes about Her Job: “I like the variety best. I don’t get to spend a lot of time in my office,” she says. “I like developing training classes, finding the people, and getting it going. Sometimes, doing the research myself and putting together a PowerPoint presentation is fun.” She also likes working in the university setting, with “so many different people, interesting stories. It’s a great place to work.” One of the best things about organizing training at Mason, she says, is the support from the top. “President Merten is very cognizant of the importance of having a strong staff, and he supports training and recognition. He has a real dedication to having top-notch faculty and class offerings, but he also wants a top-notch staff holding it all up.”

Carol Henderson
Photos by Evan Cantwell

Most Difficult Part of the Job: “The biggest problem is scheduling events and getting equipment. As the student body grows, rooms that used to be available for training sessions are now used for classes.”

Memorable Moments at Mason: The first two annual staff enrichment days represented a new direction and turned out well. The one-day conference, open to all staff, featured breakout sessions, lunch with the president, and keynote speakers. “A lot of people don’t get to go to a conference. This way they got to bring something back to their workplace without having to go away.”

Life Before Mason: Henderson grew up near Buffalo, N.Y., but came to the Washington, D.C., area more than a decade ago from South Carolina when the company she worked for merged. She was checking want ads for a friend when she saw the position at Mason and thought, “This job has my name on it.”

What’s New: Training for e-Work at Mason, the web-based job application process, will soon move from pilot to a total rollout. Also, in the last year, FISH training, with its emphasis on customer service, has become popular. Bringing training to all three campuses is now possible through teleconferencing, she says. “We’re in a new age at work where change is constant, and so we always need to be learning new things. Hardly a day goes by that there isn’t a change in something you have to respond to.”

Outside Commitments: Henderson serves on the state curriculum committee for the Division of Human Resource Management in Richmond, tasked to bring consistency in management training. She volunteered so Mason would have input into which existing training gets certified.

What She Does for Fun: “I like to exercise at the gym, go bicycling, do a little art work, attend performances at the Center for the Arts, spend time exploring Washington, D.C., play bridge—lots of different things. I love to travel! I have two children, both grown and married and doing interesting things. My son is in Maryland, and my daughter is in Richmond, so I also get to spend time with them. They’re my joy!”

What You Might Not Know about Her: Both Henderson and her family are great fans of the Buffalo Bills. When she is visiting “home” in New York, she definitely tries to go to games.

What People Say about Her:

“Carol brings a passion and commitment to training that encourages us all. George Mason’s growth and expanding activities require that all of us work smarter. Carol makes sure that the necessary training is available to make this happen.”

—President Alan Merten

“Carol Henderson has been a guiding light for creating a better workforce for George Mason University. Her training classes give employees the opportunity to learn new skills, improve customer service, and enhance their careers. Her energy is felt throughout the university as she continues to bring fresh ideas to training possibilities.”

—Becky Nemeth, manager of the switchboard and kiosks, Information Services

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