Tara Laskowski Named November 2010 Employee of the Month

Posted: October 27, 2010 at 1:03 am, Last Updated: October 26, 2010 at 12:34 pm

By Robin Herron

Tara Laskowski. Photo courtesy of Tara Laskowski

Tara Laskowski, public relations manager in the Office of Media and Public Relations (PR), joins an elite group this month: she is one of only three Mason employees to be named Employee of the Month more than once.

Laskowski was previously named Employee of the Month in October 2006.

Honors have been flooding in recently for Laskowski, who also received an Outstanding Achievement award on Oct. 22. A Mason alumna with an MFA in creative writing, Laskowski learned this month that she won the grand prize of the Santa Fe Writers Project’s 2010 Literary Awards Series.

“I’m a little embarrassed about all the attention,” she says modestly.

However, judging from the kudos provided by her co-workers, the attention is richly deserved.

Fellow PR manager Marjorie Musick noted Laskowski’s outstanding efforts in managing the university’s Facebook and Media Relations Twitter pages for the past year.

“She has spent countless hours designing and implementing a social media campaign for our team and this has truly made a difference in how our media outreach efforts are perceived,” Musick wrote in a nomination letter.

Another PR manager, Catherine Ferraro, praised Laskowski’s work on last winter’s successful Facebook Face-Off Challenge with Virginia Commonwealth University, which tripled Mason’s fan base on Facebook.

“Taking on the project virtually singlehandedly, Tara created a marketing plan that outlined the objectives, desired outcomes and promotional strategies for the project….This dedication paid off in a victory for Mason that didn’t seem possible,” Ferraro wrote in her nomination letter.

Laskowski, who first joined Mason as a part-time writer/editor in Creative Services, has been full-time at Mason for about eight years, four of them as a PR manager.

She says that the social media phenomenon has transformed her job during the time she has been in Media and PR.

“It’s really changed the way we can communicate with and engage people in our news,” Laskowski says. “In addition to traditional PR — news releases and media advisories — we now have all these other ways to get our message out: Facebook, Twitter, blogging, multimedia packages.

“It’s more confusing, but also more fun. To some degree, we can be our own reporters now, and that’s really cool.”

When Laskowski was named Employee of the Month in 2006, she said then that meeting new people and learning new things was what she liked best about her job. That hasn’t changed.

“I still really enjoy talking to professors about the research they do, to students about the amazing accomplishments they have, and to alumni about the interesting paths they take. It’s by far the best part of working at a university. The job is never boring, and we’re always writing about new things.”

Laskowski adds that Mason has been central to her life since she moved to Virginia from Pennsylvania.

“Most of my dearest friends that I have here are people I met either in the MFA writing program or at my job in media relations — including my husband (Art Taylor, assistant professor of English). I have so much to be thankful for because of the university.”

Laskowski will be formally presented with her award by President Alan Merten in his office, 103 Mason Hall, at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 1. Her co-workers and friends are encouraged to attend the ceremony.

Write to gazette at gazette@gmu.edu