On small teams like ours at the BEC, everyone works collaboratively to pitch in and get the job done. Our administrative team works behind the scenes to make sure that partnerships happen in their support of our entire unit.
Charmayne is one of the exceptional staff members who does this, and we couldn’t do it without her. Read on to learn more about why she’s one of our rock stars, how she pursues professional growth, and why she reads menus for fun.
Q: Tell us three things most people don’t know about you…
- I was born in the United Kingdom and I spent the first 3 years in Lakenheath, England.
- I enjoy reading menus from 4 & 5-star restaurants for leisure, and I’m a food enthusiast that enjoys finding new restaurants.
- I was on an episode of the television show Judge Mathis as a plaintiff (I won by the way!).
Q: What are three career lessons you’ve learned thus far?
- Cultivate and grow working relationships. It’s important to have broad and diverse social networks personally and professionally. These types of relationships aid you in being able to find mentors and sponsors which are particularly important for people like me.
- Never stop learning. It’s necessary to be agile because it helps you adapt to the unexpected (which we’ve experienced a lot of the last 8 months!) and over time, I’ve learned that chance favors the well-prepared.
- Work in your gifts and talents because it’s easier to pour yourself into your work and derive satisfaction. Whenever possible your work should provide some sense of joy.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
The variety. One day I’m reconciling the expenses for a $20K event I managed, the next day I’m coordinating meetings with university and local leaders to leverage university initiatives, then I’m finding various ways to support and assist the team on different university initiatives.
Q: What are 3 words to describe the BEC?
Q: What has been your favorite project at the BEC?
Working on the Toyota Research Institute Annual Reviews, these events allow me the most autonomy. I enjoy things like working with the presenters to meet their needs, creating the menu, decorating the venue, and being able to engage with our out-of-state corporate partners in-person. Having input on the entire run-of-show makes the Annual Reviews an event that I always come away from feeling like I’ve made a positive impact and have learned something new along the way. A bonus is being able to sit in these events and gain a deeper understanding of the great research at U-M.
Q: What is on your career wish list for the next 5 years?
I enjoy working in Development. I hope to continue to find meaningful ways to contribute to this space. I would love to find a way to work with students who may have a limited perspective on philanthropy to share the benefits and impact at the grassroots level and beyond.
Another area I would like to explore is the strategy behind developing U-M campaign initiatives. Both these areas allow me to evolve my experience with philanthropy and strategy we use at the BEC, and my work here has gotten me excited about exploring ways to build on that foundation.
Q: What do you do for fun?
Game Nights/Outdoor games with family and friends (my family is pretty competitive), trying any new restaurants/specialty bars. Because my family is spread across the US, we’ve recently started to plan group trips in unfamiliar locations to meet up and explore together, which is fun when all of our schedules align. When the weather is warm, I enjoy most outdoor activities and most recently have started to hike when I can find a partner, which is sometimes a challenge. I haven’t found the courage to take long hikes alone yet.
Q: What is your favorite part of working with companies at U-M?
Being able to participate in projects that are mutually beneficial to the University/local community and companies.
Also, being able to watch and learn from our amazing relationship managers/team who can meet the varying needs of our industry partners at a decentralized university – this is a great space to learn.
Q: What do you want other people to know about the BEC?
A quote from the TV show Game of Thrones: “We are small (team) but we are mighty.” ~Lady Lyanna Mormont
*The first photo is a picture of Charmayne and her youngest daughter breaking the Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of ‘Rosie the Riveters’ in 2017 at the EMU Convocation Center.