We are pleased to announce the recipients of the President’s Service Awards for Excellence and the President’s Staff awards, presented by the university annually to recognize staff members who demonstrate outstanding achievement and excellence within the UBC community.
President’s Service Awards for Excellence
The President’s Service Award for Excellence is presented each year to up to five outstanding staff members. The PSAE acknowledges staff who have made outstanding contributions to UBC, and who excel in their personal achievements.
This year’s President’s Service Awards for Excellence recipients are:
- Elaine Borthwick, Director of Admissions, Peter A. Allard School of Law
- Kim Kiloh, Director, Centre for Student Involvement & Careers, Student Development & Services
- Clara Ng, Assistant Dean, Finance, for the Faculty of Education & Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences
- Pamela Rosenbaum, Manager, Marine Mammal Research Unit at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, Faculty of Science
- Donald Reginald Skea, Operations Supervisor, Alex Fraser Research Forest, Faculty of Forestry
President’s Staff Awards
The President’s Staff Awards at the Vancouver campus recognize the personal achievements and contributions that our staff make to UBC, and to the vision and goals of the University.
This year’s President’s Staff Awards recipients are:
- Jolanta Lekich, Program Director, Global Campus Initiatives, International Student Development
- Manjit Sound, Head Service Worker, Building Operations
- Hilary Geise, Manager, Administration, School of Public Policy and Global Affairs
- Salena Li, Undergraduate Program Coordinator, Physics & Astronomy
Enhancing the UBC Experience
- Isgo Nercessian, Financial Services Representative, Financial Operations
- Abigail Overduin, Ergonomics Program Lead, Human Resources
Creativity & Innovation
- Kimberley Marty, Senior Data Manager, Vaccine Evaluation Center
- Amrit Mundy, Team Lead, Career Advising, Centre for Student Involvement and Careers
- Kelli Kadokawa, Communications and Business Initiatives Coordinator, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
- Salma Mawani, Manager, Administration, Museum of Anthropology
Advancing Diversity& Inclusion
- Jesse Grimaldi, Manager, BCom Careers, Sauder School of Business
- Sarah Bean Sherman, Science Education Specialist, Skylight (Faculty of Science)/Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
- Patty Hambler, Director, Student Wellbeing Promotion, Health Promotion & Education
- Barbara Hsiao, Director, HR and Administration, Faculty of Land and Food Systems
President’s Service Awards for Excellence
Elaine Borthwick, Director of Admissions, Peter A. Allard School of Law
Throughout her career at UBC, Elaine Borthwick has admitted several generations of British Columbia’s legal profession to law school.
Elaine builds personal connections with each applicant and is committed to ensuring fair treatment for students who have non-traditional academic records or who have faced significant personal challenges.
Her innovative influence and high quality of service has been vital for the entire admission process, from recruitment and outreach to onboarding. In 2016, the faculty undertook an intensive research and consultation process to redesign law school admission and Elaine’s leadership contributed to a new approach and more holistic admissions process.
Her contributions reach far beyond UBC. Elaine served as chair of the Canadian law schools admissions body and her leadership inspired a great deal of trust, collaboration and transparency within the group.
Elaine was the first Canadian law school admissions professional to be nominated to the Board of Trustees of the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC).Regarded by her peers as an advisor and mentor, Elaine has been key in positioning the Peter A. Allard School of Law as a global leader in law school admissions.
Kim Kiloh, Director, Centre for Student Involvement & Careers, Student Development & Services
Kim Kiloh is driven by a desire to maximize student learning, increase equitable and inclusive access, and enhance students’ sense of belonging and purpose at UBC and beyond.
Kim is a leader in the UBC career educator community. She aims to ensure that UBC students leave the university hopeful and confident in who they are, prepared and knowledgeable about the wide range of opportunities available to them, and well connected to industry, community and employers to find their next career step.
The signature programs under Kim’s direction, such as Jump Start, Imagine, and Work Learn, are initiatives that reach thousands of students each year and contribute to a supportive environment for student learning. She inspires her colleagues to go above and beyond in improving the student experience at UBC in a way that’s both creative and realistic.
Kim’s contributions to the realm of student affairs are regarded with great respect and appreciation by those far beyond the UBC community: her work has inspired other universities to implement initiatives to improve the lives of students across Canada.
Clara Ng, Assistant Dean, Finance, for the Faculty of Education & Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Clara Ng‘s commitment to excellence has had a transformational impact on the Faculties of Education in Pharmaceutical Sciences. Particularly, in the Faculty of Education, Clara’s exemplary leadership has contributed to an improved understanding and greater transparency of financial affairs as well as collaboration among the faculty’s units. Clara has been a driver of the faculty’s success in achieving its strategic goals and maintaining world-class rankings.
Through periods of change and uncertainty, Clara’s perseverance, creativity, and clarity positioned the faculty to move forward. Clara developed the financial literacy within the faculty leadership so that they could better see the implications of financial decisions as well as the challenges that lay ahead.
Clara directly contributes to building the leadership capacity and strengths of staff across a large and complex faculty, creating cross-faculty mentoring opportunities when possible. Clara also developed professional development workshops for staff to foster an inclusive and engaging work environment. With her mentorship and support, the finance team provides a first-rate service to research faculty, dramatically improving the ability of our researchers to manage their research funds.
Pamela Rosenbaum, Manager, Marine Mammal Research Unit,
Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries (IOF), Faculty of Science
With more than 35 years of experience at UBC, Pamela Rosenbaum is a trusted professional advisor, generous in sharing her knowledge and guidance with faculty, administrators and students.
Pamela works closely with graduate students, undergraduate research assistants, technicians, post-doctoral fellows, research associates and faculty members: providing them with the tools and information to ensure their success. Pamela contributes to the training of support staff that underlies student learning, research excellence and community engagement in the IOF.
Pamela is often the first point of contact for graduate students starting at UBC, and she is often the last point of contact as students proudly hand her a bound copy of their thesis after graduating. Pamela cares deeply about improving the student experience at UBC and student success after graduation.
Within and outside UBC, Pamela serves as a role model by demonstrating community involvement and active citizenship. She actively encourages and demonstrates community involvement by volunteering alongside students in various activities with the BC Marine Mammal Symposium, Northwest Student Society for Marine Mammalogy, and the Peter Larkin Lecture.
Donald Reginald Skea, Operations Supervisor, Alex Fraser Research Forest, Faculty of Forestry
For over 25 years, Don Skea has worked to create opportunities and demonstrate excellence in research, education and sustainable forest management at the Alex Fraser Research Forest in Williams Lake.
Don is regarded by his colleagues as creative, courageous and collaborative, and has demonstrated these traits during periods of challenging environmental and economic conditions.
When the 2008-2012 recession pushed the research forest to diversify its activities, Don adapted new approaches to reduce costs and improve results, while ensuring all activities continue to enable exceptional research and teaching activities.
His initiative in detecting and controlling the mountain pine beetle, and Douglas-fir bark beetle infestations at the research forest have been progressing successfully for over two decades.
During the summer of 2017, Don’s leadership was instrumental in the control of six of the seven wildfires that ignited in the Alex Fraser Research Forest. He focused on setting priorities and allocating staff and equipment resources; all the while, his family was being evacuated from their home in Williams Lake due to the danger posed by other wildfires. The courage and example he displayed were an inspiration to those working on the fire lines.
President’s Staff Awards
Jolanta Lekich, Program Director, Global Campus Initiatives, International Student Development
Jolanta (Jola) Lekich is an exceptional collaborative leader and advocate for intercultural understanding. She has the extraordinary ability to build meaningful student experiences, while empowering her team to build on what she has established to continuously improve services and be responsive to students’ needs.
Jola’s trademark leadership shows up every day in the UBC Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, which aims to foster the next generation of African leaders. Jola’s mentorship is one of the reasons so many of UBC’s international and globally-focused students hold key leadership positions on campus. She has poured hundreds of hours into developing the leadership capacity and strengths of the students and staff in her circle of influence and has created a culture of peer mentorship and capacity-building.
Since 2010, Jola has led the development of the Global Lounge, with a focus on student-led global and intercultural initiatives that empower student leaders to make significant impacts on campus, in Vancouver, and around the world. Jola is a great supporter of various student-led initiatives, such as the African Business Forum, African Awareness Initiative, and Global Cafe. From the ideation stage to advising, Jola has enabled these students to have a profound impact on the student experience at UBC.
Manjit Sound, Head Service Worker, Building Operations
Manjit Sound is highly regarded by his colleagues for his ability to foster positive work environments and experiences. In a typical day in Custodial Services, Manjit and his colleagues are frequently depended upon by building administrators, researchers, faculty, staff, students, visitors and contractors to solve problems and keep the many teaching and learning spaces at UBC in prime shape. Manjit is dedicated to finding creative solutions to workplace challenges, and brings together staff members to get the job done safely, efficiently and cheerfully.
One area where Manjit shows true leadership is in team building and fostering communication. Manjit not only helps his staff to engage with one another through productive communication, but also mentors his staff to work collaboratively, always with an eye to building a positive and respectful work environment, while providing outstanding customer service and custodial support for the UBC community.
Manjit focuses on fostering team spirit both at work and beyond, such as organizing a staff summer BBQ at Trout Lake to help the team build social connections outside of work.
Hilary Geise, Manager, Administration, School of Public Policy and Global Affairs
Hilary Geise joined the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs in 2017, one month after its creation through the merger of a number of entities, including the Liu Institute for Global Issues and the Institute of Asian Research at UBC. Throughout, Hilary demonstrated leadership and creativity as she brought together the finance, human resources and facilities for a seamless transition.
Often the first point of contact on a range of issues – from grant applications to office and meeting spaces – Hilary approaches the needs of others with a strategic and collaborative mindset. She embodies all the qualities of an emerging leader: collaboration, confidence, learning and self-improvement, fostering growth in others, and capacity for clear communication. Academic leaders rely on her insight, compassion and tenacity in supporting the school’s academic mission.
Hilary models a positive workplace environment where others could also contribute to creating a progressive workplace. She empowers others in their professional growth and wellbeing, and likewise takes opportunities to develop her own leadership capacity.
Salena Li, Undergraduate Program Coordinator, Physics & Astronomy
For many students, Salena Li is considered the best part of their UBC experience when navigating their degree. Every day she guides prospective and undergraduate students in Physics & Astronomy towards academic success. Her undergraduate students are faced with an overwhelming number of course options, as well as additional opportunities, such as co-op jobs and exchange years. These students need professional, reliable guidance from someone with a strong grasp of the entire system, and the person who best understands the UBC academic road map (one-way streets, roadworks, alleyways, accident hot-spots and all) is Salena.
Salena approaches her work with passion, enthusiasm and zeal. She is known for her open-door policy: always welcoming students in need and ensuring that they are well-supported throughout their time at UBC. Her vast knowledge of the department and of UBC, along with her helpful, approachable manner, ensure that students feel comfortable asking for guidance and assistance. By focusing on helping students, Salena helps them to tackle their goals and to strive for outstanding academic achievements.
Enhancing the UBC Experience
Isgo Nercessian, Financial Services Representative, Financial Operations
With over 40 years of service at UBC, Isgo Nercessian is a valued staff member in Payroll – Financial Operations. In her long tenure at the university, Isgo has become a true ambassador for the UBC community – dedicated to providing outstanding client support for everyone who interacts with Payroll and Financial Operations.
Isgo is known for her patience and attentiveness: she focuses on working with UBC employees to find efficient solutions to issues and to advance their understanding of the complex and layered payroll and finance process at UBC. It is often noted that if Isgo doesn’t know the answer to a question, she will find the right person to get the answer. She owns the issue until it is resolved satisfactorily for the client.
During her more than four decades at UBC, Isgo has worked in a number of UBC departments and has close connections with CUPE 2950. Having witnessed the installation of several past UBC presidents, Isgo was selected to celebrate Professor Santa Ono’s inauguration on behalf of CUPE 2950 in 2016.
Abigail Overduin, Ergonomics Program Lead, Human Resources
Abigail Overduin‘s outstanding leadership, service and dedication has transformed the way UBC approaches ergonomics and workplace health. Beyond conducting office ergonomic assessments and adjusting workstations, Abigail has implemented a preventative, capacity-building service model that enables employees to thrive at work.
UBC’s workforce of more than 26,000 faculty, staff and student employees presents numerous ergonomic challenges, yet Abigail has found innovative and sustainable solutions by making office and lab ergonomics an accessible, knowledge-based experience for employees. To expand the ergonomics program into departments and faculties, Abigail trained more than 100 office ergo reps.
Her ability to bridge the gap between ergonomic theory and operational practice is invaluable to campus partners like Student Housing and Hospitality Services and Campus Mail. As one example, in 2018, Abigail collaborated with UBC Facilities to ensure that new and renovated buildings would include ergonomic best practices for workstation, lab and service space design.
Abigail’s work has a ripple effect beyond UBC. In 2017, she partnered with UBC Child Care Services and WorkSafeBC to develop ergonomic information sheets now used by child care facilities across BC. She is highly-regarded in the Canadian professional ergonomics community, where she has been a national association president and continues to be a mentor for many budding ergonomists.
Creativity & Innovation
Kimberley Marty, Senior Data Manager, Vaccine Evaluation Center
Since joining the Vaccine Evaluation Centre (VEC) as a work study student over 20 years ago, Kimberley Marty has become one of Canada’s most highly-regarded and most skilled data specialists, while building the VEC into a well-recognized international leader for data handling of vaccine trials.
As the VEC Senior Data Manager, she coordinates data management and has developed initiatives such as the STaR database and customizations of the Dacima platform, which allow national and international research groups to benefit and increase the efficiency of running multi-centre clinical trials.
A prime example of Kim’s impact relates to the influenza pandemic of 2009. One trial required exceptionally rapid evaluation of a new influenza vaccine. The processes and procedures that Kim and her team developed during that time are still the core part of the ‘pandemic preparedness plan’ for the Canadian Immunization Research Network – allowing researchers at UBC to lead national and international research studies in the event of a future pandemic.
Kim’s expertise has a global impact too: she leads data management outreach with research groups in South Africa, Europe, and Australia.
Amrit Mundy, Team Lead, Career Advising, Centre for Student Involvement and Careers
Amrit Mundy‘s keen insights, diligence, creativity and vision have led to a new way to approach and engage with conflict at UBC. In 2011, Amrit focused on the idea of a workplace where conflict was not necessarily just resolved, but engaged fully using forum theatre as a platform for learning. She recognized the important role that UBC’s environment and culture could play in supporting this idea. Thus, Conflict Theatre was born.
In Conflict Theatre, participants use theatre techniques to create, perform, explore and deconstruct real stories of workplace conflict. To help this program live in the workplace experiences at UBC, Amrit partnered with Human Resources, the Department of Theatre & Film, the Equity & Inclusion Office, and the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology.
As a learning designer, Amrit understands the necessity of practical experience in the learning process. Conflict Theatre is designed so individuals have safe spaces to practice what they understand intellectually about conflict engagement – before they encounter situations of conflict on the job.
To increase exposure to university leaders, Amrit integrated Conflict Theatre into leadership programs such as Managing@UBC and the Academic Leadership Development Program. Conflict Theatre is also an element in UBC’s Conflict Engagement Framework.
Kelli Kadokawa, Communications and Business Initiatives Coordinator, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
Every day, Kelli Kadokawa enhances the UBC experience by bringing her knowledge of and enthusiasm for the university to the people who work and live in the UBC community.
Her work crosses paths with many different people in many different settings. Whether during pre-arrival and orientation events or student-oriented initiatives such as the 3-Minute Thesis competition, Kelli works closely with prospective, newly admitted, and current graduate students. She supports UBC’s undergraduate students in their decision-making about graduate school, she helps celebrate outstanding faculty members during Great Supervisor Week, and she contributes immeasurably to a lively sense of community in her office through small acts of generosity, community-building efforts, and her constant smile and sense of fun.
Kelli’s dedication to the community continues beyond her work. From 2007-2010, she served as president of the Day Care Parent Council. She is invested in local community on campus, serving as secretary of the Norma Rose Point PAC and as a volunteer who organized the 2018 Norma Rose Fair. Kelli also leads office team-building and fundraising efforts during both the UBC United Way campaign and December food drive in support of the AMS Food Bank.
Salma Mawani, Manager, Administration, Museum of Anthropology
Salma Mawani exemplifies what it means to be both a citizen of UBC and a valued citizen of her community.
Her efforts to foster awareness and understanding of Islamic civilizations extends back to 2001 when she played an instrumental role in inspiring MOA to develop one of its most successful exhibits, The Spirit of Islam, which opened shortly after the 9/11 disaster in New York. In 2017, she was instrumental in inviting His Highness Prince Amyn Mohammed Aga Khan to MOA for the opening of the Traces of Words exhibition, which included several works borrowed from the Aga Khan Museum.
Salma organizes MOA’s popular annual Food and Culture Fest events and volunteers with the United Way, where she was recognized with a UBC United Way Campaign Hero award in 2017. She also volunteers considerable time with the Ismaili community, and the impact of her work has extended to those living in BC as well as in developing nations.
At a time when the clash of ignorance between people of different backgrounds is having a more pronounced impact in many parts of the world, including here in Canada, Salma’s ongoing efforts to build bridges of understanding help to foster a much-needed spirit of pluralism.
Advancing Diversity & Inclusion
Jesse Grimaldi, Manager, BCom Careers, Sauder School of Business
Since joining UBC four years ago, Jesse Grimaldi has dedicated themselves to advancing equity and inclusion on our campus.
Jesse continually pushes the boundaries on equity issues across the faculty and the university, is dedicated to moving the equity and diversity agenda forward, and offers a generosity of spirit and a willingness to support others.
Jesse’s passion for diversity and inclusion shows up in many ways at the Business Career Centre. To support the career managers in the faculty, Jesse has led presentations and discussions on gender identification and how to handle questions from equity-seeking students. They are always available to offer advice, provide quick resources, and serve as a strong role model for the entire career manager team.
One of Jesse’s most substantial contributions to UBC Vancouver is in being a co-founder of Beyond the Binary@UBC, a staff-led project that aims to create a more inclusive campus for trans and gender-variant members of UBC.
Jesse is a well-respected public speaker on equity and inclusion, especially in relation to career success and human resources best practices, at UBC and across Vancouver.
Sarah Bean Sherman, Science Education Specialist, Skylight (Faculty of Science)/Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
Sarah Bean Sherman is a strong advocate for inclusive teaching practices at UBC.
In her work with EOAS and Skylight, as well as her involvement in CTLT and the wider campus teaching and learning community, Bean applies an equity lens to everything she does and champions inclusion for all faculty, staff and students.
Through her daily interactions and teaching practice, Bean builds respectful and inclusive environments. In meetings and in the classroom, Bean ensures that all voices are heard and makes space for everyone to contribute. She pays close attention to the ways in which social structures and systems of power often encourage unbalanced input, particularly when it comes to decision-making. When Bean notices that someone is not being heard or even invited to contribute, she is quick to facilitate and encourage them.
In her capacity as EOAS Science Education Specialist, Bean not only helps faculty integrate inclusive practices in their work, but also increases their capacity to adopt these attitudes and practices. By creating environments that facilitate honest and open conversations, Bean is changing the landscape of how faculty think about equity, diversity and inclusion in their teaching practices, and how it impacts students as they actively engage in academic life at UBC.
Patty Hambler, Director, Student Wellbeing Promotion, Health Promotion & Education
Patty Hambler‘s leadership in embedding health in all aspects of campus culture has fundamentally changed UBC’s policies and practices regarding student mental health and wellbeing. For the past 20 years, Patty has pursued opportunities to improve the health and wellbeing of UBC community members, with particular emphasis on the student experience.
In 2010, Patty helped to establish the Mental Health Awareness Club; today, it is UBC’s largest student-led mental health promotion club. She was the driving force behind the development of UBC’s Peer Programs, which enable student volunteers to enhance campus wellbeing. Patty also played a leadership role in creating the Mental Health Needs Assessment, a project involving a multidisciplinary team of faculty and students.
In 2008, Patty partnered with Human Resources with the goal of promoting a thriving UBC community. This collaboration led to Thrive, UBC’s first campus-wide mental health initiative. Thrive encourages UBC community members to support their wellbeing and empowers them through mental health literacy. That positive influence continues today as Thrive has been adopted by 15 other Canadian campuses, and has been celebrated with awards and recognition beyond UBC. Ten years later, Thrive serves as an example of how Patty’s vision, leadership and collaborative approach has created actions with impact and influence at UBC and across Canada.
Barbara Hsiao, Director, HR and Administration, Faculty of Land and Food Systems
Barbara Hsiao is a trusted advisor to many and her dedication has defined the workplace culture in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, where faculty and staff can feel satisfied with their careers and work and thrive in a harmonious environment.
With a distributed workforce working at UBC Vancouver, on farms, in research fields, and at the Dairy Education and Research Centre in Agassiz, BC, Barbara has taken the lead in creating a positive, appreciative culture that reaches every staff member – no matter their location, skillset and position.
Barbara brings people together and fosters an environment of trust and respect through internal initiatives and programs. Every year, Barbara fundraises for the Heart & Stroke Foundation with the Big Bike event, and organizes a day of professional development activities for staff to learn something new and bond with colleagues – often themed around land or food such as tea-making at UBC Farm.
She also implemented a subsidy to encourage participation and overcome cost barriers for events like the annual Vancouver Sun Run, Harvest Feastival, and UBC Walkabout.