So many to thank.

I am so very pleased with the level of engagement and the responsiveness of the University community throughout the Great Place: HR Redesign Project. Beginning with the members of our many committees - the Steering Committee, the Advisory Committee, the policy committees, the implementation teams, and the Governance Task Force - you cared. You gave the project your best thinking, your candid input, and your genuine support. Other notable contributors include:

Colleagues from University Relations, led by Jenn Carmean, who moved mountains to create a robust communication plan and promotional materials with a professional appearance, impeccable quality, clever design, and most always with unreasonably little notice.

Another valued partner in this project was VCU Technology Services, led by Mark Lewis and Jim Yucha. They were open, responsive, and tenacious in overcoming the challenges presented by the changes in the new HR plan. They too designed creative solutions to vexing problems on top of already heavy workloads with very short turnaround times.

The General Counsel’s office, specifically Madelyn Wessel and Jacob Belue, provided a critical eye, valuable insight and prudent guidance at key junctions throughout the project.

We couldn’t have done any of this without the support and expertise from our colleagues in the Provost Office of Faculty Recruitment & Retention, most notably Amy Unger. Her knowledge of VCU and HR, her relentless attention to detail, and her companionship were invaluable at every step along the way. She identified and removed roadblocks, served on more committees than I can name, and read and re-read and edited draft after draft. How she did all that while keeping up with her own very demanding full time job I will never know but I will be forever in her debt.

I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the enormous impact Dr. Rao's support and engagement has had on the project. He was out in front leading the way and in the back pushing us forward ‐ both at the same time! Most of all, he was there when the going got tough. I couldn't have asked for or received more.

None of this would have been possible without the support and partnership of the Human Resources community - both in VCU HR and across the university. The project upended their world and yet they welcomed the opportunity. Their energy and commitment were remarkable, not to mention the hard work and extra hours. In the face of undeniable uncertainty, they took a huge leap of faith, worked together, and rose to the challenge. They approached the initiative with a clear vision of improving the quality of HR services. Seeing the talent, growth and camaraderie in the HR community is my singular most precious delight. When I reflect on the accomplishments we shared, it is what brings me the greatest joy.

Cathleen Burke, Assistant Vice President of HR, has been a cherished and enthusiastic partner throughout the project. Her openness to change, her generosity in offering advice and direction, and her willingness to reallocate resources - all were critical to the success of the project. What I admire most about Cathleen is that virtually every conversation we had always came back to what HR can do to make the university better so we can better serve the students. For her, it’s all about the students. She is unyielding in her focus and she made the project and me better as a result. Thank you for that and for your friendship.

My final and most heartfelt acknowledgement is reserved for the HR Redesign Project team. I am so proud of them and the work they did. We frequently referred to ourselves as the Dream Team, and that it was! They are each superbly talented and compassionate individuals - Jeremy Bost, Jessica Bryant, Rosalind Harris, Tammy Jackson, Beverly Walker, and Megan Wood. But the real magic is in how they all came together. This was the epitome of a high performing team. Each very different, each bringing different skills and perspectives, but each truly committed to the end in mind… making VCU a Great Place to work. It has truly been my honor to work with such a stellar team of professionals who are also such caring people.

The HR Redesign Project brought together all these members of the University community. They believed in the potential a new HR plan would have on the success of VCU and its employees. It has been a genuine partnership - a most rewarding experience for which I will be forever grateful.

With warmest regards and best wishes,
Susan Carkeek