Marie Arroyo has been dedicated to UNLV for the last 11.5 years. Recently promoted to administrative assistant IV in the Lee Business School dean’s office, Arroyo received this year's third place President's Classified Staff Member of the Year Award. She previously worked in the school's Department of Management, Entrepreneurship, and Technology.
Colleagues speak highly of how she is quick to pitch in when staff, faculty, and students require assistance.
“Marie came to work every day with a positive work attitude and a big smile on her face, always willing to help us,” says Erin Azua, business manager for the school’s dean’s office. “She was very responsive to all our requests. Whenever we needed something or had questions, she was always right there and ready to help.”
Despite some starts and stops in her personal life, Arroyo has worked hard at building a happy life. Now, she puts focus on being a loving mother and daughter.
“My mom is my main inspiration because she has been my biggest supporter and guide,” says Arroyo. “I had many difficulties in life, and she was always able to help guide me back to living a healthy lifestyle since we lived similar lifestyles as young adults.”
Can you tell us a little about your job?
I am an administrative assistant IV. I support business operations in the Lee Business School dean’s office. I review most financial Workday business processes, help train the other administrative assistants, and guide them when they need help. Sometimes, I feel like I am the Workday police, but I am just following policies.
Why did you choose to work at UNLV?
I was working at Nevada State College when I got the chance to transfer to UNLV. I jumped at the opportunity to work at a university, and I am very grateful to be in the Lee Business School now.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I am going to take a risk and share something that I don’t normally share at work. I will be honest that I am a little nervous, but here it goes: I have been sober for 18 years.
I tell people at work that I don’t drink, but I never give them an explanation. Back in the late 90s and early 2000s, I was out of control and my life was chaotic from partying too much. I hurt my family and friends when I thought I was only hurting myself. One day, I was so tired of being self-destructive and out of control that I realized that I had to clean up my life and take control.
On Jan. 4, 2005, my life completely changed when I decided to stop partying. I was able to learn how to be a good mom, daughter, sister, and wife. I also was able to get a great job at Nevada State College, where I earned a bachelor’s degree eight years later. I am grateful that I sobered up so that I can be a loving mother, a productive member of society, and the best person that I can be.
I have a very happy life now, and I think this experience has helped me grow into the person I am today. I think it is important to know people can overcome struggles if they have them. I feel like I am still learning how to be a better person every day. I am grateful for the life I have today.
Are you from Vegas originally?
I moved to Las Vegas on June 1, 1996. My hometown is Victorville, California, and I still go there often to see my family.
How do you feel about being recognized as Classified Employee of the Year?
I am extremely grateful to those who nominated me for this award, and I am honored to receive it.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I really enjoy going on cruises. If I could, I would live on a cruise ship. I also like to make custom mugs, blankets, shirts, totes, and other merchandise in my spare time.
Do you have a current TV show, movie, or book to recommend?
I don’t really have extra time to watch TV or shows anymore, so no recommendations from me today. I am taking graduate classes right now, and it keeps me very busy.
If you hit the jackpot tomorrow, what would you do?
I would buy a bigger house so my mom could come and live with me comfortably. I would love to retire early so I can spend quality time with my loved ones.
Do you have any advice for an employee just starting at UNLV?
Sign up for all and any available training sessions. And keep a spreadsheet of all Workday business processes with notes.