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New Face: Olivia Perry

Whether taking to the skies or tackling a thorny issue, this new compliance investigator finds that persistence pays off.

People  |  Mar 13, 2017  |  By Diane Russell
Olivia Perry holds up desk clock

Olivia Perry’s desk clock is a reminder of her persistence in earning her pilot’s license. (R. Marsh Starks/UNLV Creative Services)

Olivia Perry of the office of compliance said that throughout her career she has benefited from a mentor’s advice to avoid the drama.


I was living in Los Angeles, but have some very close friends who live here in Las Vegas, and one of them saw the listing for this position. She forwarded it to me, and I decided to apply. It was exactly the type of position I was looking for, but I had never seriously considered moving to Las Vegas. I ended up being very impressed by what I learned throughout the interview process, and given the diversity at UNLV and what I thought would be a great fit within the office of compliance, I decided to make the move.

What about UNLV strikes you as different from other places you have worked or where you went to school? 

I have found UNLV to be so much more diverse than where I went to school (UCLA and University of San Diego School of Law) in so many ways. It's also very different from my prior employers, which were private law firms in Los Angeles. Overall, this is entirely new career for me, so I welcome the differences.  

Where did you grow up?

In Buellton, California, which is in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley. This is where the movie Sideways was filmed. I love going back to visit.

What inspired you to get into your field?

I enjoyed many aspects of my work in the legal field, but what I enjoyed the most were mediations where I had much more interaction with my clients and other parties involved. I almost always felt satisfied when I could advocate for my client but also facilitate a resolution that all parties could live with. I see my current position not just as an investigator trying to determine what occurred, but also as a problem solver.  

What is the biggest challenge in your field?

Learning the relationships and history of various colleges and departments. Many staff and faculty have been at UNLV for many years, and trying to understand the background of a department can be a challenge.  

Is there something people on campus can do to make your job easier?

Contact us when there's a potential compliance issue. They should also try to understand that we're not here to harm, but rather, to help.

Tell us about a time in your life when you have been daring.

When I decided to study abroad during my junior year in college. I studied at the University of Essex, in Colchester, England. I was 19 or 20 when I decided to go. I'd never been out of the country alone, and decided to leave a relationship and my friends for a year. It was one of the best and most important decisions I've ever made.

Finish this sentence, "If I couldn't work in my current field, I would like to..."

Be a travel/food writer. The writing part isn't my favorite, but who doesn't want to travel and/or eat full-time?

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?

That I'm a licensed pilot. I've been licensed since 2013.

Tell us about someone you admire and why. 

My former boss and mentor, Alan Zuckerman. He was my supervising partner, and he taught me to always stay cool and calm. Even when my adversary or client was being unreasonable, he taught me to just act calm and don't get sucked into the drama. It's often easier said than done, and I always admired his incredible ability to stay calm. I do feel like this advice has served me well.

Any tips for success?

Get to know yourself well enough to know what career path is going to make you happy and satisfied.

Pastimes or hobbies?

Aviation, watching documentaries, activism, playing with dogs.

Tell us about an object in your office that has significance for you and why.

I actually have two objects in my office of significance, but they're related to each other. The first is a small clock that has the face of an altimeter in an airplane cockpit. The second item is a paperweight in the shape of a tailwheel airplane. The clock was a gift from my father and the second a gift from my certified flight instructor. Both were gifted shortly after I passed my private pilot check ride in February 2013. I learned to fly out of Santa Monica Airport in California, and while I enjoyed myself 90 percent of the time, it was not always an easy feat. I often struggled to overcome my fears, but nevertheless, I persisted. However, once I passed my check ride to become a private pilot, I felt like I could do absolutely anything, even if that sounds cliché. So now, whenever I look at these two items, I'm reminded of this feeling of persistence and determination to overcome.