Executive Assistant to the Dean, Greenspun College of Urban Affairs
Years at UNLV: 12
Immediate family: Husband, Paul; two sons, Ethan and Edrick Ferreras; and Groot (border collie/lab mix)
What trait do you most like about yourself?
My work ethic. I value my ability to keep my commitments, remain accountable, and deliver results.
What trait would you like to change?
Worrying too much.
What subject did you hate in grade school?
Tell us about a woman who’s been a mentor to you.
My mom. As I grow older, I find myself becoming more and more like her. She is the most compassionate, generous, caring, and crazy person I ever met. Crazy in the sense that she had a fantastic sense of humor. Now, my husband tells me I’m crazy (ha ha) because I make him laugh without even trying.
Ellen Fleck was the person responsible for hiring me initially at UNLV as an AA2 in UNLV risk management & safety. She showed me the ropes. She was strict like a school principal, but she mentored me on how to run a busy office. She literally sat with me, teaching me how to create the department status report and having me count every space, indentation, and paragraph spacing. She was the one who told me that a good administrative assistant always anticipates her boss’s needs. Ellen passed away after she retired from UNLV in 2011.
Another great woman who mentored me was Electa Smith, my manager in American Honda Finance Corporation under the vehicle service contracts department. She taught me customer service, contract compliance, time management, transparency, and to continuously and meaningfully improve systems and processes. She told me to always increase my capabilities and explore every opportunity. It was under her leadership that Honda won Best in Class for customer satisfaction three years in a row from JD Power and Sandy Survey, beating our archrival Toyota. I’m proud to say I was part of that winning team!
If you had any other job on campus what would it be?
I want to transition to an administrative faculty position that supports a department that has a huge impact on students where I can significantly contribute and where my contributions will be appreciated.
Who is an unsung hero at UNLV?
Not a single individual, but the entire classified staff. In the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs, the unsung heroes are the administrative assistants — they are the glue that holds everything together. Their dedication to student engagement is commendable.
You’re stuck between meetings with 30 minutes to kill on campus, what do you do?
Visit a colleague I have not seen for a long time.
You just won Megabucks and want to give back to the university. What would you support?
I would establish a medical emergency fund for classified employees because I want to help employees who are undergoing financial difficulties in caring for a sick family member or themselves when they are terribly sick. I would also help rebuild the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Newman Center’s church because I believe we should not only take care of our students’ academic life but also their spiritual life.
What UNLV head-scratcher do you wish you knew the answer to?
Why do UNLV employees have to pay for parking?
What chore do you hate doing?
I hate washing pots and pans.
If you could learn to master one thing, what would it be?
The art of sleeping with my eyes open.
Are you a dog person, cat person, or something else?
Dog person, of course! The love of my life used to be a 120-pound German shepherd named Courage. He passed away on Jan. 6.
Why did you wear what you’re wearing today?
I thought I might be on Candid Camera.
What did you do the last time you took time off?
I went on a cruise with my family to the Mexican Riviera.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
That I used to be a catering manager for a hotel chain, and I supervised the entire banquet staff comprised of set-up people, banquet waiters, and bartenders. My background in catering and banquets comes in very handy with college special events.
Any advice for young women starting careers on campus?
Be honest. Do the right thing always. Treat everyone with respect, especially those who can’t do anything for you. Show kindness in the little things. Establish a track record of results. Get things done. Make things happen. Eventually, your work will speak for itself.