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Business Officer Magazine

Back Story

Profiles of individuals in roles that support the work of the chief business officer—and who represent the majority of the Business Officer reading audience

By Margo Vanover Porter

Carina Celesia Moore. Credit: Dan Jones, Jones Custom Photography
Carina Celesia Moore 
Director, Staff Development and Professional Services and Work-Life
University of California, Davis
27 years in higher education

Find Your Passion

People are happy when they are doing what they love, work with people who respect them, and have the opportunity to learn and develop, says Carina Celesia Moore, director of staff development and professional services and work-life, at the University of California, Davis.

Moore, who has been at UC Davis for 26 years, essentially runs a corporate university for employees. "We offer e-learning, instructor-led courses, custom talent-development programs, and certificate programs—the full gamut of learning and development offerings," she explains.

She is also in charge of the work-life area, which includes anything from health and wellness to child care, elder care, and connecting people with resources, services, and programs. "We support people so they can bring their whole selves to work," she says.

What makes for a happy work life on a campus?

When employees come to work and are able to find their passion, and be supported for who they are as people. 

What inhibits that?

When people are not matched to the right work and their hearts are not in it.

What's the solution if an employee is a bad fit?

Find out the employee's skills, interests, and passion, and how he or she matches up to the workplace needs; conduct a gap analysis to figure out what is necessary to be a competitive candidate for potential positions that would be a better fit; and come up with a plan to build the necessary skills. It's best if an individual's development plan aligns with the goals of his or her department or unit. That is a good fit.

We are fortunate to have two contract career counselors as part of our team. Employees can meet with them for career exploration, assessments, job-search coaching, and other career management services. 

If you could change one policy at your institution, what would it be?

Rather than change a policy, I would like to see one of our policies used by more people.

We have an excellent policy on workplace flexibility but I don't think enough people are embracing it. The mind-set that everyone has to work 8 to 5 and have ample face time is for many people not realistic, and does not take advantage of our best energy, work, and talents. When the economy is challenging, people may be afraid to ask for flexibility. When the economy is booming, we may lose our best talent if we don't embrace workplace flexibility.

What do you wish were different about your job?

The workload. I need to be able to live what I preach when it comes to leaving work behind.

What skill do you find yourself using that you never thought you'd need?

Listening. I've learned to appreciate that skill. We can all hear, but true listening is undervalued.   

How do you maintain a work-life balance?

I have a fantastic team who works hard and also knows how to play. Caring colleagues are important because we spend so much time together. I work on a beautiful campus where we can walk or ride bikes to meetings. We have a departmental bike, so I'm seen on that bike all over campus. 

Outside of work, I have great support from family and friends. I am a flutist and play in an auditioned flute choir that performs in the Sacramento area and beyond. It keeps me balanced. When I'm playing music, I can't think about the reports sitting on my desk. I have to concentrate on the music and the conductor. 

Tell me about your family.

My husband and I have two daughters in college. My oldest daughter plays trumpet, my youngest daughter plays violin, my husband plays guitar, and everyone sings. We have a noisy, musical home. 

What makes you tick?

People and learning. Everybody has so much to offer. It's really about helping people find their gifts.

What ticks you off?

A closed mind. I like open minds and open hearts.  

MARGO VANOVER PORTER, Locust Grove, Virginia, covers higher education business issues for Business Officer.

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