Ranelle Maltas
Ranelle Maltas

President's Letter

Last week, I took the full week off from work. I didn’t go anywhere, nor did I have any plans. I just knew I needed to step away from work for a while for a mental health break. I’m back today and feeling refreshed and looking at my tasks with a renewed spirit. It seems weird to need to take time off from work when I’m already working from home, but I turned off my computer and left my home office. I even put stuff in my chair so I would not go back to sit and work for just a bit. It worked.

My supervisor was supportive of my time off and empathic to me stepping away for a while. I appreciate how much he cares for each of us, sending everyone a personal note of thanks. As I was reading through the emails and messages I missed, I also catch up on stories people have shared. This morning I found a great article by Jacob Morgan, “How the President of Microsoft U.S. Leads with Courage & Empathy” that really resonated with me today.

Kate Johnson, President of Microsoft US, learned that it is okay to say no to work. People will understand. As long as when you are at work you work hard and you have a good reputation, no one is going to think you are lazy if you say no from time to time. The key to saying no is providing an alternative like asking for a recording of a meeting you cannot attend so you can catch up.

She also shares her tips on balancing family and work. One practice I share with her is that at the beginning of the year her children block out important dates, whether it is a school recital or a sports tournament or graduation. There are also certain work blackout dates which she knows she has to be present at work for.

Johnson says, “Courageous leadership is the willingness to activate the troops and own the outcome, but also to do so bringing all of your strengths and weaknesses to the table with total transparency and clarity, and kind of owning work with that and figuring out how to assemble the team to bolster wherever there are weaknesses. And that's a different kind of leadership that I think is essential today.” Johnson provides several examples of how she and her team have been living out courageous leadership and focusing on empathy.

She mentioned how Microsoft used to be a company of “know-it-alls” but now, under the leadership of Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, it has become a company of “learn-it-alls”. According to Johnson, “… a learn-it-all is somebody who has no preconceived notion of what the answer is, and is all about creating an inclusive process to go get that answer. Courageous leaders show up like that every single day, versus one that isn’t so courageous as one that walks into the room, thinking they know the answer, and thinking that their job is to convince everybody else what the answer is. And it’s that ‘get it right’ versus ‘think you’re right’.”

This simple change in mindset can make all the difference. Let’s become an organization of learn-it-alls.


Enhancing the Culture of Well-Being, December 9, Noon - 1:00 p.m.

Join us in a sneak peek of another session to be featured at the May 2021 All-Staff Empowerment conference. Connie Boehm will give a virtual presentation of 'Enhancing the Culture of Well-Being' on December 9 from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Happy and engaged faculty and staff members have a huge impact on student learning, motivation and happiness. Come prepared to learn about the nine dimensions of well-being and how little changes in one dimension can pull other dimensions along in a positive way. This presentation will provide approaches that support your well-being, centered around positivity, resilience, and gratitude. You will leave the session with a greater understanding of well-being and resilience practices, and how to connect with students and support their well-being.

Constance Boehm is the Director of Student Resilience, Big Red Resilience & Well Being. She is a seasoned wellness professional with over 30 years of promoting well-being in higher education. She creates a strong culture of innovation in student, staff and faculty well-being by supporting new ideas and by challenging individuals to move beyond status quo. She values the goals of student affairs and works toward them with creativity, determination, and zest.

Please use this registration link to sign up for the workshop

If there are any questions, please contact Lorraine Moon (


Article Club - December 18

The next article club will be on Friday, December 18th beginning at 12:00 noon.

Please send an email to Marnie Nelson ( by Friday, December 11 if you would like to join.


Updated Award Nomination Deadline

The University Association for Administrative Development (UAAD) is accepting nominations for the 2021 Carl A. Donaldson Award for Excellence in Management and the 2021 Floyd S. Oldt Award for Exceptional Service to the University. The nomination deadline for both awards has been updated to Monday, March 15, 2021.

The Carl A. Donaldson Award for Excellence in Management recognizes campus managers in non-faculty positions. The award has been presented since 1972 and honors Donaldson, a University of Nebraska graduate who worked for the university for 43 years. Donaldson founded UAAD in 1961.

The Floyd S. Oldt Award for Exceptional Service to the University honors a UNL employee in a managerial/professional position. The award was created in 1992 from a bequest by Oldt, a 1920 University of Nebraska graduate. Oldt was a superintendent of Abel Construction Company in Lincoln before moving to Dallas. Oldt was a contributor to many humanitarian and civic organizations.
For more information, please visit or e-mail

Please spread the word with coworkers at departmental meetings, socially distant luncheons, etc. to get the word out and nominate your colleagues!


Save the Dates - Upcoming Meetings

Upcoming U2 meetings:
-December 16 (register now)
-January 20
-February 17
-March 17
-April 21

Originally published November 30, 2020 - Submit an Item